SLOUGH MP Tan Dhesi spoke about his experiences with racism as he pushes for greater representation in politics.
In a series of videos with Show Racism the Red Card, Mr Dhesi, who became the first Sikh MP to wear a turban in the UK, told viewers about his experience in Parliament and the discrimination he faced growing up United Kingdom.
The Labor MP recalled once at school that one of his classmates thought it would be “fun” to pull his turban.
Mr Dhesi said: ‘It left a very negative image not only of him but of the whole experience. But I got lucky [and] very, very lucky to have friends and family around me who helped me get through this and despite the sadness and the tears i moved on and i was able to develop this self-confidence and this belief.
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He also recalled a “tragic incident” where one of his guests wearing a turban from India was visiting Parliament and someone tried to pull his turban as he stood in line.
This is not the first time the MP for Slough has spoken about his experiences with racism. During Prime Minister’s Questions in 2019, Mr Dhesi went viral and revealed he had to endure and deal with derogatory names.
He also called out Boris Johnson for using racist and derogatory language in the past when describing black people and Muslim women who wear burkas.
In the video series, Mr Dhesi said: “We all face racism at some point in our lives. I think one of the sad parodies of humanity is that there are those who seek to bully or put other people down based on their race, gender, and sexuality.
“So I think it’s important that we maintain that level of self-confidence. I too encountered that kind of racism when I was younger.
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“In Parliament, I would say my experiences have been mostly very, very positive. Many colleagues have been incredibly helpful from Labor MPs as well as MPs from other affiliations.
He also urged more people of ethnic backgrounds to enter politics, saying representation is important.
He said, “As the saying goes, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. So for people to see, particularly in Parliament, that they too can aspire to these summits – if they see someone who looks like them then they are much more likely to feel part of this process democratic.
“It is hugely important that we have the most diverse parliament ever, where more women, ethnic minorities, LGBT+ people and people with disabilities have been elected than ever before.”