We are prisoners

We are all prisoners.

Prisoners of our race. Prisoners of our skin colour. Prisoners of our accents. Prisoners of our countries.

While racism may not be as overt today as it was decades (not many decades) ago, xenophobia and racial prejudice are, if not rising, then certainly becoming more public within contemporary society.

The Brexit campaign (I know, sorry) was rife with xenophobic principles, alienating those originally from other countries, whether in the EU or not. And the refugee crisis has opened our eyes to the hostility of our own ‘welcoming soil’. But why is migration condemned?

Syrian children are not welcome in this country. EU migrants are becoming increasingly unwelcome in this country. Even migration across the country is noticeable: you’ll always be the northerner among southerners, or vice versa.

But why is this?

We are not race, and we are not ethnicity. We are (arguably) autonomous human beings. We are the dominant species on possibly the only planet capable of maintaining life. Why are we tied down by something as relatively small as the countries we are born in?

I am writing as a white, British person from Britain. I am aware of my privilege. I am aware that I could emigrate to pretty much anywhere in the world, and that, for the most part, I would be accepted in a new country. Especially one as equally privileged as my own. Any English-speaking country would probably ignore my accent and accept me readily enough.

But for the majority (the clear majority) of people in the world, this is not the case. People are imprisoned by visas and passports and all kinds of official documents.

As intelligent, conscious human beings we are imprisoned in countries that we did not choose to be born in.

We are separated by countries we did not choose to be born in.

We become defined by countries that we did not choose to be born in.

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