Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

No, this Cambridge student didn’t just get a place ‘because she’s black’

Screen Shot 2017-07-31 at 11.14.52.png

Courtney Daniella Boateng is a YouTuber, a beauty blogger and a student at the University of Cambridge. In other words, she’s accomplished rather a lot at the age of 20.

But Boateng recently took to Twitter to discuss the racism she had faced as a black woman studying at an elite institution - and shut down the suggestion that she gained her place at Cambridge thanks to “quotas”.

Cambridge’s admissions policy does not contain any quotas, which would specify that a set number of students from minority groups had to be accepted every year. An official statement from the university says that it feels “very strongly that applicants should be accepted on academic merit”.

Despite this - and despite the fact that Cambridge accepted only 63 black or black British students in 2015, the most recent year for which figures are available - there remains a pervasive myth that students of colour are granted places not on merit, but due to a desire to increase diversity.

Writing on Twitter, Boateng said that she frequently gets comments on YouTube and Twitter from people saying that she must feel “lucky” to go to Cambridge, and that she must have been helped by “the ‘quota’ needing to be met” or “some sort of diversity outreach / initiative.”

Read more: Serena Williams has written a brilliant essay for Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

The Human, Social and Political Sciences student said that she had “even had a comment on my video from a young white male who expressed his fear of not getting a place at Cambridge because ‘his place’ would be occupied by ‘people like me’.”

But Boateng, who grew up on a council estate in North London and received killer grades at A-level, said that she knows she earned her place at Cambridge - and dismissed the idea that speaking slang signifies a lack of intelligence.

Boateng concluded her thread by serving notice to any racists who might be unhappy about people from BME (black, minority and ethnic) backgrounds succeeding in academia.

Boateng speaks about her experiences at Cambridge extensively on her YouTube channel, and says that she hopes more young black women will start applying to elite universities.

Read more: Michelle Obama says that people still judge her on her skin colour

“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,” she tells Metro.co.uk.

She adds: “In terms of calling out quotas, again it’s 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.”



“More of us going to be rolling up and getting those degrees”: Courtney Boateng.

Instagram, YouTube and Twitter offer black women a powerful platform to share their stories, says Boateng.

“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,” she says.

But if the response to Boateng’s Twitter thread is anything to go by, lots of other people do like it.

“So tired of us having to constantly justify ourselves for being black, a woman and intelligent but well done Courtney!” wrote @IshaVictoria.

“I love this thread,” agreed Charlie Beety. “Keep doing what you’re doing and educate the ignorant.”


Images: youtube.com



Policeman pulls over a black woman, discovers she’s the state attorney

gloria steinem 1.jpg

Gloria Steinem praises the activists who 'taught her feminism'

ST_Reni_Shot 4_Full_092.jpg

Reni Eddo-Lodge on why it really does matter if you’re black or white


The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Sienna Miller’s backstage inspiration to Jennifer Lopez’s cosy couple snap

by Nicola Colyer
23 Aug 2017

Prince Harry emotionally criticizes the paparazzi over Diana’s death

“She was still very much alive on the back seat of that car”

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Aug 2017

Chrissy Teigen gets real about her troubled relationship with alcohol

“I need to fix myself”

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Aug 2017

5 famous women have been targeted in disgusting private photo hack

Miley Cyrus, Kristen Stewart and Stella Maxwell are the latest stars to have their pictures leaked.

by Moya Crockett
22 Aug 2017

Tom Hardy's final CBeebies Bedtime Story is a tribute to his late dog

“Run with the angels... I will see you when I get there”

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Aug 2017

UKIP candidate suggests paying British Indians to leave the UK

And Twitter responds perfectly

by Moya Crockett
21 Aug 2017

Elisabeth Moss denies that Scientology is anything like Gilead

The Handmaid’s Tale star discusses the parallels between her show and her faith.

by Moya Crockett
21 Aug 2017

JK Rowling spots mansplainer in the wild, and deals with him perfectly

The Harry Potter author won’t let any woman’s confidence be knocked by mansplaining

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Aug 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Nicki Minaj’s vintage look to a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants reunion

by Nicola Colyer
18 Aug 2017

Chris Brown tried to excuse his attack on Rihanna, and it’s not OK

“Violence is a choice he made – and he alone is responsible for it”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017