Batshit Brexit

I’ve been quiet for a while, mostly because life has steam rolled ahead and I haven’t had time to sit down and write anything but now… Brexit. A campaign based entirely on prejudice and greed.

I tried my best to forget about it whilst at Glastonbury (which I’ll be writing much happier things about in my next post) but I can’t ignore it anymore. This is a decision that has been made, by and large, by a generation that doesn’t have to live with the consequences.

I woke up this morning and saw yet another video of some brutish, uneducated, racist thugs attacking a person of colour on public transport. I then went onto The Guardian and saw that Labour were trying to oust Jeremy Corbyn who seems like the only politician who has any moral standing or positive vision in the government so far.

I then went to work and received messages from friends saying they were too afraid to leave their houses or go on public transport because they now feel the world is a frightening place and their home no longer wants them. Then I got angry. I got really fucking angry.

A lot of people seem surprised that the vote has gone the way that it has. I keep hearing people say, ‘I can’t believe this has happened’….

I believe it.

I believe it because from the ages of 5-9 I was the only person of colour living in a small minded town where prejudices were passed down from generation to generation. Kids at school didn’t know why they didn’t like me, they just knew that their parents and grandparents looked at me like I was worthless, like I was a dirty spot on their perfect white town, and so hate bred hate. 

Last week I saw a little Jamaican boy with his mum in a butchers in Easton asking the guy working there when England was playing football. He said, “I’m supporting England because I’m British and I love England” and as I smiled at him, my heart broke a little because I was afraid one day someone might make him question that, with a look, or a comment, or violence.

I prayed that, unlike me, he wouldn’t be told day after day that he didn’t belong, that he wasn’t welcome…that he wasn’t wanted… And then Brexit happened and racists everywhere were told that their voices had been heard. Their prayers had been answered. They were getting Britain back.

But what Britain are they trying to get back? This is the question I’ve been asking myself over and over, what do you want Britain to look like? If it’s a country full of white people, you’ll have to take us back to the 1800s, to Henry VIII, to the Tudors because there were black people here then too you know. 

In an article named The Missing Tudors: black people in 16th Century England, an extract reads:

“These Africans were baptised, buried and recorded in parish records in London, Plymouth, Southampton, Barnstaple, Bristol, Leicester, Northampton and other places across the country.” 

(Click here for the full article) 

The Nation’s favourite dish was Chicken Tikka Masala for a decade, only in 2014 did that change. We held the Olympics where we were proud that British citizens triumphed, whether they were white or not. And then what, Nigel Farage comes along with his backwards party and starts to split the country in half – is that really how easy it is to divide us? One stupid man who’s married to a German woman, has half German children but because their white, it’s alright?

Those who voted to leave made a mistake, but I only know this because in the past 2 years I have had to wake up and educate myself on politics. I know that Britain has an unattractive trait of not learning from its mistakes. For a tiny island we have an over inflated ego and very little ability to take responsibility for our actions.

Lest we forget, the reason there is such a high level of immigration in this country is because, as a tiny little island, the UK needed people to come over here and fight for them – to die for them. These people were brought in from India, Africa and Asia (mainly during the First World War) to die for Britain, but were quickly erased from the history books. The documentary by David Olusoga, named The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire goes into further detail.

 After the Second World War, immigration boomed when Jamaicans and Africans were recruited to do manual labour jobs and told their ‘second home’ was Britain… From what my family has told me, I don’t think they felt that way when they turned up. 

Our history is drenched in using other countries to make ours more successful going all the way back to slavery and yet 52% of the Nation has decided they don’t want anymore ‘outsider’s’ in their country.

People can try to tell me as much as they want that this wasn’t about race or racism or prejudice or xenophobia, but you are lying to yourselves if you think those of us that are British; have always been British and will always be British don’t see it that way. 

That those who have come here to be safe because they aren’t safe in their countries, don’t see it that way. That those who have come here to work at jobs people here can’t or won’t do, don’t see it that way. A choice has been made that sends a very clear and a very sad message to those in the UK and beyond, and it makes me desperately ashamed to be painted with the same brush.

But here’s the thing – there are those in this world who feed off hate because it makes them feel bigger than they are. Those who have to go with a pack mentality because they don’t how to think for themselves and those who simply make bad decisions, but they don’t have to hold all the power. We are the only ones who can give others’ permission to make us feel any smaller than we are. 

We are bigger together. We are stronger together and we shine brighter together. And that ‘togetherness’ is not based on race, it’s based on mentality. As a mixed race woman I am part of many different worlds and they are a part of me. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t angry but when I came home and cried on my mum’s shoulder today, I decided that I wouldn’t be scared. I wouldn’t give them that power over me. 

Social media is a very powerful thing, it can open our eyes to the truth but it can also feed hysteria so I won’t be re-posting anything negative I see for a while. I will forward things that will give me hope that life won’t look so bleak tomorrow.

If anyone in the Bristol area does experience ANY form of attack (verbal, physical, anything) then contact SARI (Stand Against Racism and Inequality) – click for link. They are a dedicated, hard working team that will help you through it and help you report it.

Silence will not help us move forward. We have regulations in this country which make any form of abuse ILLEGAL. Stay informed but don’t be afraid, because you are not alone. 

P.S. For all my Corbyn backer’s in need of some hope right now:

‘Last year Jeremy won a quarter of a million votes. Today he lost the confidence of 170 people who never supported him in the first place.

The vote of no confidence by Labour MPs has no standing under Labour rules; it’s window-dressing a thoroughly undemocratic coup with a made-up attempt to look democratic.

35 MPs nominated Jeremy last year and 40 stood with him today – an increase in parliamentary support if anything.

Hundreds of thousands have indicated their support for Jeremy in the last forty-eight hours.

He’s going nowhere.’

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