London mayor savaged for plan to cut numbers of ‘white men’ in science and engineering
Mayor Sadiq Khan says he wants fewer white men working in science and engineering. His plan to “fix” the situation has sparked a furious backlash online.
“There's no good reason why 65% of people working in science and engineering should be white men,” Khan tweeted on Saturday, citing figures from the British Science Association. Khan went on to claim that “inequality costs people's futures & the economy billions,” but reassured voters that “we’re working on fixing it.”
There's no good reason why 65% of people working in science and engineering should be white men. Inequality costs people's futures & the economy billions.We’re working on fixing it. So far we've helped 10,000 young Londoners learn these subjects so they can follow their dreams.— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) March 13, 2021
Khan’s plan to redress the apparent racial imbalance involves funding primary and secondary schools with students “who are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and maths,” and paying for these students to enter the CREST Awards, a scheme that introduces teenagers to real-world scientific research.
To Khan’s critics, the scheme smacked of “positive discrimination” and “racism in disguise.”
This is actually racist and sexist. https://t.co/xnfZgwfICQ— Chad Felix Greene (@chadfelixg) March 14, 2021
London's mayor unhappy over the number of incredibly talented and hard-working white men who make up the majority of people in science and engineering.Every issue is a race issue#Everyissueisaraceissuehttps://t.co/1dDeb8lM0L— Aim Investor Journal 🇬🇧 (@AIM_IJ) March 14, 2021
“How about 80% of the population are white? That any good for you?,”tweeted actor Laurence Fox, who is running against Khan in this May’s mayoral election. “People just want to get on. We don’t notice skin colour until race hustlers like you come along. We are all British whatever colour our skin happens to be. Why are you always trying to divide us?”
86.1% of Brits are white.50% of them are men.That’s two reasons. 🤷♂️It seems the Mayor of London is suggesting we should discriminate based on race and gender?If we truly want equal opportunities for all we should stop discriminating.Meritocracy is the answer. Not quotas. https://t.co/8SPaSJWaHx— Calvin Robinson (@calvinrobinson) March 13, 2021
Well let’s see 83% of people in the Uk are white If you want to go north to Scotland that figure jumps to 94% I think maybe even more Stop playing identity politics with race when simple maths obliterates your point https://t.co/Av4uYK8Lpn— PaulMac 77th 👁 🏴🇬🇧🇱🇻 (@PaulMcM78) March 13, 2021
Despite Khan’s quest for equity, non-whites are not underrepresented in science and engineering relative to the rest of the population, owing to the fact that people of Indian ethnicity are more likely to work in these fields than elsewhere. Likewise, his office’s claim that inequality in the STEM fields “costs the UK economy £6.3bn annually” is not entirely accurate, as skill shortages in the STEM sector cost the UK economy around £1.5 billion per year rather than £6.3 billion, and the government has highlighted a lack of ethnic and gender diversity as one of seven factors responsible for this cost.
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