Rumours like the one below that claim the Royal British Legion are not selling poppies in certain areas this November because it upsets minorities are spreading across the social media stratosphere.
I’ve just heard some really shocking news. The Royal British Legion are not selling poppies in certain areas on Nov 11 this year. This is because some minorities say that it will upset them. I say sod off … The poppy is a symbol of reverence for our fallen heroes of all the wars the BRITISH military have fought in. BRITAIN STAND UP AND SAY ‘WE WANT THE POPPY SOLD EVERYWHERE IN THE UK’. THIS IS OUR RIGHT TO REVERE OUR FALLEN.. PLEASE RE-POST
If these rumours ring a bell, then we’re not surprised, since they have made an appearance every single year since at least 2011, typically picking up speed around September and October. (We previously reported on it here.)
And despite their persistence, the rumours are completely untrue. There is simply nothing to support the spurious claims that ethnic minorities have prevented Royal British Legion officials from selling poppies anywhere. Not only that, but the Royal British Legion themselves have dismissed this nonsense a number of times.
The rumour simply exploits an aged racist narrative that asserts ethnic minorities are destroying British culture or forcing their religious viewpoints on British society – neither of which have ever been shown to be remotely accurate.
This is not to say that there has never been controversies regarding poppies or poppy selling. It is true that back in 2011 sellers could not distribute poppies for a short amount of time in Birmingham city centre because of licensing issues with the council. And reports also surface from time to time where retail staff have been disciplined for wearing poppies with their uniform.
However none of these cases had anything to do with upset minorities.
Ultimately the whole rumour plays in with on-going propaganda promoted by racists that British traditions are being censored or reduced because they “offend minorities” and this isn’t the first time we have seen similar rumours spread online. Similar rumours falsely claimed English football shirts were to be banned because they offended minorities (false) and that Christmas decorations in certain areas were banished because they offended minorities (false) and even images of the St. Georges cross were being removed by Facebook because they offended minorities (false again.)
But of course, whilst we have racists out there who simply dislike foreigners, we will have these silly rumours being passed on by people either too lazy to verify the facts for themselves or by racist, xenophobic bigots because the rumours re-enforce their limited perspective of the world. It is worth noting that stories about ethnic minorities encouraging the sales of poppies far outweigh any stories to the opposite effect – however, such stories you’ll unlikely see shared by those who prefer to spread scaremongering misinformation instead.
The Royal British Legion has never been told they cannot collect poppies in certain areas because they may offend minorities. Remember though, when you do buy your poppy, make sure it is from a someone selling on behalf of the Royal British Legion and that your money ends up going to them, and not someone selling poppies on behalf of … say, an extreme right-wing political organisation (yes ‘Britain First’, we’re looking at you.)