Wales politics

Sometimes people just see your skin colour, says Labour leader candidate

Vaughan Gething
Image caption Vaughan Gething is health secretary in the Welsh Government

Experiencing racist comments is part of the reality of being black, a Welsh Labour leadership hopeful has said.

Vaughan Gething told BBC Wales' Newyddion9 he had been racially abused in school, at work and on nights out.

He said: "We realise the world isn't fair, not treated all the time for the person that you are, the character and the ability. There are times people just see the colour of your skin."

He said people were "more content to be bigoted in public" in recent years.

Warning: this report includes racist and offensive language

Mr Gething is competing with Mark Drakeford and Vaughan Gething to take over from Carwyn Jones.

The contest was triggered in April when Mr Jones announced he planned to stand down.

Ballot papers are to be returned by 3 December with the next Welsh Labour leader, and next first minister, announced three days later.

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Image caption Candidates Eluned Morgan, Vaughan Gething and Mark Drakeford are all members of the Welsh Government

On the abuse he had experienced, Mr Gething told the programme: "Being called a nigger, being called a black bastard, that's part of the reality of being black.

"What we have seen over the past five years or so in this country is that people are more content to be bigoted in public and be up front about it."

Mr Gething said his time at Aberystwyth University was unpleasant because of his Labour roots rather than the colour of his skin.

"I was surprised about learning how uncomfortable and how angry some of the division was between some Plaid Cymru supporters and the Labour Party," he said.

"There was a real personal unpleasant edge. I got more grief in Aberystwyth for being a Labour party member and for the perception I was English not Welsh than I did for being black."

Mr Gething believes some attitudes in the Welsh language halls of residence Pantycelyn put people off learning the language, he said.

"The atmosphere wasn't always a kind and welcoming one and I think it did a disservice to the language because Pantycelyn should have been a big window into the language and an open door but not everyone felt that way."

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