A message for Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya Hussain: ‘I’ve wanted to bleach the brown out of me’

“There are times when I’ve wanted to bleach the brown out of me – because life would have been so much easier if I wasn’t brown, if I wasn’t Bangladeshi, if I could just be like everybody else.”


Nadiya… I’ve found myself wondering if I would also have been abused in England if I had not been white.

Yes, of course I would have. But I would have been abused in different ways. And I’ve wondered if for instance that might have meant that I would have been part of a community. Other questions have gone through my mind too, related questions.

This – otherisation and abuse – is not about skin tone alone.

These issues of otherisation are much bigger. They affect almost everyone who is not a well-to-do, able-bodied and mentally mainstream white male.

They affect us differently and they affect some of us much more than others.

But they do affect many more of us than we tend to be aware of and once that starts sinking in and we see how many of us there are, we’ll all see the power and beauty in that and can start empowering each other to a much greater extent. That’s what I hope.

(Though I am often much too angry for that these days, granted. Otherisation makes us want to build walls around us.)

Do I have the answers for how to do that?

No. I have always many more questions than answers.

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