Writing in the Sunday Times David Cameron has demanded that universities like Oxford disclose the proportion of ethnic minority applicants who win places; he has commissioned a review of racial bias in English and Welsh justice systems and a warning has been dealt to the police and armed forces that they must act to increase diversity.
Cameron is naively discussing institutional diversity without looking at the real structural issues that recreate and reinforce segregation – namely his own party’s policies.
But then again, this is to be expected: how much can a man who went to an almost exclusively white school and university really know or care about race? This is also a man who resides over an almost completely white House of Commons with ethnic minority politicians making up just 6.6 per cent of parliament.
Inequality has increased since 2010 with harsh austerity measures that have impacted ethnic minority communities the hardest. George Osborne’s austerity agenda has left ethnic minorities 200 per cent more likely to lose money than their white counterparts.
Disclosing the amount of ethnic minority students in universities won’t stop the fact that his own party have done everything in their power to make university less attainable. He has scrapped student grants relied upon by ethnic minorities from working class backgrounds, as well as raising tuition fees to a maximum of £9000.
Furthermore, David Cameron is playing into racist and xenophobic narratives in an attempt to pander to right wing sentiment, in the wake of UKIPs success. He continues to demonize British Muslims by perpetuating negative stereotypes such as “submissive Muslim women” and through his Prevent strategy.
In 2014 33 per cent of people admitted to holding racist views and this number will only increase as phrasing, such as Cameron calling asylum seekers a “bunch of migrants” and a “swarm”. In the minds of British people this normalizes Islamophobia and racism.
With this in mind how can Cameron claim he is creating a level playing field, or that he even wants to? We must scrutinize this closely as David Cameron’s rhetoric in the Sunday Times appears at worst hypocritical and at best disingenuous.
Before attempting to combat race issues on a grand scale David Cameron needs to think about how his government is harming ethnic minority communities in the UK and start his quest for racial equality a little bit closer to home