An Oxford college has become the first to introduce compulsory racial awareness classes to ensure ethnic minorities are not offended.
Students at Magdalen College voted to compel all first-year freshers to attend the sessions, which will cover racism, ‘institutional racism’, ‘cultural appropriation,’ and implicit bias.
According to The Telegraph, students will learn about how to “participate effectively in fighting racism for both BME [Black and Minority Ethnic] and non-BME students”.
Farheen Ahmed, Oxford Student Union’s Vice President for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, said she welcomed the move as “an important part of bringing the conversation about race and ethnicity into the wider consciousness”.
She told the student paper Cherwell: “The University is becoming increasingly aware of the need to prioritise student voices on issues of race, as seen in the establishment of various groups to handle such concerns”.
"You don’t have to assimilate and step away from your culture in order to fit in."- advice from Magdalen student Princess as a PoC at Oxford https://t.co/TrYNiW7t79
— Magdalen College (@magdalenoxford) October 6, 2017
Implicit bias is when people are accidentally or unknowingly discriminatory or racist to minority groups, or when they are influenced by stereotypes.
Cultural appropriation is the adoption of the customs, practices, or ideas of a culture, which is not said to be authentic or sensitive enough to minority groups.
Left-wing campaigners have claimed that sombreros and other fancy dress costumes, and some types of food, are offensive as they are appropriated.
Last year, Magdalen College was criticised for a 1920s-themed ball. Some students said it could cause offense to female and ethnic minority students on the basis that “people of colour and women were entirely absent from college spaces” during the time period.
Oxford’s Lincoln college was accused of “cultural appropriation” over its New Orleans-themed ball, with students claiming it promotes “nostalgia for an era steeped in racism.”
Last year, Oxford student voted to create a “Class Liberation Officer” to protect the working classes from “microaggressions” such as being called a “chav”.