TV presenter Jean Johannson says racism in Scotland is ‘getting worse’

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TV presenter Jean Johannson has spoken out about the fight against racism in Scotland, insisting the problem is “getting worse”.

Johannson, a reporter for BBC’s The One Show and presenter on both Animal Park and A Place In The Sun, recalled her experiences growing up in Scotland in the 1980s and 1990s – revealing she was spat in the face at the age of 17. .

But speaking in a BBC documentary Disclosure: The Truth About Scotland And Racism, she said: “When I compare what I heard to my upbringing in the 80s and 90s, I can honestly say things get worse.”

The TV presenter, born in Port Glasgow, west Scotland, said she knew doing the show “would bring up all kinds of emotions and force me not only to confront my past but also to face the current reality for people who watch like me”.

She added: “I approached the project from a privileged perspective in terms of lifestyle, work, profile and circumstances, I now realize that these things have protected me from what is really happening. around me and the reality of people who look like me.

“I opened my eyes. This is not the Scotland I grew up in. I don’t have all the answers, but from the people I’ve spoken to, I think education is key and alliance and community are extremely important.

Nasar Meer, professor of racial identity and citizenship at the University of Edinburgh, told the program that while “around a third” of people from black and ethnic minorities in Scotland say they regularly experience racial discrimination, “around 60% of people who say they have experienced racial discrimination and have not reported it to any authority.

Professor Meer said: “Poverty is a very good example of the problem of ethnic and racial disparities in Scotland.

“So while they make up only around 4% of Scotland’s population, black and ethnic minorities make up 11% of the population of people considered to be living in poverty. And it is the number that is actually increasing.

Meanwhile, University of Edinburgh rector Debora Kayembe told the show: “The higher I go in society, the worse the racism gets.

She recalled ‘being targeted when I had my portrait erected at the Royal Society of Edinburgh’, adding that ‘a lot of people were not happy’ that her portrait was on display.

Asked how she feels about being appointed Rector of the University of Edinburgh, Ms Kayembe said: ‘It’s a great feeling, but once the robe is taken off and that you are not in this court where the meeting is taking place, someone sees you as only a black woman. It always decreases. It’s always degrading. »

Disclosure: The Truth About Scotland And Racism, airs April 4 at 8 p.m. on BBC One Scotland.

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