"it's my Asian culture that has tried to hold me back"
Saira Khan has claimed her Asian culture has been more restrictive to her progression than any racism she has encountered as an Asian woman in the UK.
The former Loose Women panellist is from Derbyshire and is of Pakistani origin.
She said she did not encounter any significant social boundaries while growing up on a council estate. Saira also credited British society for helping her to make something of herself.
Saira shared a lengthy Instagram post and claimed that her biggest obstacles have come from within the Asian community.
She wrote: “As an Asian woman born in this country to immigrant parents, I am proud to be British, grateful for this country helping my parents to help me to recognise and realise my potential.
“If I’m honest, as an Asian woman it’s my Asian culture that has tried to hold me back more than any racism I have faced. That’s my truth.”
Saira also said that racism is not the one-sided portrayal that has been seen in protests and marches in major cities across the world.
She continued, using her mixed-heritage marriage to Steven Hyde as an example:
“We all have to play our part in tackling racism, so many of us are ignorant of each other’s cultural background and religious beliefs which leads to misunderstandings and division.
“As a woman in a mixed marriage with a mixed-race child, I can say from first-hand experience, there is prejudice on both sides – it is not just White people hating on those of colour.
“The colour of my skin has not hindered my progress in this country.
“In fact right now, the world we live in, it’s an advantage to be a woman of colour, because there is a need from all institutions for better representation of our society.
“The focus on white people and their unconscious bias have been documented well.”
She also urged minority groups to look at their own feelings towards other cultures, elaborating:
“I think it is also time for many Asian and Black communities to look deep at their own prejudices and admit that they too need to make changes in order to take advantage of all the opportunities this country had to offer.
“I grew up on a council estate. I know the socio/economic barriers- but this country does help those who want to help themselves.
“It was the British culture, not the Asian one that was more encouraging for me to make the most of myself.
“It’s hard to admit that, I know the backlash I will get. But that’s my truth.”
“Being a victim is easy. Getting off your a**e and making it happen with the right attitude is bloody hard. But that’s what it takes.”
Saira Khan added: “I am not an academic, I’m not in denial of racism, I’m in a fortunate position to see both sides and I know that what has worked for me is to treat everyone the way I would want them to treat me, regardless of my colour, religion, race sexual orientation, gender, education or class.
“If you harbour any prejudice, discrimination of any kind – you’re a loser – that’s a fact – regardless of the colour of your skin.”
Saira Khan previously announced she was no longer a practising Muslim, saying it was “the last taboo to overcome before I could live my best life”.
Although she explained her decision, she was forced to address the hate and death threats she received.