Britain should not think it’s above the racism seen in the US.
Robert Winder, in his very Britishly titled book ‘Bloody Foreigners’, tells the enthralling story of the rich tapestry of the thousands of foreign people and ideas that have settled and shaped Britain ever since mankind tracked into Europe from Africa. Our medieval architecture was created by the French; our royal family has German blood in their veins; our banks and shops are Jewish; our language a concoction of Germanic and Latin (with a sprinkling of Indian and American). Our food is anything but British, with tea from China and curry from India. A quintessentially English song of royalty was composed by the German George Frideric Handel. The book speaks of how the Empire stood shoulder to shoulder with us in the trenches of the First World War; and alongside us against Hitler. It was they who came here to help us rebuild our charred cities and bombed out buildings. It was Britain which soldiered on alone against Hitler and Nazism. The story of the Second World War is one of an epic struggle of freedom and tolerance against the forces of racism and oppression. Britain couldn’t possibly be a place of racism and intolerance.
Perhaps this is the reason many Brits scoff at the Black Lives Matter UK movement. A Buzzfeed report on the July 2016 Black Lives Matter march in Birmingham pointed to a dismissal of the issue. After all, the UK isn’t like the US. The brutality and social struggles minorities face in the US aren’t like the ones minority groups in the UK face. Britain couldn’t possibly be as barbaric and unwelcoming as that. Continue reading