YASMIN Begum is a writer from Cardiff who wrote this with Undod, the group “for Welsh Radical​ Independence”; she is speaking at the AUOB March in Merthyr

WELSH identity is in flux. Cardiff is nearly 20% black and minority ethnic (BME), with roughly half of those people being women and non-binary people. Despite this, and the location of Cardiff in housing the UK’s oldest continuous black community, there were no black and minority ethnic women talking at the first march for Welsh independence in Cardiff.

Black and minority ethnic communities are located at the intersection of multiple indices of deprivation, and especially women, queer people, transgender people and gender non-conforming people.

Black radical activist Claudia Jones coined the term “triple oppression”, a theory that articulates the relationship of oppression in looking at the experience of classism, racism and sexism among black women. Triple oppression is alive and kicking for Black Welsh women, and that’s compounded by the Welsh pay gap.

Research recently released by women’s organisation Chwarae Teg found an unemployment rate of up to 80% among some Welsh diaspora communities. And 20 years after devolution, we’ve never had a woman from these communities elected to the Senedd or to Westminster.

Take Wales’s history as another example. Wales has an uncomfortable relationship with colonialism and the slave trade which is yet to be fully explored and unpacked. That uncomfortable relationship is reflected today in the racial segregation of Welsh politics and Welsh society. The same can be said of our recent history on people of colour in Wales. Welsh BME history and heritage is more at risk than ever.

In 2016, Butetown History and Arts Centre closed down and the future of the archive is under threat. The failure to fund a replacement to preserve this vital time period of Welsh history speaks for itself.

The onus is on us as people of Wales to educate ourselves about the society we’ve inherited in the belly of the beast, the British Empire itself, and to adopt a critical approach towards our involvement in that Empire (along with the glorification of our own colony, Patagonia).

There seems no doubt that these historical relationships have impacted us in the landscape of contemporary Wales, and we need to be more attuned to, and more prepared to discuss, their legacies.

Furthermore, decolonisation has to translate into real-life action.

It’s time to unlearn toxic behaviours that we have inherited from people before us.

We need anti-racism trainings that are specific to devolved Wales that interrogate why it is so many people want to ask “So, where are you really from?” or reflect on the uncomfortable relationship between people of colour and various groups, asking people of colour how they can approach and attract people of colour to events.

The independence movement can be feminist, anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist – but none of this can happen without people of colour. Angela Davis said it’s not enough to be non-racist in a racist society, we have to be actively anti-racist.

If we’re not at the table, we’re probably on the menu. Make the space hospitable, too. Don’t invite us to sit at your table and tell us to shut up. Make space for us: at your events and in your conversations.

It is exhausting for us to walk into spaces and be subject to the same micro-aggressions every time.

White fragility – a term coined by academic Robin DiAngelo to refer to the overwrought responses triggered by experiences of racial stress – essentially when white privilege is questioned or challenged, is real. Most white people enjoy a social environment of racial comfort that insulates them from the racial stress that people of colour face on a daily basis. White fragility looks like white people crying, asking dodgy questions or responding really, really badly to questions about race and colonialism; it also looks like all-white line ups.

White fragility is guilt-ridden, damaging and has the potential to ruin the independence movement.

Audre Lorde wrote that “it’s not our differences that divide us. It’s our inability to recognise, accept and celebrate those differences”.

Let’s learn to accept and celebrate those differences, so that the independence movement can better represent all of our communities in Wales.