Our thanks to Mike P for this piece by Camilla Turner, Education Editor of the Telegraph, in today’s edition. At one time the hackneyed phrase “male, pale, stale” – unashamedly sexist, racist and ageist – was always placed in speech marks. No longer. The start of the piece:
Male, pale and stale university professors are to be given “reverse mentors” to teach them about unconscious bias, under a new Government funded scheme.
Under the project, white males in senior academic posts will be assigned a junior female colleague from an ethnic minority as a mentor.
Prof John Rowe, who is overseeing the project at Birmingham University, said he hopes the scheme will allow eminent professors to confront their own biases and leave them “feeling quite uncomfortable”.
“What is understood about unconscious bias is that we have all got it, but the more you learn about it and become conscious of it, the more you can act,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“While it is well known and obvious that women and minority groups suffer setbacks to their career progression no one really understands why. [Dr Catherine Hakim provided the answer (in the case of women as a class, at least) in her Preference Theory (2000) – a lack of work-centredness, compared with men as a class.]
“It’s not as if there is any overt prejudice – it is something to do with the way the system is or the way it has evolved and we needed to find out why.”
William Collins’s excellent piece debunking the leading test for “diagnosing” unconscious bias is here. Later in the Telegraph article:
The EPSRC, a government agency, is funding eleven “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion” projects as part of an £5.5 million anti-discrimination drive in engineering and physical sciences.