Musician, songwriter, novelist and social critic Kevin Watson was a featured guest on the Imani Speaks Show, where he discussed the racist backlash suffered by Black and minority ethnic communities since Britain voted to leave the European Union; and questioned whether the leave voters made their decision based on race.
There is no doubt that racism has come to the surface in Britain post-Brexit and Kevin Watson discussed these issues on the Imani Speaks Show, Radio Diamond, on Monday, 4th July.
(Download the full show on the below link:
Some readers may remember Mr Watson from his controversial book, ‘They don’t want us here!’, a terrifying account of the racism he suffered at the hands of white racist neighbours and the collusion of the housing association, as well as police in covering up and perpetuating the racist crimes that were being committed against him.
On the Imani Speaks Show Mr Watson said that there is a link between the people who voted Brexit and the increasing number of racist attacks since. There is ample evidence to support the view that many white voters associated a vote for Brexit as a vote for less immigration and a green light to openly practise racism. Only four days after the Brexit vote the police website, True Vision reported a 57% increase in Hate Crime. (Hate Crime Reports Up 57% In Brexit Aftermath : Sky News: 28, June. 2016)
According to the Metro (6 July, 2016), more than 3000 Hate Crimes were reported in just two weeks after British people voted to leave the European Union. (Brexit racism: More than 3,000 hate crimes reported in just two weeks: By Ashitha Nagesh)
One Polish girl posted photos of her family’s shed after arsonists targeted it. They left a threatening note saying, ‘Go back to your fucking country next be your family.’
Writer and feminist campaigner, 18 year-old June Eric-Udorie, wrote in an article on Fusion Network, “The 52 percent of Brits who voted for Brexit voted against the values my mother so cherished—integration, exposure to new cultures and diversity. Now, as a young woman in a black and female body, I am scared….I know that as I walk the streets I will not feel safe. After Brexit, I feel like a raw wound, opened, on full display.” (Thanks to Brexit, I’m afraid to be a young black woman in Britain: Fusion Network, 24.06.2016)
Labour MP David Lammy, suffered racist abuse after calling for parliament to have a rethink on the Brexit vote. On Twitter, one person wrote ‘Go back to Africa Nigger!’ (MP David Lammy racially abused after calling for Brexit rethink: By Tanveer Mann: Metro.co.uk: Monday, 4 July)
As Mr Watson stated, many white racists have used the Brexit vote as a pretext to express their racist views, and they had encouragement from the Leave Campaign which was often focused on racially charged advertising and slogans. In fact, immigration was the single issue pushed by the Leave Campaign, headed by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage and former London mayor Boris Johnson.
One poster used by the Leave Campaign bore a striking resemblance to a Nazi propaganda poster, exposed by Brendan Harkin on Twitter.
As a person from a Black or minority ethnic origin would the poster on the left appeal to you? It seems that Farage and the Leave Campaign was appealing to white anxiety and white fears regarding immigration.
Operation Black Vote, an organisation that seeks to engage and involve Black and minority ethnic communities in politics and public institutions, has vehemently fought against the Leave Campaign on the grounds that racism was at the heart of their campaign.
In an article titled, A shameless Nigel Farage attacks OBV, (22 June, 2016) it states. “If anyone needed more proof about cause and effect around the increase of racism, then a recent poll in London clearly showed that nearly 50% of Black and Asian people have been racially abused by strangers. 75% of those asked also stated that they thought their abusers were motivated by the discussion around the EU.”
Mr Watson said that hate had won the day and it appears that his view has substance when analysing some of the evidence.
Since April 2010 Minority Perspective has been monitoring the hate that Mr Watson spoke of. The hate that has manifested itself through the white working class voting for far-right political parties like the BNP (read the following articles below)
The articles listed show that the white working classes have been consistently voting far-right political parties with a strong anti-immigration platform since before the birth of Brexit, supporting the view that the vote was more to do with race than it was to do with the complexities of democracy within the European Union.
What is also striking about the attraction of the white working-classes to UKIP leader Nigel Farage, is that he is tied to the same extablishment and the same monied interests which the white working-classes were suppose to be voting against, according to the white liberal apologetics.
Farage’s father was a stockbroker, and Farage himself was educated at Dulwich College, an independent, public school for boys. He has worked as a city trader, for the American commodity brokerage firm Drexel Burnham Lambert, Credit Lyonnais Rouse, which was the largest French bank in the 1990s, for Refco, an American, New-York based financial services company and Natixis, a French corporate and investment bank.
In fact according to the Guardian, UKIP has been attracting hedge fund investors worth millions. (Read Nigel Farage targets hedge funds as key to Ukip’s financial future: Rajeev Syal: Friday, 2 January) How are these bankers and investment millionaires connected in any way to the poor, white working-classes? One can only conclude that the white, working classes were responding to the racist politics associated with UKIP and Nigel Farage when they voted Brexit.
Mr Watson closed the debate by emphasising that education was the key for Black people to combat racism as well as building a strong united community. He forsees increasing racial attacks in Britain and says that how Black and minority ethnic communities respond to these challenges will determine their future.
For further research: