An Edinburgh student was left horrified after receiving a racist message late at night on her Tinder dating app, The Tab reported today.
Liv Yeneka, a fourth year law student at the University of Edinburgh, was racially abused on Tinder after matching with a fellow student who called her ‘fit’ and ‘George Floyd’: a reference to the African American man who was killed during an arrest in Minneapolis. A white police officer named Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Speaking to the Tab, Ms Yeneka called the messages “horrific”.
After super-liking her on the app, a male Veterinary Science student sent her three messages saying “George Floyd”, “fit”, and then hours later, “I’m actually so sorry that’s awful behaviour I absolutely sorry”.
Ms Yeneka responded: “Don’t worry I’m sure the vet department will love to see this. It’s not just awful behaviour, it’s racist behaviour.”
The male student then blocked her on Tinder.
She said: “It’s pretty horrific. He super-liked me just to match me and tell me my profile was ‘George Floyd fit’, as if being racist wasn’t already grossly offensive, it’s really twisted referring to a dead black man who deserves respect.
“He probably thought it was hilarious. As for the apology, I don’t know why he bothered. It reads as it looks – meaningless – with the concern of being caught out.”
She added that being a BAME person on a dating app is “exhausting”.
A Facebook page set up by black and minority ethnic Edinburgh University students called ediBAMEfess collects other accounts of BAME students who have been racially abused in the Scottish capital, and there are dozens of examples.
One black student wrote:
“I was working a bar tonight and was just walking home with a colleague. Passed a group of white uni aged adults (4 girls and 2 boys) on the stoop of a flat party – quite drunk. Their first comment upon spotting me was to shout ‘There’s a black!’ and proceeded to sing the chorus to Shakira’s Waka Waka aggressively at me even taking a step to almost get in my face so I acknowledged them.
“We just silently passed quite confused and continued with our conversation.
“Why is that an appropriate response to passing a stranger in the street? I don’t even know what’s happening with Edinburgh anymore.”
Another student described being racially abused on the Meadows, writing:
“A week or so ago, I was playing football on the meadows and was racially abused, quite badly by a teenager in a school uniform. It’s not the first time it has happened, but every time it happens, it just makes me feel ostracised, and like I don’t belong, or rather other white people see me as sub-human (as implied by the slur used) and it’s just making me insecure and paranoid that some of my white friends share the same view (maybe not too the same extent) and they simply don’t say it to my face.
“And if it’s true, then I honesty can’t say what’s worse; the open bigot or the closet racist posing as one of your best pals.”
“The world has taught us to date with our guard up.”
Speaking about the message she received, Ms Yeneka said: “Considering the dating world is predominately online right now, we don’t get the same experience as white people.”
“As a black woman, I constantly worry about what my matches are thinking. Did they match me because they’ve ‘never been with a black girl’? Could I open Tinder and be stunned with an overtly racist message? Could they be racially abusive in real life and I just don’t know it yet?
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“Although dating through a screen has an element of desensitisation, people forget that BAME people are humans, with their own feelings and sadly for some of us, our own racial trauma. The world has taught us to date with our guard up.”
A spokesperson for Edinburgh University told the Tab:
“The University is committed to promoting a positive culture which celebrates difference, challenges prejudice and ensures fairness. Our Code of Student Conduct sets out clear expectations of behaviour. The University regards any incident of discrimination as a serious matter and will respond promptly to formal complaints, and where appropriate take disciplinary action.”