Do you have a dossier of all the worst things that people have said to you? So you know I have gotten this barrage of hate when I announced my … literally from when I announced my candidacy onwards,
and I spoke about getting threats of gun violence. So, then after the Christchurch terror attacks happened
and I got to do my first speech in the house… about that, I had to recall that this is actually not an anomaly. I was literally getting threats of gun violence just from
being perceived to be Muslim, so that community has definitely been getting threats, hate crimes, they’ve been reporting it. And so, that has always been the level of the abuse that I get. I get a lot of love as well, because I think as someone who is unique in terms of my background and the position that I’m in, like my story and my face means a lot of different things to different people. So, you kind of get people that are … I’m always really shocked by how excited and touched people are
by having their representation. I didn’t expect that, but then you get an equally
really scared, panicked, angry mob who didn’t expect to have that representation happen either. But I especially get it when I appear to be confident. Like, they hate that. You know, don’t be confident, just be grateful and quiet. So, it’s that thing of you can participate as a woman of colour or as a migrant or
refugee woman, but just once you get in, just quietly sit there. Don’t have opinions, don’t behave like you deserve to be here essentially. It’s causing so much stress, and it does have a silencing effect. So, when people speak about free speech, it’s kind of like well, Can you actually address the thing that’s silencing those
without power as much as you talk about giving a voice to people who already have it? What effect over the years, like accumulatively,
has all of this sort of background hateful noise had on you and your relationships? I think it causes anxiety so I do … I have therapy for anxiety. And I think for me, it’s probably started with giving
me quite a strong dose of imposter syndrome back in the day in my life. I never saw anyone like me in the positions that I wanted to be in and there’s not a whole lot of refugees in the law, or in the UN.
And there’s not a whole lot of refugees doing a Masters at Oxford, you know? It’s kind of a weird … every room you walk into,
you are different and underlying that is that you’re maybe less deserving. So, that certainly causes anxiety, but I think now that it’s in terms of actual abuse, rather than micro aggressions that you get every day undermining you generally it’s definitely a heightened sense of anxiety.
If I see something that’s particularly threatening then it makes me worry about my family, and worry about all the other sort of young women of colour that might be consuming it
when they look at my articles and things. You kind of feel that responsibility. And your heart kind of sinks After the Christchurch terror attack, as it got more intense,we actually
had to really catalogue the abuse that I was getting just in case it was … you know? We realised there are some people out there that mean it.
So we had some of the rest of our office are white dudes, step in and actually will just look at it, and they were shaken. They had no idea what the level was. It was like, it was a new world to them. Do you think that your colleagues, in parliament actually get …
do you think they actually understand what it’s like for you? No. I don’t think you can know. And I think the other thing that we’ve talked about,
or at least I’ve talked about with both Louisa and Marama is that it hardens you, and how to combat that. And so, you kind of, you bring that armour that you’ve had to put up,
and that kind of lowered I don’t have any emotional reserves some days, because I’m consuming all of that there’s that whole thing where we’re trying to
balance out having that exterior shell and having the defence mechanisms, but then not allowing that to change who you are. How bad is the problem? I am so happy that there’s finally research on this, and it’s that we are experiencing micro aggressions
in a way that’s causing us mental health harm to the same level as soldiers who are based in combat zones. So, the levels of anxiety and stress of just us living as people of colour in the world are at that level now. And the reason I’m happy that that research exists is because
I think that it is really difficult for us to kind of talk about the tiny little ways that we’re all being abused,
and not being kind of told that that’s just a one-off and it’s not racism, it’s not because of this, it’s not because you’re a gay man of colour, it’s actually just you didn’t get the promotion. so, we can kind of go,
“Actually, this collective gas lighting can end. Can it please end?” It is happening.
– You’ve got the data to back it up