‘We are All Oxford’ supports ‘I, Too, am Oxford’. We believe they have an important message to relate about their experiences in Oxford, and they should be listened to.
I think the ‘We Are Awful’ page is silly and a little bit patronising. The campaign assumes that we are pitted against ‘I, Too, Am Oxford’ which is really not the case. By including a mixed background of people – not just people of colour but those from state schools; people who might have received income support; and foreigners from Europe – we are trying to project our view that Oxford is a place for all people to study.
If the descriptions of my positive experiences at Oxford in the ‘We are All Oxford’ campaign were pitted against anything, then I can tell you it was only against the media portrayal of Oxford as the last bastion of elitism and prejudice. No one is saying that Oxford is without problems but it seems no matter what we do Oxford will be castigated as a place that’s: only “racist…(and) overstocked with white people, rich people and male people even if you’re able to have a positive experience or a very nice time there”. This quotation was taken from this Guardian article, which I invite you all to read, to see once again how our university is so unfairly represented.
I positively believe that such comments are putting off applicants who come from ethnic minorities. It’s saying: ‘Oxford is not a place for minorities – wouldn’t you be better off at London South Bank?’
Ultimately, the people who got involved with the two main campaigns did so for a reason: they wanted to have a positive effect on their communities. ‘I, Too, am Oxford’ had an important message to make in unearthing prejudices that go on in our day to day lives. And they did a brilliant job. However, I too have had experiences which I felt were important to share: as an Anglo-Nigerian student in Oxford, I’ve been having a great time! I’d love for other students of colour to join me. And perhaps also, who gives a toss about the Guardian?