IT shocks, how recent it all was.

At school in country New South Wales, I knew what racism was. Of my two best friends, one was an Aboriginal and the other was a Pacific Islander. My Aboriginal friend had a hard time from our class mates and, even as a seven-year-old, I knew this discrimination was deeply rooted.

I was back living in Australia in February 2008 when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd issued an apology to the estimated 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families as children.

After more than 100 years of punitive government policies, there are massive social, health and economic inequalities for Indigenous Australians and continuing trauma for descendants of the Stolen Generations.

I remember so clearly speaking to white work colleagues about the Stolen Generations and the historic government apology. "I'm over it to be honest," one said to me. The others nodded in understanding.

It was, to put it mildly, gobsmacking to hear.

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But, other than the attitudes of my privileged young colleagues, the other element that made me gasp was learning that the policy of taking mixed race Aboriginal children from their mothers and placing them in institutions was still ongoing in certain states in the 1970s.

That's after my mother emigrated to Australia. It was incomprehensible that this sort of brutal treatment could have existed in living memory.

I had a similar reaction to reading that the so-called Tinker Experiment was ongoing in Scotland until the 1980s, a barbaric practice enforced so recently.

Members of the travelling community were placed in specially built huts in an attempt to break their traditional lifestyle and force them to assimilate with the rest of the population, as with the motivation behind the forced removal of Aboriginal children.

A few years ago I visited a Roma settlement outside Budapest where the community had been corralled to separate them from society.

Despite passing legislation against such practices, Roma children are still segregated in some Hungarian schools, given less challenging classwork and taught by less qualified teachers. But that's there. Surely nothing like that would happen here? And yet, it has.

It has and the Scottish Government has repeatedly found flimsy ways of avoiding saying sorry for these past wrongs, despite pleas from the travelling community for an apology.

Our Roma population here in Scotland faces racism from the community it lives among. It is an insidious discrimination from people who don't seem to understand that their views are rooted in racism.

Bizarre rumours proliferate about the Roma community in Govanhill, on the south side of Glasgow. These range from the bizarre to the criminal, and all are grossly offensive.

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Last summer a rumour went round the area, shared prolifically on social media, that the Roma were stealing and eating the ducks in Queen's Park. There was nothing to support this claim, just an ingrained notion that the Roma are "other" and so prone to behaviour outwith that of respectable society.

This year's Jackanory story has been that the Roma are stealing dogs. Again, on social media, there have been several "lost dogs" that mysteriously turn up in Govanhill. So far, there's been no proof of this and, in fact, the one dog that was verifiably missing was not found in Govanhill but in another part of the city. Facebook posters did not let truth stand in the way of a juicy rumour.

The worst of all is the evergreen rumour that Roma parents sell their children for sex on the streets of the community, a claim that has been investigated and dismissed by Police Scotland yet persists.

The people who proliferate these stories don't realise or accept or admit that they are racist because they don't recognise themselves as racist. They understand that racism is bad but they view themselves as good people. So how can they, good people, hold bad views?

It's the same frustrating reaction to Stormzy's comments that the UK "100 per cent" has racism. The rap artist's words, in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, were twisted by some news outlets to suggest he said the UK was 100 per cent racist. What he meant, clearly, was that he 100 per cent believes there is racism in the UK.

It is difficult to deny such a claim, particularly, as Stormzy points out, when we have a Prime Minister who talks of "picaninnies" and "watermelon smiles" and Muslim women as being like letterboxes. We have a Home Secretary who wants to keep immigrants out. We are still in the midst of the Windrush scandal.

Football makes news headlines because of fans making racist chants, such as during Chelsea’s game against Tottenham Hotspur.

There is, 100 per cent, racism in this country. It comes from the top down. And instead of apologies, people get their backs up. The Twitter reaction has been one of outrage, suggestions he might like to go back where he came from (Croydon) and that he should be grateful to be living in Britain.

If a black man is telling us that there is racism in the UK, the response should not be defensiveness, it should be to listen. If the traveller community needs an apology to heal still fresh wounds, they should have an apology.

Otherwise, we do nothing but prove the point the UK is racist, 100 per cent.