go to content

"The Great British Bake Off" Winner Nadiya Hussain Says Racism Has Been Part Of Her Life For Years

The Great British Bake Off winner told the BBC's Desert Island Discs that the abuse intensifies after incidents in the news.

Posted on

Nadiya Hussain, who won The Great British Bake Off in 2015, has said that racial abuse has been a huge part of her life for "years".

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, the British-Bangladeshi Muslim said the abuse intensifies when "massive things happen" in the news and has been a regular occurrence since the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

She described being kicked, pushed, and shoved, as well as receiving verbal abuse.

"I expect to be shoved or pushed or verbally abused because that happens. It's been happening for years," Hussain told presenter Kirsty Young.

Hussain said that she preferred not to retaliate against her attackers.

"I feel like there's a dignity in silence, and I think if I retaliate to negativity with negativity, then we've evened out," she explained.

"And I don't need to even that out because if somebody's being negative, I need to be the better person.

"Because I've got young children, the one thing I don't want my kids to do is have a negative attitude to living in the UK because, yes, there are those negative people, but they are the minority."

Hussain, who was born and raised in Luton, in Bedfordshire, and was asked to bake a cake for the Queen to celebrate the monarch's 90th birthday, said that she loved living in Britain, despite the continued attacks.

"This is my home and it always will be," she said.

"Regardless of all the other things that define me, this is my home. And I want my kids to be proud of that, and I don't want my kids to grow up with a chip on their shoulder.

"So I live as positively as I can and all those things that do happen to me, hey, it happens but it happens to other people too and we deal with it."

Since the vote to leave the European Union in June, xenophobic attacks against minority groups in public and online have seen a dramatic rise.

Many victims say the referendum result has served to legitimise racism in communities where an undercurrent of hatred already existed.

Listen to Nadiya Hussain on Desert Island Discs here.

We Spoke To Victims Of Racist Abuse After The Brexit Vote


Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Laura Silver at laura.silver@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.