Army faces racism case won by Rastafarian soldier

Army faces racism case won by Rastafarian soldier

5 minutes, 16 seconds Read

Army faces racism case won by Rastafarian soldier

Dwight Pile-Grey had a 16-year Army career before the incident. Image: BBC


Army faces racism case won by Rastafarian soldier.

A former Rastafarian guardsman in the British Army has successfully sued the Ministry of Defense for racial discrimination and harassment.

A disagreement in the guardroom, started because a white guard didn’t think Dwight Pile-Grey was a soldier, allegedly led to the termination of his sixteen-year service in the Army.

The soldier accused him of “playing the race card” when he challenged him. At an employment tribunal, he prevailed.

Any form of harassment, intimidation, or bullying will not be tolerated by the Ministry of Defense.

For the first time, he addressed the event in public, he thinks his situation demonstrates that it is worse to accuse someone of being racist in the Army than to be racist oneself.

June was the date of the employment hearing, and it was October that Mr. Pile-Grey received the news that he had won.

“Overflowing With Hope”

It was always obvious to Dwight Pile-Grey that he would be an outstanding soldier.

His decision to wear his hair in locks made him the first Rastafarian soldier to do so. He joined at the age of 37, which is later than most people.

Being a skilled musician, he enlisted in 2005 with the Royal Corps of Army Music. He joined the Band of the Grenadier Guards after playing the French horn in a number of other military bands.

Mr. Pile-Grey attended a great number of state functions while wearing a bearskin and arranging his hair in a bun.

When asked about his experiences in the military, he states, “I was under no illusion as to what I might encounter.” “But I was full of optimism.”

“Why are you allowed to wear your hair like that?” other guards would ask him about his appearance, he says. You’re meant to be a peacemaker, aren’t you? Are you not a drug user?”

As far as Mr. Pile-Grey is concerned, he attributes such remarks to “ignorance”. But he claims that things were worse. Soldiers allegedly used racial slurs, including the N-word, while he was present, according to him.

Racist and sexist comments, including those regarding the size of his genitalia, were made by several.

According to Mr. Pile-Grey, he was still able to enjoy his work and advance in his career despite his ignorance. Lance sergeant was his new rank.

A quarrel broke out between him and two white soldiers in the base’s guardroom in July 2021 at Wellington Barracks in central London.

Even though Mr. Pile-Grey had previously visited the barracks for a medical appointment, he decided to take a quick break and make a phone call outside. Mistakenly, he had discarded his identification card.

He sported sunglasses, civilian attire, and a noticeable lack of hair cover.

‘Absolutely Astounded’

According to him, the white lance corporal on duty was “disbelieving that I could be a soldier – he actually stuck his head back into the guard room and said ‘this gentleman thinks he’s left his ID inside'” when he returned.

“I was absolutely treated differently because of my appearance,” he continues. “I’ve been doing this a long time and I understand when there is a racial element to an interaction.”

According to Mr. Pile-Grey, he was able to regain entry after someone else identified him for challenging the soldier, despite the man’s junior status.

He went back to his denim outfit and claimed he wanted to show the lance corporal he was a real soldier and that he could have handled the issue better.

A senior soldier, a white sergeant, became involved when the lance corporal accused him “of playing the race card” in the subsequent conversation.

Sergeant “if I was going to make it into a race thing, then he wasn’t interested,” according to Mr. Pile-Grey.

According to him, the sergeant then instructed him to “look at my office,” emphasizing its multicultural nature, before stating, “We can’t be racist.”

He was “utterly flabbergasted” by the interaction, he claims. Mr. Pile-Grey acknowledges that he then became angry and recounts being forcibly removed from the guardroom.

Army faces racism case won by Rastafarian soldier

Dwight Pile-Grey joined the Army later in life than most – aged 37. Image: DWIGHT PILE-GREY


An officer asked him if he wanted to file a report after he explained what had transpired.

According to Mr. Pile-Greys, he sought to convey to the parties concerned why their actions were wrong and proposed mediation as a solution.

“They had no understanding or concept that what they were actually saying was racist,” according to him.

Ultimately, it was Mr. Pile-Grey who was informed that he would be the one subject to disciplinary action. At some point, he was formally accused of disobedience.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back” is what Mr. Pile-Grey calls it.

“I didn’t feel that I could continue in an organization that so disregarded my feelings and my welfare, and actively sought to make me a bad person.”

Ultimately, Mr. Pile-Grey’s service complaint was denied. The employment tribunal heard his complaint later that year and issued a ruling.

He was able to successfully assert his claims of experiencing direct racial discrimination, harassment, and victimization.

When it comes to specific incidents, the Ministry of Defense remains mum. Nevertheless, it made it clear in a statement that it would not stand for any form of harassment, bullying, or discrimination.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced new initiatives to enhance the military experience for all members and emphasized its commitment to encouraging people to report inappropriate behavior.

Mr. Pile-Grey claims that higher-ups in the Army have a hard time comprehending the prejudice that exists there.

He promised that senior Black policemen would not hear any racial remarks. “At the very top, it doesn’t exist,” he proclaimed.

Expect to be addressed as ‘sir’ by them. Guess what, though, if you’re a black private? “That’s going to be said to you daily.”

The Centre for Military Justice’s Emma Norton provided legal representation to Mr. Pile-Grey.

“Not only did the chain of command fail to act on his concerns about racial bias, it then victimized and gas-lit him for having the temerity to complain about it,” according to her.

She claims that the Army’s response was inadequate at all times, including during the legal process. She further stated: “It’s lost an excellent soldier in the process.”

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *