Of late, I try to steer clear of watching the news on TV because I find that rarely is good news shared and I simply don’t like consuming vast amounts of negativity. That being said, it is hard to avoid all the insanity that is going on in the world right now. From WWIII to Meghan and Harry, you’d really need to be living under a rock to avoid, at the very least, hearing about what’s going on.

Over the past few months, I’ve had some eye-opening realisations about the minds of the majority in the UK. For me the real eye opener came when on 13th December 2019, Boris Johnson was elected Prime Minister of the UK… by a landslide! Brexit, Meghan Markle, Boris Johnson’s victory and many other happenings of late have led me to ask the question, is racism getting worse in the UK?

I think the final thing that made me want to write this blog post was the Harry and Meghan situation, so let’s start there. For those of you who don’t know, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to step down from their duties as senior members of the royal family[1]. I don’t blame them and I personally think it was the logical thing for them to do. From the moment they started dating, Meghan Markle received an onslaught of abuse from the general public. This abuse heightened when she became pregnant and there has been a resurgence on social media since the couples recent announcement. If I’m being honest, I don’t know the ins and outs of why they’re stepping down or what this actually entails but the announcement and the response online made me reflect on the treatment of Meghan Markle as a whole. Let’s be honest, the hate that this poor woman has received is disproportionate to the level of hate Kate Middleton has received. I don’t like to compare people but Kate is the closest example of someone in a position to similar to Meghan’s. Aside from the fact that Meghan is an American and a divorcee (which isn’t anything new in the royal family), can someone please tell me what makes her so “unsuitable” for a position in the royal family? And also, what deems her worthy of the level of abuse she’s received online over the years? *insert eyes emoji*. I’ll leave that there.

Stormzy’s name has been popping up a lot in the past few months. In a recent interview with an Italian magazine, Stormzy was asked whether Britain was still racist and he said “definitely, 100%”[2]. What he said was then misquoted by British media to imply that Stormzy believed the “UK was 100% racist”[3]. The backlash I saw on social media was unbelievable to say the least. There were numerous tweets which I can only describe as idiotic such as this one https://twitter.com/dvatw/status/1208550587618463747?lang=en. Tweets like this completely undermine the work and effort this guy has put in to get where he is. Aside from this, Stormzy was born in the UK, so why would he need to get a one-way flight to Accra? And why is it an issue that he grew up on welfare when he is a British citizen? These types of remarks are extremely problematic because they just highlight the fact that some people in the UK do not deem anyone that is not white as British. Regardless of whether they were born and raised here or not.

Boris Johnson… a man who has openly discriminated against and offended numerous minority groups within the UK, wins the general elections by a landslide victory in December 2019. It definitely makes you question what the values of the country you live in are. Is racism worse now in the UK than ever before? I think this is a hard question to answer because the way I see it people always act differently behind closed doors. What’s happening now in the UK, is people are becoming more overt about their racist views and beliefs. I believe the reason for this is because of our leadership. Ultimately what propelled many (not all) Britons to vote out in that 2016 referendum was the thought of “immigrants coming and stealing jobs” because this is the propaganda they were fed. When you have a leader that in many ways supports this ethos through his words and his actions, it empowers people to speak their truth in the same way that he is speaking his.

So, is racism getting worse in the UK? Honestly, I don’t think it is. I think it’s just becoming more overt. Racism in the UK is something that has been covert for quite some time but now it’s bubbling over because of social tensions and people are showing their true colours.

Paula M

[1] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/12/uk/harry-meghan-royal-showdown-analysis-intl-gbr/index.html

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/dec/21/stormzy-uk-is-racist-and-boris-johnson-has-made-it-worse

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/dec/23/stormzy-hits-back-at-media-for-intentionally-spinning-my-words-over-racism-comment

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