Johannesburg native and London-based writer Emlyn Pearce has an anti-immigration rant to share with the Internet, but in his case, he'd like to focus on the lesser discussed flip-side of the conversation: emigration.
In a Facebook post that has since gone viral, Pearce holds back no vitriol in tearing apart UK's raging emigration problem.
"Any British person can just pack their bags and live anywhere in the world at ANY TIME and nobody in the British government will do anything to stop them. If I wanted to, I could just get on a plane to Germany tomorrow, get a job in their booming economy and live there for the rest of my life! My parents could up and retire to Spain or Portugal at a moment's notice! Why should we have that right? It's political correctness gone mad!"
At first, the rant reads as a straight mockery of the furious anti-immigration rhetoric that abounds on the Internet and off, but beneath the parodic quality of the post, Pearce is highlighting a very crucial double-standard.
The immigrants that are so often reviled are almost uniformly people-of-color attempting to find refuge or new lives in Western countries. White immigrants and/or immigrants of privilege are usually known as "expats" or "émigrés." They don't have to grapple with the stigma of the "immigrant" or "migrant" name, even if that's what they are.
The figures speak for themselves:
1,300,000 Britons live in Australia; 761,000 in Spain; 678,000 in the USA; 603,000 in Canada; 291,000 in Ireland (11,200 of whom are drawing unemployment benefit from the Irish state), and even 8,500 in Mexico and 7,100 in Kuwait! We're literally EVERYWHERE! I bet there's at least one branch of Greggs in the Falklands.
Pearce also touches upon the enduring impact of colonialism, and how differently we view the export of western culture versus the import of non-western culture/peoples into the west:
You can't walk down a street in Jamaica or Hong Kong or India without hearing someone speaking English, and in Canada and Australia we have even introduced our own legal system, decimated local communities and installed our own head of state! DISGUSTING! English has now been imposed as the official language of 57 sovereign countries! FIFTY SEVEN!!! What the hell? Who do we think we are?!
We are sleepwalking into a nightmare where a third of the world will be overrun by the British!
Of course, Pearce is exaggerating for comedic effect. In case the startling salience of his parody has led you to forget that this is, in fact, still a joke. For good measure, Pearce takes a hit at paranoid fundamentalists and flagrant sexists. Because when you're taking one down, might as well take them all:
"[The emigration crisis] is also probably, somehow, part of the war on Christmas, and health and safety and women thinking it's ok to wear comfortable, unsexy clothing.)"
Pearce's post has received over 18,000 shares, and a fair number of comments furthering the joke/argument:
Pearce has also received some touching reactions from immigrants and their children:
"Your stuff on here is brilliant mate, honestly if I had a hat I would take it off for you! As a second generation immigrant living in Scotland I encounter my fair share of racist abuse, nice to know there’s plenty of good-uns like you still around!"
And while he's received a fair amount of abuse as well, Pearce says he doesn't:
"like to dwell on the negative reactions. I understand that people are afraid of other cultures, or terrorism, or ‘scroungers’; I think those people need to be given the space they need to change their minds. The Syrian refugees who come here are fleeing a country where people couldn’t disagree respectfully. Part of giving them sanctuary is making sure our own society remains open and tolerant of opposing views. So when people attack me or denigrate me, I send them the bean salad recipe.”
"Right now, there are new gifts on their way across Europe towards our country. New ideas, new talents, new viewpoints, new heroes for our children to emulate – and we need to grab as many of them as we can before the Germans do.”