Today’s news is personally devastating for those of us who have lived as immigrants in the UK. The right explicitly campaigned on the idea that we are a cancer on British society and a majority of British voters answered that call with “yes, yes you are a cancer.”
While it is rational and sensible that Remain supporters try to mitigate the situation or even try to make the most of it (the EU is a regressive neoliberal institution after all), those of us explicitly targeted by this campaign of xenophobia, bigotry, and nationalism do not have that luxury.
Your people—and they are your people, not ours, they’ve made that clear—have set our houses on fire. We now have to worry and prepare for the possibility that we may lose our chosen home and become second class citizens in the country we call home.
Or, as in my case, lose the right to return to the country I have called home for most of my adult life.
As bad as this has hit me, personally, at least I can plausibly pass as English in how I look and—for short durations at least—how I speak. I cannot imagine what it feels like today to look in a way that British xenophobes will see as ‘foreign’. I cannot imagine what it feels like to be explicitly targeted because you don’t have the luxury of passing as white, middle-class, and English. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to see British racist nationalism rise up against you like a tidal wave, only going from strength to strength.
For those of us who are immigrants, and for those who bigots will brand as immigrants just because of how they look or dress, fear is only rational.
The only hope we can hold onto is that a fear for our homes will not descend into a fear for our lives as nationalism rises in Britain.