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To take Brexit personally?

352 replies

Fiep · 29/11/2019 09:46

I’m preparing to be flamed but I really want to hear views from all sides. Do try to be kind though.

I’m an EU citizen. I’ve lived in the UK for all my adult life and have spent most of that working with NHS patients. I’m a qualified professional and there is a skills shortage - we never manage to fill all our posts.

Most people can’t tell by my accent that I’m from the EU and instead assume I’m from another English-speaking country unless I tel them my name (which sounds foreign) or speak in another language.

Before the referendum I felt the UK was my home. It was the place I’d spent most of my life and I’ve always loved the British humour and quirky way of looking at things.

Nobody ever gave me grief about being foreign and I felt welcome and valued.

Shortly after the referendum, someone verbally abused me on a bus when they overheard me speaking in a European language on the phone. It really upset me. I’m privileged by most measures and I’m white, so I was not used to racist abuse. I now have a baby and struggle to talk to her in my language in public as I feel people are giving me judgemental looks when I’m out and about and speaking “foreign”, especially as I live in a rural place where the majority of shoppers at the big Tesco are White British and I see quite a few Union Jack / St George’s flag tattoos. This denies her the chance to grow up bilingual and I feel guilty about that. I do speak / read / sing to her at home but it’s not enough immersion in the language for it to make a difference.

On the other hand, most of my colleagues in health have always been immigrants too and I struggle to see how the NHS would run if it was just White British staffed.

AIBU to feel really angry about Brexit? To feel it’s just vitriol and wanting the country to be white? To take it personally and to let it affect me in that way? To look around the shops and feel that prejudice has been legitimised?

I’d actually be really keen to hear from Leavers as well as Remainers as I really can’t get my head around how anyone could have thought this was a good idea for something as woolly as “sovereignty” or whatever.

braces self for impact

OP posts:
EssentialHummus · 29/11/2019 11:46

Not everyone who voted Leave is racist, but I think almost everyone who is racist perceived the Leave vote as an endorsement of their views.

I'd agree with this too. And it's made it more socially acceptable to air those racist views.

No small amount of irony, since a reasoned, calm debate on a set of agreed facts would be far more productive (even it the outcome is still leaving the EU).

I'm a foreign (EU and Commonwealth) national. I've been here a decade. For the first time I'm actually considering leaving the country that I chose to move to in my early 20s - I feel like the Britain I chose isn't the one I live in any longer.

Please speak your language to your daughter when out and about, having another language is a great privilege.

Jaxhog · 29/11/2019 11:46

As the daughter of a 'colonial', I sympathize and have also noticed a sharp upturn in racist comments and general intolerance since Brexit.

I've always thought Brits were amongst the most tolerant and welcoming in the world, but this is no longer true. It seems we can no longer discuss differences but must now ram our views down other people's throats. Part of it is Brexit, but I think it reflects a worldwide increase in intolerance. It is truly, truly sad.

Tensixtysix · 29/11/2019 11:49

Welsh speakers get abused on buses away from Wales. Some people out there are idiots and don't like it when they can't work out what you're saying, even when it hasn't got anything to do with them.

MatildeHidalgo · 29/11/2019 11:52

Arrogance is a very British trait

It really isn't.

burnagirl · 29/11/2019 11:56

It really, really is.

There's a reason why the British aren't exactly popular outside of Britain.

ScreamingLadySutch · 29/11/2019 12:03

Please don't panic. Nothing is going to happen to you!

Remainers really need to stop this myth that Brexit happened because, racist bigots. And that, stupid. And, xenophobic Little Englanders. And, they didn't know what they were voting for. And, the world is going to end.

THAT echo chamber is insulting and condescending, why the Leave vote increased (why the call for a second referendum quietly got dropped) and why the Lib Dems are currently getting a pasting for risking all on a single issue.

ScreamingLadySutch · 29/11/2019 12:07

What I meant was, after the emotions die down, the world doesn't end but Brexit does cause some problems (it won't be the magic wand Leavers think it is),

people will go back to their tolerant (ON BOTH SIDES PEOPLE) selves.

Clavinova · 29/11/2019 12:08

I’ve even caught myself trying to sound more colloquially British (“innit”) rather than my more RP language to try to fit in with “the people”.

Why do you want to sound like a teenager?
"innit" is popular slang among young British Asians by the way - I think it originated from South Asia.

Charlottejbt · 29/11/2019 12:11

Brexit is absolutely personal. I'm a remainer, a.k.a. "citizen of nowhere", and I take it very personally too. As pps have said, at least EU27 citizens will continue to enjoy FOM and will only be annoyed and temporarily inconvenienced by Brexit, whereas the rest of us risk being permanently stranded on an impoverished prison island. Thanks, Leave voters!

Aderyn19 · 29/11/2019 12:12

burnagirl, you've been nothing but rude on this thread. I don't believe we'll miss you as much as you think.

OnlyFoolsnMothers · 29/11/2019 12:13

permanently stranded on an impoverished prison island seriously???!!! A British passport is one of the strongest to have...

Aderyn19 · 29/11/2019 12:13

Charlotte, I believe your passport will still work, post Brexit. People did still travel before the Eu

Wakingupnow · 29/11/2019 12:17

OP I voted for Brexit. I idea it would this. I thought there would be freedom of movement. I am appalled at what it has become. If there is another referendum I will be voting remain. I also work in the NHS and know if only British people were work there, it would fall apart overnight

Fiep · 29/11/2019 12:20

When I wrote: “I’ve even caught myself trying to sound more colloquially British (“innit”) rather than my more RP language to try to fit in with “the people”, I can see why you were prompted to write ”You sound like a snob”

My comment came out wrong I think. Snobbery is looking down on others, my example was the opposite as I found myself trying to distort myself into something I’m not for fear of being judged, i.e. I was actually feeling inferior and trying to belong by adapting to be more acceptable to others, by appearing “more like others”. Does that make sense?

OP posts:
ScreamingLadySutch · 29/11/2019 12:25

The truth is, the New Labour Project that was unilaterally imposed without any consultation or discussion with the people; who were told they were racist when they raised their concerns and the rapidity of the change, did fundamentally change British society as it was intended to do, and that resentment has to be worked through.

Fiep · 29/11/2019 12:25

@ScreamingLadySutch I know the world won’t end and that I probably won’t be inconvenienced as much as some. I guess what I was trying to get at with this thread was the emotions around it all: I feel unwelcome and when I hear snippets of conversations against immigrants I feel upset and personally not valued for my contribution, and I feel unsafe speaking other languages to my daughter. These are just my emotions and what I was trying to get at was more understanding of the other side. I figured if I could understand others and their reasons better, then maybe I wouldn’t feel as strongly that it’s personal

OP posts:
ChristmasAngst · 29/11/2019 12:26

I am British and voted to Leave. I've also been an immigrant in 4 other countries for a total of 20 years. I think the difference is that immigrants into the UK seem to think they should be entitled to everything that a British person is entitled to. They really shouldn't and this is why Brits have got pi$$ed off. When I say Brits I am talking about all of us, irrespective of race or religion. We are a mixed bunch.

During my 20 years as an immigrant I never once thought I should be entitled to anything that a citizen has. I never once thought I should be entitled to vote and I paid a lot of tax but that still didn't entitle me to anything. I was a guest in their country and I was grateful they gave me that opportunity. I never once called any of them xenophobic or racist because of this.

Perhaps if the people we invited into our country came here and showed a bit more manners then we wouldn't be wanting to reduce their numbers.

AutumnRose1 · 29/11/2019 12:26

OP if we had a points system, it sounds like you’d be inundated with job offers.

I’m not white. I come from a family that was split on Brexit. The issue isn’t race or immigration. It’s controlled immigration. Debates were civilised I’m pleased to say, but there’s definitely views around levels and what’s good for business, how that can damage the public good etc etc

Olds also have friends from commonwealth who believed that those citizens should get priority.

I had a lot of racist comments yelled at me the weekend after Brexit, but it’s complicated.

embarassednewname · 29/11/2019 12:27

As an immigrant from the EU, I feel exactly the same way. I came here in great part because I knew how tolerant this country was and I had a great few years. Since Brexit, I've had quite a few comments about how it's OK that I'm here but we don't want any more of your kind type comments. Every time I tuen on the TV, some knobhead is talking about immigration. It's legitimized and given xenophobes a voice. I take it very personally and have convinced my boyfriend (who is English) to move to another country. I can't stand it. I have extensive uni education, I'm highly skilled and used to devote a lot of my time doing pro bono work helping people receive their disability benefits and appeal discrimination cases. I have stopped that, I don't care about a country that hates me and I am devoting all my energy into finding a job in Scandinavia. We're leaving in a few months.

OnlyFoolsnMothers · 29/11/2019 12:28

ChristmasAngst the most sense Ive read! Thank you

AutumnRose1 · 29/11/2019 12:28


“ The truth is, the New Labour Project that was unilaterally imposed without any consultation or discussion with the people; who were told they were racist when they raised their concerns and the rapidity of the change, did fundamentally change British society as it was intended to do, and that resentment has to be worked through.”

Yes and when I point out that this racism has affected my family badly - in previous decades we were accepted as British - people get angry and tell me I’m racist. So I’ve kept quiet for a long time, but now my anger at the types who implemented this can’t be contained.

embarassednewname · 29/11/2019 12:29

And I don't care that I can stay here legally, I know I can find a job easily. The point is that the country has fundamentally changed to one where xenophobia and antisemitism are tolerated. And that's not a place I want to live in. And a lot of highly skilled professionals feel the same way.

OnlyFoolsnMothers · 29/11/2019 12:29

Fiep its interesting that you've drawn your debate back to feelings- when this is precisely what brexiters have been told is wrong with their arguments. Apparently British people arent allowed to feel any way about immigration!

derxa · 29/11/2019 12:30

especially as I live in a rural place where the majority of shoppers at the big Tesco are White British and I see quite a few Union Jack / St George’s flag tattoos. Nice. I live in a rural Scottish place. Would you be upset if you saw St Andrew's flag tattoos?
Have you posted about this before OP because it sounds so familiar.
I voted Remain and hate Brexit with every fibre of my being by the way.

OnlyFoolsnMothers · 29/11/2019 12:31

Charlottejbt have you never left Europe? !

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