Travelling as a brown woman in Trump’s America

Tags

, , , ,

by the reluctant coconut 

I have just recently come back from a research trip in the US. I was in Washington, DC for a little over a week and then New York City for a few days. This trip came with a lot of anxieties and trepidation. With the election of Donald Trump, the brown body has become synonymous with a racialised impurity and disgust. As a brown woman, visibly Muslim, I feared discrimination and backlash.

My last trip to the US was last April to Chicago. During that trip, I was essentially racially profiled and searched prior to boarding. It stands to say that the rest of my white colleagues went by without any hassle and I was the only person of colour.

Naturally, I imagined things would be a lot worse under Trump’s presidency. The Muslim Ban and its ad hoc implementation, whilst at first targeted seven Muslim majority countries, was then revised to a ban on five Muslim majority countries, an electronics ban, and subsequent blocks and revisions placed by the American judicial system.

The stories of those who were detained and interrogated purely for the colour of their skin despite nationality or citizenship remained in the forefront of my mind. A British Asian man going on a school trip to Disneyland, Florida and being denied entry, was one such example.

I decided to be practical and brave and proceed with my trip despite the political climate. After all, this was vital research for my PhD and everything had been booked and planned months in advance.

I shared my worries with those closest to me and saw my fears etched in their faces. We took it in turns to reassure each other and ensure all practical solutions were explored to any possible outcome. I was flying through Dublin and so would go through US immigration – at least if I was turned away – it would happen a little closer to home and I could return safely is what I told myself.

With great trepidation (and excitement), I travelled to the airport for my trip. To my pleasant surprise, my last visit to the US (Chicago) meant that I was able to skip a queue and no searching or suspicion took place! Relief!

In the US, I was greeted with the overly friendly American manner, something I appreciated given that I was going to be alone for two weeks. There were many acts of kindness, from people reading the lost expression on my face and offering me directions, to someone giving me their metro card so I could ride the subway, as well as a bus driver who took pity on my inability to work out change for my fare and so let me ride for free!

All positives which greatly improved my research trip and my discovery of DC and New York.

Yet, there were clearly signs of Trump’s presidency in DC. On my way to the Library of Congress, I passed the White House, giant, looming and very American. Cordoned off with police everywhere. Armed police, I should add. Snipers on the roof (my first exposure to snipers). It was unnerving thinking this was where Trump makes his decisions, when not golfing or in his Florida resort, that is.

Further, reading American news in the US was terrifying to say the least. On my first day there, I sat in the canteen of the Library of Congress, eating a subway and watching CNN – as you do. It was breaking news at the time that North Korea had begun missile testing. Hurriedly, I turned the news over and vowed not to read or watch for a while. The proximity to Americans who may be a danger to someone like me felt too unnerving.

Notably, almost outside every museum, souvenirs were sold by itinerant sellers. The general flag based merchandise, America imprinted on t-shirts and postcards ready to be displayed by their proud owners. Disturbingly, almost every stall sold “Make America Great Again” merchandise. And there were more than a few tourists wearing them. Whilst seeing this sign of the racist, sexist and unqualified president’s slogan plastered on people unsettled me deeply, I was told by a local American that it was customary for these sellers to sell merchandise of the current government and did not necessarily reflect a political allegiance. Phew.

Even worse and more disturbing was that many of these vendors were black men. It made me uncomfortable to think that these men, just to make a living had to sell the ideology of a president that denies their very right to existence. Existence, in anything beyond squalid conditions.

And this brings me to my final point in this blog about my recent trip to the States. The socio-economic inequalities created by institutionalised racism were exponential and hyper-visible. In both my trips to the States, I was shocked and taken aback by the innumerable homeless people, almost always black men, the clearly intoxicated or mentally impaired black men and women who roamed the streets trying to be ignored by pedestrians.

A point of reflection that was raised in the brilliant BBC series, Roots, which tells the story of a Mandinka Warrior from West Africa who was sold into slavery. The legacy of this genocidal story in our past is well and truly living. There are very real and very unavoidable consequences of this violent and racist history. There are those who are still suffering from the legacies of African American slavery – a suffering that has been institutionalised in the American way of life – a suffering that needs to change.

The story of a brown woman travelling in America with a British passport and a Brummie accent is a fairly positive one. The story of African Americans living under Trump is still unfolding.

Advertisements

President Cheeto and the Travel Ban

Tags

, ,

by the reluctant coconut

Special relationship or not, it has long been accepted that the goings-on of the United States have a direct impact on Britain. The U.S. is the world’s largest economy and military super hub, and its clout on the world stage is unparalleled. This we must accept. We can’t forget how easily swayed our British politicians were in committing unjustified warfare and invasion, displacing thousands, killing countless others, facilitating violent seismic political and social ruptures in the countries concerned – all in the name of supporting our ‘ally’. The Middle East remains the prime example of the failure of our leaders to stand up to the U.S’s genocidal policies. From Tony Blair to Theresa May, little seems to have changed with our political landscape. When on 27 January 2017, President Cheeto issued a xenophobic Executive Order, affectionately called the ‘Muslim Ban’, instead of condemning this divisive and downright objectionable stance, our Prime Minister Theresa May, welcomed him to Britain with open arms.

In the fight to stabilise Brexit, Britain wants to be first at the begging table when it comes to the global economy. Our disastrous referendum has meant that we have little to offer the world’s economies. We have spurned Europe, and in turn Europe has spurned us. May is now in the quandary of legitimising the most violent, racist and sexist President the twenty-first century has offered us. May has carte blanche supported tyrant Cheeto by remaining silent. And the moral vacuum of the Tory Party at most stretched to a quiet disapproval of the ‘Muslim Ban’. Lest not to embarrass the infamous turd, his state visit is facing uncertainty. Talks to hold the visit after Parliament is out for the summer aim to mitigate the violation of having him speak in the House of Commons. Further, talks of inviting him to Birmingham have sought to avoid the protests organised in the thousands for London.

Birmingham, the second city that everyone seems to forget. We should remind our vile Tory government that Birmingham protested against Trump too – we stood in solidarity with our allies across the world.

The Travel Ban is aggressively racist – there was no attempt to couch it – to insidiously target Muslims – it was out and out racism. The seven Muslim majority countries chosen for this ban, had no inhabitant from it that could be linked to a terror plot in the U.S. And even if it did, how can the actions of a few serve to condemn 1.3 billion Muslims? The outright xenophobia of Trump and Co. is flabbergasting. Daily, the unaptly named Grand Old Party delivers more heart-wrenching and regressive news. The ‘Muslim Ban’ is one of many egregiously outrageous policies. What is happening to women’s rights to abortions in the U.S? What is happening to those Native Americans affected by the Dakota Access Pipeline? What is happening to the Black Lives Matter Movement at this time? And what about the global environment that we all inhabit? No one minority group is safe under this tyrant. And as the U.S. moves towards a dictatorship full of alternative facts and fake news, it seems Britain is jumping on the bandwagon. Our very own Theresa May claimed Jeremy Corbyn was using alternative facts in a fiery PMQ’s exchange a few weeks ago. Jeremy Corbyn himself denounced the BBC as fake news.

What does all this show? That despite the horrors of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Britain has learnt little. Time and time again, our island and its politicians side with the deplorable policies of the U.S. When so many vulnerable communities are under attack, refusing to openly denounce the Cheeto President is as much as endorsing him. And that’s why the Muslim Ban matters to those in Britain today. Walking in the U.S’s shadow, is it any wonder that the slogan: ‘If you want a jihadi for a neighbour, vote Labour’, has emerged.

What’s in a name?

Tags

, , , ,

by the reluctant coconut 

Being Asian in Britain bears its complexities when it comes to your name. Living in an English-speaking, Anglican, Christianised country – your name of Asian, Arabic, and ultimately non-English origin proves speech-defying to some.

From a young age, you learn when not speaking to others sharing your ethnic background, that you should speak slowly, enunciate, and be ready to repeat when you are introducing yourself.

Gradually, over the years, a handful of people will learn how to say your name without difficulty. Yet, over the years, you will have those who simply cannot pronounce a non-English name.

 Ignorance or blind refusal?

What inability to pronounce your Asian name manifests as is a covert supremacy on an individuals’ ethnic arrogance. Anything that is not English, in other words, white, does not bear pronouncing or trying to pronounce. Not trying to articulate unfamiliar words reveals a hidden white supremacy. An arrogance of words.

If a person cannot even be bothered to say your name right, they can’t very much care for your coloured existence either…

Over time, I have found myself mildly shocked when someone can pronounce my Bangladeshi-Arabic name without difficulty. Surprise on my part by the fact that they have easily grasped it. Sometimes shock on their part that it is not a difficult name to pronounce – just perhaps not a common one.

What does my shock and sometimes my enthusiastic appreciation of my name being pronounced right reveal? That, over the years, I internalised mispronunciation, misspelling and misunderstanding as an innocent action and explained to myself that certain people were just unused to such a name.

Be that as it may: my name is my name.  

My name was given by my parents, heralds a meaning in the religion of my parents and carries a history in my familial homeland.

The systematic refusal to acknowledge the diversity of Britain’s population by revelling in one’s ignorant and lazy inability to take the time to read a name again, to ask again, to attempt to say aloud, is not okay. This is white supremacy emerging on a micro-scale and my refusal to accept a mispronunciation and misspelling of my name, is my refusal to cow down to racist micro-aggressions, to value my identity, and my Asian-Arabic name.

My name is a part of me, a display of my personhood and a reflection of my upbringing.

Respect me enough to learn to pronounce it.

“Shame-shame!”: body shamed by a toddler

Tags

, ,

by the fresh coconut

“Shame-shame!” you giggle, as you point at me and hide your smile behind a hand. “Bhua, shame-shame!” You, my beloved not-yet-two-years-old niece, are seeing your aunt change her clothes, seeing her body and telling her to be ashamed.

So I lose my smile, look you in the eye and say a firm “no”. I will not reinforce your belief that nudity means shame. I’ve fought a battle countless women across the world fight every day. I’ve fought my self-deprecating thoughts caused by the media’s portrayal of women to love my skin, my scars and my lumps. I get enough of this shit from the rest of the world so I will certainly not put up with it from you, little one.

Anyone who knows toddlers knows that she isn’t actually trying to make me feel ashamed about my body. However, there is something a little sinister about a one-year-old tell you that your body in underwear is something to be ashamed of.

She’s learning nakedness is reason to be ashamed. Specifically, female nakedness. Never has she cried “shame” to her father’s topless torso. Yet my body in a bra and tights is reason enough for censure. My niece is learning that for a woman to be naked in her own bedroom is unacceptable.

My niece is a clever cookie. She can already express ideas about what she wants and needs with her limited, yet ever-growing, vocabulary. Whether she knows it yet or not, she will understand that, physically at least, she is a girl. She’ll learn that girls grow into women. She’ll understand good girls and women are ashamed of their bodies, even in the confines of their own home.

I am in no place to judge the values her parents choose to teach their daughter. But I do find the whole situation somewhat difficult to digest. Like most British Asian households, we have a satellite subscription to Asian channels. We’ll often have one of the music channels on, streams of misogynistic images and lyrics in the heart of our home.

item-numberI find my niece’s cries of shame difficult to digest because no one tells her that a group of randy men staring at woman’s body is unacceptable and shameful behaviour. No one is crying shame at the TV as a woman sings lyrics such as ‘I’m so hot, you can light a cigarette with me’ or ‘I’m an object’ (I wish I was joking).

In which universe is it okay for our children to be learning that women’s bodies are shameful unless presented for the titillation of men? Certainly not our universe, in which women cannot go out to celebrate with the rest of the world for fear of molestation and rape.
I get it. We need to teach our kids that being naked in public is unacceptable, because that’s the society we live in. I don’t particularly want my niece to run down the street naked either. But surely there’s another way to reinforce that idea beyond “shame”?

A new dawn for British Asians

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

by the reluctant coconut

Happy New Year!

This post is one of hope for 2017.

Hope that we can change our worlds for the better.

Whilst we can reel off all the terrible things that have happened in 2016; the rise of fascism; growth of white supremacy; heightened visibility of state sanctioned violence against coloured bodies; institutionalisation of right-wing policy; war and conflict; poverty and exploitation.

We can also think of these cataclysmic events through a lens of hope.

For the first time, we have a whole generation of technological savvy youth who appreciate the utility of documentation. Whether fleeting or more substantial. Our populace as a whole values itself and posterity; memorialising themselves and their causes on the internet.

The desire to document the Black Lives Matter movement reflects this heightened self-awareness.

For a whole generation of millennials, anger is our base point. We refuse to accept the status quo, the inequality, exclusion and discrimination.

Feminism, anti-racism, socialism are our buzz words.

We are motivated and driven. We refuse to accept the prejudices of the baby boom generation.

I personally start this year with a reading group on inequality; plans to be more anti-racist and feminist than ever before.

I plan to be louder and angrier, to learn, grow and develop, and refuse to accept.

We must take those closest to us on our journey to equality.

Activism will be hard, but we can no longer sit in silence, we must act, we must revolt, we must change.

Join a food bank, contribute to everyday feminism, call out micro-racism or global injustices.

Do what you must to make 2017 a more hopeful year!

Mitts off, Merkel

Tags

, , , , , , ,

by the fresh coconut

Of the 28 EU countries, 7 currently impose a partial or full ban on the wearing of a burqa (a full face veil) in public. France led the way in 2011, then tried to enforce a farcical burkini ban this summer (seriously, what on Earth can women wear?!). Despite her open doors stance on refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, announced her desire to ban full face veils “wherever it is legally possible”. Having gone to great lengths to welcome mostly Muslim refugees into the country, banning the burqa would undeniably be a taking a step back. Here are a few reasons why Merkel and the rest of Europe should keep its hands off of the burqa:

1)    The burqa is not a sign of oppression.

Believe it or not, women, having independent minds and all that, can actually choose whether they want to wear an article of religious clothing. Whilst some families may dictate what women can or cannot wear, others leave the decision up to each individual. We are not in a position to decide whether an individual is oppressed or not by taking a simple glance at what they are wearing.

If an individual is forced to wear something and feels oppressed by it, banning them from public space and further forcing them into the confines of their home hardly seems like a solution.

2) It’s not been that long since women in Europe were expected to cover up completely in public.

charles-i-and-his-wife

Some of you may have seen a picture of Charles I of Austria-Hungary and his wife, Zita of Bourbon-Parma, attending the funeral of Emperor Franz Joseph in 1916 going around on social media this week. Zita is covered from head to two, not a single inch of skin visible.

A hundred years later women have in Europe are unlikely to wear something similarly covering to church. Styles and fashions are influenced by religion, culture and art amongst other things, meaning that they are in constant flux. What’s seen as appropriate now will not be the same in the future, just as it isn’t the same as in the past.

3)    The burqa is not about your comfort, it’s about the wearer’s faith.

First and foremost the burqa is an article of religious clothing, an expression of personal faith – it has nothing to do with you. The people wearing burqas should and can be the only ones to decide its politics. In short, we are not the authority on how people live their lives.

4)    This world is diverse and burqas are a part of that diversity.

No society consists of individuals that are completely alike. As nations that continually flaunt and celebrate tolerance and acceptance of differences, we cannot then work to remove those signs of diversity from our societies.

5)    It’s the burqa now, what’s next?

Specifically for all those British Asians who try to assimilate themselves into Western society by agreeing with the banning of the burqa, have you stopped to think what might be next? The hijab? The Sikh pagh (turban)? The Arab thwab [robe]?

 

Angry Asians Anonymous

Tags

, , , , ,

by the reluctant coconut

Being Asian in an increasingly white supremacist Britain engenders multiple inequalities that rage on and on. The daily injustices committed against us are big and small. All in all they create a giant melting pot of quiet anger and disaffection amongst brown people.

The ways that the white British populace have found creative, multiple and nuanced ways to perpetuate our exclusion is limitless, multifaceted and down-right depressing. From a daily trip into town, a jaunt on public transport, to education, and the workplace – micro and macro-racism and ill-informed xenophobia abound.

To mention a few examples of anger-inducing stupidity:

  • Where are you from?

From friends, to potential partners, to service providers – everyone and anyone who sees you and your melanin is determined to find out your precise geographical origin. And by that I mean yours, your parents, and your grandparents; saying Britain doesn’t suffice.

  • Your name is very exotic

From people you meet at shop counters, to those you speak to on the phone – one mention of your name and a well-meaning individual is always telling you how ‘exotic’ it is.

What both these examples have in common is that the people from whom they are coming from will unlikely think of themselves as racist or racially motivated. Such people will perhaps consider their words to be unproblematic even if pointed out. They will insist that their comments reflect an interested audience or were to be taken as a compliment.

But as Asians, such words continually reinforce a sense of disconnect with Britain. Why is it that our very identity and by extension existence, is called into question on an almost daily basis? Like curious ethnographers, these well-meaning members of the public reinforce damaging ideas about belonging equating to skin colour.

Yes, we get it, I promise you, brown people get it, we live in England, home and heartland of the British Empire, and anything that is not Anglicised is foreign and different; subject to many a furrowed brow.

But please, for all you curious people out there – please just wait a second before you demand information. Many of us were born, raised, and schooled in Britain’s industrial heartlands. The fact that our mother tongue is different does not mean we are aliens. Our skin colour is not the only source of our identities.

Britain, you chose the path of colonialism. You chose imperialism and violence and war. You chose our parents’ migration and now we are brown in Britain.

Stop giving us so much cause for anger, frustration and disaffection.

Please, just let us be.

Silence and Seclusion: Mental Health in British Asian Culture

Tags

, , , , , , ,

by the fresh coconut

Mental health issues affect every one of us, whether directly or seeing a friend or family member dealing with them. The lack of appropriate dialogue about these issues is well known but remains a taboo in the British Asian community. The shame, misbeliefs and lack of fitting language all contribute to these misunderstandings. In light of the article shared above, I thought I’d share how my experience of anxiety has been as a BA girl.

I have long accepted that anxiety is part of me and my life. This acceptance has helped me get over any shame I have ever felt about it, even helped me clear up any misunderstandings I may have about why I am having panic attacks. But for my mother, it is an unfathomable sadness. She can’t understand why I am panicking or crying for no apparent reason. The thing is, there is no reason. But Punjabi isn’t a language that has words for mental health issues.

I still can’t sit down at the dinner table with my parents without feeling my heart palpitate and my head going light. Some days I can keep myself calm, others I feel the tears well up and I am unable to finish my meal. There is no reason. I don’t know why I feel this way, I just do. But after five years of this drama at the dinner table, my mother’s sympathy is waning. I can see that she’s trying but ultimately, all she can see is her twenty-something daughter crying at the dinner table for no reason. Sometimes she’ll question me about why I am feeling sad or whether I haven’t told her something. Others she’ll be angry with me for ruining dinner, for crying like a child and not being in control of myself. She’s not trying to be cruel; Mum just doesn’t know what to do.

What strikes me is that five years since these issues began, Mum still hasn’t been able to grasp what’s wrong. I’ve brought home leaflets explaining anxiety and depression in Hindi, had countless conversations in Punjabi but still she’s at a loss. Her advice remains ‘think good thoughts’, ‘there’s nothing to worry about, calm down’ or the age-old Asian mother solution to everything – ‘pray’. I have to say, none of these pieces of advice help.

Though I am in a position to expect sympathy from my mother, I can’t help but extend mine. I’ve used countless words to express how I feel – parishaani (worry), dar (fear), bechaini (restlessness) – but all of them require a reason. They don’t express the inexplicable rootlessness of anxiety. How can she ever understand what’s going on with me if she’s never experienced it and if there are no words to explain it? Even the leaflets from the doctor’s surgery were useless, telling her that there was a reason for my feelings. There is no cause for my anxiety. It just is.

One thing I can never forgive is her shutting me off from other people in my lowest moments. During my worst period of anxiety, she took me to the Gurudwara (Sikh temple). In hindsight, it is clear that it was more an act to comfort her than me. My face bore the signs of the days spent crying and Giani Ji (Sikh priest) noticed. His wife asked me if I was okay. As much as I wanted to take solace in telling someone how I felt and hope they had some words of kindness for me, I told her I was fine. Mum had expressly told me that I’m not telling anyone about my anxiety for fear that people might believe that I had been cursed.

But I’m not cursed. I’m just learning to control my anxiety issues. Hopefully, one day my mother will understand, too. However, I wish that I didn’t have to accommodate her misunderstandings into managing my anxiety. It’s emotionally exhausting to be in the middle of a panic attack and hear her shouting at me in sheer confusion. Being understanding about her misunderstandings is simply something I shouldn’t have to do.

2016’s ‘Coloured’ problem?

Tags

, , , , , , ,

by the reluctant coconut

2016 seems to have been a year of absurdities, shock and bewilderment. Our political landscape has changed beyond recognition, our national ideologies completely challenged, and our international global systems irrevocably altered. The effects of such a seismic shift in geopolitics on an ethnic minority population has been copious, manifest and schismatic.

For Britain, cataclysmic alterations seem to have begun with the General Election in May 2015, ushering in a continuation of a Tory government. The London Mayoral Election in May 2016 saw a racist, vindictive divisive campaign orchestrated by Tory MP Zac GoldsmithSome good news though with the election of Labour MP Sadiq KhanThe Tory government’s decision to hold a referendum on the position of Britain in the European Union saw 52% of Britain voting to leave in June 2016.

After what became known as Brexit we saw our politics internally combust. The political shambles of the next few months saw leaked information scandals, political rivalries and back stabbing, unviable press manipulation and general anarchy in the political sphere. It seemed we were living through a post-satire universe, with the resignations of David Cameron, Nick Clegg and the breakup of the Labour Party. It took two leadership elections to see Jeremy Corbyn accede to power.

And as if the world was trying to prove its capacity for destruction with an unrestrained velocity, in November 2016 we saw the election of a fascist white supremacist misogynistic Donald Trump as President of the US.

Yet, what does all of this mean? What does all of this mean for ethnic minorities?

Time and time again our national and international politics have asserted the lack of value placed on coloured bodies. Prejudiced rhetoric argued that the economic recession of 2008 had little to do with a banking collapse but more to do with a Labour Party budget and an immigrant population. The austerity that we are living through now has apparently little to do with a deliberate Tory budget and their unsuccessful implementation of trickle-down economics but an immigrant population. The current global failings of neoliberal free trade economics it is argued has little to do with the insidious effects of capitalism but an immigrant population.

An immigrant population has been blamed almost single-handedly for all the world’s ills.

A refusal to appreciate economics, global climate and politics has seen the scapegoating of the most vulnerable in society. This fictitious narrative of blaming coloured folks for all suffering created and legitimised Brexit and Trump. The power of this dangerous rhetoric has not only seen a rise in racist violence and vicious xenophobia, it has legitimated an Us versus Them; White versus Coloured mentality on an astronomical scale.

For those ethnic minorities who are living within these systems – a sense of being completely written out of one’s own country is paramount. This world is not for you – it is not designed for black or brown. It has no space for immigrants of any kind, whether first generation, second or third. Birthplace and national rights matter not in this climate of intolerance and fear. Ethnic minorities are increasingly stateless. The project of multiculturalism has been decimated. The role of the state has become to officially sanction Other.

Within this world ethnic minorities must learn to exist again. We must speak out. Within our respective bubbles of toleration, we can educate and discover and create. We can learn to love both our cultures and colour and keep fighting to exist within the spaces we occupy.

Whilst the unpredictability and rise of right-wing fascism is sure to accelerate with the European Elections in 2017, we must find strength in our individual and collective capacity. We are brown. We are black. We are coloured. And we have rights. We have purpose. We have value. And we have meaning.

If the world refuses to recognise our humanity, we must show it to them. We must exist and continue to exist. Our happiness has now become an act of political rebellion. We should strive for change. We deserve compassion. We can and will build our own worlds’.

Homeless in the West

Tags

, , , , , ,

Waking up to a Facebook feed full of Trump’s face and news of his win left me feeling sick and nauseous. For the second time this year, I was scared to leave the house even though I live in a completely different country. Some might see this as an overreaction, but those people did not experience the racism my friends, family and I saw in the immediate aftermath. Those people weren’t verbally abused on trains, weren’t spat at in the street. Those people haven’t grown up hearing the horrific treatment their parents suffered when they first tried to make their home in a new place. Judging by posts, such as this one from the Humans of New York page, a lot of people of colour are feeling the same way. This worrying trend of racist right-wing candidates and causes garnering support may continue in the upcoming elections in Europe.

The devastating victory of Donald Trump in the US elections made me think for the second time this year that ethnic minorities have been told that they simply do not belong in the West. Loud and clear. This is not our home. For my generation, the first generation born to migrant parents, this is a damning blow to our identities. A few weeks ago I wrote a piece acknowledging that ultimately, we are citizens of the world because we will never feel 100% British or 100% Asian. We’re somewhere in between. Brexit and Trump are two reminders that those that do feel 100% British know this, and they don’t care what happens to us.

Yes, not all Brexiteers and Trump voters are racists or misogynists. But their votes for these xenophobic ideologies send one message loud and clear: the lives and rights of ethnic minorities and of women are secondary to the desires of the white, male populace. If you think your vote to leave the EU or for a hatemongering president had nothing to do with race because you aren’t a racist, who do you think you’re kidding? By prioritising your ethnic clout over my basic human rights, you have made this about race. Whether you wanted to or not, you said that my life is worth less than yours because I am not white.

Frankly, I’m now jaded. As if growing up not knowing where you belonged wasn’t enough, the world has just told me that I do not belong in the very place I call home.