The scapegoating culture that Brexit has birthed, and all it unraveled about human behavior.
There have been numerous results that came out after the havoc of Brexit. The ones people paid attention more attention to involved the economy, the political territories, and trade relations between the European countries. However, the more interesting ones involve the reaction of the public in and outside the UK. In these reactions, there is a lot to learn about human behaviour, and I’d like to look at only the repercussions of these very telling behaviours.
One of the most prominent reactions voiced by the youngsters in the UK was that the older generation had mishandled the situation and gambled with their future. There was a general lack of sympathy in this reaction from the younger generation for those who had lived through the turmoil of post-war Britain. Instead of trying to understand the other side’s opinion, this immediately turned into a scapegoating phenomenon, where the people tried to find something to blame their troubles on. Humanity has a history of scapegoating and then ostracising members of society, and right now after the vote, the younger generation seems to be keen on making it clear they have no part in this.
This has resulted in a lot of those who voted remain to feel betrayed by their parents, families, or friends who voted leave. While I do think people who bought into Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson’s ideas were not thinking properly, it seems counterproductive to turn on yourself and fight amongst those who have equal voting rights. The older generation are children of those who fought in the war or had something to do with the war, and the fight for democracy is a massive deal in the “Western” side. So with democracy come equal rights to vote, unfortunately, and the vote of those people who may be more well-informed is equal to those who don’t understand what the EU really is.
Even looking at outside Britain, there has been a lot of interest in Brexit and its repercussions. Many people felt more and more involved in the drama as voting day drew closer, and now post-Brexit there is a lot of political talk regarding racism, democracy, immigration and the EU. People are generally more informed and understand the sensitive ties that bind together many countries. These are all important right now, and undoubtedly will be for the next two years, but honestly, most of us have already forgotten what happened two weeks ago and Brexit is almost old news now.
I may or may not believe that, but it seems to be part of the response to this. The phenomenon of something big happening in the “Western” part of the world seems to receive a shrug on our end in the east, with people interested the first two days, but then seeing the Arab side of the world being bombed to bits – and perhaps that helps put things into perspective. The idea of a government with unions and alliances is a sophisticated system of civilisation that comes way after the establishment of a stable government, which some Arab countries lack right now. Simply put, the Brexit phenomenon is bad, but it isn’t as dramatic to us as it may be for them.
But we must be careful with this sort of language: of them versus us. This is precisely the ugliness that Brexit has brought out the most, and it is manifested through racism, “age-ism”, classism, north-versus-south-ism, and I-am-smarter-than-you-ism. Not to say that these would not have existed without Brexit, since these are definitely reflections of the brewing hatred already present. But this has provided people with the stimulus to go ahead and present their –isms as legitimate ideas or theories to consider, only because of the disastrous results that have followed.
If Britain could undo the history it built in so long by tearing themselves away from the EU, then it is no wonder that the world can continue to make the same mistakes of scapegoating and finger pointing whenever society starts to break down. And that may well be the most long-lasting legacy of Brexit; the legitimisation of that ugly, wretched side of people that interests itself in fear mongering, hate, marginalising people, and protecting itself.
Deenah Rashid (@Deena_Rashid_)
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