Cardiff is not innocent from racism and here’s what POC have to say about it

‘Black people are not afforded the luxury of disengaging from the reality that is racial discrimination’

It is easy to see what is going on in America and believe that racism is just a problem there. However, this is not the case and racism is unfortunately still present within the UK, including Cardiff. We spoke to POC studying in Cardiff about their views and experiences with racism in the city.

A difference in treatment and lack of urgency towards important matters

A third year student at Cardiff said:

“I can confidently say that there is a lot of racism in Cardiff. As a black female Cardiff student, I have experienced racism from other students, bouncers at clubs and witnessed black friends and I receive very different treatment to non-black students. In the heart-breaking recent news of George Floyd’s murder, it took some time for Cardiff University to formally address racism and discriminatory behaviour, and when they did do this, they stated that racism has no place in our modern society.”

“However, many students spoke out on their own racial abuse in uni, with one example of white medical students doing blackface, showing several attempts to resolve this with Cardiff University staff. A lot of these students never had any of these issues resolved, and it seemed as if the uni just brushed it off. The lack of interest and urgency shown by uni to do anything about the racial abuse isn’t in agreement with their recent statement suggesting racism will not be tolerated.”

Being mocked for who you are

A fourth year Cardiff student said:

‘To anyone who doesn’t understand why I am tired of worldwide Anti-Blackness please let me share my experience of being a Black man in Cardiff.”

“Being Black in Cardiff comes with having to accept:

•My name will be mocked and mispronounced, I will also be mocked for the way I speak.

•I will not feel safe that the police will protect me as they are employed to do so.

•I will not see many students or lectures/staff members of my race on campus.

•People will assume I am unintelligent or lazy based on my race.

•My race or ethnicity will make some people around me uncomfortable.

•I will have to worry about not being chosen for a job based on the colour of my skin and not my qualification for the role.

•I am unable to go to the shop and spend money without people being suspicious of me due to the colour of my skin.

•People will question my blackness because of the way I conduct myself or interests I have.

•I am unable to walk the streets late at night without people around me being scared of me and thinking I am out to attack them or cause them harm based on my appearance.”

“Do you know how bad global anti-blackness has to be for black people to come out in masses during a global pandemic. We are all humans beings but there are many differences between each and every one of us. The things that make us different are what make us beautiful. We must embrace our differences and they should never be hidden or ignored.”

“Black culture influences everyone and everything, from the clothes you wear to the music you listen to. It is not acceptable to select what parts of our culture you choose and then turn a blind eye to the horrifying reality of everyday black life.”

“Yes all lives matter, but all lives cannot matter until Black lives matter. I will never stop fighting for the equal treatment and betterment of my people no matter the amount of friends or acquaintances I have to lose in the process.”

“If you’re scared of speaking up because you don’t want to lose your friends, maybe they shouldn’t be your friends. We should all care about basic human rights, including those that don’t affect us. Our voices matter, we will never be silenced and we will be heard. I believe with everyone’s help this world will be a better place some day.”

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Having to deal with institutionalised racism

Another third year student said:

“You wouldn’t think that being a POC in Cardiff would be as hard as it is, as Cardiff is known to be a very multicultural city. However, being a Cardiff University student is where I found it hardest to fit in due to being a black girl. When I started, I hardly saw anyone that looked like me including students and members of staff. It was such a shock to see that I was one of only 2 black people on my course, and even in terms of people of colour, there were only a handful of people who were not white.”

“Navigating through university when you’re around people who don’t look like you was a struggle as before moving I was so used to having such a multicultural and diverse group of friends and classmates. After 3 years at Cardiff Uni, I was lucky to not have received any direct racism from other students and I was lucky to have met the loveliest people. I noticed I met a few individuals who had never been around anyone who was black, and I found myself being the person who could educate others on my background and culture which was interesting to me as it was a new experience. It was nice to see that these people were so open and intrigued to learn about people who were different to people they already know.”

“Although I have never experienced direct racism, I have unfortunately had some experiences of institutional racism, especially from a member of staff who I felt did not take my work seriously due to my race. I could tell that this person was more interested in the students who were white whereas me and another black person were put down and weren’t given as much help as the other members of the group.”

“I am so glad we are finally able to have this conversation. If you are white, don’t be scared of asking questions and educating yourself on the privilege you have.”

Having to work harder than non-POC

Finally, a third year student at Cardiff said:

“I also have been racially discriminated like many of my brothers and sisters. I almost failed a course if not for my hard work ethic, general perseverance and support from friends. The individual kept bullying and mocking my intelligence for over 5 months in front of a room full of people, to be honest till this day I can’t stomach the embarrassment I felt. To avoid being called out said individual would not mention my name but only mention issues he had noticed with my work or idea suggestion I had made and insult them in front of my supervisor and other members of my group. I was the only black person in the group and if you don’t understand white privilege, this story is a little preview of that.”

“It was the fact that I had to work 10 times harder to prove that I was intelligent enough to bring good input to the table. Worse off, I didn’t even grade that high on the project. This is just one of many examples that happen to students of the BAME community all over UK. I personally know people who went through even worse than I did. Let’s all make a change for the betterment of society.”

The Cardiff Tab would like to thank those who spoke out on these issues in order to publish this article and raise awareness of racism in Cardiff, and the BLM movement.

We must be better. We must listen. We must learn.

The Cardiff Tab has reached out to Cardiff Uni for a statement. They have also released statements in regards to both the murder of George Floyd and Dentistry School allegations as to highlight their stance that “racism and discrimination have no place in our modern society”.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Accusations of racism have been made within Cardiff’s School of Dentistry

Cardiff Uni releases statement calling for ‘real change’ in support of BAME students

Hundreds of people protest in Cardiff for Black Lives Matter