danconnolly.co.uk

If Britain were 100 people

October 5, 2016

So… pretty much everyone is white!

My parents are immigrants. But they’re the sort of immigrant that’s ok nowadays (there was a time they really weren’t): we’re white, English-speaking, our names aren’t too tricky to say or spell; there are plenty of ‘more foreign’ targets. Unless I point out to anyone that I’m the first generation to be born in Britain no-one is any the wiser.

My neighbours are Indian. Well, actually they’re not, most of them are British. There are three children all born in Britain, as was their mum, and their Dad is from Punjab. There are also a lot of retirees on my street. I used to talk to them when I was gardening out front or walking to the shop but I don’t any more. It turns out they aren’t happy that there’s a brown family on our street. Our street where virtually everyone is white (there’s a Colombian lass a couple of doors down and a black guy at the end of the street plus my neighbours). But apparently that’s too many. And because I’m white (and probably British, right?) I must agree with them. “They don’t belong here”, “they should go back to their mud huts”, “it’s not right”. They’re all smiles when they see my neighbours, but they must feel so sorry for me having to live next door to them, that’s why they feel the need to come over and utterly mis-empathize with me, right? When I tell them that I couldn’t disagree more they act like I have been outrageously rude to them.

All the nationalist, xenophobic shit the government is trying to pull at the minute is terrifying. Genuinely terrifying. That people can happily scapegoat immigration to the degree they have beggars belief.

When I was kid I loved learning history but back then I didn’t understand that you learned these things in order to avoid the mistakes of the past and to understand why the world is the way it is. I honestly don’t know what happens now, so many people in this country feel wronged or let down, and appealing to their most base, racist beliefs will work. It will always work. There’s no credible opposition. I don’t know what happens.