By Jan Blommaert
Immigration, racism and nationalism became hotly debated concerns within the Western international. This hugely unique and arguable paintings specializes in the language utilized by the overwhelming majority who regard themselves as being open to a multi-cultural society.Using Belgium as a case learn and drawing parallels with the united kingdom, US, Europe and the previous Yugoslavia, the authors examine this language and exhibit a impressive consistency among those liberal voices, comparable to in news-reporting, and the language utilized by radical racist and nationalist teams.
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Additional info for Debating Diversity: Analysing the Discourse of Tolerance
Race, whatever the exact content of this notion may be, used to be of primordial importance in the South African context, but much less so in a country like Brazil, and it may in the long run lose most of its power to structure social life in postapartheid South Africa. Religion, to use another example, has steadily been losing its relevance in the interaction between ‘religious’ and ‘non-religious’ groups in Western Europe, even though, until very recently, it played a crucial distinguishing role.
It is not difficult to come up with examples to complete this picture. Indeed, there are numerous ways in which groups can be distinguished, but it is hard to come up with objective criteria which could be used to identify ‘natural groups’. The role which each individual parameter plays in determining group identity depends fully on group-internal and group-external perceptions and conceptualizations which are historically and socio-culturally shaped. Let us take the factor race as a society-structuring element.
Alan Kraut (1994), for instance, chronicles epidemic encounters and shows how xenophobic reactions to them—all the way to AIDS—focused exclusively on biological factors, thus turning immigrants into real enemies, while ignoring social and economic conditions conducive to the spread of disease, such as the extremely poor living and working environment in which most new immigrants used to find themselves. As if foreboding later developments in Europe, at least one early twentiethcentury Flemish observer managed to cast the American ‘negro problem’ in an interpretative mould that abnormalizes immigrants and immigration: Imagine that between 1926 and 1928, half a million Riffians and Arabs would move to Northern and Western Europe and that they would settle in a couple of big cities such as London, Paris, as well as in Northern France and Belgium.