What the hell is Brexit?
Brexit is shorthand for “British Exit” from the European Union.
Back up, what’s the European Union?
The EU was established in 1951 after World War II to create trade and economic relationships between 28 countries to “keep the peace,” so to speak.
These relationships evolved into an open-border agreement between countries, trade regulations, a home base in Brussels, and one currency: the euro.
Got it, so why did the British want to exit such a seemingly sweet deal?
Well, Britain was kind of the “big brother” of the European Union.
Britain is a small island and is therefore the epicenter of a lot of imports. Because of the EU’s free-trade regulations, importing goods is a lot cheaper for them. This advantage gives Britain access to international companies and corporations — making Britain Europe’s financial center.
As the economic and trade leader, Britain takes in an influx of immigrants and refugees every year — and herein lies the controversy.
Brexit detractors cite xenophobia as the source of the issue. The UK leaving the EU means visa restrictions for immigrants. Brexit supporters, on the other hand, believe the UK would be more financially sound if they were able to negotiate multinational deals on their own.
So how does it affect me, a Black woman living in America?
It’s an economic domino effect.
Your 401K, for starters, could be affected. Because Britain has decided to leave the EU, banks will have to shift. When banks shift, our money shifts. You care about your retirement, don’t you?
From a social perspective, if xenophobia is really at the root of Britain’s exit, this type of move can encourage similar nationalistic movements on this side of the pond. We already have Donald Trump preaching about closing off our borders to Mexican and Muslim immigrants. Seeing this sentiment carried out in the UK could encourage similar policies here.
Britain’s exit from the EU will most likely trigger a chain of other exits from EU members including France, Italy, Holland, and Denmark, who have reportedly already filed for referendum.
With the weight of the world’s economy in the balance, this shakeup is going to hit all of our pockets.
SOURCES: New York Mag | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty