24 September, 2020

Race: The Only Scarlet Letter

The jackals who cry ‘go back home’ are reflective of a system that suppresses uncomfortable history and accepts citizens of foreign origin only gingerly

Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, one of Trump’s ‘go back’ targets, with supporters
Photograph by Getty Images
Race: The Only Scarlet Letter

Donald Trump’s recent “Send them back” comments have ignited a debate here, in Great Britain, about what ‘immigrant communities’ should and should not say to the ‘host’ community. As Matthew Parris, a columnist for the Times put it: “We do still speak of ‘second generation immigrants’ and the expression has meaning…yes, there is such a thing as courtesy to a host country”.

Is it discourteous to be critical? Does it make a per­son less British, even if they were born here? As a so-called ‘second generation’, I think about these questions a lot. I am a political broadcaster covering current events and an author who writes about the British Raj. You might say I have skin in the game.

The ‘Go back to where you came from’ debate has rubbed raw some old scars. I was born in London in the ’70s, when the National Front—a far right political group—daubed their anti-immigrant manifestos, or rather their pithy summaries like: ‘Pakis go home’,...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Anita Anand

Latest Magazine

September 28, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section