A 24-year-old woman who was racially abused by a man who used "Nutella blackface" to ridicule her has written a moving open letter saying the incident made her feel "worthless, and not very human".
Tobi Rachel Akingbale graduated from Hertfordshire University last year after failing her final year twice. The Londoner tweeted her success, thanking God, and the post was viewed almost half a million times.
But the tweet also exposed Akingbale to racial abuse, with one man saying: "Proof that women, especially blacks, shouldn't go to university."
Another went so far as to copy the graduate's tweet, but replacing Akingbale's picture with one of a man with Nutella smeared over his face.
this is not okay pic.twitter.com/TEeHQpSaQO— Your Practical Dream (@TobiRachel_) February 5, 2016
In response to the abuse, Akingbale wrote an open letter, originally published on Medium.com.
"Yesterday, less than 24 hours ago, just after lunchtime, I sat behind my screen at work and burst into tears," she wrote. "I’m not a crier and nothing could’ve prepared me for this sudden and foreign emotion. I was hurt. I was disgusted. I was angry. Most of all I was shocked.
"For a few seconds I felt worth-less, meaning-less and not very human."
She added: "In September I graduated from university after five difficult years in university. I went from being promised a first class degree in three years to spending an extra two painfully crawling towards that goal for so many personal reasons, reasons I do not wish to share with you."
Akingbale explained she didn't wish to "troll" her abuser, but wished to lay bare the ignorance and hate prolific on social media.
Also, as I said in the letter, I have no intentions of trolling him. I don't do that. What I do do is expose ignorance and speak up— Your Practical Dream (@TobiRachel_) February 6, 2016
I want everyone to be more aware of how they use the Internet. We can't let certain behaviours slide. I chose to use my voice to speak up.— Your Practical Dream (@TobiRachel_) February 6, 2016
"Did you not know that blackface is a form of entertainment used to dehumanise black people so they would continue to view themselves as slaves and feel less-than-human?" Abingkale continued. "This is why I cried."
The abuser later apologised for offending Abingkale.