Celebrate Emma Raducanu’s triumph, but beware the unspoken rules about ‘good’ immigrants | Georgina Lawton
Praise for the tennis star from Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage reveal an extraordinary hypocrisy
At the weekend, 18-year-old Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier, and first British woman in 44 years, to win a grand slam singles tennis title. Raducanu, from Bromley, beat the 19-year-old Canadian, Leylah Fernandez, in the first grand slam final between two teenagers in 22 years. It was a momentous occasion that has made Raducanu into Britain’s brightest new sports star almost overnight. And while we should share in the collective joy of her remarkable triumph, it is also worth reflecting on the meaning of Raducanu’s heritage.
A Mandarin speaker, she was born in Canada to a Romanian father and Chinese mother, arriving in the UK at the age of two. In other words, Raducanu’s migration story is Britain’s migration story: varied, global and drawing from multiple cultural legacies. Yet how much do we in the UK really value the lives of immigrant families such as the Raducanus, when, instead of achieving greatness on the world stage, they’re living ordinary lives, often in the roles of the low-paid essential workers who keep the country running?