The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Despite me being American, I have seen many TikToks congratulating him. Many of these TikToks are usually attached with captions like “a win for South Asians everywhere,” and “a historical irony.” (a quick sidenote, the historical irony ones always made me chuckle a bit, considering that Britain were the colonizers of India and now they have an Indian of British descent as a prime minister).
But, for many British people, including British citizens of color, this win is not as rosy as it seems. In fact, many creators are reminding others through social media that the new Prime Minister’s stances on a variety of issues important to the British at the moment such as tax reform and immigration are reflective of the Conservative party that appointed him to office. Additionally, many are critical of Sunak’s economic background, and argue that he is less likely to have the interests of the working class, which are also more likely to be people of color, at heart.
As an outsider, Sunak’s election and more specifically, the reaction to his appointment, remind me of how I felt when Kamala Harris, our current Vice President, was appointed into office. In fact, I still remember people at my family gatherings telling me how I should see her as a role model, especially since we are “so similar:” We are both brown, we are both women, and I also want to be an attorney or have a role in government one day.
However, as proud as I was to see someone who looked like me in the office, I was still not super stoked about her appointment as well. This was ultimately because of her work in the past as an attorney general: she encouraged keeping people in prison over rehabilitation for the sake of having “a larger labor force,” and she defended California’s decision to keep a trans woman in a male prison. Additionally, she often jokingly referred to herself as a “top cop.” For me, it was difficult to accept her as our vice president even with our similar background, because we just did not align politically. Though having representation in inaccessible places like the government is always wonderful, it is also important to remember that not everyone, even if they share a background like yours, is not always going to have the same interests as yours. Moreover, appointments of leaders like Sunak and Harris remind me more than ever that in times like these, it is important to not fall for things like identity politics, and to always be critical and questioning of those who lead us.