Is Brexit responsible for reestablishing expat ghettos

Published:  23 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: France, UK, Canada, India, England
Is Brexit about to be a spur for bringing together the British expat community in France?

For decades, the focus of the British expat community across the channel in France seems to have been integration into the French community rather than taking an active part in both ethnic groups. Occasional articles in the English language media seem to suggest it’s the ‘done thing’ to become more French than the French and reject one’s own nationality in favour of a new model. As the cancer of racial intolerance spurred on by Brexit grows, social cohesion is breaking down and criticism of other races is growing. Could this happen in reverse in France, with British expats becoming unacceptable, however hard they’ve tried to integrate?

When all’s said and done, integration isn’t a one-way street, wherever it takes place in the world. Is it possible French society will begin to reject any approach by British expats in the same way as other nationals are now being targeted in the UK? If so, what chance have Brits, especially those who’ve been long-stay residents in France, of keeping a sense of belonging in their chosen land? And, how many Britons may be forced back to the UK for the same reasons that many EU expats are now leaving Britain? Integration can’t take place without acceptance from everyone involved.

Migrants in the UK have always tended to group together in what used to be known as ghettos, with the arrival of the Indian community in West London in the late 1950s an example of how a community can become established and grow into integration. Now known as Little India and a major tourist attraction, Southall is an entire, successful community in the manner of many similar enclaves in the capital. However, its very different lifestyle is one reason for its success. One UK expat’s view is that isolated clusters of foreign nationals in France and elsewhere in the EU shouldn’t happen in today’s world as it breeds stereotyping and prejudice and disallows a sharing of cultures benefiting all.
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