A “white privilege” test that asks if your neighbours are “pleasant” towards you, and if you can be sure a hairdresser can cut your hair, is being used as a resource by Cambridge University’s engineering department.

The leading faculty has drawn up a list of optional learning materials for its dons and students to “educate themselves about racism”, which are listed online.

Among them is a link to an online quiz titled “Check Yourself: White Privilege Test”, a 26-question challenge produced by the European University Institute.

Lecturers and students who take the optional test, seen by The Telegraph, answer “yes” or “no” to questions, and if they score more than 13, they are urged to consider if “White Privilege may play a role in your life”. 

The questions include “I can go shopping alone and be sure that I won’t be followed or harassed” and “I can be sure that no matter where I move to, my neighbours in that location will be pleasant or neutral to me”.

Others are “I can go to a hairdresser and be sure that they can cut my hair” and “I can be sure that when told about our national heritage or about ‘civilisation’, I am shown that people of my colour made it what it is”.

And question 11 poses “I can swear, dress scruffily or not answer letters without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, poverty or illiteracy of my race”.

Five questions from white privilege test

The other privilege test markers cover police stops and searches, job promotions and being sure one’s children will be taught a school curriculum “which testifies to the existence of their race”.

The test emerged days after MPs on the Commons education select committee warned that the “divisive” term white privilege may have contributed to the “systemic neglect” of white working-class youngsters.

Robert Halfon, the committee chair, said the concept “leads to further disengagement from curriculum and pits one group against the other” and is “factually wrong” given the underperformance of white pupils.

And last week, Kemi Badenoch, the Equalities Minister, told this newspaper the term “white privilege” is stoking divisions and marginalising the most disadvantaged.

Anti-racist resources on the Cambridge faculty’s website also include a reading list of books on white privilege and white fragility.

Toby Young, of the Free Speech Union, said: “The idea that white students at Cambridge enjoy privileges that black, Asian and minority ethnic students don’t is nonsense.

“Fewer than three per cent of students enrolled at Cambridge are white and poor (as of 2019). The students should be taking a class privilege test, not a white privilege test.”

A Cambridge University spokesman said: “Staff and students in the Cambridge University Engineering Department, like the rest of the university, are a mixed group of people from many different cultures and countries.

“This list offers links to some external resources for staff and students who may be interested in exploring these diversity issues.”