According to a BBC report, out of the 3,449 students accepted into the University of Cambridge in the UK, only 38 per cent defined themselves as black. So if we do the numbers, we’re looking at a proportion of just over 1 per cent. This is why a photo of 14 black Cambridge students going viral is all the more inspiring.
“Young black men don’t grow up thinking they’ll make it here. They should”, said Dami Adebayo, one of the students in the photo. Adebayo is a student of Robinson College, which is a Cambridge constituent college.
The image was posted on Facebook by the Cambridge African Caribbean Society, and came with #BlackBoyJoy and #BlackMenofCambridgeUniversity hashtags. As of this writing, the Facebook post was liked 4.7 thousand times.
“It is important that despite their underrepresentation, we let young black people know that this is something that they can aspire to,” said the organisation’s post. “Representation matters.”
Black Cambridge students challenging the stereotype
Folajimi Babasola, one of the students in the photo, told BBC that he wanted the image to challenge Cambridge student stereotype.
“The aim of the picture was really to encourage more black students to apply here because many people get discouraged by a particular image or stereotype of a Cambridge student that they have in their mind, thinking that they won’t fit in or be accepted,” said Babasola.
William Gore, one of the other students in the picture, said he felt “really lucky” to be part of the viral message.
“There are people here at Cambridge from different backgrounds, who don’t fit the stereotypical image of what a Cambridge student looks like, doing their thing and killing it,” said Gore.
The photo was actually inspired by a tweet by black students from Yale University.
— Tunde (@akintundeahmad) April 24, 2017