A report commissioned by the Office for Students has recommended that universities should “decolonise” the curriculum to end the dominance of western values and beliefs, which “position anything non-European and not white as inferior.”
The “decolonisers'” argument is that a “white” curriculum marginalises minority writers and alienates minority students, contributing to their low representation and attainment in higher education. Some university departments have been reassessing their reading lists accordingly.
Critics warn, however, that this promotes tokenism, presenting the works of black or female thinkers as being of equal worth merely by virtue of their colour or gender, and in the attempt to tackle racial bias in English literature, history and philosophy actually entrenches racial thinking.
We discussed this on BBC Radio’s Moral Maze this week. My fellow panellists Giles Fraser, Tim Stanley, Matthew Taylor and I interrogated Kehinde Andrews, Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University, Dr Joanna Williams, Head of Education at the think tank Policy Exchange, Father Phil Sumner, a parish priest in Oldham, and historian and broadcaster Tom Holland.
You can listen to the discussion here.