Post-Brexit Hate: Why is it happening and what can we do about it?

Posted by ap507 at Jun 29, 2016 04:20 PM |
Professor Neil Chakraborti and Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy from the Centre for Hate Studies discuss recent hate crimes following the EU referendum
Post-Brexit Hate: Why is it happening and what can we do about it?

Professor Neil Chakraborti and Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy

Think: Leicester does not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Leicester - it expresses the independent views and opinions of the academic who has authored the piece. If you do not agree with the opinions expressed, and you are a doctoral student/academic at the University of Leicester, you may write a counter opinion for Think: Leicester and send to ap507@le.ac.uk 

In utter shock: just been called a p**i in my home town!’

‘Been standing here five minutes. Three different people have shouted “send them home”’

‘This is England, foreigners have 48 hours to f**k right off. Who is foreign here?’

These are not experiences that any of us expect to have on the streets of Britain. And yet since the EU referendum result there has been a surge in reports of people encountering similar incidents. Are such hate incidents a new phenomenon? Sadly, they are not. Our research has illustrated that hate-fuelled violence and hostility are ‘everyday’ experiences for thousands of people every year in Britain. It has highlighted the devastating emotional and physical damage caused by these acts, which can lead many to live in cycle of fear, isolation and depression. Perhaps most worryingly it has shown that many of these victims continue to suffer in silence.

So what is different about this spate of hate incidents? One key difference is that this behaviour has been fuelled and legitimised by politicians and by the media. Hostility towards ‘difference’ was present before the EU Referendum but may have been largely confined to conversations in private spaces. However, the toxic climate surrounding the Referendum debate enabled this hostility to surface within political speeches, on front pages of newspapers and in everyday conversations within pubs, in classrooms and on social media platforms. The focus shifted from issues relating to EU membership to the one big issue for Britain: namely, ‘Them’. When ordinary people have a political mandate to blame those who are different for society’s ills then the shackles of human decency are stripped away.

It is evident from the videos of hate incidents which have emerged over recent days that people now feel emboldened to decide who has the ‘right’ to live and work in Britain. For some it is now seen as acceptable to target men, women, children and elderly people for being an EU migrant, for being a British-born minority, for being who they are.

So what can we do about these problems? At an individual level we would urge all victims to report their experiences to the police or through a third-party reporting mechanism such as this http://www.report-it.org.uk. But collectively we all have a part to play in stamping out hate. If we witness a hate incident, let’s collectively condemn it, intervene or tell someone about it. If we see someone in distress, let’s offer our support and kindness. By responding with compassion we can all play a role in restoring Britain’s moral compass.

Notes:

About the Centre for Hate Studies

The Centre for Hate Studies is based at the Department of Criminology, University of Leicester. Drawing from more than ten years’ worth of empirical research, the Centre undertakes a wide-ranging portfolio of research in the field of hate studies, and delivers training and continuing professional development to local authorities, victim support agencies and organisations within a variety of different sectors, including criminal justice, health, social care and education.

For more information contact:

Tel: 0116 252 3784

Email: LCHS@le.ac.uk

Website: http://www.le.ac.uk/centreforhatestudies

Twitter: @HateCrime_Leics

 

 

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Think: Leicester does not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Leicester - it expresses the independent views and opinions of the academic who has authored the piece. If you do not agree with the opinions expressed, and you are a doctoral student/academic at the University of Leicester, you may write a counter opinion for Think: Leicester and send to ap507@le.ac.uk