Racism in the UK

I’ve been unable to write for days, because I’ve been despairing at the news surrounding Britain, and I know I’m not alone. Whichever way you voted, it has been a dark few months for our nation. We’ve torn ourselves apart, and brought shame upon ourselves. Let’s get some pride back, not just as a nation but as a people. You can play this song while you read, if you like.

I was born in England 23 years ago, and I have lived here all my life. I have lived in 3 different cities, and I have worked in a huge variety of jobs, everything from bartending to farm work to content writing. I have known, lived with and worked with a gleaming, brilliant range of people from every conceivable background and walk of life. I love Britain, and I love England. And I bloody well refuse to tolerate one scrap of racism, xenophobia or bigotry in my country.

In the wake of the referendum, there has been an increase of racist incidents across the UK.  Xenophobes and racists have taken the Leave vote to mean that the rest of the British public agrees with them, and are emboldened, wrongly believing a Leave vote is akin to 52% of the public agreeing we should ‘send them all back where they came from’. I have read posts on social media from people from all backgrounds and ethnicities who have been told to ‘go home’, as if their home were anywhere else but here.

I want to make this absolutely clear, regardless of whether you are for Leave or Remain, Conservative or Labour, or any of the other divisions in this country, if you hold racist views, the country stands united against you. If you shout at people in the street, telling them to ‘go home’, you have no place here. I absolutely refuse to be associated with these attitudes. They do not speak for me, or the British people.

My site may not attract thousands of readers, but I’m writing this for anyone who lives here and who now feels disenfranchised, as I do. Bigots and racists do not speak for us, and never, ever will. Intolerance will never win out. We are a nation of immigrants, we always have been, and the most British attributes we have; the ones most integral to our society; are our tolerance, our indefatigable spirit, our sense of humour, and our compassion and strength as a people.

Our nation is divided this week. If we can unite behind anything, if there is anything for us to be collectively proud of once more, let it be the complete rejection and absolute dismissal of xenophobic and racist attitudes. Let’s unite once again under a banner of tolerance and compassion, both for our own people and those in other countries. After a campaign of bitterness and hate, let’s get to work earning back the ‘Great’ in Great Britain.

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