Having achieved a pretty stellar A Level line up last year, she’s currently studying for a degree in Human, Social and Political Sciences at one of the world’s best universities.
And she’s doing it at the same time as taking down bigots.
Because it’s too much to suppose that a black woman might have won a place at Oxbridge for being one of the best, Metro UK reports
Courtney recently published a tread on Twitter, describing how she is often written off as being a ‘quota’ student – i.e, having won her place to make up the number of black students.
Despite the fact that it takes *some* academic prowess to even be considered for a place
And the fact that as well as studying for her A Levels, she was running a YouTube channel that’s had well over a million views and over 30,000 subscribers
Which suggests that she’s probably got quite a bit of academic and extra curricular motivation, success and ambition
But hey, why should that count for anything?
It’s almost like black girls can be every bit as good, if not sometimes better, than the average white dude.
‘These comments have been online for the most part,’ Courtney tells Metro.co.uk.
‘I think that sadly, even in 2017, there are still some people who cannot believe that a black woman could be intelligent enough to be successful not only in academia but in other social institutions; I think it’s down to ignorance, the portrayal of black women in the media and also in more traditional academic research.
‘When people think of the Cambridge student, they do not only think of someone who has achieved A*AA (in their A Levels), but that student has a race and a gender – a white male. Everyone outside of that immediately has their achievement questioned. In terms of calling out quotas, again its the idea that ‘we’ as BME students should be grateful that elite universities will even ‘give us’ the opportunity to study there. Implying that we are less deserving or simply incapable of actually meeting the grades and earning our place.
‘In terms of calling out quotas, again its the idea that “we” as BME students should be grateful that elite universities will even “give us” the opportunity to study there. Implying that we are less deserving or simply incapable of actually meeting the grades and earning our place.’
She says that although she’s yet to receive any similar comments in person from people at Cambridge, she has found it odd the way ethnic minorities are portrayed in the university’s curriculum.
‘The curriculum for many courses isn’t diverse and as you can imagine reading research published by great European and north American academics on people of colour from 60-500 years ago can definitely be frustrating. However, I do commend some departments and universities for trying to diversify their curriculum.’
But Courtney isn’t the only successful black woman to make it in academia – far from it. There are so many successful BEM women in all kinds of different fields, so why does she think the mainstream still struggles to accept them in positions of intelligence and academia?
‘I think it’s because it was the mainstream which characterised black women as unintelligent, ghetto and unfit for particular spaces and positions.
‘I know when I think back to when I was younger and I used to watch television you would never see a black person in managerial positions or as academics, they were portrayed as the cleaners, the criminal, the young single mothers living on benefits.
‘They were not individuals making their own decisions, and that portrayal places a glass ceiling over the heads of young men and women who divert from those stereotypes. Now individuals have access to social media, young black people can take control of their portrayal and display a more positive image which is often neglected by the mainstream media, and a lot of people don’t like that.’
As for black girls thinking about a future at Oxbridge but sceptical about what kind of reception they might get, Courtney urges them to apply.
‘If you know you have the grades, apply and do it for you. I was also scared to apply and the night before my interview I convinced myself I wasn’t going to go, but I did and it’s opened so many doors for me and allowed me to study a subject I love with some of the greatest academics in the world.
‘And as for standing out, my parents always used to tell me this one thing, ‘Yes you might stand out, it could be because of your race or because of your height (I’m 6 feet tall), but that’s the perfect opportunity to let people see that you are truly excellent, and that cannot be taken away from you.’
Courtney currently works in Business Development and Marketing for All Shades Covered – a brand which is looking to change the experience women of colour have with the beauty industry. And once she graduates, she hopes to join them full time – as well as maintaining her YouTube channel.
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