White Skin Privilege

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Although there is a recent increase in the number of non-white students that attend university in the UK, white students are more likely to attend elite universities and to continue with their postgraduate studies. This stems from the policy-driven restrictions that affect every aspect of a person of colour’s life from the moment they are born. In 2016, white men made up 70 per cent of UK university professors.

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Eddo-Lodge says this is ‘an indication of what universities think education looks like.’ If a white advantage and white preference is normalised throughout a person of colour’s life – even when they enter higher education – this is going to have a significant impact on how they perform in their adult lives; the qualifications a student receives during their postgraduate study will influence how they are received within the labour market.

Therefore, because minority groups are less likely to attend postgraduate studies, they are in turn less likely to succeed as well as white people in the workforce. A decrease in the probability of their success is directly influenced by the existence of white privilege and the way it impacts the dynamic of the workforce. England and Wales have an employment rate of 72.8 per cent; of those people, 74.3 per cent are white, 61 per cent are of black groups, 51 per cent are of Asian groups, and less than half are Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Arab individuals. Unemployment for all minority groups is more than double that of white groups. People of colour are more likely to be unemployed, while white people are represented in the workplace the most out of any race.

A study conducted in 2009 job applications to varying workplaces, all with common qualifications. There is evidence that individuals with white British names ‘were called to interview far more often than those with African- or Asian-sounding names.’ If the hiring process was based off of merit, there would be no room for statistics such as these. However, meritocracy has been abandoned because the people in charge do not care if a person of colour is more qualified than a white person. There is an unfair advantage that buries its roots in the structural racism that has permeated the workforce; the people who are in high-paying and high-status jobs use their privilege only to ensure their position remains.

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