We’re not great at calling things out in Britain. Perhaps it’s the stiff upper lip or extreme politeness, but when something uncomfortable happens, as a nation, we tend to seethe, inwardly. Sometimes you have to let things go for the sake of your sanity – as The Great British Bake Off’s 2015 winner Nadiya Hussain said of her experiences as a Muslim British-Bangladeshi woman: ‘I’ve had things thrown at me, been pushed and shoved. I expect to be verbally abused because it’s happened for years. I don’t retaliate. There’s a dignity in silence.’ But I’d argue that we’ve been quiet for long enough….
I’ve done it my entire life. I regret not being outraged at regularly being called by the name of the only other South Asian child in my year group at school. I should have challenged would-be suitors on dating websites who lauded my ‘exotic’ looks, followed by a comment about never having been with a ‘brown girl’. In my seven years as a beauty editor, at every new foundation launch, I should have objected to being told that my shade will ‘come later’, if at all. I should have said something, because when you trivialise any form of low-level racism, you make it OK for it to keep happening….