The role of White students in challenging white curriculum in Higher Education.

Kay Sidebottom posted this excellent thread, on Twitter (@KaySocLearn), of potential actions students can take to challenge the whiteness of university curriculum. It was based on discussions in their BA Issues and Ethics class.

I suggested it might benefit from stressing the role of White students at the outset, rather than wait till Point 9. In my view struggle for race equality is always more successful with white involvement.

1. Critically examine your reading list – whose voices are missing? Ask your lecturer to re-balance it if necessary.

2. Glasgow University  recently introduced a programme of reparative justice measures to acknowledge their connections to, and profit from the slave trade. Is your university doing the same? Find out!

3. Keep the momentum of Why is my Curriculum White? campaigns going by raising the issue repeatedly with your students’ union. Ask them to invest in material reminders such as mugs, posters and badges. These linger in lecturers’ staff rooms!

4. If you find sources and materials by writers of colour remember to share them. Encourage lecturers to create dynamic reading lists using sites such as Padlet, which can be added to – by you.

5. Order books from your library! (Yes, you can do this!) Why not crowd- source a list and then submit it with others?

6. Cite theorists of colour in your own work. Scrutinise your essays – are you perpetuating your own white curriculum? Remember citations are powerful – every time you quote someone and submit through turnitin, there will be algorithmic changes.

7. How many black professors are employed at your university? How many black staff are in senior management? Ask these questions and share your findings in staff-student forums. Then ask to see action plans addressing any deficit.

8. What is the ethnicity attainment gap at your university? (Difference in success rate between white and BAME students). It is usually around 13-15% 😱. Find out and again, ask to see action plans.

9. If you’re white, take time to reflect on your own privilege and complicity. Check out resources on this Whiteness resources and links padlet.

10. Keep questioning, challenging, and discussing this issue with other students and lecturers. Remember the power and agency you have.