It’s day 5 in the Brexit house and the housemates are still divided. Actually, this one has just about calmed down enough to write a coherent post. I’ve spent the past few days apoplectic with rage (that doesn’t do POTS any good btw) and swearing at more people than I cared to mention.
There’s been so many more well written and eloquent posts describing just why I’m so enraged: this one in particular, so instead I’m going to do what I do best: take a deep breath and identify some practical things that people can do to make an attempt at shaking off this image that we’ve generated that all Britons are navel gazing racists looking to restart colonialism. We’re not. Some of us are really rather recent.
Firstly, we need to understand what we’ve done. Yes, all of us. If you are in the remain camp, some of us (and I hold my hands up) assumed this would never happen in a million years and were complacent, some of us (yep, me again) were too patronising to change people’s minds with our figures. We made the awful mistake of thinking that only the ultra right wingers & UKIPpers would vote out; we were wrong. Watch the video below & know we should have tried harder. I do believe part of my raging over the past few days has been feeling guilty that I didn’t do more to stop this shitstorm.
If you voted out (and forgive me, because I’m doing my best to be understanding & all in it together, but it’s not easy), watch this video. Listen to what this elderly woman is saying. Why? Because every out vote facilitated the racist behaviour that makes her too scared to leave her home. You might not be a racist, but your vote facilitated them. You might not be a racist, but you gave the right wing groups a mandate to hate anyone who isn’t white with a British sounding name in public without fear of public outrage. Why? Well, you wanted to take our country back.
Of course, this could just be one isolated incident of nasty pensioners smearing excrement on their neighbours door. Except, I present you with exhibit B, Twitter. I searched for the hash tag #safetypin (I’ll explain why later)
Just a choice few – I do suggest reading the responses.
This person who might not entirely get where we left…
Or let’s go with blatant racism
OK, so what can we do now? Well, let’s start by acting like humans and being that person who steps in if we hear racist language. Don’t be afraid to use your teacher voice with kids trying to be big & clever – you’ll be surprised at how quickly a bully will stand down when they’re called out for exactly what they are.
An onwards to the almighty safety pin. It may seem like a limp attempt at middle class activism, but for now I’ll be wearing a safety pin in a visible place. Why? As a visual sign that you can approach me with a smile, a question, ask for directions, or if needed ask for help, no matter your race, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation. Importantly, the safety pin isn’t just a sign that I’m not a racist, it’s a symbol that I won’t just stand idly by. I will help you. Hell, I’ll risk yanking out my arms to get to you & I’ll run that bastard over in my wheelchair if need be.
Not everyone is on board with it.
Do I think it’s sad that we should need to do this? Yes.
Do I think it’s worth it if it just makes one person feel safer? Yes.
Am I still a European Citizen? For now & I’m looking at ways I can answer ‘yes’.