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Education the key over racism issue says Ross-shire woman as debate continues on Black Lives Matter campaign

By Louise Glen

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Isatou Jallow is heartened by support but believes more work needs to be done.
Isatou Jallow is heartened by support but believes more work needs to be done.

A YOUNG black woman who has grown up in Ross-shire said that, like many others, she has lived quietly so as not to attract racism.

Isatou Jallow (22), from Fortrose, said the removal of Black Lives Matters posters in the village was for her "not surprising", but that she had experienced more support than racism in recent weeks.

Posters were put up in the village in response to global awareness in the wake of the death in custody of George Floyd (46) after being challenged by police for using a counterfeit money.

Miss Jallow said it was "very painful" to see posters taken down and some taking to social media to complain about the movement being discussed at all.

Miss Jallow, who has lived in the village since moving there as a child, said racism certainly does exist in the Highlands.

She said her mum was a historian and although white, could explain her own West African culture and heritage. She is half Gambian.

As a teenager, Miss Jallow took on work in the local cafés and restaurants in the village and now works as a carer.

She said: "The same people I served in the restaurant are the same people who are now being racist online. These people have been kind to my face, and they are being very different on the world wide web. When I say something about my experiences, they say 'why didn't you report it to the police?'.

But the fact is, if I had to report every racist incident to the police, I would not be off the phone. It is almost constant. And sometimes people don't even know they are doing it."

She said: "I have never felt too comfortable – and I love living here, and I have had made my life here – but I have never felt too comfortable with speaking out. In some ways that has led to me living quietly, and not under the spotlight. Maybe I haven't pushed myself because I have felt that I didn't quite fit in because of the colour of my skin."

She added: "Education needs to change, we need to stop talking about the colonists and we need to talk about those who were colonised. I have so many good friends that recognise that things need to change, but there is still a long way to go."

Related: Black Isle designer shows her support for campaign

Black Lives Matter protests show Highland solidarity

Highland Council leader backs plans to display posters

News from Ross-shire

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