Why + how do these terms harm migrants?

So often, we hear politicians + the media talk about workers needing more “graft”. This is a long-standing view that some do not ‘work hard’ + that’s why they remain in poverty. This includes migrants + racialised communities.

Stereotypes around race + class are used heavily in immigration debates: the idea that migrants are ‘lazy’, ‘scroungers’ or a drain on the State. Some migrant communities now also emphasise they are ‘hard-working’, wanting to distinguish themselves from others. But all this does is pit one group as more worthy against others.

We reject this idea.

All migrants are + have to be ‘hard-working’. Particularly when the systems are, by nature, rigged against them.

The ‘hard work’ for many migrants is to stay out of destitution + extreme poverty. With no recourse to public funds policies (NRPF), migrants can only rely on their wages to keep them afloat.

Historically, racialised communities were deemed to be ‘lazy’ + ‘uncivilised’ by their colonisers. It therefore makes sense that migrant communities would want to portray themselves as ‘hard-working’.

However, in order to counteract this, we must reject the narratives that divide people into ‘deserving’ or ‘undeserving’. By calling ourselves ‘hard-working’, we are repeating these narratives, not contesting them.


If you want to read about this in more detail, check out our blog post here.

Find us on Twitter and Instagram to join the conversation, and to share our message that #WordsMatter! Don’t forget to like and retweet!

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