The University of Kent is a profound public research university based in Kent, United Kingdom. Student Council of the University picked the former One Direction Star Zayn Malik and the London Mayor Sadiq Khan to represent black diversity. The two of them were among six public figures selected to represent diversity at a number of events throughout October, the annual celebration of Black History Month in the United Kingdom in remembrance of black people and their achievements.
Students of the university were outraged at this immature act as both Zayn Malik and Sadiq Khan are not black and belong to British Pakistani Families. Zayn’s father is from Pakistan and mother of American-Irish descent while the Mayor’s parents were Pakistan-born British Nationals. The matter was branded a “national embarrassment” by the university students. Students showed embarrassment in their tweets for the University being racist.
weird day when your uni is in the news for being racist https://t.co/8K3VtmPmVN
— Dominic. (@Dom_Armitage) October 26, 2016
How much is a Kent University degree gunna be worth on cvs now that their SU used Sadiq Khan & Zayn Malik as idols for BLACK history month?
— Duffy ☼ (@amy_duffy) October 26, 2016
While some people showed anger, a lot of tweeters came up with a humorous response asking to feature Americans in Middle Eastern History Month celebrations.
Can't wait for Middle-Eastern History Month, due to be represented by Carlos Santana and Mr Blobby. https://t.co/tm7UfyJKiY
— Lextengu 👺 (@figureight) October 26, 2016
A famous Muslim Reformer and TV show host, Shireen Qudosi called the act “A British Thing”.
Must be a British thing. Blokes comment on my "dusky" skin. I'm like dude, I'm the lightest skinned Muslim I know. https://t.co/JQFCB08mcX
— SHIREEN QUDOSI (@ShireenQudosi) October 28, 2016
This is not just it, some people didn’t began to question the worth of the Kent degree that would remain after this hideous act of embarrassment. A student Micia Morgan said:
How did the students involved in this project even get into university if they can’t tell the difference between black and Asian people?
The organizers of the Black History Month showed sheer disappointment at the immature act. The official UK Black History Month social media team tweeted a rather sarcastic remark saying:
With Asian Heritage Month being observed by a growing number of countries in May, will Black icons be celebrated by Kent University then?
— Black History Month (@BhmUK) October 25, 2016
Wishing everyone a wonderful Black History Month 2016, the London Mayor Sadiq Khan had commented:
Throughout October I will be joining Londoners from all backgrounds at a variety of events across the city to pay tribute to our African and African Caribbean communities and all they have done to add to the life of the capital, helping to make it one of the most diverse, vibrant and successful places on the planet.
The student union president, Rory Murray apologized on behalf of the Kent Union stating:
There was no intent for this to happen and I am very sorry to anybody who felt this way. Whilst we made every effort to include black and minority ethnic students on the planning for the month, clearly, we haven’t got it right on this occasion.
The students were not very accepting of the apology and criticized it as “an absolute non-apology”.
Finally, in a joint statement by the Student Union and the University of Kent, it was declared to be the stance of National Union of Students’ stating that:
It chose to recognize and celebrate the immense contributions that people of African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean heritage make to humanity.