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Immigration, Xenophobia and Brexit: Is Britain a Racist Nation?

Immigration has been a word on the lips of politicians in this country for years now. Both sides focused on it in the EU referendum, but it was one of the main arguments for the Leave campaign. I've just visited the 'Vote Leave Take Control' website, and quite frankly find it worrying that there is so much momentum behind a movement that is seemingly so xenophobic.

Clearly race, ethnicity, immigration, xenophobia and racism is a lot to cover in one blog post. But if we break it down to a few component parts, then maybe we will learn something.

The word 'xenophobic' is defined as having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.

This is worryingly close to the definition of racism: prejudice, discrimination or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.

Firstly, I'd like to direct you to this article debunking myths about the UK's 'migrant crisis'. If you can't be bothered to read it, a couple of points from it are:
.Evidence suggests immigration doesn't generally impact on the pay or employment rates of existing citizens
.The presence of immigrant communities has no bearings on levels of violent crime. In areas with Eastern European communities, all crime rates have fallen.

On the topic of crime, there have been some worrying trends leading up to Brexit and thereafter. There have been reports of alleged racist graffiti in London, and placards mounted and left on doorsteps in Cambridgeshire reading 'Leave the EU, No More Polish Vermin' - with whoever left them even going to the trouble of translating 'Go Home Polish Scum' into Polish, just to ensure their racist attack could be understood by all those targeted. How thoughtful.

Mere days after the result was announced, this video was released of a group of teenagers racially abusing someone on a tram in Manchester. This one really got to me as I use these trams frequently, often alongside my Jordanian boyfriend who is here on a study Visa. If we had witnessed it, or if it had been directed towards him, I can't even describe to you the outrage we would have felt. Even watching it back afterwards was enough to make us seethe at the hateful minds of some people. Luckily, bystanders who were there told the abusive teenagers to get off the tram, and repeatedly called them 'a disgrace', resulting in the perpetrators being the ones to terminate their journey early.

Another very interesting article is this one from the New York times. Again, if you don't read it, here's some food for thought:

"A poll released June 20 by Ipsos/MORI showed that 47 percent of voters planning to support Brexit said immigration had been bad for Britain’s economy. Never mind that a study by Britain’s National Institute of Economic and Social Research found that immigration had increased the country’s gross domestic product and had lowered the cost of government services like health care and pensions, which in turn helped reduce taxes."

So immigration actually helps the UK. Who knew? 

The title of this blog post is supposed to be thought-provoking rather than inflammatory. I would like to clarify that my view is not that everyone who voted to leave the EU shares the xenophobic views of some, or that they condone racism. It would be hypocritical and completely wrong to tarnish everyone with the same brush, and that is to misconstrue the point of this post. Instead, this is a post to highlight undertones that have been emerging around us of late.

So, is Britain a racist nation? Overall, I would argue that no, we aren't. I believe that most people are tolerant, kind and non-prejudicial. But the examples highlighted above show that racism is occurring and it is not insignificant. We simply cannot allow for this campaign and resultant vote to legitimise hostility, xenophobia or outward discrimination. We must continue to show tolerance, love and respect to one another, regardless of creed or colour. For once you strip back the cultural identity and the layers that have been added by the nations from which we come, we have one very important thing in common: we are all human. And I for one am happy to give a fellow human a chance, no matter who they are. And you should too.

Peace out xoxo

This post first appeared on Amend The Agenda, please read the originial post: here

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Immigration, Xenophobia and Brexit: Is Britain a Racist Nation?


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