The student has apologised and said ‘I was part of the problem with society’
CW: This article contains details of racist abuse.
A Notts fresher who called a black girl the n-word and “filthy cotton picking monkey c**n” on a dating app could face disciplinary action from the university.
The comments, made in 2017 and screenshotted into a group chat with the comment “I’m going to hell” and three crying laughing emojis, were posted on Twitter by an account exposing racism in UK schools.
The University of Nottingham told The Nottingham Tab that although the comments are from before the student began university, it will be considering the case under its disciplinary procedures.
The student has apologised for the abuse, claiming it was a joke, admitting it was “racist, disgusting, and not acceptable in any way” and saying “I was part of the problem with society”. He said it is the “single biggest regret in my life” and that “I have learned my lesson the hard way”.
It’s unclear from his apology whether he has, or will, apologise to the girl targeted.
This is the latest in a series of racist acts by students being exposed across the country in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests. Chester, Exeter, Bournemouth, and Notts Trent have all started investigations into student racism brought to light this week.
In the exchange on the Yellow app – dubbed “Tinder for teens” – the student calls the girl the n-word. After both reply with ellipsis, she says “why call me that?”
The boy replies: “Are you not one? Would you prefer filthy cotton picking monkey coon?”
He then posted a screenshot in a group chat, saying “I’m going to hell” with three crying laughter emojis.
In a statement sent to The Nottingham Tab, the student said: “I want to address an image circulating about something I said 3 years ago. I want to begin by apologising for my actions. As a human being with the freedom to act and think I made the conscious decision to say what I did. I am the only person who can take responsibility for my actions 3 years ago.
“What I said was racist, disgusting and not acceptable in any way…and that’s the only way it can be perceived. I could try and blame other people or influences for me saying what I did but at the ed of the day I was the one who decided to say it. At that time I was an idiot and immature but also ignorant. I was ignorant to think that it was something you can joke about, I was ignorant to think that because other people we doing the same it was okay for me to do it and I was ignorant to think that it’s appropriate for myself or any person to use that language. This is my single biggest regret in my life which I would take back in an instant. I knew 3 years ago that it is not okay to say what I did however I still said it.
“That was my issue, something I would never dream of saying in a serious or malicious way I thought was okay to say as part of a joke. That is not okay. This is part of the problem with society – people like myself who would think you can use this language while having a joke and that makes it okay are part of the problem. Saying it in any way is racism. When you use any racist language it is racist in any scenario even if you think “it’s okay it’s only a joke”. These “jokes” are part of the wider issue of mistreatment and discrimination of black people. 3 years on, I have learned my lesson the hard way. Although what I said doesn’t represent my actual thoughts or beliefs, I said it and it was racist. I’m not asking for sympathy, I’m not expecting forgiveness. I am instead hoping that people will read this and at least see that I regret my actions but also have learned from it.
“Not just DONT say racist things at all but also why and the implications of what I did. I was part of the problem with society. My actions represented everything that should be stood against, what people have been fighting against for centuries. I have now seen my stupidity, my ignorance, my disgusting behaviour accompanied with a backwards mindset and have realised how this is the most dangerous and non progressive thing for society. I no longer want to be part of the problem but instead part of the solution. I now realise the extent of issues related to race discrimination and I realise the impact of using the language I did. I hope people read this and can see my regret, my disgust and my change of mindset.
“Apologising, regretting and learning from something does not mean that it didn’t happen. All I can do is become part of the solution in any way I can. I want to once again apologise to my friends and family of all races for letting you all and myself down. I only hope that people will see this and see how sorry I am for it and that I no longer have the same ignorant, immature and idiotic mindset that I had when I was 15.”
A University of Nottingham spokesperson told The Tab: “The University of Nottingham will not tolerate racism in any form, it has absolutely no place on our campuses or anywhere else in society.
“While the reported incident appears to pre-date the student’s admission to University, we have referred the case to our investigations team for consideration under the student discipline code.
“It is clear that the appalling killing of George Floyd has raised questions across the globe and for us at the University to answer in terms of how we listen to – and learn from – the experiences of black people, live our community values and take further meaningful action to become truly anti-racist.
“The University has introduced measures such as anonymised applications; training for academics to address unconscious bias in the classroom; inclusive teaching practices; reverse-mentoring schemes; and work to decolonise the curriculum. We are also working to improve education to tackle racism and enhance our harassment reporting procedures.
“However, it is clear that we must and will do more in partnership with black students and staff across our University community. We are arranging to meet with black student representatives shortly to listen and discuss how we can act on the extremely important issues raised, and find out where we can go much further than we already are.”