Male, pale and stale

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I see that a jobbing duchess has been foolish enough to describe universities as “male, pale and stale”.  This is an easy gibe to make if you don't look carefully into background data, and which busy duchess has time for that.  No doubt her advisers would have been pleased with all the publicity.  Personally, I’m not taking lessons in sustainability from someone who uses a private jet to pop over to the USA for the weekend.

I first came a cross this term in an NUS meeting in 2016, and I wrote this:

"We learned that, in future, NUS is going to be lobbying for "a liberated and sustainable curriculum” in universities (and colleges, presumably).  I wondered (aloud) what this was liberation from.  From those who are “pale, male and stale”, someone suggested.  Like me?, I thought, and wondered whether the NUS liberation team has its eye on everyone like me.  Maybe my time on the advisory group is near its overdue end."

Well, I'm still there and it's the group that's coming to an end; and maybe the liberation group has gone as well in the wave of cuts that NUS has had to endure of late although NUS probably thinks that liberation's too important for that.

Meanwhile I read today that "male, pale and stale" is regarded by some as a racist slur although I didn't see it like that from the NUS and it wasn't personal.  I first encountered real (anti-white) racism in Uganda in the 1970s, and there the perpetrators had guns.  Happily, it was only a tiny minority of Ugandans expressing this whilst everyone else we came across were open, friendly and welcoming – rather like the NUS.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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