Monday, 27 June 2016

The Guardian: Brexit has given voice to racism – and too many are complicit

The Guardian: Brexit has given voice to racism – and too many are complicit

by Miqdaad Versi

"While before the perpetrators were usually keyboard warriors, waging their xenophobic battle online, now more and more reports are emerging of real-life physical and verbal confrontations. Consider the Muslim schoolgirl cornered by a group of people who told her: “Get out, we voted leave,” or the eastern Europeans allegedly stopped from using the London Underground with shouts of “Go back to your own country.”

In Hammersmith, racist graffiti was daubed on a Polish cultural centre; in Manchester, angry demonstrators shouted slogans outside a mosque; and most worryingly in Newcastle, a placard was placed urging the country to “start repatriation”. Unfortunately, these episodes are only the tip of this hateful iceberg.

To claim these reports are solely due to last week’s referendum would be overly simplistic. Concerns about immigration, and in particular Muslim immigrants, have been simmering beneath the surface for some time. According to the British Social Attitudes, almost 50% of the population believe immigration has a negative impact on the British economy. Similar sentiments may also be found even within some established migrant communities, with individuals fearful that fresh waves of migrants will take their jobs or their children’s school places, as was voiced during the referendum campaign. This is despite the reality, that immigration is hugely beneficial for our nation."

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