The UK’s Government’s Race and Ethnic Disparities Report caused outrage by saying the system is not rigged against people from ethnic minorities and that social class or family structure have a greater impact on life chances.

A report chaired by Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna for the Welsh Government last year came to different conclusion.

Prof Ogbonna told The National he believed the UK report was too data focused, saying you shouldn’t “just look at data, you should also look at the lived experience of people. That lived experience will tell you things the data may or may not tell you.”

The National spoke to three people of colour in Wales to find out whether they believed institutional racism impacted their lives.

The National Wales: Assia Kayoeche, from Cardiff, has experienced racism at school and in the workplace.Assia Kayoeche, from Cardiff, has experienced racism at school and in the workplace.

Assia Kayoeche, a 29-year-old mixed heritage Muslim woman who lives in Cardiff. She said she had experienced institutional racism, both at school and in the workplace. In 2001, at 10 years of age, a classmate told Assia that 9/11 was her fault.

“Since 9/11, I have experienced 20 years of racism because of the way that I look and the religion that I follow,” said Assia.

On the way to school, Assia and her Muslim friends were shouted at by adults in cars. When she got to school, Assia had her head scarf pulled off my other pupils.

Then, when Assia entered work, she was subject to odd questioning by colleagues and bosses.

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“I was bombarded with questions about my religion, and about horrible things extremists were doing in the world. It’s like you are the Q and A representative for all Muslims on the planet. It wears you down.”

She was criticised for taking time off to celebrate Eid, but also criticised for not celebrating Christmas.

In one job, she felt a boss was making discriminatory assumptions about people from ethnic minorities. She said: “When you’re faced with the questioning I had been, and then that person is making these broad comments as well, it adds up.”

Assia went to the board of trustees but was accused of attacking the boss, and employment mediation started: “The board were majority white, and they had no experience of what it’s like to be minority ethnic.”

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After a six-month process, Assia felt that the stress was effecting her health. She told The National she wouldn’t use a complaints process again.

She’s also experienced overt racism on the streets: “People have thrown Pakistani racial slurs at me. I’ve been told on the street that all Muslims should be killed, which is absolutely horrendous.

“I’ve always felt that because I’m fair-skinned that without my scarf I could pass as fully white, and that’s something that I shouldn’t have to think about. But perhaps if I didn’t dress the way I dress, life would be a little bit easier for me.”

The National Wales: Andrew Ogun, from NewportAndrew Ogun, from Newport

Andrew Ogun, a 23-year-old black man from Newport, has experienced institutional racism both at school, and out in society.

Andrew said that many black friends in school were “alienated to the point where they left school”, or were kicked out for minor incidents.

He added that: “It perpetuates issues in society, because when you’re kicking children out of school for minor things, what do you expect to happen to them?”

Andrew didn’t feel like he could report racism at school: “There’s no faith in that process, no faith that justice would have been served. So why would I go through it?”

As a child, it was also hard for Andrew to comprehend systemic issues enough to vocalise them: “At the time you don’t realise, you see friends get kicked out, or forced to do BTEC’s instead of GCSE’s, and it’s only in retrospect that you release how insidious it is.”

Even the books Andrew would read in school, and later in his English Literature degree, were nearly always from white authors: “At school the most nuanced thing you read to do with race is Of Mice and Men.”

Aged 14, Andrew was out at about 10pm with some friends. Some of the boys were older and were drinking. Andrew was the only black boy present. He said police came because of a noise complaint, and sent the boys home.

“Two days after I got a letter through my door, and it was to undertake an anti-social behaviour course.”

Andrew wondered why he had to take the course but thought “well we’ll all have to do it, so it is what it is.”

Andrew began to ring his friends: “I ring the first one and say ‘bro did you get this letter?’, and he said ‘no I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“So I rang the next one, and the next one, and by the time I got to the fourth one it just hit me. I knew I was going to ring every single person and none of them had got that letter except me.”

The National Wales: Isadora Sinha, 23, has experienced racism in WalesIsadora Sinha, 23, has experienced racism in Wales

Isadora Sinha, 23, an Indian woman and PHD student who lives in Cardiff, said she thought she had been privileged because of going to a private school, however she still faced “every day instances of random bits of racism”.

In school, she felt complaints of racism weren’t taken seriously: “With girls from Asia because our hair is black it’s more prominent, so if I had hair on my arms people would make fun of it, even though it’s just the same as theirs.”

Teachers would tell her it was just teasing because they lacked understanding of race.

Isadora said that when trying to get a quote from a tradesman “as soon as they see my family is Indian they will quote us up much higher than they’ve quoted our white neighbour, because they think we won’t have options.”

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In the past when Isadora has had white doctors, she had felt she wasn’t taken seriously: “It came to the point that I wanted an Indian doctor. But I shouldn’t have to seek out a minority doctor to get proper treatment. It’s an added stress, that, if I go to a white doctor will he treat me differently?”

Whatever the basis for the conclusions of the report, they don’t reflect the experiences of these people.

Prof Ogbonna said: “I don’t understand how the (UK) Government can say there is overt racism but at the same time deny that there is institutionalised racism. There is a lot of overt racism because racism is institutionalised.”

The National aims to write about how politics and policy impact the lives of people in Wales. Support our work by becoming a subscriber. When we reach 1,000 subscribers we will hire a dedicated political correspondent.