It is neither about a political success or fail for UKIP, racism has been endorsed regardless of seats.

May 23rd, 2014 by

Between the collective shouting and saliva sodden flyers returning to UKIP’s freepost, the principal point is swallowed. Racism has been legitimised, and has done so irrespective of election outcomes and motivation behind why we do, or do not, vote.

The responsibility does not lie alone with the political far right. There is fault in every party that has aimed to explain immigration, whether to demonise or give grounds for. Bigotry has been parodied, irony’s biggest flaw has tricked us all once again into believing we are Stewart Lee; “Bloody foreigners!” the satire began, “coming over here, working really hard! Go back to where you came from with your vast and wonderful cultures!” At worst it has felt like an invisibility cloak from which to utter the original rotten words behind. At best, its attempts to turn racism on its head has done little more than a perpetual othering.

By now your colleague has already said loudly, with no discomfort or consequence, that they have voted UKIP because they don’t like immigrants. They have already complained about Subway’s corporate decision to save money by removing ham from their shops in Muslim neighbourhoods. They have already told you to your tired face that they don’t trust blacks, Romanians or Islam. The words have been uttered. And they have been given political justification by every party to do so, each media outlet, and that Channel 4 remake of Last of the Summer Wine where Farage drinks in pubs. And so the damage has been done. It is done. Make no question of this. Whether UKIP’s seats are seen as an electoral success or a political shrug, we have shown how easy, how fine it is to just say “I don’t like foreigners,” with as little or as much explanation as we want.

Immigrants have become a Toss n’ Talk Ball, flung between the scapegoating right and its Good Samaritan opposition, yet those most affected by the immigration debate (immigrants, unsurprisingly) are typically left out of the exchange. Those of us with cause for concern – immigrants, children of immigrants, and Muslims, those of us with darker skin, accents and strange names – may as well be represented by luck and time, hostage to what is understood in politics as chancing for the “best of a bad bunch”. There is of course no party for us, for those who have already suffered the very real racism that increased during the campaign period. Those who will continue to be targets of street-abuse, media misrepresentation and discrimination at work. Those who will have their turbans kicked off their heads, or challenged on their right to renew passports based in its entirety on a surname or parent’s birthplace. There is no party for the Sunny Singh’s and her brother, those who have been assaulted for not speaking in English in a private conversation amongst themselves, who will subsequently be treated like villains by the police. There is no party for those who would rather not fund Clarkson’s salary, who have had to explain, time and again, that the n-word is racist, that he is racist, and no you cannot say it because of hip-hop. Those of us who have been abused and harassed, those of us who will continue to be asked to defend our heritage or that of our parents when we have merely met with friends of friends in the pub. Those who it is demanded of to integrate sufficiently when they have heard so many times that others would rather they weren’t here.

Discouragingly, we will continue to hear that the described racism isn’t all that bad. Our accounts will, of course, have been inflated to take away from the real victim here, economy. Not everyone who has voted UKIP will be racist, as everyone who voted Labour will not come with guarantee they are not. But it largely does not matter. UKIP may spontaneously combust in every seat they have won, but buried amongst the ashes will still be the hateful words we have allowed to be said.