- Trump accuses Jewish Democrats of having ‘great disloyalty’ or a ‘lack of knowledge’ Tuesday 8:02 PM
- 1 million ‘anonymous’ users of popular porn site exposed in breach Tuesday 6:56 PM
- Khloé Kardashian angers followers with a calorie-counting joke about True Tuesday 6:14 PM
- Spider-Man may no longer be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Tuesday 5:28 PM
- Robert De Niro’s company is suing ex-employee for binge-watching Netflix at work Tuesday 4:41 PM
- Intentionally misgendering a character could get you banned from Borderlands 3 Tuesday 4:06 PM
- Facebook pulls Trump re-election ad for targeting ‘strong women’ Tuesday 4:03 PM
- Kamala Harris says she will restore net neutrality if elected Tuesday 3:16 PM
- All 8 of the ‘Rocky’ movies, ranked Tuesday 2:50 PM
- Everything you need to know about the Facebook conservative bias report Tuesday 2:35 PM
- Study links emoji use to more sex Tuesday 2:10 PM
- The chicken sandwich war is in full throttle on Twitter Tuesday 1:47 PM
- Netflix’s ‘Sextuplets’ proves Marlon Wayans is no Eddie Murphy—or even Mike Myers Tuesday 1:31 PM
- Facebook is finally rolling out its clear history tool Tuesday 1:13 PM
- ‘Theater etiquette’ tweets surge after YouTuber cast in ‘Waitress’ Tuesday 12:55 PM
While the U.K. hasn’t officially left the E.U. (and may not do so for a couple of years, if ever), the decision is already affecting people from all walks of life, from the plummeting stock market to a surge in racist harassment across the country.
The referendum incorporated a complicated web of political issues, but both sides of the campaign focused heavily on the issue of immigration. As in the U.S., this drive for stricter border controls often went hand in hand with xenophobic rhetoric about migrant workers and refugees.
The conflict between the Leave and Remain campaigns did not fall strictly along party lines, with both sides receiving support from conservative and progressive politicians. However, the Leave campaign—and the referendum itself—was kicked off by the rise of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), a rightwing populist party that has been embroiled in numerous racist scandals.
In the days after the referendum, it seems that Britain’s “Leave” vote has encouraged racists to come out of the woodwork. The islamophobic far-right English Defense League clashed with anti-fascist protesters in Newcastle, and the weekend saw numerous social media posts about racist harassment in public places.
People have started to send these incidents to the Twitter account @PostRefRacism, which collates and shares examples of post-referendum racism. The goal of the account is “to take action against racism and tackle the creeping normalization that this referendum has accelerated.”
Some elements of the U.K.’s racial tensions will feel familiar to U.S. readers: islamophobia is a major problem, people are frightened about migrants “stealing their jobs,” and there’s a lot of media coverage about refugees and migrants trying to cross the English Channel from the “Calais Jungle” refugee camp in France.
However, there’s also a great deal of racist sentiment aimed at European migrants, particularly those from central and eastern European countries like Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. When the U.K. opened its borders to Romanian and Bulgarian migrant workers in 2014, UKIP claimed the country would be flooded with 29 million immigrants.
This “flood” failed to materialize, and the immigration figures barely shifted from the year before, but the sentiment remained. The Brexit referendum had the unintended consequence of inspiring people to put up posters reading “No more Polish vermin,” and demanding that E.U. citizens “go home.”
This weekend I and my family have witnessed 3 “when are you going home?” Racist incidents aimed at EU citizens here.
— Adam Boulton (@adamboultonSKY) June 26, 2016
Boris Johnson, the leader of the Leave campaign and a likely candidate to replace David Cameron as prime minister, is yet to comment on the apparent surge in racist abuse across the U.K. He’s probably distracted by the very real danger of another recession and his ambitions of a power grab going up in smoke.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor