Picture of an English flag flying above a migrant camp in Calais, France, on Friday, after Britain voted to leave the European Union.
  An English flag flew above a migrant camp in Calais, France, on Friday, after Britain voted to leave the European Union. Photo credit: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

A Lesson from ‘Brexit’: On Immigration, Feelings Trumps Facts

27 June, 2016

“The progress of the last 50 years, particularly in Europe, has made it easy to buy into the idea that the forces of nationalism, xenophobia and prejudice are mere irrationalities, market distortions that will naturally fade away in the long arc of history.

Last week’s vote highlighted — not for the first time, but with unusual clarity — the hole in that theory. For many people, identity trumps economics. They will pay a high price (literally, in this case) to preserve a social order that makes them feel safe and powerful.”

This perceptive analysis teaches us that only allowing migrants to participate in political debates could stem the flow of fantasies and stereotypes which feed the populist fears – just as only women’s participation in political debates stemmed the flow of sexist prejudice over time – and offer mainstream politicians the space and tools to create a pro-migration, pro-mobility and pro-diversity discourse which would sound convincing during electoral campaign.

To read the full article by Amanda Taub in the NY Times, please click here.

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