'Things aren't getting better': Swansea student says more needs to be done to tackle racism in Wales

  • Video report by ITV Wales News Journalist Owain Phillips

A Swansea student says she experiences racism every day and says more needs to be done to tackle racist abuse in Wales.

Nineteen-year-old Saadia Abubaker is choosing to speak out about her own experiences, saying that by doing so she hopes to make Wales a better place to live

Saadia said that her experiences of rasicm aren't confined to life in education, but in fact it's something she faces in 'every sector'.

Fearing for her own safety is something she has to deal with every day.

She said as a young person, your safety isn't something you should be worried about, but for her it is.

Last year, she experienced racial abuse at the beach in South Wales.

She said being both a black woman and a Muslim woman feels like a 'double-edged sword'.

She said it is always at the back of her mind.

Saadia Abubaker is a community consultant for the Welsh Government’s new Race Equality Action Plan (REAP) for Wales which is currently being drafted.

She said: “I feel my age is a superpower and so is my skin colour. It has been so rewarding to have this opportunity, it has given me a real sense of purpose.”

Saadia said a lot needs to change but having a government that acknowledges that change is needed to tackle racism is a great step.

As part of her role she is going to tell the government about her experiences and what young people need.

She told ITV News Wales that what she is asking for is:

  • To be taught by diverse teachers

  • The introduction of a zero-tolerance policy against racism in education

  • Inclusive environments in universities

When asked if things were getting better she said: "Things aren't getting better but in terms of the reaction, it's much better.

"Racism is still there, however the action that comes after it, more conversations are being had about racism."

She feels that more institutions are taking a stand against racism.

The former Gower College Swansea student says lockdown and the murder of George Floyd acted as catalysts and provided the incentive to get involved.

“I was stuck at home and for the first time ever I had spare time. I wanted to find ways to keep myself busy.

“For me, as for many people, the murder of George Floyd was a wake-up call, and it started a fire inside me. I came to realise that action was needed to make change happen.”

So Saadia applied to take part in a peer research project investigating the direct and indirect racism experienced by young people in education.

“This project further emphasised the need to change how society portrayed and treated people from different backgrounds.

"By the end of the project there was a full blazing fire inside me and I started to speak on panels and at webinar events.”

Only this week the First Minister joined a chorus of voices condemning the abuse of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka who all missed from the spot on Sunday night as England went down on penalties.

"Wales stands with the England team" after some of its players were subjected to racist abuse following the side's defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, Mark Drakeford said.

The trio’s social media pages were quickly flooded with racist comments while a mural of Rashford in Greater Manchester was defaced.

In a Twitter post on Monday, Mark Drakeford said, "The racist abuse following last night's #Euro2020 final is absolutely unacceptable, we unreservedly condemn it."

Football players and celebrities also stood by the England team and called out the "disgusting" racist comments on social media while a petition to to ban racists from all football matches in England for life had gained more than 300,000 signatures by Monday afternoon.