MSP LAUNCHES ANTI-XENOPHOBIA CAMPAIGN

Independent Highlands and Islands MSP Jean Urquhart launched Not My Xenophobia, a new campaign to challenge xenophobic attitudes in poxenlitics and the media, today at the Scottish Parliament.

Not My Xenophobia invites Scots social media users to name-and-shame examples of xenophobic language, stereotypes and attitudes they see being used by newspapers, adverts, TV programmes and politicians, using the hashtag #notmyxenophobia. A website, www.NotMyXenophobia.scot, a Twitter account @notmyxenophobia and a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/notmyxenophobia will support the campaign.

Jean Urquhart was inspired to create Not My Xenophobia by the success of the #everydaysexism social media campaign, and the Scottish Government’s See Me campaign against mental health stigma.

Ms Urquhart said:

“From exploitative programmes like Immigration Street to the UKIP MEP David Coburn’s disgusting, racist comments about Europe Minister Humza Yousaf, we are surrounded with xenophobic messages in politics and the media.

“But speak to ordinary Scots and you will find a very different attitude. Most of us value our friends, neighbours and colleagues from all over the world. The xenophobia we are being bombarded with isn’t ours – it’s being imposed on us by people in positions of power and influence who want to set us against one another.

“This influence is especially pernicious in the run-up to the General Election, as the big parties compete over who can be tougher on immigrants, never mind that immigrants are and always have been an essential part of the country those parties want to run.

“I’ve started the Not My Xenophobia campaign to give a voice to the majority of Scots who reject these hateful attitudes, and to name and shame the media organisations and politicians who promote them for their own gain.

“I’ve worked closely with the Polish community in the Highlands, and seen first-hand the real pain that is caused by xenophobic language, stereotypes and attitudes. The Polish contribution to Scotland has been huge, from the Polish soldiers who defended our east coast in World War II, to the nurses who support our NHS today. Newspaper headlines that scream about the ‘problem’ of immigration insult that contribution and promote discrimination and even violence.

“The Scottish identity is defined by migration. Our own nation is a rich mix of peoples and cultures from all over the world, and Scots have settled all over the world in return. We are an exceptionally international country, and are better off for that.

“I hope very many Scots, old and new, will join in the Not My Xenophobia campaign to challenge xenophobic attitudes head on, and to show that our diverse and beautiful nation will not be divided.”

 More info: www.NotMyXenophobia.scot


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