A man has detailed the racist abuse he says he faced as he walked through Cardiff city centre.
Miguel Brito, 26, was walking along John Street on the way to meet his girlfriend in the city centre on November 16 when he was called racial slurs and threatened by a stranger.
Mr Brito has described being called the N-word and comments made about his appearance.
It comes as the number of hate crimes reported to police in Cardiff is set to rise compared to last year’s figures.
In 2020 South Wales Police found a total of 747 hate crimes associated with racism in the capital – which works out as 62 crimes committed monthly.
The most recent figures currently available put the number at 528 until August this year, which averages at 66 crimes monthly.
If the trend continues, Cardiff could see almost 800 hate crimes reported to the police at the end of this year.
You can read more Cardiff stories here.
Mr Brito, a retail worker, said: “It was around 7pm and I was walking past the Owain Glyndwr pub to go shopping with my partner. I was in a rush as most places were closing. While I was walking, I noticed a guy walking in my direction and staring at me. He was around the same age as me. There was a lot of space around for him to move past me.
“He walked straight in to me, barging past me. It was deliberate – I could see him watching me way before he pushed me. He planned to do it.
“I looked back at him, and he was still staring back at me. He shouted ‘what?’ and I asked him what his problem was. He started threatening me and asking me what I was going to do, as he started walking in my direction. I could see he was starting to get aggressive – and then the discrimination started.
“He made fun of my hair first. He started calling me a Rastafarian and saying ‘oh because of your hair, you think you’re a bad man?’ I said no and remained calm. This seemed to annoy him more and he started saying more racial abuse, probably to try get a reaction.
“I ignored him and carried on walking. Then he started shouting the N-word at me as I walked past. That was the last straw. I walked back and asked what had he just called me. He carried on and I could see he was holding something behind him – I think it was a glass bottle. I was hesitant to do anything as I was scared he would smash the bottle on me or something like that – it was obvious he was looking for a fight.
“At this point, a lot of people outside the pub and passers-by were looking at us and wondering what’s going on. I looked at one of the bouncers who was staring at me as I got shouted at, with a sense of understanding of what was happening.
“When the guy called me the N-word again, I just remember one of the bouncers pushed him and he fell down to the floor. The bouncer then told him to get up and leave. The man got up and left the area, moaning about being pushed.
“There was so much anger in me that I just kept walking to go meet my partner. Funnily enough, I saw the racist guy again later on that day. He saw me and said I was lucky that the security was there. I was so upset that I didn’t even look at the guy, I kept my head down and walked past. I thought I’m not going to waste my time with him – he’s the one who has the problem, not me.”
Mr Brito says the incident left him feeling upset and frustrated.
He said: “The names he called me are names that will always be mentioned to me. Even if it doesn’t happen for a while, it’s always going to happen eventually. I was proud I didn’t react in the way he wanted but I was really upset to think that’s who I am to some people and that’s what I have to deal with.
“You sit there and think things are finally changing, but they aren’t. We have fought for equality for years yet people still need to be educated. Even young people can be close-minded like that guy I encountered.
“The reality is that this is what I have to face, I’m always going to be ‘the N-word’ to people. If someone wants a reaction from me, that’s what they will call me. I’m proud to be black – but he went too far and what he did should of never happened at all.”
Mr Brito said he is grateful for the white security guard who pushed the man to the ground.
He said: “When the guard stopped him, I felt a sense of relief. At least I was protected. It shouldn’t have happened in the first place but at least someone was watching, thought it was wrong and intervened.
“I have experienced so much constant hate about my race but when that guy stood up for me, it shows that not all people are racist and some are genuinely trying to help.”
Mr Brito decided not to report it to the police as he “wasn’t sure if they would do anything about it.”
He said: “That’s the sad reality of it. Things like this happen and the police do nothing about it – it has been like that for a while. As a black person, we see so much stuff happening and we don’t feel safe. We’re tired. I’m sure a lot of white people, Asian people and people from other backgrounds are tired of it as well.”
Mr Brito said he feels while there is more public acknowledgement of black history and achievements, work still needs to be done.
He said: “I’ve got black friends who are so hurt by what they have experienced, that they don’t want to speak to white people and stick to themselves – because of what specific individuals have put them through. Racism separates us as people.
“We need to create a army of a young generation that will fight against racism – but not in a aggressive way. We need to work out how we can change someone’s subconscious mind or educate them on why it’s wrong to hate someone because of their race.
“Whether you’re black, brown, white, yellow, blue – we need to stick and move together.”
Joanne Maksymiuk-King from Race Council Cymru said: “We can confirm that hate crime reporting has risen with more people reporting as victims of a Hate Crime and certainly we have identified an increase of numbers, which has occurred since the promotion of campaigns such as Black Lives Matter which did raise awareness of inequalities and racism within our communities.
“However, we also see the positives in this. Hate crime was previously under reported and we know that there were many victims who were not reporting straight away, this could be because of a number of reasons including lack of awareness of what is a Hate Crime, caution if the situation would become worse or knowing the perpetrator.
“Over the last two years, we have worked alongside Police forces across Wales and with the Welsh Government to raise awareness of what constitutes a Hate Crime and how to report, encouraging members of our community to actively identify and make a stand against those who commit Hate Crimes against them.
“We have worked with primary and secondary schools, educating children and young people on what is a hate crime and how to report, and we have actively promoted and raised awareness of hate crime so that more people have the confidence to make positive changes.”
“The definition of hate crime is a crime that the victim or anyone else perceives to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards any aspect of a person’s identity. It can manifest itself in many forms including physical assault, verbal abuse, online bullying or harassment, and in many other criminal offences.
“Anyone who suffers a hate crime should report it to the police. There are a number of ways members of the public can contact the police. In an emergency, always dial 999. You can report non-emergency matters online through the South Wales Police website or True Vision. In a non-emergency, members of the public can also dial 101.
“South Wales Police is committed to protecting our communities and safeguarding those who are vulnerable.
“Anyone who is a victim of hate crime or witnesses a hate related incident should come forward and report. It is through reporting we can take action against perpetrators and provide victims with the support they need.”
Race Council Cymru have a ‘Zero Racism Wales’ campaign where organisations all over Wales are working together to make Wales a better place to live.
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