Witnessing the racist incidents and the racial prejudice over the weekend in Scottish society and football has saddened me no end. As a black man with a young family who has settled in this beautiful country for the past 10 years, I have found the majority of the people very inclusive and welcoming and I believe that the people are not racist, however the element in the minority that surfaces to perpetrate this deeds need to be dealt with and educated about the error of their actions.
I have unfortunately been the victim of racial prejudice in my time here in Scotland. On a few occasions I have been called the ‘N’ word by when I’m walking down the street by people driving past in cars, which clearly demonstrates their bravery and stupidity at the same time. Even something as simple as going out for a quiet drink in a bar with friends in Irvine has sadly turned sour at the end of the night due to the actions of a young man and his friends, who thought it would be funny to come and sit on my lap and try to take a photo of me. I had never met this person before and one wonders why they felt the need to come to the decision to do that.
I have had people making monkey noises when I’ve walked past them, but the most serious of all these incidents were carried out by a 5 year old boy at the local swimming pool within the last 12 months. I took my daughter swimming and this young boy swam over whilst my daughter was playing in the water and the boy made the ‘monkey gestures and noises’ to me. Whilst this issue was dealt with by speaking to his parents at the time, the question has to be asked, ‘Where did he learn it from and how did he know that was offensive to a black person?’ We as a society cannot allow young children to be poisoned and corrupted in that manner. We have to get to the root cause of that problem and soon. Black and Ethnic Minorities cannot live in a society where young children are exhibiting racist attitudes.
In the last 18 months, we have seen the rise of racial attitudes amongst the minorities brought upon by the immigration crisis, terrorist attacks in Europe, the Brexit vote and subsequent result, the election of Donald Trump as the US president, the rise of the far right in France with Marie Le Pen and in the Netherlands with right wing Geert Wilders whipping up a storm against immigrants and minority groups.
As a society, if we are not dealing with these issues and supporting Show Racism the Red Card and the authorities, this issue will remain in society and will grow to unmanageable proportions. SRTRC has found that 1 in 3 children have experienced racist abuse and since Brexit, there has been a 19% escalation in reported incidents. Discrimination exists in Scotland, and in the past, I have not reported the incidents against myself to the police and 3rd party reporting centres like SRTRC and Kick it Out, perhaps doing a disservice to me, my family and thousand other out there who suffer from the abuse on a daily basis be it at work, school, pubs, football grounds and everywhere else.
This needs to change and fast. I for one would love to live and raise my child in a society with racial harmony. Until that day comes, I will endeavour to do my utmost to work with all stakeholders to ensure that every person, young or old, rich or poor, Protestant or Catholic, black or white, Jew or Gentile live in harmony and is educated to recognise and report racist prejudice.