Worrying Signs, Indeed.
Last week, the United Kingdom decided in a historic vote to leave the European Union in a movement known as Brexit. The United Kingdom first joined what would eventually become known as the European Union in 1973, and their planned exit marks a significant event in the course of the EU’s history.
Economic, legal, and financial questions aside, one of the first and most obvious effects of the 51.9% winning vote to “Leave” the EU has been social, and the UK’s newest citizens are the first to feel it. Reports of racism, xenophobia, and violence are coming in from all across the the UK, and the victims are largely made up of immigrants, Muslims, blacks, and Eastern Europeans. The attackers are not distinguishing between immigrants and people who merely look different, and the horrifying tales are being published on social media to spread awareness.
What’s most scary about this populist vote against globalization and the ensuing racism are the similarities it shares with many close-minded people in the United States today. The white middle class has long felt threatened by immigrants and foreign people they are convinced are “taking their jobs” and driving up crime rates; now that the UK has voted to leave the EU, racist Britons feel they are entitled to act out, threatening deportation to anyone who looks different. Sadly, a familiar tide has been rising in the United States, with presidential contender Donald Trump at the forefront.
So how bad are the threats and attacks? British people have been taking to social media to share reports of the xenophobia, and a woman named Sarah Childs created the Facebook group “Worrying Signs” to spread word of this new and frightening reality.