Remaining Racism

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Disgruntled remain campaigners among both politicians and pundits are making hay in the aftermath of the vote to leave the European Union with claims that it has led to an upsurge in racism. One particularly confused example came in The Independent, where Lizzie Deardon links a video of drunken teenagers in Manchester abusing a perceived immigrant on a tram by telling him to go back to Africa. This is set in the context of an apparent rise in racist incidents since the Brexit vote, although Deardon does not explain what abuse towards a perceived African has to do with a vote to leave the European Union. Nor does she set it within the context it should have been given of similar incidents on London public transport in the last year, such as the woman of apparently African ethnicity who rants at Muslim women telling them they should never have moved to England and should return to their own country where there is bombing every day.

Journalists who twist news stories to fit their editor's desire to have a Brexit hate crime story are the true instigators of hate crime, not those voted to leave the European Union. They are not the cleverest of sorts so I will explain the simple logic for them. If during the campaign you publish opinion pieces that a vote to leave the European Union would give approval to racists and then when the vote is to leave you continue to seek to link that vote with a green light for racism then you, not the leave voters, are giving the green light to racists. The longer you perpetuate this myth the longer you continue to increase the risk to all ethnicities. In London I have personally witnessed whites abusing East Europeans, blacks abusing whites, blacks abusing Muslims, and if I had lived in areas that were predominantly Muslim or Jewish I am sure that I would have witnessed some of them transgressing as well. Racism is not something that a vote you do not like can be linked to nor is it a good rationale for a click bait article. Racism is endemic in any community that sees itself as having sufficient numerical strength to get away with it. So journalists please stop feeding the monster that you probably avoid in your comfortable middle class street. This is the daily reality for many people the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, including those areas where non-whites voted in large numbers to leave the European Union.

Politicians are just as bad, but even more cushioned from the realities of life in the United Kingdom. So they can blithely condemn racial abuse as a way of attacking the vote to leave the European Union without recognizing that this is the daily burden for so many people regardless of whether there is a referendum taking place. Those politicians should be held to a higher ethical standard than journalists and need to go beyond stop making such spurious arguments and apologize for past efforts to assert that those voting to leave the United Kingdom are all racists. That is the scariest thing that you can say to vulnerable minorities: that this is four nation block containing over 17 million racists. Careless politicking may cost lives.

Racism is caused by racists and they do not have the excuse of a referendum result or anything else. There is no excuse for racism, but sadly it was promoted by David Cameron in the middle of the referendum campaign as he abused parliamentary privilege to accuse then London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan of consorting with racists. No racists have any excuse for their racist behaviour, including the racist currently Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. His apology is still awaited.

© Mercia McMahon. All rights reserved

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