This article considers how one of the ‘archipelago of contradictions’ raised by Brexit is the prospect of unconventional policy change, in so far as it includes – amongst other options – ‘returning’ to prior conventions that were scaled up from the UK to the EU, and then returned to the UK through EU directives. To explore this, the paper divides UK equality legislation into three types: (a) that which was created in the UK (b) that which flows from membership of the European Union and (c) that which reflects an outgrowth of the two. The translation of this into social policy has typically taken a patchwork approach, including a discursive public function which addresses the rights of distinct groups as well as their modes of interaction. The scope and scale of existing equality approaches have therefore become central to the kinds of social and political citizenship achieved by Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Britons. While the dangers of Brexit rhetoric are apparent to see, we do not yet know how withdrawal from the EU revises (a), (b) or (c). The article makes a tentative attempt to shed light on these entanglements by focusing on public policies enacted to pursue race equality in particular.