“This is a White Country’”: TheRacial Ideology of theWesternNations of the World-SystemEduardo Bonilla-Silva, TexasA&M Uni...
RACIAL IDEOLOGY 189ment house and don’t like the smell of garlic to have to put with it and even tohave a lamb slaughtered...
190 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAeverybody in the face of massive racial inequality.5This new racism, al-ternatively labeled as “l...
RACIAL IDEOLOGY 191due to low birth rates (Suarez-Orozco 1994). Finally, the notion that the newracism is either the produ...
192 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAsubhuman, developedunderdeveloped civilizedbarbarian, rationalhstinctive,Christidheathen, superio...
RACIAL IDEOLOGY 193lage,” this new stage in the world-system should be characterizedas “the empireof chaos” (Amin 1992).Th...
194 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAItalian “foreigners,”it targets its 250,000 Arabs and the “Blacks” as the objectsof scapegoating....
FACIAL IDEOLOGY 195tailed historical analysis of each Western social formation is beyond the scope ofthis paper, I will hi...
196 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAto be committedto the principles of liberalism and egalitarianism.Analysts con-cur that by the la...
RACIAL IDEOLOGY 197dereducated, bored youth, and vulnerable workers-are overrepresented in theseorganizations, school teac...
198 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAendured (Berrier 1985).One reason for this is that, unlike in the 193Os, 43 per-cent of the immig...
RACIAL IDEOLOGY 199Western world and maintained formal colonies until 1945.After the Netherlandsbecame consolidated as a c...
200 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAThe groups receiving the wrath of racial intolerance in the Netherlands are,in descending order, ...
RACIAL IDEOLOGY 201tion declined from 114,000 in 1842 to 45,000 in 1858) and led to the SettlerWars of the 1860s (or, as t...
202 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAoverstayers (Loomis 1990; Macpherson 1996; Ongley 1996).Although many ofthese restrictions were l...
RACIAL IDEOLOGY 203struggling-ideologically and practically-to maintain what they regard as their“rights” to cultural, soc...
204 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAthem, such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Finland, seem to have ‘‘less’’of it, if anyat all. This...
RACIAL IDEOLOGY 205official language; anti-affirmative action legislation has passed in various states(notably in Californ...
206 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAwhen comparing the Mexicans to the Spaniards, he wrote: “the Spaniards are completely degener-ate...
RACIAL IDEOLOGY 207’I4In addition to stopping the importation of workers, Valery Giscard D’Estaing established in1974 the ...
208 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVA”Jesse Daniels shows in her book White Lies (1 997) that this so-called “extremist” discourseis c...
RACIAL IDEOLOGY 209Bureau of the Census, 1994.Current Population Reports: Marital Status and Living Arrangements.Washingto...
210 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAGoslinga, Cornelis Christian. 1985. The Dutch in the Caribbean and in the Guianas, 16804791.Grill...
RACIAL IDEOLOGY 211Mann, Golo. 1968. The History of Germany Since 1789. New York and Washington: Praeger.Markus, Andrew. 1...
212 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAPerez-Herrero, Pedro. 1992. America Latina y el Colonialism Europeo. Siglos XVI-XVIII. Madrid:Poo...
RACIAL IDEOLOGY 213Stora, Benjamin. 1996.“Locate, Isolate, Place under Surveillance:Algerian Migration to France in the193...
214 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVA. 1991.“North African Immigration and the French Political Imaginary.” Pp. 98-109 in Race,Discour...
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Eduardo Bonilla-Silva -'This Is A White Country' -The Racial Ideology Of The Western Nations Of The World-System


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In this paper I argue that the racial ideology of the Western nations of the world-system has converged over the past twenty years. This new ideology or, as many analysts call it "new racism," includes (1) the notion of cultural rather than biological difference, (2) the abstract and decontextualized use of the discourse of liberalism and individualism to rationalize racial inequality, and (3) a celebration of nationalism that at times acquires an ethnonational character. I contend that this ideological convergence reflects the histories of racial imperialism of all these countries, the fact that they have all developed real--although different--racial structures that award systemic rewards to their "White" citizens, and the significant presence of "Other" (Black, Arab, Turk, aboriginal people etc.) in their midst. I use the cases of Germany, France, the Netherlands, and New Zealand to illustrate my point.

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Eduardo Bonilla-Silva -'This Is A White Country' -The Racial Ideology Of The Western Nations Of The World-System

  1. 1. “This is a White Country’”: TheRacial Ideology of theWesternNations of the World-SystemEduardo Bonilla-Silva, TexasA&M UniversityIn this paper I argue that the racial ideology of the Western nations of the world-system has converged over the past twenty years. This new ideology or, as many analystscall it, the “new racism,” includes: (1) the notion of cultural rather than biological dif-ference, (2) the abstract and decontextualized use of the discourse of liberalism and in-dividualism to rationalize racial inequality, and (3) a celebration of nationalism that attimes acquires an ethnonationalcharacter. I contend that this ideological convergence re-flects the histories of racial imperialism of all these countries, the fact that they have alldeveloped real-although different-racial structures that award systemic rewards totheir “White” citizens, and the significant presence of the “Other” (Black, Arab, Turk,aboriginal people, etc.) in their midst. I use the cases of Germany, France, theNetherlands, and New Zealand to illustrate my point.A specter is haunting Europe as well as other Western nations,’ and thistime, unlike in 1848, it is not the specter of communism. This time around it isthe ghost of an old Western tradition, the tradition of racism that, as Mam oncesaid about past collective history, “weighs like a nightmare on the brain of theli~ing.”~In the words of Fernand Braudel, “It is an old problem, and it is stillwith us. It is the problem of otherness, that is, the feeling that a foreign presenceis other, a challenge to one’s own self and identity” (Braudel 1990,p. 208). Thisproblem of otherness affects today all Western nations and is signified in manyways. Newspaperreports in various Western nations refer to immigrants of coloras “hordes,” “strangers,” “aliens,” and “1’invasion pacifique” (Layton-Henry1994;Withol de Wenden 1991).In nations with historical racial minorities, suchas the United States, New Zealand, Canada, England, and even South Africa,Whites characterizetargeted programs to assist racial minorities as “reverse dis-crimination” or, in the case of the Netherlands, as “positive discrimination”(Cashmore 1987; Schutte 1995;Ter Wal, Verdan, and Westerbreek 1995).Racistviolence is on the rise in the United States, Germany, France, England theNetherlands, and even Western nations usually perceived as tolerant, such asSpain and Italy (Calvo-Buezas 1993; Witte 1996). Politicians of all hues rou-tinely make inflammatoryracial comments. For instance, in Germany ChancellorHelmut Schmidt said after his 1980 re-election that although the integration ofimmigrants was very important, “It’s not easy for Germans who live in an apart-Sociological Inquiv, Vol. 70, No. 2, Spring 2000, 188-21402000 by the University of Texas Press, PO. Box 7819, Austin, TX 78713-7819
  2. 2. RACIAL IDEOLOGY 189ment house and don’t like the smell of garlic to have to put with it and even tohave a lamb slaughtered in the hallway” (Martin 1994, p. 206). Analogously,Margaret Thatcher said in 1979 that “Some people have felt swamped by immi-grants . . . once a minority in a neighborhood gets very large, people do feelswamped. They feel their whole way of life has been changed” (Solomos 1989,p. 83). Jacques Chirac, France’s current president, made a public remark aboutthe “smell” of immigrants (Tlati 1996). Finally, racist and fascist organizationsand candidates are receiving substantial local and even national support in na-tions such as France, Austria, England, Germany, and the United States. Moreimportantly, the anti-immigration and anti-minority stance of these groups hasinfluenced “mainstream” parties and politicians to adopt racist viewpoints onmany issues.Although it is relatively easy to detect the above-mentioned extreme formsof the new racist discourse, I believe that most analystsmiss the significanceandthe extent of the new racial ideology. Unlike many analysts, who contend thatthis new racism is limited to a small segment of the population, I argue that thenew racial ideologpthe “new racism”-has become the norm for Whites allover the Western world. The central characteristicsof this new racism are:1. Unlike the old racism (nineteenthcentury to 1950s),which was centrallygrounded in a discourse of biological racial superiority, the new racismis centrally rooted in a discourse of cultural difference or “differentialistracism,” as Pierre Andre Taguieff (1990) labels it (Bonilla-Silva andLewis 1999;Essed 1996;Balibar and Wallerstein 1991).4The face of thenew racism is such that bigots such as Jean Marie Le Pen in France,Enoch Powell in England, and ex-Klan leader David Duke in the U.S.can contend that they are not racist since their main concern is the main-tenance of the culture and values that have made their respective coun-tries great nations. One example of this bizarre position is StevenBossel, a member of the fascistVlaams Block party in Belgium, who ad-vocates a twisted version of the doctrine of cultural relativism: “We re-spect other people’s identity . . .We don’t say one people is better thanother. We say that the only way to preserve people’s identity is to keepthem apart” (Suarez-Orozco 1994,p. 256).2. The new racism invokes the liberal and individualist ideology of theEnlightenment-ideological constructions that were not extended toracial minorities in the past-but with a twist. The twist is that notionsof equality, fairness, reward by merit, and freedom are invoked in an ab-stract and decontextualized manner. Whereas Whites in the Westernworld defended their privileged status vis-a-vis minorities by exclusion,today they defend it by claiming to be for “equality” and “fairness” for
  3. 3. 190 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAeverybody in the face of massive racial inequality.5This new racism, al-ternatively labeled as “laissez faire racism” (Bobo, Kluegel, and Smith1997), “competitive racism” (Essed 1996), or “color-blind racism”(Bonilla-Silvaand Forman 2000), is a formidable rhetorical mine that al-lows Whites extreme argumentative flexibility on racial or racially per-ceived matters and enables them to raise liberal arguments to supportandlor pursue illiberal ends (Wetherell and Potter 1992).3. Finally, the new racism incorporates a discourse of nationalism that, attimes and in some places, has acquired an ethnonational character thatcelebrates “cultural particularity, claims a spiritual charter, and grantsmembership by ascription-which is taken to ensure an especial deepemotional attachment” (Cameroff 1996, p. 175). This neonationalismcolors the debate that has emerged in all Western nations about nation-ality and citizenship. The deep connections between this new version ofnationalism and racism can be seen clearly in Jean Marie Le Pen’s 1987statement about Arabs: “I love North Africans, but their place is in theMaghreb . . . I am not a racist, but a national . . . For a nation to beharmonious, it must have a certain ethnic and spiritual homogeneity(Taguieff 1990,p. 119).Some analysts interpret this new racism, particularly its more extreme ex-pressions, as the result of a psychological memory, “old bigotries and old hang-overs,” a relic of the Nazi past, or the legacy from slavery (Guibernau 1996).Others see it as the symbolic expression of anxieties over the status of the econ-omy, social life, and the reorganization of the international order (Castles andMiller 1993;Fijalkowski 1996;Rubin 1994;Suarez-Orozco 1994; Layton-Henry1994).Another group of analysts sees this new racism as the result of the machi-nations of political elites to keep labor divided or as an easy tool used by somepoliticiansto get elected (Kaldor 1996; Loomis 1990). Lastly, some contend that“the third” of the population-those with less education and income, who expe-rience tremendous social isolation and are fearful of the effects of globalchanges-are the prime culprits of the recent racial malaise afflicting Westernnations (Mayer 1995).I believe that all these explanations are wanting. Assuming that the newracism is a revival of the old racism does not explain why it has revived now andhow it survived in the midst of the Western world for so long. Xf the new racismarticulates anxieties about the present, why is it that immigrants and minoritiesare picked as candidates for scapegoatingwhen there are so many Whites immi-grating into Western nations? More significantly,the anxieties of Whites may besomewhat illegitimate as well as misdirected since many of these countries (e.g.,France, Germany, and Belgium) need immigrants to maintain their labor force
  4. 4. RACIAL IDEOLOGY 191due to low birth rates (Suarez-Orozco 1994). Finally, the notion that the newracism is either the product of political elites’machinationsor of workers’racismmisses the fact that in all Western nations, as I will show, the new dominantracial views and themes are expressed by the majority of the White population.I explain the rise of the new racism as the product of the articulation ofpastracial ideology and contemporary racialization. I suggest, following the ideas ofErnest Ellis Cashmore,that “racism in modern societytypically arises in defenceof the established order of things against perceived challenges . . . and in thissense, it can be seen as logical response” (1987, p. 2). Immigrants “previouslyidentified only as charactersin Tarzan films” are perceived as a threat to Whites’familiar way of life, their environments, and their “culture,” and thus, racism isthe logical response. Historical racial minorities, who through struggles wereable to improve their standing, secure anti-discrimination laws, and guaranteesome minimal state intervention on their behalf, are now experiencing a back-lash. My specific argument is that the new racism articulates (1) the long his-tory-past and present-of colonialism and racialization of those countrieswhich participated and still participate in the production and reproduction of the“West”; (2) the different but real and converging racial structures (racial prac-tices at the political, social, and economic levels responsible for the maintenanceof White supremacy) that exist in these countries; and (3) the contemporary in-ternational context of globalization that has interiorized “race” into countriessuch as Germany, France, and England that were until recently fundamentallyWhite countries and has increased the size and diversity of racial minorities inhistorically multiracial countries such as the United States, Canada, NewZealand, and Australia. Thus the ‘‘logic’’of the new racism (racial ideology) inthe Western world is Whites’defense of their racial privilege or in Mills’s (1997)term the “racial contract.”InternationalContext:The Internationalizationof the Economy and theGlobalizationof Race RelationsThe national capitalist economies of the world have formed a “world-system” for over six hundred years (Braudel 1979; Wallerstein 1974; Hopkinsand Wallerstein 1996).The extension of that system into Africa, the Americas,and Asia in the sixteenth century involved the racialization of the peoples of theentire world (Balibar and Wallerstein 1991;Rodney 1981).In order to dominatethe “new world,” European nations developed a structure of knowledge-meaningthat created the notion of the “West” (Hopkins and Wallerstein 1996). Thisintellectual construction facilitated the expansion of the world-system by racial-izing (Omi and Winant 1994) the inhabitants of peripheral and core nations(Rodney 1981).The concept of the West crystallized a set of binary oppositionsthat defined the peoples of Western and of non-Western nations: humad
  5. 5. 192 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAsubhuman, developedunderdeveloped civilizedbarbarian, rationalhstinctive,Christidheathen, superiorhferior, and cleardunclean (Markus 1994).By defin-ing non-Western nations in this fashion, core nations were able to conquer, ex-ploit, and massacre Indian, African, and Asiatic peoples without much guilt andto use their natural resources to advance their own social, economic, and politi-cal interests-including the development of democratic regimes with extensivecitizenship rights for all (White) citizens (Berkhoffer 1979; Gunder-Frank 1978;Hopkins and Wallerstein 1996; Rodney 1981). In short, the creation of the Westwas the creation of White supremacy (herrenvolk) (for more on this, seeChapters 4, 5, and 6 in Charles W. Mills’s 1998 excellent Blackness Visible).This Western discourse was not-and is not-just a set of ideas revolvingin the heads of Europeans. This discourse was an essential component in thestructuration of various kinds of social relations of domination and subordina-tion between “Western” and non-Western peoples, between Whites and non-Whites in the world-system (Balibar and Wallerstein 1991;Bonilla-Silva 1997;Spoonley 1988). Racism (racial ideology), as I have suggested elsewhere, is nota free-floating ideology. Racism is always anchored in real practices and it re-inforces social relations among racialized subjects in a social order, that is, itsupports a racialized social structure (Bonilla-Silva 1997). Thus, for example,the racial ideology of Canada, Australia, and the United States is the direct prod-uct of their own racial situations. Even Western countries that did not have his-torical racial minorities, such as the Netherlands, France, or England, establishedracial structures in their colonies which have shaped the way in which they havedealt with “colonial immigrants” and other immigrants of color. For instance, al-though France had by 1930 the highest level of foreigners of any country in theworld with 7 percent, Arabs, who were neither the largest immigrant group northe last arrivals, were the object of the most severe antipathies and found them-selves at the bottom of the occupational structure (Stora 1996).Since the mid-1960s, the capitalist world-system has experienced a sys-temic transformation or, properly speaking, a crisis, that has produced a dramaticrestructuration, the famous “globalization” that we hear about almost every day(Amin 1992).The central features of this transformation are the “decline in theimportance of territorially based mass production, the globalization of financeand technology, and the increased specialization and diversity of markets”(Kaldor 1996). Each of these elements is a result of the serious world-systemiccrisis of accumulation in the late 1960s and early 1970s that produced drasticshifts in the loci of production (from center to peripheries), investment (fromproductive to financial), and the countries spending a significant portion of theirGNP on military expenditures (by incorporating peripheral and semi-peripheralnation-states as central actors in the military race). Although advocates of capi-talism interpret these various changes as progressive and speak of a “global vil-
  6. 6. RACIAL IDEOLOGY 193lage,” this new stage in the world-system should be characterizedas “the empireof chaos” (Amin 1992).The chaos produced by the restructuration of the world-system has hadlocal (plant relocations), national (downsizing of the labor force of large multi-national companies in the core and “shock therapies” in the periphery), and in-ternational repercussions (NAFTA, new world-level economic and politicalarrangements, etc.). The dislocations caused by these changes and labor recruit-ment policies by some core nation-states have led to monumental migrations ofpeople from developing nations into core states and the deterioration of the sta-tus of workers in the Western world (Cohen 1997).6Although a substantial partof this migration is legal and even sponsored by the core states, increasinglysince the 1970s the migration has been illegal (Wallerstein 1996).This new internationalorder has led to the globalizationof race and race re-lations and the intensificationand diversification of the numbers of racial Othersin the Western world. Although race has fractured countries such as the UnitedStates,Australia, New Zealand, and Canada since their inception, it was until re-cently a marginal social category in most Western nations. Today, as a direct re-sult of the international movement of peoples, all Western nations haveinteriorized the Other, colonial and otherwise (Miles 1993; Winant 1994). InEuropean nations such as Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands,France, and Germany, the geographical distance between the “uncivilized” andthe “civilized”has been “bridged” through what Balibar calls the “interiorizationof the exterior” (Balibar 1991).7Accordingly, today immigrants and minoritiesof color in Europe constitute anywhere between 1.4percent of the population, asin Italy, to 27.5 percent, as in Luxembourg (Castles and Miller 1993,p. 80).Although many analysts conceive these immigrants as basically workerswho have been racialized as an “underclass” (Castles and Miller 1993; Cohen1997; Loomis 1990; Miles 1982; Spoonley 1996), I contend that the racializedcharacter of their experience is deeper and in line with five hundred years ofWestern history (Potts 1990; Jayasuriya 1996). For example, in England, al-though European (White) workers were viewed as easily assimilatable, a clearstigma was attachedto Caribbean workers whose absorption into the social bodywas deemed “very difficult” (Royal Commission 1949,as cited by Layton-Henry1994, p. 284). In France, even before the development of the fascist NationalFront Party, French workers had racist views and feelings toward “Black”(Algerian and Caribbean)workers and were among the first to oppose immigra-tion (Grill0 1991).Finally, since immigration is not a new phenomenon in thesecountries, and in many a substantial proportion of the immigrants are White(two-thirds of those in Europe and most of those in England), the “immigrants”that matter are those defined as “Black,” “non-Western,” “unchristian.”Accordingly, for example, although Belgium has over half a million French and
  7. 7. 194 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAItalian “foreigners,”it targets its 250,000 Arabs and the “Blacks” as the objectsof scapegoating. It is also significant that studies of the various “immigrants”show that darker immigrants (Caribbeans, Arabs, and southern Europeans) areviewed and treated much worse than White immigrants (Castles and Kosack1984, pp. 443-46). In England, although immigration restrictions were imposedon all groups, political leaders have said that immigration from “Canada,Australia, and New Zealand formed no part of the [immigration] problem”(Saggar 1991,p. 105)and that earlier migrations of Irish, in contrast to those ofJews and Blacks (nineteenth century until 1960), did not produce major reac-tions from the body politic (Solomos 1989).Despite the different legal status of these people of color in Western nations(guest workers, asylum seekers, “aliens,” or “citizens”), they have a number ofsimilarities.First, in economic terms all experiencea racialized class status char-acterizedby segmentedlabor market experiences-even segmentationin middle-class occupations, overrepresentation in manual and “underclass” locations inthe class structure, and significantly higher levels of unemployment (Berrier1985; Castles and Miller 1993; Loomis 1990).They also experience very littleoccupationalmobility even among second-generation“immigrants” (Castles andKosack 1984; Mehrlander 1985). Second, they tend to live in ethnic quarters orghettos and are more likely to rent rather than to own their houses (Castles andKosack 1984;Loomis 1990).This is partly due to discrimination in the housingmarkets (Loomis 1990;Massey and Denton 1993; Suarez-Orozco 1994).Finally,all people of color in Europe (Turks, Arabs, Native peoples, Blacks from theCaribbean and Afhca, etc.), whether immigrant or not, experience what SuArez-Orozco has termed as “expressive exploitation” or the psychological aspects ofdepreciation-derogatory attitudes, stereotyping and related behavior, andracially motivated violence. In short, people of color in the historically Whitecountries of the West are treated as second-class citizens (Layton-Henry 1994),a status that resembles that of the historical racial minorities in Western nationssuch as the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.National Contexts: Contemporary Racialization inWestern SocietiesStuart Hall (1980) argues convincingly for the existence of a plurality ofracisms in the Western world. Yet the new racial ideology of Western nations isunified by its common historical ideologicalroot, the significantpresence of theOther through immigration, and by the impact of global “Western” culture-often conceived of as “American”-that binds Western nations in an “informalimperialism” (dominance without empire) which defends the cultural distinc-tiveness (in the minds of Whites, the “superiority”) of Western nations over pe-ripheral nations. Thus, as I stated in the introduction, the racism peculiar to allWestern nations today exhibits a common macroracial discourse. Since a de-
  8. 8. FACIAL IDEOLOGY 195tailed historical analysis of each Western social formation is beyond the scope ofthis paper, I will highlight below in a very schematic fashion some of the centralelements of the racialized makeup of Germany, France, the Netherlands, andNew Zealand. These countries provide a nice mix of diverse histories of racial-ization (internal and external minorities), of colonialism, of the subjects of colo-nial or internal colonial domination, and of traditions of tolerance (fromGermany’s fascism to the liberalism of the Netherlands) that should help clarifywhy the racial ideologies of all Western nations are converging.GermanyBecause Germany was not a military power and lacked national unity dur-ing the so-called “Age of Exploration” (fifteenth and sixteenth centuries), it wasnot able to establish at the time formal colonies as Spain, Portugal, France,Holland, and England did. Nevertheless, German intellectuals absorbed-andfurther developed-and popularized the racial ethos of the “West.” Eighteenth-and early-nineteenth-centuryGerman philosophers (e.g., Kant and Hegel), poets(e.g., Goethe and the romantics Herder, Novalis, Fichte, and Schelling), folk-lorists (e.g., the G r i m brothers), musicians (e.g., Bach and Haydn), and otherintellectuals (e.g., economists such as Friedrich List and historians such asBarthold Georg Niebuuhr), developed a kultur (civilization) harmonious withWestern aesthetics and taxonomies, that is, permeated with White supremacy(see Gilman 1982; Snyder 1978). For instance, Kant’s moral rationalism did notextend to Blacks, whom he regarded as mentally inferior, ugly, and “so talkativethat they must be driven apart from each other by thrashings” (as cited inGoldberg 1993, p. 32), and Hegel’s dialectics were not conceivable for Blacks,whom he regarded as childlike, as a people that “never achieve the sense ofhuman personality-their spirit sleeps, remains sunk in itself, makes no ad-vances and thus parallels the compact, undifferentiatedmass of the African con-tinent’’(as cited by Gilman 1982,p. 94).Thus, not surprisingly,as the “Germanies” began their process of politicalconsolidation in the first part of the nineteenth century, German colonists beganseeding imperial beach fronts in Africa, South America, and Australia(Townsend 1930).Yet the beginning offormal German imperialism came withBismarck and his state-sponsored colonial policies in the 1880s, by whichGermany acquired vast territories in Africa and the Pacific, and became the thirdlargest imperial power behind England and France (Passant 1959). WithBismarck, Germany finthered its strong sense of nationalism and the eighteenth-century obsessionof German romantic nationalists with ethnic purity, perfection,and superiority.’ Hitler’s Nazism thus was not an anomaly but a culmination ofGerman enlightenednationalism (Bauman 1991).After the Holocaust, Germanystruggled to develop a tradition of liberal democracy and to teach its population
  9. 9. 196 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAto be committedto the principles of liberalism and egalitarianism.Analysts con-cur that by the late 1960sand early 1970s,a democraticpolitical culture had sup-planted the authoritarian one (Munch 1996), although as O’Brien points out, itwas a “technocratic liberal” political culture (O’Brien 1996).9 This liberalismcollapsed somewhat in the 1970s as the economy experienced a recession.Foreign workers (5% of the population in the mid-seventies and today about8%), vital to the German economic miracle of the post-War era, became the tar-gets of animosity.Although the Germans implementedan integrationistpolicy inthe 1980s,this policy is predicated on the belief that immigrants are “backwardpeople living in a modem industrial society” (O’Brien 1996,p. 62).Although Germany counts among its 6.5 million foreigners (1992 figure)Serbs, Croats, Italians, Greeks, Poles, and Spaniards,Turks (totaling 1.8 millionin 1992) and Arabs have become the subjects of hate by the Germans, and theirreligion and non-Western culture have been used as markers of difference(Karakasoglu and Nonnemanl996).lo On this last point Schoenbaum and Pondcomment that “‘foreigner,’ ‘Moslem’and ‘Turk’approached identity in Germanawareness, and ‘Turk’and Gasterbeiter (hired, non-German labor) became virtu-ally interchangeable”(1996, p. 29). Poll after poll indicates the centrality of the“immigration problem” for Germans. For instance, a 1991 poll found that 78percent of Germans regarded immigration as the most pressing national problem(Martin 1994, p. 189). This belief is translated into discriminatory actionsagainst Turks in the housing and labor markets as well as in a variety of socialsettings and finds expression in one of the toughest naturalization laws amongEuropeannations, based on the ethnichacia1notion ofjuis sanguinis-the law ofblood (Del Fabbro 1995; Martin 1994;Yucel 1987). In addition, foreigners arenot allowed to participate in the political process.The hate of the Other in Germany has led to high levels of violence againstimmigrants (particularlyTurks), refugees of color, Jews, and long-time residentswho look “foreign.” Some official reports estimate the number of incidents in the1990s to be anywhere between fifty and one hundred daily (Martin 1994;Lewis1996).German reunification has opened the floodgates for German nationalism.Although it is not clear who is responsible for all the violence, it is safe to as-sume that the eighty-two fascist and neo-Nazi organizations in existence inGermany, as identified by police officials in 1992,have something to do with it(Lewis 1996). Groups and individuals such as the RepublikanerPartei, led by anex-SS sergeant, the revived National Democratic Party of Germany, the GermanPeople’s Union, “Redskins” and “Whiteskins” (two skinhead groups), and inde-pendent extremist politician Thomas Kreyssler,’ have been elected to local par-liaments and even to the national parliament and have joined an already broadspectrum of fascist organizations (Lewis 1996). Research on membership ofthese groups suggests that although disenfranchisedGermans-unemployed, un-
  10. 10. RACIAL IDEOLOGY 197dereducated, bored youth, and vulnerable workers-are overrepresented in theseorganizations, school teachers, judges, police officers, and other middle-classGermans are represented in them (Lewis 1996). More significantly, as in otherEuropean countries, fascist and racist organizations and parties have helped toshift the political debate in Germany to the right and have legitimated Germannationalism (Del Fabbro 1995).FrameFrance was one of the early empire builders in the fifteenth century, withvast colonial territories in North America and the Caribbean. In the nineteenthcentury, when a new imperialist spirit took over Europe, France was more thanready, and, with the support of a nationalist French public, it acquired controlover almost a third of the African continent (the French Congo, Chad, Gabon,Niger, Cameroon, Sudan, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast, French Guinea, Togo,Dahomey, Mauritania, the Gulf of Benin, Algeria, Tunisia, part of Morocco, andMadagascar), colonies in South America (French Guiana) and the Middle East(Syria), and Indochina (Vietnam) (Brunschwig 1966; Roberts 1963).After the French empire began to crumble after World War 1,12 French“colonial subjects” began migrating to France. Thousands of Moroccans,Tunisians, and particularly Algerians immigrated to France (Stora 1996).Although some analysts believe that racism in France is a new phenomenon,Stora (1996) shows quite convincingly that racial discrimination against Arabsand other minorities of color has been widespread since the 1930sin all aspectsof the lives of immigrants of color and that racism was practiced by all socialclasses. Stora, for example, shows how newspapers from the Right and the Leftportrayed sidis (a sardonic slang term for North African meaning “master”) orthe “rats” (used to characterize Arabs) as disorderly, dirty, drunk, oversexed,gambling, and prone to all kinds of criminal activities. As in other Western na-tions, although immigrants from European countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal,Poland, Belgium, Germany, Russia, and Switzerland) greatly outnumbered im-migrants of color (North African Arabs were 102,000 of the 2,890,000 immi-grants in France in 1931),13immigrants of color were the primary target of racialanimosity.This animosity intensified in the 1950sand 1960sduring the Algerianwar of independence, illustrated by the ruttonudes (literally, rat hunts) of Arabsby the French populace (Witte 1996).The immigration of colonial subjects from the Maghreb (mostly fromAlgeria but also from Morocco and Tunisia) and the Caribbean increased in sig-nificance after 1950 as France was in dire need of laborers (Castles and Miller1993).Although France formally ended the migration of salaried workers fromAlgeria and other countries in 1974,14and the proportion of “foreigners” hasstabilized at about 7 percent, racist violence and anti-immigrant feelings have
  11. 11. 198 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAendured (Berrier 1985).One reason for this is that, unlike in the 193Os, 43 per-cent of the immigrants in France today are Arabs (Ubbiali 1996). Even the so-cialist government of Mitterand in the 1980s, despite its initial progressiverhetoric on immigrants, “abandonedthe claim for a right to vote for immigrants”and “went back in its own way to the traditional politics of mistrust towards im-migrants (police surveillance, bureaucratic harassment, deportations), instru-mentally encouraging the rise of the extreme right in order to divide the rightwing opposition” (Ubbiali 1996,p. 128; see also Witte 1996).One of the most discussed expressions of contemporary French racism isthe rise of Jean Marie Le Pen and his FN party. In the last fifteen years, it has be-come a major party in France, as demonstrated by its 1995 strong electoralshowing where it captured 15% of the popular vote, with a program fundamen-tally shaped by ethnonationalistviews well captured in its slogan “Put the Frenchfirst” (Ubbiali 1996; Keeler and Schain 1996) and by influencing the agenda ofvarious French conservative parties and the electorate at large. For example,polls in May 1995 showed that 33% of the electorate and 43% of those whovoted for Chirac wanted that “the ideas of the National Front be taken into ac-count more by the new president” (Keeler and Schain 1996,p. 9). In 1993 con-servative Minister of the Interior Charles Pasqua suggested amending theimmigration code to make access to French citizenship even tougher than it wasthen (see Tlati 1996, pp. 292-393; for details, see Withol de Wenden 1994, p.91). The same year, Philippe de Villiers, a member of the Union for aDemocratic France party, proclaimed that immigrants formed “communitiesthatare as cysts of unassimilatable foreigners” (Ubbiali 1996,p. 123).Immigrants of color and historical French minorities from the Caribbeanand Africa have internalized colonialism into France (Braudel 1990). Braudelpoints out that immigrants are used “as cheap labour” and “do the most thank-less tasks, or those thought to be such, which are in nine cases out of ten shunnedby the ‘French’workforce” (Braudel 1990,p. 206). In the case of migrants fromthe French departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, their status is not muchbetter than that of Arabs. Despite being “nationals,”they are twice as likely asthe average French worker to be unemployed, are heavily concentrated in thelower echelons of the occupational structure, and suffer from racial discrimina-tion (Anselin 1995).The overall climate for people of color in France may wellbe summarizedwith the results of a 1989poll in which 68% of the French statedthat “the limit of absorption” had been reached (Ubbiali 1996).15TheNetherlandsWhen we think of imperial powers, we think of large states such as England,Spain, the United States, Russia, France, and Germany. However, small statessuch as Belgium and the Netherlands participated in the conquest of the non-
  12. 12. RACIAL IDEOLOGY 199Western world and maintained formal colonies until 1945.After the Netherlandsbecame consolidated as a country during the Eighty Years’ War with Spain(1568-1648), it became a powerful naval and merchant nation-state that grewvery wealthy from international commerce (Riemens 1944). The Dutch EastIndia and West India Companies were “the mighty instruments of national ex-pansion” (Riemens 1944,p. 178).The East India Companycolonized the “SpiceIslands” (Java, Sumatra, and Bali [Indonesia], the Moluccas, Borneo, NewGuinea, and Ceylon), and South Africa. The West India Company settled theDutch Caribbean (Surinam, Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba, Saba, St. Eustatius, andSt. Martin) and the New Netherlands (New Jersey, New York, and Delaware),and establishedover thirty fortresses,lodges, and factories in many parts of WestAfrica (the Gold Coast, Guinea, and Benin) (Goslinga 1985;Kuitenbrower 1991;Riemens 1944).Although Dutch apologists write about their benign colonial rule (Riemens1944), the fact is that the Dutch, like other imperial powers, participated in theslave trade, developed plantation economies that worked as “total institutions,”establishedhierarchical race relations regulated by Black (for Africans) and Red(for Indians) codes, and took part in genocidal campaignsagainst Indians in theircolonies (Golsinga 1985).Some write about the Pax Neerlandica, establishedbythe Dutch in its colonies, but in fact the Netherlands simply prolonged colonial-ism longer than other European powers. The Dutch colonial rule in Indonesia,which contended with numerous rebellions, ended in 1945; Suriname attained itsindependence in 1975; Aruba obtained the so-called “Status Aparte” in 1986;and the remaining Netherlands Antilles have formed a confederation (that is,they have become neocolonies of the Netherlands) since 1954(Croes and Alam1990; Sedoc-Dahlberg 1990;Zainu’ddin 1968).Even though the Netherlands and its capital,Amsterdam, have a reputationfor tolerance, that tolerance seems to be dissipating as the proportion of theOther (immigrant workers and colonial subjects) has increased, reaching 6percent overall and 20 percent in Amsterdam in 1993 (Essed 1990). Sincethe 1970s, fascist and racist parties have had relative success. From theNenderlandse Glks Unie in 1971 to the more recent Centrumpartij and theCentrumdemocraten, such parties seem to be gaining popularity as evidenced intheir electoral success by the 1980sand 1990s.Interestingly, Dutch who vote forthese parties are not significantlydifferent to the average voter, suggesting thatthey are not lunatics, marginalized people, or workers projecting their feelingsand anxieties onto foreigners (Ter Wal, Verdan, and Westerbreek 1995).Furthermore, as in other Western nations, these extreme parties have driven thepublic debate on immigration, asylum, and integration to the right, a point thatbecame evident with the election of the liberal Right (VVD) in 1995 even afterits leader, Frits Bolkestein, made some racist remarks during the campaign.
  13. 13. 200 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAThe groups receiving the wrath of racial intolerance in the Netherlands are,in descending order, Arabs and Turks, colonial migrants from the Dutch Antillesand Suriname, and Indonesians. The status of immigrants of color in theNetherlands, according to a 1989 report, is worse than in any other EuropeanUnion country (Ter Wal, Verdan, and Westerbreek 1995, p. 233). PhilomenaEssed (1990; 1991; 1996), for example, shows in her works that Surinamesewomen experience “everyday racism” in all social realms, and concludes thatthey are treated as inferior, are kept at a social distance, and confront social ag-gression (1990, p. 142).Although the Dutch government liberalized its natural-ization law in 1992, allowing for plural nationalities-a policy change thatshould have improved the status of “foreigners”-interviews with almost sixhundred people originating in Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, and Cape Verde (halfwho had naturalized and half who had not) revealed that they regarded the ac-quisition of Dutch nationality as a “defensiveoption,” a finding that underscoresthe fact that they still feel treated as “foreigners” (van den Beden 1994).New ZealandI6Europeans had known about New Zealand’s existence since the Dutch ex-plorer Abel Janszoon Tansman “discovered” it in 1642. Yet it was not untilCaptain James Cook’s intrusion in 1769,during his famous circumnavigationofthe Pacific, that they recognized any possibilities for the islands (Sinclair 1980).The British first established settlements there in 1788 and began exploiting re-sources such as “flax, timber, sealing, whaling, and even tattooed heads” (Price1950, p. 152). Although many Europeans mistreated the Maoris (native NewZealanders) and even kidnapped many of them, others settled in relative har-mony and even intermarried with the natives (Price 1950; Sinclair 1980). Thismay have been due to the fact that most of these “Europeans” (French, British,and even some Americans were among the first settlers) were “beachcombers”(whalers,sealers,traders, pirates, etc.) and did not depend or care for the supportof any European power (Johnston, Paul, Strong, and Thompson 1983; Price1950). Nevertheless, the Maori contact with “Pakehas” (Europeans) per sebrought deleterious demographic and cultural changes from the usual sources:disease, alcohol, firearms, and religion (Price 1950).This initial state of affairs worsened rapidly in the nineteenth century withthe immigration of a large number of White settlersI7thirsty for land to growcrops and graze stock and missionaries searching for savage souls to convert tothe “path of Christian virtue” (Johnston et al. 1983, p. 84). The pressure causedby these forces (e.g., by 1840 Pakehas claimed ownership of 70% of the land),combined with intertribal Maori warfare, facilitated England’s annexation ofNew Zealand in 1840through the Treaty of Waitangi. The settlers’zeal for landcontinued with little regard for the well-being of the Maoris (the Maori popula-
  14. 14. RACIAL IDEOLOGY 201tion declined from 114,000 in 1842 to 45,000 in 1858) and led to the SettlerWars of the 1860s (or, as the Maoris called them, “White Man’s Anger”), fo-cused on the rising nationalism symbolized by the Maori King Movement’*andthe specificresistance of chief Wiremu Kingi to a land deal in 1859(Howe 1977;Johnston et al. 1983;Moon 1993;Sinclair 1980;Stevens 1989).After the Pakehavictory and the final “pacification” of the Maoris, the process of Maori landappropriation intensified, facilitated by the enactment of a privatization policyand numerous land laws that created “a legaljungle within which the Maoris lostthemselves and were preyed on by its natural denizens, the land speculators ortheir agents and shyster lawyers” (Sinclair 1980, p. 146). Although NewZealand’s government” introduced a series of educational and political reformsin the latter part of the nineteenth century to accelerate the “civilization” or“amalgamation” of the Maoris, akin to the policies enacted by other settlercolonies, their intent was to normalize their supremacy over the Maori land andpeople. In the earlier part of the nineteenth century, land appropriationcontinuedand the status of the Maoris improved at a snail’s pace. Although through pro-gressive legislation, fundamentally enacted by the Labor governments in the1930sand 1940sand pressured by Maori political agitation, the status of Maorisimproved throughout the twentieth century, as the Hunn Report documented in1969,relative to Pakeha standards, Maoris were a long way behind.Today New Zealanders proudly defend their harmonious race relations andeven the multiracial basis of their nation.20Yet, from a Maori and PacificIslandell’ point of view, things are not so great. The Maoris are less than 13per-cent of the population-a minority in their own country. In occupational terms,they are overrepresentedin working-classjobs and severely underrepresented inprofessional and managerial ones (Howe 1977; Loomis 1990). In terms of un-employment, the Maoris and other Pacific Islanders typically experience a ratethat is three to four times as high as that of Pakehas (Loomis 1990;Ongley 1996;Spoonley 1996). Maoris make up close to 60 percent of inmate population inprisons (Howe 1977;Tauri 1996).Although more than 70 percent of Maoris livein urban areas, they earn less, have a shorter life span, and are less educated thanPakehas and live in segregated areas (Howe 1977). Finally, behind the publiccurtain of racial harmony “lies a thick underlay of privately (and less commonlypublicly) expressed prejudice ranging from jokes about Maoris . . , to outrightdisgust and avoidance” (Howe 1977, p. 76; for the L‘newracism” attitudes inNew Zealand, see Wetherell and Potter 1992,and Chapter 11 in Sharp 1989).As in other Western countries, during the recession of the 1970srestrictionson immigration from non-Western countries and an intensification of racistrhetoric against immigrants of color and the Maoris materialized and includedpolice and immigration authorities’ raids of houses and factories and randomchecks in public places in order to find and repatriate illegal immigrants and
  15. 15. 202 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAoverstayers (Loomis 1990; Macpherson 1996; Ongley 1996).Although many ofthese restrictions were liberalized in the late 1980s as New Zealand proclaimedthat one of its immigration objectiveswas “to enrich the multicultural social fab-ric of New Zealand society” (Ongley 1996),the policy is now a more direct toolof business interests. In terms of the long-standingdebate over the land question,the Maoris today control four million acres or 6 percent of New Zealand’s land(Johnston et al. 1983). This issue, intrinsically related to the Maoris’ quest forself-detennination, has led to sustained Maori protests since the 1970s (Kelsey1996).Although the Labor governmentof the 1980s supported a number of pro-gressivepolicies (e.g., biculturalism, a bill of rights, expandingthe powers of theWaitangi Tribunal of 1975)toward the Maoris, it wavered on the central issue ofthe times: Maori sovereignty(Kelsey 1996;Vasil 1990).The confluence of events such as the growth of Pacific islander and, morerecently, Asian immigration, the surge and intensification of the Maori protestsin the 1970s and 198Os, the state’s minimal expansion of Maori rights in the1980s, and the deleterious economic effects of globalization in New Zealandhave created an environmentripe for White nationalism.Although the extent andscope of the New Right in New Zealand is smaller than in most Western nations,its ideological influence seems to be rising (Wetherell and Potter 1992). In the1980s groups such as the New Force have formed to preserve New ZealandBritish (White) heritage (Novitz 1990).An example of this ethnonationalisttrendis Stuart C. Scott’s (1995) recent book, The Travesty of Waitangi. Scott charac-terizes Maori culture before contact as “savage” and contemporary Maori cultureas a “myth,” argues that the Anglo-Maori Wars of the 1860swere due to Maori“envy” and “jealousy” of the British settlers, and considers all Maori claims forland, fishing rights, and cultural independence ludicrous. Although Scott, as allmodern neoracists, avoids directly racist epithets, he constantlyresorts to cultur-alist argumentsto justify social segregation (p. 84), refers to “Europeans” as the“vastly more sophisticated ethnic group” (p. 154),and uses inflammatory mili-taristic language (“invade,” “infiltrate,” etc.) to characterize Maori demands andvictories in New Zealand.ConclusionsIn the postmodern world no one claims to be “racist” except for Nazis andneo-Nazis and members of White supremacist groups.22Yet racial minorities andimmigrants of color are experiencing a racial backlash all over the Westernworld. That backlash is evident in attacks on affirmative action-type policies, thegrowth in racial violence, the increase in electoral support for populist racist par-ties, and the move to the right by mainstream parties on racially perceived mat-ters such as immigration. Faced with economic insecurity, restructuring,transnationalism,and new political alignments, Whites in the Western world are
  16. 16. RACIAL IDEOLOGY 203struggling-ideologically and practically-to maintain what they regard as their“rights” to cultural, social, political, economic, and psychological advantages asWhite, “civilized,”and “Christian” citizens over racial minorities, immigrants, orany representativeof the Other.The apparent contradiction between a racial backlash and a Western worldthat pretends to be cosmopolitan,multicultural, and raceless (Guibernau 1996)isexplained by the fact that contemporary racial ideology combines abstract andtechnocratic liberalismwith ethnonationaland culturalist elements. Laissez faireracism, which ideologicallyequalizes the races (“We are all equal!”), although infact they remain unequal, provides the ammunition for Whites to feel moral in-dignation, anger; resentment, and even hate toward minorities and the programsviewed as providing “preferential” treatment to them. Therefore, this new racialideology allows Whites in the West to defend their racial privilege without ap-pearing to be “racist” (Bonilla-Silva and Forman 2000; Feagin and Vera 1995;Wetherell and Potter 1992). Contemporary racial struggle is waged with a newracial language and new racial ideas. Instead of the biologically based racism ofthe past, the new racial ideology allows even racists such as Enoch Powell to ex-press racial resentment-evident in statements such as the one below-in a waythat is acceptable to most Whites in the West.The spectaclewhich I cannot help seeing . . .is that of Britain which has lost, quite suddenly,in the space of less than a generation, all consciousnessand conviction of being a nation: theweb which binds it to its past has been tom asunder, and what has made the spectaclethe moreimpressive has been the indifference,not to say levity,with which the changehas been greeted.(Enoch Powell’s statementto The Guardian in 1981,cited in Saggar 1991, p. 176)In this paper I argue that this new racism is not a hangover from the past,an articulation of the New Right, a simple case of scapegoating,or something af-fecting only workers. I suggest that the new racism is world-systemicand affectsall Western nations, although its specific articulations vary by locality. The rea-son why racism in all Western nations has a similar macroracial discourse is be-cause these nations share a history of racial imperialism and the notion of theWest, have real but differing racial structures (Bonilla-Silva 1997), and have asignificant presence of the Other, either through immigration, as in mostEuropean nations, or through their history of constitution as nations, as in NewWorld nations.I presented a sketch of past and contemporary racialization in four Westerncountries-Germany, France,the Netherlands, and New Zealand. Despite havingdifferent histories, racialized groups, and colonial experiences, these countriesexhibit today this new racism, a fact that validates my claim (Essed 1996;O’Brien 1996; Taguieff 1990; van Dijk 1987; Wetherell and Potter 1992).Although I contend that all Western nations exhibit this new racism, some of
  17. 17. 204 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAthem, such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Finland, seem to have ‘‘less’’of it, if anyat all. This tolerance seems to be because “the numbers [of immigrants] aresmall and the central elements of what is perceived as ‘national culture’ are notyet put in question” (Nonneman 1996, p. 10). Yet as some of these countries(Spain and Italy in particular) are tenuously becoming “immigration countries,”public opinion has turned against the immigrants, and restrictions on immigra-tion and naturalization have become the order of the day. Furthermore, fascistgroups and racial violence have shown their ugly faces (Calavita 1994; Calvo-Buezas 1993;Cinar 1994;Cornelius 1994; Ellwood 1995; Rogers 1993).Where does the United States stand in terms of this “new racism”?Although the United States, like many other Western countries, projects an in-ternational image of openness and cosmopolitanism, it is probably the best ex-ample of the new racial practices and ideology of the Western world. As variousauthors have documented (Bobo, Kluegel, and Smith 1997; Bonilla-Silva andLewis 1999; Brooks 1990; Smith 1995), the reproduction of racial inequalitysince the 1960s is no longer fundamentallycentered around theformal exclusionof racial minorities from civil and political life and their subordinate incorpora-tion in the economy.Instead, in the post-civil rights era a series of practices thatare mostly covert, informal, and yet institutional have replaced the overtly racistJim Crow practices (for a documentation of these practices at all levels, seeBonilla-Silvaand Lewis 1999).These new practices have led to the developmentof a new racial ideology-alternatively labeled as laissez-faire racism or color-blind racism-to justify the contemporary racial status quo. Color-blind racists“avoid direct hostility toward minority groups and affirm the principles of equalopportunity and egalitarianismbut at the same time reject programs that attemptto ameliorate racial inequality in reality rather than in theory”(Bonil1a-SilvaandLewis 1999, p. 71). And since in the United States there is a massive raciallybased inequality in education (Kozol 1991; Orfieldand Eaton 1996),income andwealth (Oliver and Shapiro 1997), housing (Massey and Denton 1993;YingerI995), political representation (Parker 1992),and other areas (Hacker 1995),lib-eral notions of equality and opportunity have become the modern Trojan horsefor justifying racial inequality.In post-civil rights “color-blind”America, nativism is growing against im-migrants-mostly against immigrants of color, since illegal Canadian andEuropean immigration is not even discussed-and the possibility of this countrybecoming a majority minority population by 2050 (for example, see PeterBrimelow’s AZien Nation [19961); interracial marriages have grown to 2.4 per-cent of all marriages-a very low rate compared to the interethnic marriage rateof Serbians and Bosnians of 30 percent before the war-but the rate betweenWhites and the Blacks is a paltry 0.5 percent (Bureau of the Census 1994); theEnglish Only movement has succeeded in various states, making English the
  18. 18. RACIAL IDEOLOGY 205official language; anti-affirmative action legislation has passed in various states(notably in California and Texas); and racial violence, which had declined in thesixties and seventies, has been rising to alarming proportions in recent times(Novick 1995). While all this is happening, neoconservative and neoliberalvoices alike have “normalized” racial inequality and exalt the greatness of theAmerican “melting pot” in color-blind Panglossian words, “We live in the bestof all possible worlds.”Although antiracist organizationshave surfaced in all Western nations (e.g.,Lichterketten in Germany, SOS Racism in Britain, Race Traitor in the U.S., etc.),they have not been able to mount a counteroffensiverooted in the recognition ofthe materiality of racialized discourse and behavior.In too many places antiracistcampaigns have been highly ritualistic (candlelight, commercials, etc.) or verynarrowly defined (against certain fascist groups), with little concern for develop-ing a broader political agenda (Baringhorst 1995). Unless antiracist organiza-tions understandthe centrality and meaning of race and the new racism, they willnot be able to develop a progressive agenda around a reconceptualized notionof citizenship that includes both the idea of equality of rights and the equality ofstatus (Ansell 1997;Jayasuriya 1996;Tlati 1996).Failure to do so, regardless oftalks about racial reconciliation (as President Clinton has proposed in the UnitedStates), liberal views on “cosmopolitanism” (as many Europeans suggest), orprograms based on an abstract liberal universalism will maintain people of colorin the West as denizens.ENDNOTES‘This phrase was uttered by one of Lillian Rubin’s American subjects in her Families on theFault Lines (1994) and by one of Ernest Ellis Cashmore’s British subjects in his The Logic ofRacism(1987).’Although the “Western” world originated in the fifteenth century, it is in fact an imaginedgeopolitical community of nations that supposedly share a common history, traditions, religion, andracial heritage. As such, it is a project that has changed (expanded) since its inception in history. Inthe beginning the “West” was limited to Europe, but as some colonies became independent (e.g.,Chile, Argentina, the US., Uruguay) or acquired commonwealth status (e.g., Canada, New Zealand,South Africa, and Australia), they made successful claims for being regarded as “Western” nations.Today, new countries (e.g., Russia, Serbia, Armenia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Costa Rica) are makingsuch claims with varying degrees of success. In this paper I examine the traditional “West” (Europe,Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, Iceland, Australia, and New Zealand) but am fully cognizant thatcountries such as Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and Israel belong to the “West” and sharemany elements of the new discourse on racial matters.‘As an assimilated German Jew, Marx adopted the “Western” projecVviews on non-Europeanpeoples (see Bauman 1991).Thus Man: had some serious racial nightmares affecting his own brain,as all nineteenth-century Europeans had, an4 not surprisingly, used the term “nigger” all the time;
  19. 19. 206 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVAwhen comparing the Mexicans to the Spaniards, he wrote: “the Spaniards are completely degener-ated. But in the presence of a Mexican a degeneratedSpaniardconstitutes an ideal.They have all thevices, arrogance, thuggery and quixotism of the Spaniards to the third degree, but by no means allthe solid things that they possess” (as cited by Larrain 1994,p. 20).4Although racial discourse has incorporated cultural elements since the sixteenth century(Poole 1997) and has shown a “polyvalent mobility,” the ability to adapt old truths to new situa-tions (Stoler 1997), my point here is that the new racism has shifted (in Foucault’s language, hasproduced an epistemic break) focus because of developments in the world-system;my point is thatthe hegemonic tropes of “postmodern” racial ideology are now cultural and moral rather thanbiological.’Modernity and racism are twins: Modernity,for example, brought forth the parameters, scien-tific ethos, and practices that led to the most atrocious example of racially inspired politics in mod-em history:the Holocaust(see Bauman 1991and Goldberg 1993).My point here is that the grammarof modern racism has extended liberal notions to previously excluded subjects without altering thefundamentalpower differencesbetween “Same” and “Other.”This postmodernracial operationhelpsmaintain andjustify the contemporaryracial status quo.6Althoughmonumentaltransfers of labor power and of some workers (Africans)have occurredin the world-system since the sixteenth century, this is the first time that monumental transfers ofworkers from the periphery to the center are occurring (Potts 1990).’It is important to point out that immigration did not cause racism in these Western nations.Older racial traditions allowed bringing in immigrants of color and assigning them to subordinateslots in these societies (Miles 1987, p. 165).‘Before the mid-nineteenth century Germany was a thoroughly mixed country and considereditself as such. For instance, French Huguenotsand Waldenses were invited to migrate to Prussia andSaxony. At the end of the nineteenth century, Poles, Ukrainians, Italians, and Dutch migrated andformed the “German” proletariat (Del Fabbro 1995). Another example of the mixed character ofGermany is that for a long time the French word for Germany was plural: les Allemugnes (Mann1968).Yet, central eighteenth-centuryfigures in the German intelligentsiaas well as evangelicalandpietist authors-forerunners of nineteenth-centuryGerman nationalism-emphasizedthe need for thecultivation of Germanic Volkgeist,spirit of a people (for more on this, see Mosse 1978).’German historian Golo Mann points out that the masses who lived through Hitler’s rule did notchange much. However, he believes-he was writing in 1968-that the young generation was verytolerant and wanted to know about the Holocaust. Yet it is precisely German youth that has beenmore xenophobic and fascistic in recent times.’‘Although Turks and Arabs are the main “minorities” in contemporary Germany, Afro-Germans have lived and suffered there since the early part of this century. For a fascinating accountof the hardships sufferedby Afro-Germansin Germany from the 1920suntil today, see Oguntoye andOpitz (1993).“Fascist politicians in Germany are using a strategy similar to that of David Duke in the U.S.They are “cleaning up their acts” and using a populist rhetoric and agenda to get the support of themasses. Thus, fascist leaders such as Michael Huhnen and Manfred Roeder have been able to claima legitimatepolitical space in Germany since the early 1980s(see Chapter 2 in Lewis 1996).In 1946the French changedthe status of its remaining colonies-Guadalupe, Martinique,andFrench Guiana-to departments.Nevertheless,these departmentsare, for all practicalpurposes, neo-colonies of France.I3Frenchdemographersand policymakersdebated in the 1930swhom should be allowed to im-migrate to France and who was worthy of naturalization.As a general rule, immigrants from north-ern Europe or England were deemed as good, Italians, Poles, and Spaniardsas lesser Europeans, andArabs as elements likely to bastardize the population.12
  20. 20. RACIAL IDEOLOGY 207’I4In addition to stopping the importation of workers, Valery Giscard D’Estaing established in1974 the politique du retour (policy of return) by which ten thousand francs were offered to “for-eigners” as an incentive for their return to their native countries (Tlati 1996, p. 396).”Although Arabs seem to have captured the popular imagination of the French, the Carib-bean French and Blacks from Africa suffer too from high levels of discrimination (Freeman1987).I6Unlikethe first three cases,New Zealand is a case of a “settlercolony.” As various researchershave pointed out, settler colonies emergedto satisfy the metropolises’needs for markets (Wallerstein1980), to provide areas for recreating economic opportunitiesfor destitute Europeans(P6rez-Herrero1992), or to solve geopolitical problems of Western powers as evident with the establishment ofcountries such as Taiwan, Israel, and Northern Ireland (Stasiulis and Yuval-Davis 1995).Althoughtraditionally settler colonialism has been viewed as “a system of exploitation of the labor and re-sources of colonized peoples for the benefit of a racial minority transplanted from its homeland”(Utete 1979,p. lo), settler colonies developedalongvarious paths. Settlercoloniesthat “pushed”thenatives off to the frontiers (e.g., Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, andAustralia) maintained a claim to the West and a national identity as (White) Western countries,whereas those that incorporatedthe natives or imported non-Europeanlaborers into the nation (e.g.,Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico,Nicaragua, Paraguay, or Trinidad)had a tenuous claim to belonging to theWest and adopted a mestizo national identity to maintain peace at home. Although in both types ofsettler societies,Europeans,White Latin Americans, or light-skinnedmestizosmaintain political andeconomic control by recreating a central aspect of White supremacy, settler countries that incorpo-rated non-Whites in their nation-making process and national myth have not been able to make acredible pitch for considerationas Western nations and are not regarded as such by Western nations(for an analysis of how new world non-White countries recreate White supremacy standards, seeMills 1998).I7England’smotivation to annex New Zealand was not to acquire direct wealth but to use it asa place to dump some of its surplus population (Stevens 1989).Thus, it is not surprising that from asmall population of 2,000 in 1840, the White population had grown to 45,000 by 1856(Price 1950,p. 160).“This movement developedin the 1850swhen a great council of chiefs decided in 1856not tosell more land to Whites. The council demanded having their own king, a parliament, and villagecouncils (Price 1950).”Even though New Zealand became a sovereign nation in 1947, it had operated as an au-tonomous entity since the nineteenth century (see Sinclair 1980).*‘Raj Vasil (1990) remarks about Pakehas bragging about their treatment of Maoris in the fol-lowing: “For the past 150years the Pakeha have boasted about their treatment of the Maori people.They have been proud not that what they did was morally exemplary but that it was not as evil as thetreatment meted out by other settler and colonialrulers elsewherein the world. It is considereda mat-ter of such special distinctionthat many Pakeha would like the Maori to acknowledgeit, take it intoconsideration in their current dealings and disputed with them, and be eternally thankhl to them”2’TheBritish controlledthe Cook Islands from 1888until 1901,when it allowed New Zealandto annex the islands. New Zealand maintained them as a colony until 1965, and since then has keptthem in a neocolonial relationship.Afier New Zealanders were the first to arrive in Samoa in WorldWar I, they were granted a League of Nations mandate to govern Western Samoa and did so until1962.Similarcolonial ties existed with Nieu, Tokelau, and Niue. Thus, althoughthe most importantminority group in New Zealand is the Maoris, Pacific Islanders-mostly Cook Islanders but alsoSamoans, Tahitians, Polynesians, Tongans, Niueans, Tokelauans, and Fijians who came to NewZealand as migrant workers--constitute 3 percent of the population.(P. 97).
  21. 21. 208 EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVA”Jesse Daniels shows in her book White Lies (1 997) that this so-called “extremist” discourseis connected to mainstream racial discourse on a variety of issues and that it helps “liberal” Whitefolks to maintain White supremacy without having to be personally invested in fighting racial others.REFERENCESAmin, Samir. 1994. Re-Reading the Postwar Period: An Intellectual Itinerary. New York: MonthlyReview Press.. 1992. Empire of Chaos. New York Monthly Review Press.Anselin, Alain. 1995. “West Indians in France.” Pp. 112-18 in French and West Indian: Martinique,Guadeloupe, and French Guiana Today, edited by Richard D. E. Burton and Fred Reno.Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia.Ansell, Amy Elizabeth. 1997. New Right, New Racism: Race and Reaction in the United States andBritain. New York: New York University Press.Balibar, Etienne. 1991. “Race, Nation, and Class.” Pp. 71-83 in Race, Discourse and Power inFrance, edited by Maxim Silverman. Worcester, UK: Avebury.Balibar, Etienne, and Immanuel Wallerstein. 1991. Race, Nation, and Class: Abiguous Identities.London: Verso.Bauman, Zygmunt. 1991. Modernity and Ambivalence. Ithaca, New York: Cornell UniversityPress.Berkhoffer, Robert F., Jr. 1979. The WhiteMan k Indian. New York: Vintage Books.Berrier, Robert J. 1985. “The French Textile Industry: A Segmented Labor Market.” Pp. 5 1 4 8 inGuests Come To Stay: The Effects of European Labor Migration on Sending and ReceivingCountries, edited by Rosemarie Rogers. Boulder and London: Westview Press.Bobo, Lawrence, James Kluegel, and Ryan A. Smith. 1997. “Laissez-Faire Racism: TheCrystallization of a Kinder, Gentler, AntiBlack Ideology.” In Racial Attitudes in the 1990s:Continuip and Change, edited by Steven A Tuch and Jack K. Martin. Westport, CN: Praeger.Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. 1997. “Rethinking Racism: Toward a Structural Interpretation.” AmericanSociological Review 62(3):465-80.Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo, and Tyrone A. Forman. 2000. “I am not a racist but . . . : Mapping WhiteCollege Students Racial Ideology in the United States.” Discourse and SocieQ 1l(1):51-86.Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo, and Amanda E. Lewis. 1999 “The New Racism: Toward an Analysis of theU.S. Racial Structure, 1960s-1990s.” Pp. 55-101 in Race, Nation, and Citizenship, edited byPaul Wong. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Braudel, Fernand. 1990. The Identip of France pol. IJ, People and Production. New York: HarperCollins., 1979. The Perspective of the World:Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century, Vol. 111.New York Harper and Row.Brimelow, Peter. 1996.Alien Nation. New York: Harper Perennial.Bringhorst, Sigrid. 1995. “Symbolic Highlights or Political Enlightenment? Strategies for FightingRacism in Germany.” Pp. 225-39 in Racism, Ethnicity and Politics in Contemporary Europe,edited by Alec G.Hargreaves and Jeremy Leaman. Hants, England: Edward Elgar Publishing.Brooks, Robert L. 1990. Rethinking the American Race Problem. Berkeley: University of CaliforniaPress.Brunschwig, Henri. 1966. French Colonialism, 1871-1914: Myths and Realities. London: Pall MallPress.
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