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My 350 on BREXIT: A note exclusively to British racists

“Do not uproot their belonging to a diverse multicultural country, whose real problems are not the immigrants but the politicians you elected and their neoliberal policies.”

Sonja Marzi
30 June 2016

In the aftermath of the historic British vote to leave the EU, openDemocracy is asking for our readers' thoughts on Brexit and what needs to happen next in 350 words. We've had an extraordinary response and you can read them all here.

Shortly after the British referendum ‘White Zone’ stickers are reported to appear in Glasgow, people are filmed discriminating immigrants openly in the streets and telling those British people, living there for generations and have never known another one as their home, to leave the country. It is terrifying how they are not even ashamed or have a feeling of wrongdoing. Being a German in the second generation after the Second World War in my family, it is difficult not to be reminded of the time Hitler was elected and divided the country in a superior German ‘race’ and sub-humans. The time he introduced the Nuremberg laws to strip anyone without proved German ancestry but especially Jews, from any human rights. The cruelties of this time against humankind stripped us, the future generation Germans, from our sense of belonging, creating a constant guilt we carry with us because of what my grandparents failed to prevent. Today, 70 years later, I develop a sort of sense of belonging again, but it cost us much and it was a long process. A process that is still on-going. Contemporary Germany is still fighting against racism, discrimination and xenophobia, as if a particular part of the population has not learnt anything from the past.

Do not do this to your children! Do not uproot their belonging to a diverse multicultural country, whose real problems are not the immigrants but the politicians you elected and their neoliberal policies. Take action now. Go outside and remove the ‘White Zone’ stickers in your neighbourhood. Go outside and be kind to those who suffer from racist behaviour against them, advocate for them and do not make the same mistake my grandparents did by doing just nothing or even worse being active in racist behaviour of any kind. Help your country now, save your future generations and work actively against a future Nazi-England because, this story; we already know how it could end, and it does not need repetition ever again.

This is a message only directed at those people who are part of the recent anti-immigration actions in Britain and at those who are part of right wing movements or share their views.  I write this because of the recent events, not because I have any negative feelings against Britain in general. The uprising of racist behaviour is not a British development alone. We can observe this in Germany, Britain, in many European countries but also in the US. We need stronger actions to prevent discrimination and racism.

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Emily Bell Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism and director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism School

Anoa Changa Journalist focusing on electoral justice, social movements and culture

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