14,000 British professors – but only 50 are black

Last week’s Education column on the Guardian was highlighting a staggering statistics about number of black professors in UK universities, and the interest to project this stats to the medical profession was what instantly sprung into my mind.

“Only the University of Birmingham has more than two black British professors, and six out of 133 have more than two black professors from the UK or abroad. The statistics, from 2009/10, define black as Black Caribbean or Black African. Black academics are demanding urgent action and argue that they have to work twice as hard as their white peers and are passed over for promotion. A study to be published in October found ethnic minorities at UK universities feel “isolated and marginalised”, the study on black academicians participation in UK’s higher education institutions.

If you witness the list of medical doctors registered with the GMC in UK, people of black origin will constitute only 2.7%. From the stats that I have found African Americans currently make up nearly 13% of the U.S. population but constitute only 4.4% of all U.S. physicians and surgeons, and are therefore considered an under-represented minority (URM) in medicine. As per the stats in today’s The Guardian, 2.8% of the population of England and Wales is Black African or Black Caribbean and if we are to compare this fact with the aforementioned status quo in US, there are more black doctors in UK than US, through the principle of fair representation. Apart from medicine, the statistics about Black Professors in Britain’s Higher education is appalling given the fact that less than 2 in number are existing in Oxbridge as a whole. Asian Professors account for 3.7% of the total in UK. In addition to institutionalised racism, which belittles Black Professors now and then despite the much malingered ‘Equal Opportunities Act’, the passion and belief to go to the higher echelons of academics and the appetite for rigorous research work in these society spectrum, I would say, are limited for reasons related to upbringing, social injustice and lack of opportunities conducive to progress. From my experience, black foreigners are in good position academically than those blacks raised in Britain for some of the reasons mentioned above.

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