July 1, 2016 § Leave a comment
Racism. After the “Brexit” referendum result, so-called post-Brexit racism has gained attention. I have seen numerous twitter posts showing disgraceful incidents, which are totally unacceptable. The Leave voters say “Don’t call us racist. It’s just some of us. Do not tarnish the majority of decent leave voters”. I understand, because that is what racism is all about. That’s why, almost throughout my entire life, I thought “White British people never understand racism”.
The “post-Brexit” racism almost sounds like a one-off thing. No. Racism is something that the minority faces EVERY DAY. During my teenage hood in West Midlands countryside, I had that “look” from the British people. That isolated and alienated feeling of “I am different and people make me feel so”. Sometimes it was harsh for a 15 year old me back then. Kids can be harsh. Not that I was bullied, but that indescribable atmosphere was definitely there, and I did not like it. I had to grow up with the presence of racism. I never wanted to hang out with other Asians, just to make myself seem different and free from the stereotype. After moving to Brighton, life seemed a little easier. It was a multicultural and fun place, filled with joyful people from different backgrounds. Yet, racism was still present. It happened not just to me but also people around me (Iranian, Spanish, Italian, Moroccan, Nigerian…) The minority has to live with it. Teenagers chucking stones at me, abusive racial remarks, or a car driver saying we almost got into a car accident because I (pedestrian) couldn’t see things (lifting his eyes to imitate that “slinky” eyes of mine).
When people say “immigrants are stealing jobs from us” – think about it. We, us minority, had to be emotionally strong to survive, in order to achieve our life goals. My goal was to study and gain degrees, just like an ordinary British person, but it was extra hard. I would never say “British people are lazy” – it’s just us minority are perhaps mentally strong. I remember my ex-colleague, who was a refugee from Morocco, fled to Britain as he was a child soldier. He works in a shop, serves local people, pays tax… I said to him, “it’s nice you’ve got to stay in Britain”, and he replied “I had no choice. It’s not nice”. He went through a lot in his life, still he faces everyday racism – comments such as “terrorist” “refugees not welcome”. The minority either has to ignore or fight.
The Brexit result – did not reflect our voice. The anti-immigration discourse has won, regardless of EU and non-EU immigrants’ voice. And it seems we will need to endure more of the racists nonsense from now on, and that is sad.