Yesterday one of the most historic events of our lives took place. The UK left the EU. The referendum’s fall out has torn a once multicultural united country in two.
White privileged britons were being called racist, morons, xenophobic. It’s horrible to watch unfold as friends and families are being torn apart. But to be honest my sympathies are reserved for those minority Britons who have had vitriol, xenophobia and racial slurs aimed at them on a near weekly basis.
Non-white British citizens being chased down the street told they would be chucked out after the referendum (because apparently we were voting to leave the world), EU national friends being told that if they don’t like it, then go home. I’ve been told (as a German) that ‘I’m alright, we don’t mean you’. I even know someone who was told to vote leave at the polling station because her baby would otherwise be a victim of muslim rape.
These aren’t things happening somewhere else. They are happening here, to people I know and love! To me!
So I feel little sympathy for those who have had just one day of hate thrown at them. Maybe you got a taste of what it’s been like for minorities for quite a long time now. Minorities, who woke up yesterday to find that the people who had thrown hate at them for so long were validated in that hate.
It’s time to get realistic and realise how fortunate you are to have been born white.
As someone who’s travelled the World and lived in many different parts of it, I have realised how lucky I am to have been born a white European. People complaining about being called racist seem to live largely in predominantly white towns and don’t realise the true extent of what some people go through. That isn’t meant to be an insult, just a fact that those people genuinely don’t understand the power of white privilege.
I don’t condone any kind of discrimination and hate generalisations. The undertones of the leave campaign, however, were full of xenophobic motivation. That too is a fact. MOST people I, my friends and family spoke to, gave reasons of immigration as their main reason to vote out.
I have seen racist comments from family and friends nearly every day that have made me want to cry and made me feel unwelcome in a country I’ve called home for 24 years.
I am truly sorry to those who actually had valid arguments for leaving, that you have been tarred with the racist brush. I actually enjoyed reading the more intelligently put reasons for a vote to leave and have always said that there are good reasons on both sides.
But you won. You get to keep leaving the house without anyone taking aim at you simply for the colour of your skin or the accent of your language.
Do you know how scary it is to wake up to a country where the majority of people no longer accept that this is your home because you’re an immigrant? How scared people with mixed-race children must be right now? That the constant barrage of ‘Get Out’ is still being spouted at us, now even more loudly because all those actual racists feel validated in their beliefs?
You had one day of hate thrown at you and I’m sorry, that isn’t ok either. But be grateful it was just one day.