By Diana Young
Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party secured a landslide victory with a 365-seat majority, following last week’s election. The results followed a campaign marred with controversy over alleged racism, Islamophobia and the mood among left-wing social media soon erupted with people voicing their frustrations at the impact a majority Tory government might have on the United Kingdom.
In particular, “Black Twitter” has struggled to digest the fact that Black people could actually vote for the Conservative Party. I was surprised to see “Eni Aluko” trending on Twitter last Friday after the Black English footballer tweeted her support for the Conservatives, resulting in a barrage of abuse from other Black people. I, too, voted Conservative but have remained silent on Twitter due to the negativity others have endured for endorsing the Tories.
My parents have always supported voting for the political party that best represent the interests of working-class people. Labour has traditionally been their party of choice, as well as for many BAME voters. I grew up in a working class household. As is typical in Caribbean culture, my parents placed an emphasis on getting a good job and I continued my family’s tradition of working hard in order to provide a secure, stable home for my own children. This approach has propelled me through my career, which means I am now, inescapably, middle-class, and my socio-economic position means I find myself no longer aligning with my family’s political allegiances.
My change in political views means there’s also a new pressure to contend with; fear of resentment from my peers. Recently, I’ve felt increasingly uncomfortable about discussing my voting preference, given the reaction it elicits from some people. Moreover, I’ve increasingly found that marks of my accomplishment, such as a large house, a luxury car and children enrolled at independent school, which are sources of pride for so many others, have become objects of derision among my peers. I’m regularly asked: “How can you afford private school?” or “What does your husband do?”.
I found myself voting for factors that directly impact education, employment, business and the wider economy.
Among many in Caribbean communities, there is actually an active aversion to being middle-class, and enjoying the benefits of this accomplishment. It’s as if there is invisible pressure to uphold the values instilled by our grandparents and parents – values largely born of societal inequality. Class, by definition, is not related to race. But working class values were inherent in the Windrush and migrant generations. They were comparatively poor and I suspect it was this poverty in the UK that led the majority of the
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