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This scandal is more deep rooted than we all think

ISSUE: The Windrush crisis

THE RECENT scandal which has engulfed British parliament and the Home Office on how the Windrush Generation have been treated has shocked the nation. It has highlighted widespread institutional errors which have affected some of the most vulnerable in our society.

We need to remember the Windrush Generation shaped what Britain is today yet they have been treated like second class citizens. They are as British as you and I or anyone walking down our local high street. Their contribution working tirelessly for London Transport, British Rail, NHS and other organisations shaped our economy.

For those former public companies which ended up in the private sector through the Thatcher era, their shareholders and CEOs wouldn’t have profited without the help of the Windrush Generation. The Notting Hill Carnival wouldn’t be what it is without their contribution. Millions of revellers do that every year. We must never forget that.

This is not just a political issue but a bigger problem in society. It’s based on class, background and ethnicity. It’s more deep rooted and toxic than we think. I believe gentrification and social cleansing have played a major part in forming a deceitful mindset towards the treatment of many vulnerable and hard working people. It also boils down to greed and destroying communities.

Areas such as Brixton in south London, which have been a focal point to African and Caribbean communities, have been cleansed to cater for the middle and upper class. These are places connected to the Windrush Generation.

Luckily Windrush Square offers a glimer of hope and a small reminder of the area’s rich cultural heritage. But the problems are far wider, it extends to snobbery and racism.

PICTURED: Edward Adoo

If I mention my surname on the phone to someone they are likely to think that I am not British, even though I was born in London, have a British passport and also a British citizen. It’s sad to say but some parts of our society are still snobbish to ethnicity and background. It’s the wrong sort of Britishness which has been lurking around for decades.

Being a person of colour and British is hard for some people to accept. I have experienced this first hand, so has my family and friends by ticking boxes at hospitals, questions about country of origin or stereotyped for being a criminal. It even stems from upbringing with racist parents who instill that mindset to their kids to cause havoc by spouting abuse in playgrounds.

That’s what my brothers and sisters in the black community have to face on a daily basis. The Windrush scandal has merely brought the problem closer to home. This is not just an issue for home office case workers to deal with but for all of us to examine and think of a suitable solution.

The acceptance of being British, feeling British has never been discussed or highlighted. Many Black, Asian and people from other ethnic backgrounds may be classed as British on record but deep down they don’t really feel accepted. I believe we are still battling to prove our identity; who we are; what we do and what we can offer to British society.

It’s feels like an unstoppable battle to be accepted. Those who have been affected by this scandal are law-abiding citizens; they are normal parents and grandparents who are middle aged and elderly.

They should be enjoying the rest of their lives through retirement but some are hiding and scared to tell people who they are in fear of being told they are not British. Some have been incarcerated simply for being lost in the system. No one should be treated in this manner. Being British is not just a middle class; white thing; it’s widespread.

Let’s ensure that this more inclusive sense of Britishness is passed on to the Windrush Generation who have done so much to ensure our society is enriched with diversity and true British values. We must make them feel loved, accepted and most importantly let them know that they are British.

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