The EU referendum has been a huge topic for the last few months and with less than two weeks away, everyone and their dog has an opinion on whether we should stay or leave. The conversation has been dominated by white men and women in suits, surprise, surprise. When black women have aired their opinions, they’ve been accused of in fuelling racist rhetoric, look no further than the backlash received by Melanin Millennials‘ Imrie Morgan, when she challenged Nigel Farage on live TV.
So we decided to ask black women if they are voting in or out, because, well, this is a site for black women. Secondly, we should be able to say what we really feel without being publicly condemned and criticised.
Firstly, I would like to discuss my own views. Although I have been remaining nuteral
Jo, 37, Compulsory teacher
Remain. I’m a working class black woman e.g. bottom of the socioeconomic pile. I don’t believe those in power such as our current Conservative government would protect my employment rights.
I also think country borders are increasingly irrelevant. We’re going to struggle to justify our high standard of living in comparison to countries we’ve destroyed through colonialism and economic pillaging. These are things we need to address together as western countries. Unilateral action is ineffective.
I also think we sometimes forget we’re just a tiny island off the side of a huge continent. Our power will wane and we need to share in order to protect ourselves in the future, so we must stick together and remain in the EU.
Tiwa, 17, Student
Remain. I personally feel that the sentiment behind the leave campaign, i.e. “let’s make Britain great again” is the kind of patriotism which can be seen as being dangerously insular and should be a concern to all ethnic minorities. As much as the leave campaign would like to dress it up with, frankly unfounded, economic arguments, it seems clear that the leave campaign is driven by a deeper sense of xenophobia. We have seen the true colours of people like Boris Johnson who had the audacity to claim that Barack Obama is anti-British because of his Kenyan heritage. If we were to leave, it would open a Pandora’s box of anti-immigration and racist legislation.
Amy, 28, Fashion Designer
Leave. In the last 5-10 years, I don’t believe the UK has benefitted from its membership in the EU and this is simply because the EU hasn’t been managed properly. Just looking at the numbers, it seems that the UK pays quite a lot into the EU and get much less back. I’m just really hard pressed to find an actual reason to remain, as much as I want too.
I also find the immigration stance on both sides completely and utterly ridiculous, the topic of immigration has been used to scare people into a corner on both sides of the campaign. Regardless if we leave, there is already a law in existence that will allow EU citizens to stay in the UK, so it wouldn’t matter to me if we left.
When Imriel Morgan asked a question about Brexit on National TV, she received a multitude of racist backlash
Juliana, 24, Finance Assistant
Leave. I am a strong advocate for leaving the EU, it would be nice in my opinion to see how England will be as an independent nation away from all these external influences. As a country we need to leave, if we do leave there will be more control over our laws and overall I know we will be better at running our country.
The British economic status is stronger than any other 28 EU countries and I believe that it can only get stronger if we make the right decision to leave.
What do we really have to lose?
(Anonymous) 25, Community Advocate
Remain. As a Muslim, black, female I would find myself vulnerable to some of the most heinous machinations of this government, so I will be voting to stay in Europe for the very simple reason that I do not trust the Tories to regulate themselves. I also feel that this particular government has shown itself to be systemically worthy of my scepticism. For this reason, I believe that the more mechanisms for scrutiny in place over our ‘benevolent’ leaders, the safer we will be.
At least now, we have the European Parliament and the ECtHR fighting our corner when, not if, we need them.
Tobi, 26, Journalist
Remain. I had a conversation with a friend last week and we both discussed our fears if we were to leave the EU. The first being that remaining in the EU would protect worker’s rights such as our sick pay, anti-discrimination laws, maternity pay, holiday pay. Why would we give that up? With the Conservatives making cuts to welfare, I don’t trust them not to negatively impact worker’s rights. Also, the economy would suffer, that seems to be the general consensus among experts and the leave campaign hasn’t reassured me that the economy wouldn’t suffer. Finally, it will have a negative impact on research and education. UK Universities receive millions in funding from the EU and many of our best scientists come from Europe on EU grants.
Motunrayo, 22, Tutor and Mentor
Undecided. I believe that we need to remain at the centre of the EU table to assure the right discussions on laws are made, which can affect the single market system we have in the EU. I like programmes like the Erasmus (A European Union student exchange programme) and being able to move around the EU freely has some major benefits to not just myself, but to many people I know around me.
Although my other argument is that if we do leave the EU, it could tackle the underlying problem which exists with immigration and the increased population, because if we do leave there will be less EU immigrants.
Ella, 31, Communications Officer
Remain. EU laws covers our current rights as employees to such things as maternity leave, pay and the best thing for most of us; holiday! If we do dare to opt out of the European Union I am extremely worried that the Tories will take advantage of our civil rights. If we leave, I am sure that employment rights would go out the window and I can imagine both the Tories and many businesses would use this to their advantage by making employees work longer hours for less pay and holiday etc.
That is not my only reason, the leave campaigns seem to only concentrate on immigration, which is not a major surprise to myself. If the leave campaign were able to express another major reason as why we should leave they would hold more legitimacy, but still there is no other major argument that is coming from them.