A Dundee councillor has accused opposition colleagues of not doing enough to speak out against racism.
Councillor Georgia Cruickshank made the comments at a meeting of Dundee City Council’s policy and resources committee this week where elected members discussed proposals to do more to expose the city’s historic links to the transatlantic slave trade.
She said other councillors did not come out publicly against racism and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement until the George Floyd mural in Hilltown was vandalised.
She said: “With what was going on in America and what was happening here in Dundee to our own black community, not a word was uttered until George Floyd’s mural was defaced.
“After that, myself and Councillor Richard McCready put out a press release, and [Councillor John Alexander] didn’t get any abuse from that, and Richard never, but I did.
“I was told to get back to my own country, you name it and I was called it.
“That is what happens when a black person puts their head above the parapet and it is hurtful, unjust and undeserved.”
However, in July, Council leader John Alexander shared a racist letter he had received in order to challenge the racism and xenophobia he said was still ‘alive and kicking’ in the city.
After the meeting, Councillor Cruickshank revealed she and her children have experienced racism throughout their lives in Dundee.
She said: “One time I was walking in St Andrews Street from the barbers with my son – he was only about six at the time – and went to cross the road and there was a car zooming towards us.
“The driver started shouting racist names out of the car telling me to get away.
“When I was young my mother had an argument with the neighbour because the kids were calling us racist names and then when we went to school there was white paint on the doorstep saying ‘wogs go home’.”
She said even her children have experienced racist abuse growing up in the city.
Councillor Cruickshank added: “My daughter said she was glad to leave school so she didn’t have to put up with racism anymore.
“We need to start educating young people so when they grow up they can teach their children that if something racist comes up they can call it out.”
At this week’s meeting, the council agreed to a number of measures including installing a permanent exhibition on Dundee’s slavery links at The McManus and creating a walking trail around the city.
The council also vowed to be more active in Black History Month, which is celebrated each October, and develop its approach to tackling racism and teaching slavery in primary schools.
It will also work with Dundee University to commission research into the city’s involvement in slavery and emancipation to create an honest account of the city’s slave history.
A new group will now be set up to help achieve this, and councillors agreed the chair of this group should be someone who has lived experience as a black person in Dundee.