A bit of a “non-article” appeared in The Telegraph once whereby the BBC was being criticised for only opening certain training programmes to aspiring journalists from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Interestingly enough, the Tory-graph never picked up on the fact that the BBC also opens certain programmes to other particular minorities, such as the Extend Scheme which is designed purely for individuals who identify as disabled.

Regardless, diversity has recently become a buzzword in the public sphere but although many are aware of the lack of it, few do anything to change it.

A survey released yesterday from London-based executive search firm, Green Park, revealed that out of the 63 institutional investors polled, 56% believed that the ethnic diversity of company boards would be of increasing importance in the next five years but a mere 6% said that they thought this was an important element of decision making at the moment.


Quotas, or the notion of having someone prioritised for a role due to their minority background, has always been controversial yet more and more of such schemes are opening up to address the inequality which exists in Britain’s workplaces, particularly in public sectors such as politics and media whereby the individuals involved are meant to be a reflection of the society which we currently live in.

Many of the opportunities which have been open to me in the past, personally, have purely been through quota schemes, such as a political shadowing scheme only open to individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds as well as the aforementioned journalism programme which was criticised in The Telegraph.

In fact, it was Reeta Chakrabarti, the well-reputed, six-figure-sum-earning BBC journalist who told me tales of when her male counterparts told her that as one of the first women of colour to be in front of the camera as a newsreader, she had only gotten her role “to fill a quota” when I had the opportunity to meet her as a teenager, through a quota.

Furthermore, the research carried out by Green Park also discovered that over half of the poll’s respondents said companies wanted to avoid positive discrimination by hiring to fill quotas rather than recruiting the best talent.

The issue with this is that yes, some journalists may indeed be people of colour who are hired through a quota scheme, however they are usually already an aspiring journalist who had the skills, qualities, experience and talent to become successful but couldn’t due to the barriers which they face as a result of their ethnicity, almost a universal truth for everyone from ethnic minority backgrounds.

It is a point of institutional racism whereby there are already pre-conceived prejudices against ethnic minority individuals, beginning from the name on the application form to whether the candidate wears a turban to their job interview, whether they are conscious or not.

Therefore to have workplaces which are reflective of the society in which we live, positive discrimination will remain necessary until this can be eradicated and therefore we need quotas until there is no need for quotas.