Isolationism causes more hate crimes in UK


Children are not to blame in child marriages

By Managing Editor

When “Brexit,” or the U.K.’s exit from the European Union, was passed by popular vote June 23, many people expressed concern about how this referendum could increase racism and xenophobia in the U.K., and now it looks like they may have been right. 

In the month after the vote, hate crimes jumped 41 percent over the previous year and 79 percent of the crimes were motivated by race, according to an Oct. 13 article from BBC News. 

Overall in 2015–2016, hate crimes have gone up by 19 percent, according to the BBC article. 

This vote took place in June, and the U.K. will not begin the exit process until March 2017, but the consequences of the values brought to the surface by this referendum are already obvious. 

Arguably, Brexit was not intended to be a  racially motivated piece of legislation and an increase in violence against minority groups was not part of its goals. It advocated separation from the E.U. to regain independence as a country. 

How people in the U.K. define independence is what gives rise to xenophobia and racism. Several different divisive issues affected how people voted on this referendum, according to a July 17 article from The Independent. 

Economic concerns like wages and jobs, or social issues like immigration reform were factors in how people decided to vote on the referendum, according to the Independent article.  

Many British people claimed that a reason for this referendum was that the U.K. was losing its identity and needed independence to solve that. 

“There’s this feeling that we’re losing our cultural identity and our national identity,” said Brian Klaas, a fellow in comparative politics at the London School of Economics in a June 20 New York Times article on the issues that caused people to be in favor of the referendum. 

Looking at the demographic changes in the U.K. over the past few decades, it is not hard to understand that “loss” is a code word for racial hegemony. 

In 2011, 86 percent of the British population was white, compared to 91.3 percent in 2001 and 94.1 percent in 1991, according to a Dec. 11, 2012, census report from the U.K. Office for National Statistics. 

A nation’s identity should not be dependent on the racial makeup of the country being homogeneous, and buying into that idea is superficial and dangerous for the country as well as the rest of the world. 

It is dangerous to overvalue national identity when many countries around the world are facing extreme unrest and people in desperate need of refuge. Refusing them sanctuary is not helping the people in need or the country providing the help.  

It might have not been the intention of Brexit, but it did validate the feelings of a loss of identity that many British people may have been experiencing because of an increase in the non-white population in the U.K. 

The “independence” that people in the U.K. were searching for with this referendum has come at an unfortunate price. The country is not only facing internal issues like these hate crimes but is cut off from international relationships, and now that the referendum has passed, there is no end in sight for these consequences. 

Being scared of shifting national demographics or being a member of a multi-national or global organization is something that cripples a country and the international community in moving toward a more inclusive future.