Racism on the Increase in ‘Hostile Britain’


A violent racist attack of a London bus driver in December last year can be seen as emblematic of everyday racism in increasingly hostile Britain.

In late December 2018, a horrifying video emerged of a London bus driver being told “I hope you get f***ing deported” and to “get back to your f***ing country”.

The driver was forced to lock himself in the cab as his attacker spat at him and attempted to smash through the window, apparently aggravated by the driver doing his job by requesting the passenger for proof of payment.

These incidents are not in isolation. Latest Home Office figures show that in 2017/18, there were 94,098 hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales, 76% of which were racially aggravated.

Recent years have seen a dramatic spike in racism across society. For example, in June last year, The Independent newspaper found that there had been a 60% increase in the number of racist incidents in UK universities in the previous two years. Black students’ experiences of explicit verbal and physical racial abuse in British universities have hit the headlines in recent years.

Similarly, TUC reported last year that more than a third of BME employees in the UK have been bullied or abused at work. Their General Secretary admitted that “racism still haunts the Britain [sic] workplace.”

In December, Manchester City player Raheem Sterling called out the racial abuse he suffered during his side’s defeat against Chelsea. He also points the finger at the British media for the constant negative stereotyping Black footballers are subjected to.

Sunder Katwala, the founder of thinktank British Future, told the Eastern Eye newspaper ‘that whilst there has been a significant reduction in racism and improvement in responses to it in the last 30 years, this is not much consolation to any individual still facing it today.’

There is no doubt that the toxic Brexit debate has fuelled, and in part legitimized, racism and xenophobia. To some people, the Brexit mantra of fewer foreigners has meant ‘no foreigners’, and to the worst bigots that also means no people of colour regardless as to whether or not they were born here.

These are indeed worrying times, and at the very least we must acknowledge where our society is drifting and how we can bring it back to a better place.

Louis Brady