I AM a mixed-race woman who has spent many years living within white majority communities.
My earliest memories were of being bullied by other children at school because of the colour of my skin, when you’re a child you take everything in, I didn’t understand what was different about me but I was constantly reminded.
So that was my first experience of racism. I knew I didn’t like it, I knew it made me feel like I was worth less than any other child and I knew it was something that I would have to get used to, because it was to happen to me a lot.
I moved to Stroud when my eldest daughter was a baby, I lived for several years in Box next to Minchinhampton. Apart from my neighbours who lived opposite us, no one else in the village spoke to us, they would walk past our cottage with their noses high in the air.
Over the years whilst living in Stroud I have had people shouting racist remarks at me, particularly from their cars.
I have also been told to ‘go back home’ and I’ve had a lot of ‘where are you from’, and when I say England, I get, ‘where are you really from?’
“Another thing I find really upsetting is when people say, ‘Who’s the black one then, is it your mum or your dad?’
I didn’t have a choice to identify as black, I was always called black.
It’s not just about heritage, not just about skin tone, it can be about anything – your gender, how do you see yourself, and how do you want me to address you?
A few weeks ago, just after the George Floyd demonstrations, I was walking up Stroud high street and I heard someone saying to his friend ‘there are lots of Pxxxs out today!’
I looked around me and realised it was me and another woman of colour that they were referring to.
I have also experienced micro-aggression in my work place, not a lot, but enough to know it, this is really difficult to address and puts minorities who experience micro-aggressions in a tough position, as to speak out about a seemingly ‘small’ incident can be viewed as disproportionate.
Many of us worry about being perceived as aggressive, angry or as ‘playing the race card’.
I urge the people of Stroud, and there are some exceptionally beautiful people living in Stroud, to speak out on racism, let’s make our town anti-racist, stop denying it doesn’t existence and challenge the community when you hear it, so we can make real changes to policies regarding racism.