This week the teacher I work with in secondary asked if she thought her daughter should spend a term in England to improve her English when the opportunity arises. Thinking she was simply asking if it would be a good idea, I told her yes of course. “But with the situation in England like it is at the moment, do you think she should go?” It was then that the penny dropped and my stomach with it. She wasn’t simply asking if her daughter would enjoy it or if it would be beneficial to her studies. She was asking if I thought her daughter would be safe in England; the country where I grew up, the country I love dearly, the country where my family continues to grow and prosper. I tried to reassure her that as a student she would be fine – she would be surrounded by open-minded young people who enjoy experiencing other cultures and broadening their horizons. I tried to tell her it would be great but inside I was horrified. I was horrified mostly because at the moment, after the last few months, the question is completely valid. It isn’t an outrageous thing for a mother to think that her daughter, a European national, wouldn’t feel as safe in England as she once would have.
Brexit brought with it a whole host of uncertainties, nearly 6 months later and no one seems to be any the wiser as to what is actually going to happen. But one sure thing that came almost instantaneously after the vote is the outrageous notion that racism is ok. Over the past few months there have been numerous news stories about non-UK nationals, and some UK nationals who happen to have a foreign-sounding name or be of a different race, being attacked in the UK. In July of this year, there was 41% increase in hate crimes compared to the same month the year before. That figure is staggering. It makes me nervous about our future, scared for others who may experience what is becoming more and more frequent and furious at those who feel this is acceptable.
The other auxiliares and I have all noticed the sheer amount of willing on behalf of the teachers we work with to make us feel welcome while we’re living away from home. The fact that when that is reversed and someone from outside the UK gets a job to help better whatever field they are working in they don’t feel the same sense of warmth that we experience here is outrageous. We the British people need to ensure this doesn’t carry on any longer; it isn’t acceptable and people need to realise that it should not be tolerated.