‘There was spitting’ - Myleene Klass details racist abuse she suffered as a child in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 16:06 03 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:33 03 June 2020
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Norfolk musician and television star Myleene Klass has opened up about her experiences dealing with racism as a child in Norfolk.
The former member of pop group Hear’say took to her Instagram account on Wednesday (June 3) to share her struggles with prejudice.
In the fallout from the death of George Floyd and the ongoing protests in the United States and across the world, Ms Klass, 42, who grew up in Gorleston, said she is trying to educate her children about the complexities of racism.
Ms Klass attended Notre Dame High School in Norwich before transferring to the Cliff Park Ormiston Academy in Gorleston.
Listing a string of abusive slurs she heard as a child, including “mongrel” and “ping pong”, she said: “I had those words thrown at me.
“On other occasions, it wasn’t just words, it was rock filled snowballs by a group of boys as I walked home, I had my hair cut in the school cloakrooms by some girls, later they threatened a lighter.
“There was spitting. ;Why does your mum speak like that? Why don’t you have an accent?;
“I also remember the pride and relief I felt when a bus of school children, aged 10, pulled up next to my own bus and the children opposite all started making ‘Chinese eyes and buck teeth’ to then have my own bus retaliate with fist signs and fingers.
“It was small ‘victory’, I felt embarrassed, hot, shamed but I remember it so well because for the first time, I didn’t feel alone, I had a small token of solidarity that gave me courage.”
Ms Klass also described an incident at college when she walked into the canteen but a group of students handed her their trays loaded with dirty plates.
“‘You’re Filipino, you’re all cleaners right?’ Then the laughter,* she said.
The star said she still deals with prejudice.
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“In the area I live now, ‘get a Filipino’ is bandied around so easily when referring to getting a nanny, they don’t even realise they’re talking about a person, an actual person.”
Ms Klass finished her post, saying: “The world looks different now. I am mixed race and I am so proud of that. Growing up in Norfolk, there wasn’t much visibility as to what a girl like me could aspire to be but I was surrounded by incredible, selfless nurses and those in service, the same who are tending our covid patients and dropping like flies.”