Because he is black, one of Wales’ most senior lawmakers says he is frequently questioned if he is a waiter or waitress in restaurants.
“If I were a white man relatively smartly dressed going to a place like that, that isn’t what people would ask,” Vaughan Gething remarked.
The minister of the economy contributed to the book 100 Black Voices on Racism.
Suzanne Packer, a Cardiff-born actress who helped edit the book, stated it was in response to George Floyd’s assassination.
“People assuming I’m a member of staff, not someone who’s there to eat in a restaurant with my wife… it happens on a regular basis,” Gething added.
When he was the health minister and in charge of the Welsh government’s COVID reaction last year, he became a recognizable figure on television.
“Lots of people who look like me will have had a range of experiences in their life that we’ll recognize as in common,” he said.
He stated that his experiences will influence the conversations he needs to have with his small son.
“I want to have a normal conversation with my son,” he expressed.
“The problem is, it’s a normal conversation for a parent like me to have with their child at some point that says the world isn’t fair because of how you look. I don’t think other people who don’t even have to have that conversation always appreciate that it’s a necessary part of what you need to help your child with to get through life.”
Ms. Packer, who has acted in shows such as Casualty, Doctor Who, and Keeping Faith, said she hoped the book would prompt “uncomfortable conversations” and highlight how contributions had prospered in the face of bigotry.
“I allowed myself to feel that I didn’t have to be as ambitious because there weren’t enough roles for people who looked like me,” she said.
“Who knows what opportunities I might have opened myself up to if I didn’t have that mindset. I know what it’s like to be out there and you’re the only person of colour in the cast.”
“I’m very open to students coming to me and navigating their way through what their fears might be.”
“From that point of view, I feel I have an important part to play.”
When he was in school in the 1970s, Nigel Walker, a former Wales rugby player and Olympic athlete, said he was treated to prejudice on a regular basis.
“I could count the fingers, on one hand, the number of days that went by without me being abused or suffering some sort of name-calling or bullying,” said Mr. Walker, performance director at the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).
“When people are always saying things, negative things, it can go one of two ways. You can either feel cowed or not good enough and go into your own shell or it can galvanize you and you can say, ‘right, I’m going to show I’m more than the colour of my skin, I can do it and I’m certainly in the latter category.”
He said he has always told his children to “be brave and call it out – and don’t let it stop you reaching for the stars”.