Brexit and the temporalities of racism in British higher education

Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan


Brexit has brought into visibility various strands of racist thinking and practice that have, for many years, simmered under the surface in British life. Discourse about Brexit reveals an enduring nativist and imperialist sentiment that calls into question British liberalism and its purported multiculturalism. Much writing regarding Brexit has focused on issues of class and urban and rural divides related to the disenfranchised white working class. This piece focuses not only on how race/racism (re)emerges as an important category of experience, but also how it mobilizes young people who have been subject to various forms of violent and everyday racialized exclusion in the UK to voice their discontent and demands publicly and, in some cases, collectively within the context of British higher educational institutions. I focus, in particular, on the temporalities these young people invoke to understand and fight against racism in the Brexit era, and the sort of generational divides they make visible.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/709748