J’s story

I have lived in the East Midlands for four years. Initially I found the people open and welcoming. All that changed in the run up to the referendum. Walking through the local town centre I walked past a UKIP ‘Vote Leave’ table run by a couple of pensioners. An old man offered me a leaflet, but as a staunch remainer I had no need for the leaflet so I said no thank you. He immediately raised both arms, waved them around gesturing to all of the people around me and shouted ‘We are all Leave here!’. I was mortified because everyone stared at me.

Since then I have not been brave enough to be open about the fact I voted Remain. I would not dare to have a pro EU sticker on my car or a flag visible on the house. I have no doubt that my property would be damaged. The Leave voters are angry and I feel completely threatened.

One thing I have noticed when I am out, those once friendly people are still friendly towards me, because I hide who I am, but they are also openly racist. They assume that because 70% of people voted Leave, they are free to be openly racist. The most puzzling aspect of their racism is that this part of the East Midlands is possibly the least diverse place I have ever lived in. I have lived in a part of Worcestershire where significant numbers of Poles and Lithuanians work for the growers, picking fruit and vegetables, and which to this day is not as racist as it is here.

J.

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