Asian women are stereotypically supposed to be soft spoken and

the academic standing up to racism at Cambridge University

canada goose coats on sale Dr Gopal, who teaches at the university’s Faculty of English, cited “consistently racist profiling aggression” by porters at the college which she said had not been addressed when she raised it with management as the canada goose outlet nyc reason for her decision. canada goose coats on sale

buy canada goose jacket cheap Her announcement was reported in the national news, with many articles focusing on how the academic asked porters to address her as canada goose vest outlet “Dr Gopal” rather than “madam”. buy canada goose jacket cheap

canada goose coats At the time, King’s College said it had investigated and “found no wrongdoing” on the part of the porters. canada goose coats

But on Tuesday (October 16), the college provost Michael Proctor issued a statement saying fellows were “distressed” by reports of discrimination and racial canada goose outlet new york city profiling and he outlined a plan for tackling it.

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Starting university in Cambridge

The college is set to improve its reporting and complaints procedures, canada goose outlet and says staff, including porters and visitor guides, have undergone unconscious bias training.

Dr Gopal has said she will offer teaching to students at the college again, adding: “My intent canada goose outlet 80 off was always to have light thrown on a long festering problem and I think that has now been done.”

buy canada goose jacket We asked her about the saga and the wider problems she’s encountered while teaching at Cambridge University. buy canada goose jacket

You have been an academic at Cambridge University for 17 years. Could you goose outlet canada outline the attitudes to race you’ve encountered over that time and whether they’ve changed?

I think there’s been a little bit of canada goose factory outlet vancouver change but it’s been fairly glacial. When I first got here, I heard a fair bit of outright stereotyping and inappropriate canada goose outlet online uk language from Fellows at lunch and on the few occasions I braved High Table. That is somewhat toned down now and there is more awareness of what constitutes racist language but there is still a lot of resistance to openly addressing questions of race and racism. To raise these questions is still to brave anything from ostracism to outright disciplining.

You announced you would no longer be supervising students at King’s College after alleged racist treatment from the canada goose outlet toronto factory porters there. Can you go through the treatment you experienced and why you chose to publicly announce your decision?

I don’t really want to revisit the nitty gritty of what happened although it is completely untrue that it had anything to do with my title, a convenient myth seized on by the tabloid media. I encountered rude and hostile behaviour from senior staff at the Porter’s Lodge and I decided that I had had enough of being profiled and ill treated at the gates of that college, a routine occurrence. I knew that many students and other Fellows who are not white had also dealt with this and decided to take a public stance on everyone’s behalf. Years of complaining privately have not worked as both others and I have tried to do so to no avail. Going public was the last resort but it came to that.

Have you had any response to your decision not to supervise King’s College students from University officials, including the Vice Chancellor?

Canada Goose Jackets I was disappointed by the lack of response and support from the University’s officials in the weeks following the incident. Canada Goose Jackets

cheap canada goose uk What has the response to your tweets been like in the media and on social media, and how have you responded to it? cheap canada goose uk

canada goose uk black friday I got a lot of hate mail both online and in hard copy but I also got a large amount of correspondence from people who had experienced similar treatment who thanked me for speaking up about it. canada goose uk black friday

Students have responded to you on Twitter reporting similar experiences of racial profiling, and you say academics have spoken to you about the issue too. Would you say Cambridge University has a widespread problem with race? And, if so, are these attitudes coming from fellow academics and students as well as porters?

Yes, there is a problem around race and racism not least the deployment of what the sociologist Robin di Angelo calls ‘white fragility’ whereby it is taboo to talk of these things white outrage and upset is the consequence and where there is a high social and institutional cost for doing so. I have never said that the problem is to do with porters in particular, far from it. If anything there is a pernicious assumption among academics that only non academics or working class people are racist. I’ve always always challenged that claim. It’s fair to say that I’ve dealt with some quite questionable behaviour from senior staff at colleges.

canada goose uk outlet Have you experienced prejudice because of your gender as well as your race while working at Cambridge University? canada goose uk outlet

Canada Goose Parka The two things often go together. Asian women are stereotypically supposed to be soft spoken and meek so when certain types of people encounter Asian women who are not like that, there is some recoil and hostility. When I first got here, some Fellows at my college assumed I was somebody’s wife. That sort of thing happens less now, thank goodness, but you get labelled as ‘angry’ and ‘aggressive’ very quickly if you speak up as a woman and a woman of colour in particular in ways that men don’t really have to deal with. Canada Goose Parka

What would you like to see done to tackle problems with racism and sexism at Cambridge University?

I would canada goose parka uk like to see an open and honest discussion of what has been going on for years and I would like to see people who do brave the discussion to be appreciated, not punished, for doing so.

The current generation of young people have been accused of being over sensitive and intolerant of free speech due to calls to “no platform” speakers on controversial issues. What do you think of this criticism?

I think that is nonsensical. To the extent that there are people willing to brave difficult discussions and grapple with uncomfortable issues, it is students and young people. Generally it is those who charge young people with being ‘snowflakes’ who want to retain the world as a big safe space for themselves. They are the ones who are unwilling to have difficult conversations about their own position in the world and how they relate to others.

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