What difficulties are there as a member of the BAME community in politics?

Asked by Anonymous - 2 months ago


1 Answer

Junaid Ashraf - 2 months ago

The difficulties are numerous and many cannot be quantified into enough words such as racial bias and barriers. Sometimes you may do a great deal of work, and your efforts won't travel as far in your circles as half the work would from someone from a different racial background. And although I would very much like for this to change, this is the nature of the field I work in. Some people work within my field to highlight these issues, but for people like myself who are elected politicians I need to work within the parameters I have been set - and then aspire to be twice as good as any peer to receive whatever credit I am able to receive.

Other difficulties arise that cannot be fully quantified either. Such as the lack of representation for me to look to for support/advice. I really only have Humza Yousaf MSP as a primary role model for me in life in the world of Scottish politics whereas other people will be able to admire many more people. And the reason I cannot relate and look up to those other role models is that their journey wasn't rife with the issues I face, and more than likely their causes will not relate to the issues I care for very much.

For those entering politics for the first time, the largest difficulty will be adjusting to the odd circles you will have to navigate alone. Whole events centred around drink, if you don't drink. The belittling of your experiences as a BAME individual living within a western society, the perception that you are causing issues over ideas/concepts/language that no one else seems to be bothered by. And a whole miriad of microagressions you will face. 

My suggestion would be to form a strong support network, or even just one friend who understands the issues you face and care enough for your emotional wellbeing - vent to them when you need to let go of some stress. This has always been my family for me, and if you can't find anyone then please reach out to me [insta: @_junaidashraf] and I will do my best to help.

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