Jean Johannson: ‘Racism in Scotland is getting worse’

TV presenter Jean Johannson has spoken out about going through racism in Scotland, insisting that the issue is “getting worse”.

Johannson, a reporter for BBC’s The One Show and presenter on each Animal Park and A Place In The Sun, recalled her studies rising up in Scotland within the Nineteen Eighties and Nineteen Nineties – revealing she was once spat at within the face as a 17-year-old.

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

The TV presenter, who was once born in Port Glasgow within the West of Scotland, mentioned she had identified doing the display would “stir up all kinds of emotions and force me to not only face my past but confront the present day reality for people who look like me”.

She added: “I approached the challenge from a spot of privilege when it comes to my way of life, process, profile and instances, I now realise the ones issues have shielded me from what’s truly happening round me and the truth for individuals who seem like me.

“I’ve had my eyes opened. It’s 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 the key and allyship and community are incredibly important.”

Nasar Meer, Professor of Race Identity and Citizenship on the University of Edinburgh, informed the programme that whilst “about a third” of other folks from black and ethnic minorities in Scotland say they mechanically revel in racial discrimination, “about 60% of the people who say they have experienced racial discrimination haven’t reported it to any kind of authority”.


Debora Kayembe, proper

Prof Meer mentioned: “Poverty is a truly just right instance of the problem of ethnic and racial disparities in Scotland.

“So while only making up about 4% of the Scottish population, black and ethnic minorities make up 11% of the population of people deemed to be living in poverty. And that’s the number which is actually getting higher.”

Meanwhile, Edinburgh University rector Debora Kayembe informed the display: “The more I go further up into the society, the more racism gets worse.”

She recalled “being targeted when I had my portrait erected at the Royal Society of Edinburgh”, including that “many people were not happy” for her portrait to head on show.

Asked how she felt about being made rector of the University of Edinburgh, Ms Kayembe mentioned: “It’s a great feeling, but once the robe is off and you’re not in this court where the meeting takes place, someone sees you as only a black woman. It’s always diminishing. It’s always degrading.”

Disclosure: The Truth About Scotland And Racism, shall be broadcast on April 4 at 8pm on BBC One Scotland.

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