Counter-narratives in the First Person: Whiteness and the Limits of Diversity

  • Sara Bafo Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan Goldsmiths, University of London


This short article focuses on Sara’s experience as the first-ever student BAME department representative at a large post-secondary institution in the UK. Written as a first-person testimonial but grounded in a dialogic method of ethnographic recovery and remembrance, we argue that diversity initiatives that seek to create inclusion and representation, without a careful engagement with power, end up reproducing the university as a white public space that centres white fragility. The article highlights two key experiences during Sara’s tenure as BAME student representative in a department of anthropology that show how the limits of diversity in higher education are found in the refusal to engage with whiteness