Eton, UK’s most elite school, apologizes to former pupil for racism

Eton, UK’s most elite school, apologizes to former pupil for racism
Some notable figures who attended Eton college include Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and princes William and Harry. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 23 June 2020

Eton, UK’s most elite school, apologizes to former pupil for racism

Eton, UK’s most elite school, apologizes to former pupil for racism
  • Onyeama was previously banned from visiting Eton for writing a book about the racist abuse he faced there

LONDON: The head of Britain’s Eton College said Tuesday he will invite back a black former student to apologize in person for racism he experienced at the top fee-paying school in the 1960s.
Simon Henderson said he wanted Dillibe Onyeama to feel welcome after he was previously banned from visiting Eton for writing a book about the racist abuse he faced there.
“We have made significant strides since Mr.Onyeama was at Eton but... we have to have the institutional and personal humility to acknowledge that we still have more to do,” Henderson said in a statement.
“We must all speak out and commit to doing better — permanently — and I am determined that we seize this moment as a catalyst for real and sustained change for the better.
“I will be inviting Mr.Onyeama to meet so as to apologize to him in person, on behalf of the school, and to make clear that he will always be welcome at Eton.”
The school’s move follows anti-racism protests across Britain, sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during a police arrest in the United States.
The demonstrations have focused renewed attention on racism in Britain, as well as the toxic legacy of its colonial past, including calls for it to be taught in schools.
Nigerian writer Onyeama, who graduated from Eton in 1969, wrote a book about his experiences at the exclusive private boys’ school, near Windsor, west of London.
The school has become a byword for elitism and Britain’s class divide.
Annual fees cost more than £42,000 ($52,000, 46,000 euros) per year. Old boys include Prime minister Boris Johnson, and princes William and Harry.
Onyeama told the BBC he had been taunted on a daily basis by fellow students, and asked questions like “why are you black?” and “how many maggots are there in your hair?“
When he struggled in academics or flourished in sports, the students attributed it to his race, while when he excelled in exams he was accused of cheating, the broadcaster said.
After detailing his experiences in a 1972 memoir, he received an official letter informing him that he was banned from visiting Eton.
Onyeama said although the apology now was not necessary, it “compels the recognition that prejudice on the grounds of color or race dehumanizes its victims in a way that ordinary forms of prejudice do not.”
He added that his overall experience at Eton was “positive.”
Henderson said he was “appalled” to learn of the racist abuse Onyeama faced, and his “absolute priority” was to make Eton an “inclusive, compassionate and supportive community for all.”
“Racism has no place in civilized society, then or now,” he added.


Quake death toll at 73 as Indonesia struggles with string of disasters

Quake death toll at 73 as Indonesia struggles with string of disasters
Updated 13 min 27 sec ago

Quake death toll at 73 as Indonesia struggles with string of disasters

Quake death toll at 73 as Indonesia struggles with string of disasters
  • More than 820 people were injured and over 27,800 left their homes after the 6.2 magnitude quake
  • On Jan. 9, a Sriwijaya Air jet crashed into the Java Sea with 62 onboard

JAKARTA: At least 73 people have been killed after an earthquake struck Indonesia’s West Sulawesi province on Friday, the disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) said on Sunday, the latest in a string of disasters to hit the Southeast Asian country.
More than 820 people were injured and over 27,800 left their homes after the 6.2 magnitude quake, BNPB spokesman Raditya Jati said. Some sought refuge in the mountains, while others went to cramped evacuation centers, witnesses said.
Police and military officers have been deployed to crack down on looting in several parts of the region, Jati added.
An emergency response status, intended to help rescue efforts, has also been put in place for two weeks, he said.
Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Indonesia’s meteorological, climatology and geophysical agency (BMKG), has said that another quake in the region could potentially trigger a tsunami.
Straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is regularly hit by earthquakes. In 2018, a devastating 6.2-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck the city of Palu, in Sulawesi, killing thousands.
Just two weeks into the new year, the world’s fourth-most populous country is battling several disasters.
Floods in North Sulawesi and South Kalimantan province each have killed at least five this month, while landslides in West Java province have killed at least 29, authorities said.
On Jan. 9, a Sriwijaya Air jet crashed into the Java Sea with 62 onboard.
East Java’s Semeru mountain erupted late on Saturday, but there have been no reports of casualties or evacuations.
Dwikorita said extreme weather and other “multi-dangers” of hydrometeorology are forecast in the coming weeks.