Professor Nick Bostrom in front of some science diagrams

SU CRAE Campaign reprimands ‘blacks are stupider than whites’ comment by Oxford philosophy professor

The University also strongly condemns these views and is working to investigate the matter.

Professor Nick Bostrom, who works in the philosophy faculty has apologised for comments he made as part of a mailing list for an Internet forum, The Extropians, in 1996.

In the historic email, he wrote: “I have always liked the uncompromisingly objective way of thinking and speaking: the more counterintuitive and repugnant a formulation, the more it appeals to me given that it is logically correct. Take for example the following sentence:

“Blacks are more stupid than whites.

“I like that sentence and think it is true. But recently I have begun to believe that I won’t have much success with most people if I speak like that. They would think that I were a ‘racist’: that I disliked black people and thought that is is fair if blacks are treated badly. I don’t.

 “I may be wrong about the facts, but that is what the sentence means for me. For most people, however, the sentence seems to be synonmous with: ‘I hate those bloody n*****s!!!!

In response, Jake Milikan, Chair of Oxford SU Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality commented to The Times,

“As Oxford students, we stand firmly against racism of any kind and strongly reprimand these remarks made by Professor Nick Bostrom. We hope the University will take appropriate action in response to this and as a campaign will continue to lobby against racial discrimination and prejudice at Oxford.”

Kwabena Osei, a former college BAME representative and Oxford African and Caribbean Society (ACS) committee member also commented, “It’s already difficult enough to be black in Oxford. Reading these comments have made me feel even more like an alien within a University that isn’t even designed for people like me to succeed.”

Professor Bostrom has since apologised a statement published on his website, Bostrom said he is choosing to apologise and publish what he said in the historic email after he heard rumours it had been uncovered and the fear he will be “maliciously framed” and it used in smear campaigns against him.

“I have caught wind that somebody has been digging through the archives of the Extropians with a view towards finding embarrassing materials to disseminate about people,” he said at the start of his apology.

“To get ahead of this, I want to clean out my own closet, and get rid of the very worst of the worst in my contribution file.”

A spokesperson for the University of Oxford said, “The University and Faculty of Philosophy is currently investigating the matter but condemns in the strongest terms possible the views this particular academic expressed in his communications. Neither the content nor language are in line with our strong commitment to diversity and equality.”


Image Description: Professor Nick Bostrom in front of some science diagrams