Who doesn’t love a good cuppa after a long, hard day? I’ve just finished mine; after trolling through Rousseau’s ‘Social Chapter’, discussing Herodotus’ bias on the Persian Wars, and a half hour walk, uphill, in the rain, I think I bloody deserve one. That’s what we do, we Brits, we put on the kettle after a long day and tea makes it all better.
It is a well known fact that if you’re British, a good cuppa solves every problem. Except for this one, tiny problem that keeps niggling away at me, that keeps me up at night.
British xenophobia is rising. How much longer will you let me stay, Great Britain? At what point will you send my mum home for being a ‘foreigner’, make my dad wear a badge for ‘procreating with one’ and shun me and my sister for being of ‘mixed blood’?
You may think this is exaggeration, but before the referendum result, I had never experienced racism/xenophobia. We’re Italian for crying out loud, we don’t get told to go home, we get asked how to make a proper Bolognese (there’s no such thing, you want ragù and for God’s sake, get rid of the garlic!). Since the referendum, I have been told more times than I can count to ‘go home’. Mate, I was born in Doncaster, trust me, I want to go live in my Mum’s homeland, but even that’s not her home anymore, she’s lived here so long. This isn’t about my experience, however, or about social movement towards xenophobia, this is about how it is now being legitimized.
Let’s start from the beginning. During the referendum campaign, people routinely stated ‘we built an Empire, we’ll do well on our own‘ or ‘we built an Empire, we can trade with the Commonwealth‘. This, of course, completely misses one big problem with the British Empire: It was built on slavery and on dismissing, destroying and white-washing rich cultures. We should be ashamed of ourselves, not using it as a prop for the anti-EU campaign. I think this video will help explain my point, as Akala eloquently sums up what I mean.
To add upon our sudden desire to re-conjure what made Britain so ‘Great’, Churchill, the epitome of British racism, alleged anti-Semitic and, of course, misogynist, is in my purse (I can’t even rip it up in frustration!). He is not someone we should be proud of as a nation. Churchill is the embodiment of all the bad things Government did in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Why are we praising him by putting him on our bank notes? Is this not another slap in the face to all the brave non-British soldiers who fought for and with Britain whilst Churchill regarded them as second class citizens? Are these ‘the good old days’ you want?
Then we move forward towards post-referendum Britain. Not only were there reports of people who actually thought all the immigrants would’ve magically left ‘for home’ overnight, on 24th June, but our very own, unelected PM Theresa May has repeatedly stated that Britain voted for stricter immigration controls. I thought we voted on the EU and to do away with ‘the dictatorship‘.
Of course, this could have nothing to do with the rise of xenophobia, I’m seeing things that aren’t there! Theresa May is just playing to the audience, she knows that we didn’t really vote to get rid of all immigrants. Churchill is only on our £5 notes because he’s a symbol of Britain, recognisible across the world, just like the Queen. Let’s not even talk about Boris, he’s a buffoon, everyone knows it! And Zac Goldsmith was just trying to win a mayoral election, not incite Islamophobia.
I have nothing to worry about, it’s not like I have to declare my nationality at school… other than the forms parents of school children have to fill in declaring their child’s country of birth and nationalities, which no one is quite sure as to why.
I’m sure that this is just to help children get extra support if English isn’t their first language. This isn’t happening across all government departments, is it? Apart from Jeremy Hunt’s ludicrous claim that we won’t need any immigrant doctors by 2030 and so they can all go home. I mean, this could just be the government wanting bright young Brits to do better and contribute to their own country; I’m sure the same can be said for Amber Rudd, with her wish to force companies to declare how many non-British workers they hire.
Now put this all together.
These people are running the country. Whilst, at present, only a minority of the UK population have these feelings towards immigrants, the government are legitimizing the minority. How much longer before the minority becomes the majority?
Look at it from the perspective of an immigrant; of the child of an EU-migrant; of a 3rd generation British-Pakistani. Now tell me that we shouldn’t be scared.
I find it hard to believe that anyone could watch Amber Rudd speak and not fear for the lives of immigrants in this country. Her speech made me feel physically sick to the stomach, it made me want to flee my own country, my own home, regardless of my nationality, because that is not the multi-cultural, free nation I was raised in.
This is the beginning; the government and the media blaming immigrants for the ills of your country. This is how it starts. I will fight it whilst I still have the right to, before I am silenced further by the media, the laws and the people, for expressing my concerns.
Dear Great Britain, I’m going to need something a lot stronger than tea to forget this issue.