Hate Crimes after Brexit

Brexit, the word on every news reporter’s lips, the topic that’s united the nation in conversation. The controversy and confusion over Britain leaving the European Union has caused friction within society, a friction that many have sadly taken out on innocent people. Britain profited from its historical racism and slavery, owing much of the economy’s industrial foundation to it in the 1600-1800’s, yet the echoes of this crime and solidified structural racism still exists today.

Despite legislation designed to protect minorities, hate crimes against marginalised groups continues to grow, with significantly more rapidity since the 2016 Brexit referendum. All throughout history the use of scapegoating and the search for someone to blame for societal discomfort and upset has arisen. The political use of blaming one group for a problem has always resulted in that groups increase in vulnerability and fear of attack. Before the Brexit vote some extremists attempted to fear monger the public into being frightened of innocent people, with anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant propaganda fuelling the anxiety. Unfortunately, this tactic has succeeded, with racial and religious minorities being victim to a significant increase in hate crime.

Britain’s racial and religious minorities are having to deal with the misdirected anger and fear of other members of its society. The right-wing rhetoric of looking after British residents before extending compassion to members of other societies is poorly disguised racism. Racial and religious minorities are violently attacked and discriminated against in the wake of Brexit, whilst white privilege protects white members of Britain from being attacked regardless of their immigration status.

One only has to turn on the news to see a global leadership turning against those most discriminated and marginalised in society, so seeing the lack of compassion and respect reflected in society is not surprising. Retrospectively, more should have been done to combat hate speech and propaganda in the run up to Brexit. With lives being lost and violence being inflicted upon members of society it is the duty of everyone, especially those with societal privilege, to call out hate speech, to be in solidarity with victims and to call for the protection of those most vulnerable in society.

Hate crime has always existed, with marginalised groups, such as racial and religious minorities, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and disabled people all being victim to daily discrimination and vulnerability. Amnesty International see the pain caused by hate crimes and advocate for a safer society, where all people are protected from hate crimes and incidents of harassment that can ruin lives. The current actions taken against hate crimes by authorities have not been sufficient to tackle the problem, and so more needs to be done about it. Amnesty International has published a set of recommendations aimed at governments and authorities, to call for justice for the victims of hate crimes, and preventative measures to be put into place to ensure adequate protection for the future. This resource can be found on the Amnesty International website.