Post-Brexit, xenophobia has gripped England. Just a few hours after the EU referendum, extreme racism has taken over the nation, where random ‘White’ Britishers are insulting, intimidating or attacking people who are not ‘blue-blooded’ English.
Owing to Brexit, vitriolic racism has been so rampant in the past week that the Welsh, who are actually from Britain, have been asked to leave England just because they were heard speaking anything but English.
During the Brexit campaign, leaders of the “Leave” camp build up a massive fear psychosis over immigration, warning that refugees threatened to undermine Britain’s economy and security. Racism has been unleashed into the streets and stores in England like a monster that was chained in the deep dungeon of the collective English psyche. Brexit has given this monster license and legitimacy to spread hatred.
The anti-immigrant backlash was so rampant that it has raised alarms in the government and elicited concerns from officials in Poland and the Czech Republic, the homelands of many recent migrants to Britain. In Parliament on Wednesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced “an action plan on tackling hate crime,” including new guidance for prosecutors on investigating crimes that appear to be racially motivated.
Over the week, there have been over hundreds of such hate incidents. Non-Britishers across the UK have suddenly found themselves in a nation where they feel like outsiders, and are unsure about their future. An Indian origin BBC reporter was called a “Paki”, which she says has not heard since the 80s. A man entered a halal butcher shop in Walsall, and ignited a bottle of spirit, damaging the shop and hurting an employee there.
A Polish cultural centre in London was vandalized, and protesters unfurled a banner saying, “Rapefugees not welcome” at a mosque in Birmingham. In another incident, a group of young boys cornered a Muslim girl, shouting ‘Get out, we voted leave’.” Another man in a departmental store shouted at a Polish man in the queue, “This is England now, foreigners have 48 hours to f*ck right off. Who is foreign here? Anyone foreign?”
Many of the haters are just ignorant racists, who mistakenly believe that European citizens will be forced to leave Britain because it decided to leave the EU. Scotland, a part of the UK, had voted to stay in the EU, and is likely to pull out of the United Kingdom.
For the bigots who want to turn Britain into its “pristine” White condition, they’ll have to come to terms with the fact the vast majority of blacks and browns arrived not from the EU, but from the Commonwealth. And like they wish, if everyone pulls out of Britain, it’s going to get mighty lonely being English.
Being an Indian, I don’t find the racist hatred erupting in Britain odd. I mean, all these name-callings, hatred and bigotry based on region, religion or caste are so common in our country that Britain’s xenophobia will pale down in comparison.
Assamese migrants are beaten mercilessly with fatal consequences in Kerala. Militants line up poor Bihari labourers in Assam and kill them like animals. Africans in Bangalore and Delhi are stripped, beaten and killed, all the while shouting “Go back to your country.” North-eastern lads are killed by mobs because they don’t look like “mainstream Indians” and girls from the region are raped and assaulted because they are “anyway loose”.
A Muslim man get lynched to death for allegedly having beef, while Dalit women are raped in public, and hanged onto trees as a spectacle. Kashmiri Pandits refuse to visit their ancestral homes for fear that they will be attacked by Muslims there.
The list can go on. What I have witnessed in my own country is that if you don’t behave or look the part of the state or the region, there are high chances that some bigot will ask you to leave “his” state or city, and “move back to your poor place”.