White Students Need Not Apply

Upon telling the editor of the student paper I write for that this article was to be about black students, the NUS and free speech; the response was roughly ‘Oh shit’. It’s fair to say that this is something of a thorny issue. With a campus-wide referendum on the NUS approaching this year and with an ethnically diverse campus such as this, I could be writing the paper (and myself) into a civil rights-case-of-a-barn-dance. In fact, in trying to print this I was delayed one month as the SU President didn’t feel comfortable with it and nearly delayed another when the NUS took a month to construct a Right-of-Reply letter. But it is finally print bound and here it is.

My attention was drawn the other day in the Atrium by a poster for the NUS Black Students’ Campaign. We have included a copy below this blog so you can have a read of it yourself. Go on…..I’ll wait.

This is the most ludicrous, absurd poster I have ever read. It is insulting to pretty much everyone and a load of crap. First off, the “NUS Black Students’ Campaign”. What does that name conjure up in your head? People of African origin with a ‘black’ skin colouring? Wrong! It means “Anyone who isn’t white” – so a ‘black student’ needn’t actually be of dark skin tone nor have a family string from the Caribbean or Africa. They could be Indian. Or Pakistani. Or Korean. Or Arabic. Or Thai. These are ‘black students’. A former president of this Union, born to Indian parents in Brighton, once told me that he had never seen himself as a colour until he joined Uni and the NUS told him he was black and should therefore join the campaign.

Reading on through the university-based social issues the poster (and its organisation) brings up is altogether more alarming. The NUS has various ‘Liberation’ campaigns (think D-Day, but on a smaller, less eventful scale) whose sole purpose is to represent the views of their collected students. They have one for black students, for women, for disabled students and one for the LGBT students. There are also campaigns for International, Disabled and Mature students. Those three aside, what do the Campaigns actually provide in 2011? Does anyone think LGBT students get a rough deal at the hands of the university? Do timetablers think “I could put this lecture in a room that is big enough but most of the people on this course are a bunch of gays so who cares?”? Do the NUS honestly think that all the female students are shuffled off to an un-clean halls of residence ‘cos “women are good at cleaning aren’t they, the pretty little dears”? Are the NUS championing themselves as the defenders of vice and virtue, to defend the black students who are unable to speak out when they are mistreated and are to be protected, like a rare species?

In this poster, the NUS seem to make out that a black student is powerless to help them self. “..If we complain we’re militants, playing the race card and if we don’t it’s our slave mentality…” Is this a true problem in the modern and liberal world of the British university? I can’t see black students getting any rougher a ride than I got at as an undergraduate. At times we all get shit thrown at us but I doubt that it is due to race or gender.

Of course, racism exists. We know it does. We’ve all met the locals in the pub who reckons that “this country has gone to the dogs, that Churchill wouldn’t have stood for this mosque bollocks, that bleh blah blah bleh I’m not a racist but…” I’d be lying to you to say it any other way. And due to the law of large numbers there are some idiots on this campus who want black people to ‘go home’, women to get cleaning and gay people to stop all of that. They state that this social experiment called ‘multi-culturalism’ hasn’t worked and the ethnic minorities should leave. Ironically enough however, they ARE the minority. At Brunel, the amount of white students (compared with the NUS’ definition of a black student) make up the minority. Female students? There are considerably more of them, one source saying they are 60:40 to the boys. And figures, now several decades old, suggest that at least a third of any body of randomly assorted people will be homosexual.

So in the end, the NUS seek to protect the poor unfortunate students from black backgrounds. To represent the downtrodden woman. To encourage the gay and bisexual students to speak out. In actual fact, they make up a substantial portion of the University population. The ACS is one of the largest single bodies on campus. The LGBT, despite fits and starts in its early life, seems to be running smoothly and as women make the majority of the campus population I don’t think any man can claim to have any ‘ultimate power’. All these groups serve to do is to increase the segregation in our lives. To promote the use of labels. “Don’t talk to Barry; he isn’t part of the LGBT campaign. He must hate us all.” This would happen to be another out-dated and misguided NUS directive that has no place inside a modern day University. Well done them. Bear that in mind when you approach the ballot box in December to cast your vote in the Referendum, hmm?

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