If we want ever more tangible evidence of widening participation gaps look no further. Crimson Consulting, according to its website, can help you get into the most elite of clubs: Harvard, Oxford, Columbia, Yale …. yay. The website background image is of five young men; four of the five are white. The Advisory Board is four older men and all are white. The founder is a young white man….and the dream:
“Our professional team have the network and interview tactics to help you break into the company of your dreams.”
The tutors are all expert at gaining the right credentials. No just-over-line-B-average Joe or Joelle here! Nope. They’ve all got what it takes to succeed and can (for a fee) help you to get what it takes too. Roll up, roll up. Pay your money and take your choice! Except this is of course a lie. A competitive system is not an egalitarian system. We cannot all succeed even if we could pay. If we do, the elite is dead and there is nothing left to sell.
In our brave new unbundled or, Clover would say, fast unravelling world of higher education you can reach for the stars. Except you can’t unless you are, in the main, white, male, young, wealthy and privileged.
A step too far? I can hear the bristle of newly starched white shirts:
Crimson is gender and race neutral. We welcome diversity. Hell! We just bought UniTutor and that was started by a woman. Crimson Consulting’s young men and er women are society’s future leaders. They will address the participation gap, at some yet-to-be-determined point in the future. In the meantime, all you nay-sayers and miserable old goats who weren’t good enough to get into the top-drawer, get back in your paddocks. Just because we hit the #NZTop50 and had a congratulatory tweet from Deloitte, you’re jealous – that’s all.
I turned to Clover to say something profound but she had wandered away from the ODT, past a few tall crimson poppies, to a clump of forget-me-nots and was paying them very close attention.
Yes indeed Clover. Forget not the forget-me-nots. Quite right.