‘I am disgusted by myself’: UoB student apologises for racist group chat
He described an opposing rugby player as ‘black, a lesser species’
Content warning: This article features racism and racist language. It may be upsetting to read.
A UoB student involved in a racist group chat which has been recently made public has apologised for his comments, telling The Birmingham Tab: “I deeply apologise for the inexcusable, abhorrent language I have used.”
In comments made while still at sixth form, the student described a player from a different rugby team as “n*g n*g G******g”, “knuckle dragged” and “black, a lesser species”.
These screenshots came to light in a Twitter thread where a student was anonymously sharing their experience of racism at the school. Students who are now at several different universities are believed to be involved, with the University of Swansea saying it is investigating the comments. UoB is yet to comment on the group chat.
A student involved in the same rugby team who faced discrimination told The Birmingham Tab: “The few times I would speak up I was ridiculed even more with comments such as ‘you’re not even proper black’.”
“I fully accept the responsibility of the racist language I used, and now understand the full weight these words carry”
A student behind some of the racist comments told The Birmingham Tab: “I deeply apologise for the inexcusable, abhorrent language I have used. I have since spoken with who originally received these messages, to whom I am truly sorry. I also want to apologise to anyone who has since read the language and has been understandably hurt, in what I can only imagine is a very difficult time for the black community.”
He continued “I fully accept the responsibility of the racist language I used, and now understand the full weight these words carry. The messages in question were from around 3 years ago and I am disgusted by myself for them. I have educated myself over the past few years since this time and know the vile history of the language. I am in no way linked to the bullying reports that have come to light from the school. My messages were an isolated incident and are not related to other reports which are being circulated.
“I am not asking for forgiveness; what I said was unforgivable. I want to unreservedly apologise for my language, and hope you can see that its does not reflect me or my beliefs today, as I am continue to grow as a person and learn from my mistakes.”
The student also commented: “I am disgusted by myself and am at present continuing to actively support anti-racist campaigns whilst educating myself on racial inequality, doing everything I can to grow and learn from this experience, which I recognise is a privilege within itself. Please direct your attention, as I have to resources which have helped me understand how I can grow to be a greater supporter of the campaign that is taking place globally at this time. https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co. I also urge you to speak to those around you and correct them when they use language as I have displayed, I am lucky to have people holding me to account and helping me learn.”
‘I don’t know a single black student who went through the school and didn’t face some sort of racial abuse’
A student involved in the rugby team and who personally faced discrimination during this period told the The Birmingham Tab: “The messages were sent in December 2017, to our sixth form rugby chat, when those involved were between the ages of 16-18. They were aimed at an opposition player the team was due to be playing against in an upcoming match. In my opinion the reason such comments were allowed to be made is because the school we all attended did nothing about them.”
He alleges that “the school was aware of the sort of ‘banter’ that went on between boys” but failed to address it: “I don’t know a single black student who went through the school and didn’t face some sort of racial abuse while there.
“We were made to feel that there was no one we could turn to when such incidents arose because when we did our voices weren’t listened to and no meaningful repercussions were felt to those who inflicted the abuse.”
He spoke of his own experiences with racial abuse, he said “personally I learnt to brush off comments and became desensitised to a lot of it because the few times I would speak up I was ridiculed even more with comments such as ‘you’re not even proper black’ or ‘it’s just a joke, stop being sensitive’.”
The University of Birmingham have been contacted for comment.