I need a space to post my feelings. Somewhere safe where I can rant and rage. Sorry this post will be more personal. I wanted to write a detailed analysis of white working class anger and the EU referendum in Doncaster. I finished part one but have failed to write a part two.
To be honest I lost interest. The whole analysis of the situation was just too depressing and Post-EU referendum I feel even more so. When I woke up after four hours sleep after reading the results I was crushed.
69% decided to leave whilst only 31% wanted to remain.
Unlike any other referendum and political poll we had this felt much more personal. It was the final blow to the little pride I had left of where I came from and the hope I had staying in this country. I felt ashamed and disgusted with my entire community. That morning I truly felt like a minority in my borough. I felt that I didn’t belong and that I was no longer welcome in a borough which my grandparents came to from Jamaica in during the 1950s. What would they have said if they were alive today? It felt like that 70% majority of people were telling me “get back to where you came from” (even though I was born in this country).
I am terrified what a “thumbs up” and acceptance of xenophobia and racism within already disenfranchised white working class communities will bring. What will be the result when they feel immigration is not being reduced? Who will be to blame next? I feel as though I live in a culture which promotes excuses (e.g. just because these xenophobic and racist attitudes are a result of years and years of industrial decline, being ignored, poverty and going from a relatively homogeneous community to a much more diverse one); an attitude which in my experience ends with victims feelings and pain too often being ignored. The saddest thing to see was the obvious distress and disappointment a lot of people on my social media feed; young/progressive minded and intelligent people yet to realise their full potential who are determined to support integration, peace, love, intelligent analysis and compassion.
I am no stranger to racism either. I can remember my earliest experience of racism in primary school when another kid called me a “nigger”, though was forced to apologise. It cemented in my brain that I was definitely different to the rest of the kids; me, my sister and another black kid being the only black faces in the entire school.
I can remember my first job at Mood nightclub in Doncaster, which a member of staff openly stated to me that he hated “those really black people” but stated “I was ok” (which i stupidly at the time didn’t do anything about just to keep the peace and because I didn’t have the confidence to report racism.
I can remember being beaten up on Doncaster’s North Bridge by a group of white lads with bottles who chased me down the street screaming nigger, leaving my hoodie and face bloodied up. I was then refused help at the Chinese Takeaway, probably them assuming I was just “trouble”.
I could write more but this really needs to be brief. All these feel like they happened yesterday and small minded comments regarding immigrants, people of certain religions and general petty nationalism force me to remember these again. It is hard for me to disassociate racism and xenophobia from the rhetoric of the leave campaign.
It seems as though a lot of other young people from ethnic minorities feel the same as me; expressing absolute fear for the future. Quoting a user from Twitter:
“Racists are going to feel more empowered as a result of Brexit. It’s a scary time to be Brown in Britain. It is not a laughing matter”.
This report from another Twitter user (a news reporter) which is a bit more closer to home (Barnsley, a town with a similar demographic which is just around 15 miles away):
“Been standing here five minutes. Three different people have shouted “send them home” (https://t.co/cVvmYvC73o)
The fact that the majority of people who voted leave (baby boomers) probably won’t be around that long to truly experience the impact of this decision truly leaves a bad taste in my mouth which I will probably still be able to taste 10 years from now. It is completely and utterly unacceptable. We will from now be an isolated little island.
What is worse for the baby boomers who voted leave is that they believe they are truly “taking back control of their country”. Like it’s a win for the working man. I feel better hearing that a significant number of ex-miners that experienced the 1984-5 strike see that these people have been conned by the political elite (something so obvious in Nigel Farage’s interview on Good Morning Britain with Suzannah Reid straight after the results were announced).
All the white working classes who voted to remain have done is give in to fear-mongering; the idea that when those “bloody foreigners” leave the country and minorities shut up, reject their culture and embrace the culture of the white working class the country will prosper. There has been a total disregard for statistics, actual facts and analysis from professionals and experts; though with as much shit they had gone through in the past (I have always been told stories about how violent and devastating the miner’s strike was) and the amount of anger and disillusionment they felt they all probably just went past them.
Of course I can’t let this, the total lack of support and my decline in mental health affect me and cause me to just give up. I need to carry on living and focusing on my personal goals; carrying on lifting, learning the piano and focusing on my PhD.
Of course this is only the beginning and the fight isn’t over by a long shot. The Scottish reaction to this and whether it triggers a break up of the United Kingdom interests me. If Scotland leaves and decides to stay in the EU I would be very attracted to living there as Glasgow for me is an amazing place to live where I feel welcome with open arms, plus working in the alcohol rehabilitation field there would be incredibly interesting.
Staying positive and keeping my mind off this for me is the key. We all need to find a happy place even if that means letting go. We need to seek happiness and not let politics get us down. Yes I may be a hypocrite saying that but hopefully I will heed my own words.