Among the things which leads to fewer – too few according to some measures – blacks applying to study at Cambridge University is a shocking lack of Afro Caribbean hairdressers in that Fenlands town. This does seem like an easy enough problem to solve if we’re honest about it. Colleges own vast chunks of the town after all, assigning a little bit of space and an ad or two in Brixton shops windows for an entrepreneur to staff the place would seem to suffice:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Black students are failing to apply to Cambridge ‘due to lack of Afro-Caribbean hairdressers'[/perfectpullquote]
Altho’ there is a distinct confusion here, no? Which is to assume that black culture and Afro Caribbean are synonymous. Something which might have been true as the Windrush generation worked through the system, perhaps their children, but most assuredly isn’t after our current wave of immigration:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Black students are failing to apply to Cambridge because there is a lack of Afro-Caribbean hairdressers in the city, the university’s pro-vice-Chancellor has said. The “unexpected” finding arose during research into what deters black students from considering the institution, according to Professor Graham Virgo. Speaking at an event held at King’s College, Cambridge, he said this was one of the barriers that black students face in applying to the university. “We have been doing some quite detailed research, particularly with black students, particularly in London, looking at obstacles to applying to Cambridge and thinking about Cambridge. And number three on the list was hairdressers,” he said. [/perfectpullquote]
It’s that London bit that rather gives the game away. Much of that actual Afro Caribbean inrush is indeed still London based. So that identification with black and A-C is coming from that. It’s the same concentration there which led to ASHE recording black women as having the highest average hourly wage in the country. Not because they do, but because that population was both largely, at the time, Afro Caribbean and near entirely in London where wages are higher anyway.
In the absence of clever thinking from college authorities though we will have to fall back onto actual logic. Which tells us that those who choose their place of higher education on the basis of where they can get a haircut don’t deserve to go to one of the world’s very bestest universities, do they?