Why are ethnic minorities supporting Ukip?

Ukip's non-white candidates might stand alongside Nigel Farage on stage, but how can they do the same when it comes to immigration?

 

Share

Nigel Farage has desperately been trying to move Ukip away from the claims that his party are racist. The latest step in this PR campaign has seen him appear on stage at a rally on Wednesday, surrounded by ethnic minority supporters.

Alongside roughly 40 ethnic minority UKIP candidates, Farage revelled in the moment. “Let this be Ukip's Clause IV moment,” he said, referring to Tony Blair's political breakthrough in 1995.

Yet it's still difficult to ignore the numerous outbursts from party members and supporters in the last month which have revealed a much darker side to the party than the one Farage has been trying to present to the world.

So why, in spite of what we know about Ukip, are ethnic minorities supporting the party?

It could be because many of those affected by immigration are ethnic minorities already living in the UK, and competing with each other for low-skilled, low-paid jobs.

However, this doesn’t explain the support for Ukip from Sanya-Jeet Thandi, a privately educated LSE student born to Punjabi parents, who appeared on Channel Four earlier this week to talk about her membership.

Thandi debated identity with the musician Awate, who told her she was ”betraying her skin colour“ by supporting Ukip. It was a strange accusation to make - how can anyone ”betray“ their skin?

I wouldn't say Thandi has betrayed anyone, but the fact that she thinks Farage is on to something is still bizarre.

She may now be middle-class, but at some point her family would have come to the UK for a better life. And now she wants to protect her lot by making it more difficult for others to enjoy the same benefits? It doesn't add up.

There is an idea that around the 50's and 60's there was a golden age of immigration when immigrants came to the UK and worked hard, contributing to key services and helping to lift the country up in the post-war era.

But where is that attitude now? Today immigrants are presented by the right-wing press as nothing more than caricatures, scrounging off benefits and living it up at the expense of hard working British people and taking British jobs.

Ukip appear to be utilising ethnic minorities in the same way that the EDL and BNP have done in the past. Tommy Robinson was careful to parade Gurmeet Singh, and Nick Griffin held on dearly to the Reverend James Gitau. These two men were foolish enough to believe that they were not a part of racist organizations, and were duly trotted out.

But they were merely tokenistic pawns in each party's electoral game (and in Singh’s case he was also deeply Islamophobic).

Tokenism is a clear way to try and deflect racist attention, and for some reason some members of ethnic minorities been duped into playing along.

What Farage is doing is the classic ”I have black and Asian friends, how can I be racist?“ But for members of ethnic minorities who have benefited from immigration, it is quite odd for them to be opposed to it, even if Ukip do centre their anti-immigration rhetoric on the EU.

Those who join and support Ukip aren't cleansing the party's image, but just masking it, and giving it a false sense of legitimacy.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Unqualified NVQ Assessors - Health, Social Care & Management

£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning independent ...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate Start - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Development Engineer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading manufacturer of fl...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Operative - Oxfordshire / Worcestershire - OTE £30k

£12000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Field Sales Operative is requ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Most powerful woman in British politics

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
All the major parties are under pressure from sceptical voters to spell out their tax and spending plans  

Yet again, the economy is the battleground on which the election will be fought

Patrick Diamond
Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders