What Ails Cambridge University – A Lack Of Afro Caribbean Hairdressers

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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:

Black students are failing to apply to Cambridge ‘due to lack of Afro-Caribbean hairdressers’

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:

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.

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?

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The Mole
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The Mole

I imagine this is garbage and perception rather than reality. After-all do we really believe the potential students did actual research into the matter? If they had done a very quick google they will see there is at least one afro hairdressers right in the main shopping centre – I’m sure there are others as well in less prime locations/less obvious names. One with good ratings is likely to be sufficient to get a haircut if you are that desperate and really can’t take the hours train ride home to London to get it at your normal shop when you… Read more »

thammond
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thammond

Or perhaps they might have wondered whether services spring up when there are potential customers rather than when there are not?

The Razor
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The Razor

Are we quite sure that the students in the focus group were not just ‘aving a larf’ at the expense of the earnest researchers?

Dodgy Geezer
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Dodgy Geezer

From the Telegraph piece: However, Dr Tony Sewell, CEO of Generating Genius, a charity that encourages youngsters from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue STEM subjects, said a lack of hairdressers is not the reason why black students are put off from applying. “It may be another lame excuse – kids need to get more resilient and get with it,” he said. “As a minority, you will have to be confronting a situation where you are the only one. You have to face that and learn how to adapt to that. That’s the key issue.” The real news item is simply that… Read more »

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

When I was applying for uni in 1986, I was perplexed by how many touted their desirability through the local nightlife, bars, social features, etc. I was trying to find what computer facilities and systems they had to make my decision, to near failure.