'I used to be racist now I'm not': Caller opens up in reaction to Ollie Robinson

7 June 2021, 22:46

By Fiona Jones

This caller told Iain Dale how he transformed his racist views through education, likening his journey to cricketer Ollie Robinson.

This conversation around race was in response to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspending bowler Ollie Robinson for historical racist and sexist tweets.

The posts were from 2012 and 2013 when Robinson was a teenager and were revealed while he was making his England debut.

The Prime Minister has backed Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden's statement that the ECB has gone "over the top" by suspending him and "should think again".

Caller Connor told Iain, "What I'm not hearing is people opening up a conversation to say I used to be racist and I was racist and now I'm not racist.

"I personally used to be racist and now I'm not racist, and if I were to be penalised for that anywhere, my way of going around business would be to say I used to be and this was the journey I took and here I am, punish me or not."

Connor grew up in the predominantly white town of Blackpool and "as a child what I saw on the media was constant refugee stories, 9/11, and people around me were racist and I would hear these racist slurs."

"As I've got older I find it disgusting, because I took a journey when I'd gone to university...and you meet people from different background and you start to learn racism can be turned on you yourself," he said, referencing England's part in Irish history.

"People are quick to come out and say I'm not racist, I'm not racist, but I'm not hearing anybody talk about the journey of why they're not racist anymore."

He told Iain that the only way to quell prejudice is to meet people from different background, saying that if he were Ollie Robinson he'd use his platform to open up a dialogue about racism and transforming views.

The cricketer told media: "I am embarrassed by the racist and sexist tweets that I posted over eight years ago, which have today become public. I am sorry, and I have certainly learned my lesson today.

"I want to make it clear that I'm not racist and I'm not sexist."I deeply regret my actions, and I am ashamed of making such remarks."