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

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

Systems Tester - Functional/Non-Functional/Full Life Cycle

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Tester - Functional/Non-Func...

SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfordshire - £350 - £360

£350 - £360 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfor...

Business Intelligence Consultant - Central London - £80,000

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Consultant - C...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£70 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Teaching Assistants needed in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
These young British men featured in an Isis video urging Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria. About 30 British jihadists are believed to have died fighting alongside IS  

Isis in the UK: How the 'War on Terror' radicalised a generation

Alyas Karmani
Dance yourself happy: strutting their stuff is, apparently, better for people than visiting the gym  

How should we measure the 'worth' of our nation?

Dan Holden
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?