By Louis Lacroix
To humans, differences between them and other individuals or groups are enough to set them apart in their mind. From a different opinion to the color of the skin, everything matters from that perspective. It’s also hard to accept change as it can be scary and it is exactly what populism is trying to exploit since its creation. This is what author Ivan Kalmar tries to argue about Hungary and Victor Orbán creating a culture of Islamophobia. Immigration is a catalyst for fear and with Europe having large waves of immigrants coming in it’s the perfect excuse to channel racist thoughts based on fear and anxiousness rather than the plain “evil” side of individuals. It is an excuse and an easy way out to blame society’s problems on rather than work out complicated equations to accommodate everyone. Racism then becomes a tool for a political party to manipulate the popular opinion to achieve their social and political goals. This leads to more institutionalized racism like in Turkey with the White Turks defined as the bureaucratic elite and the Black Turks as the common population. This influencing methods are particularly efficient and pernicious because at a certain points these ideas become an individual’s own thoughts and he starts to accept more radicalized positions that the populist group suggests, creating a cycle of hatred. It is a lot easier to blame an external source than to face the problems within their own nation building roots.
2 Replies to “A Difference that Unites People: Racism”
Your response to this week’s materials really resonated with me! I appreciated your comment on how immigration in late 20th century Europe acted as a type of catalyst for fear. We also see this in Christopher A. Molnar’s piece as he focuses on how postwar West Germany perceived the presence of immigrants in an apocalyptic way. West Germany strongly believed that if the nation was to keep admitting foreigners, then a civil war would break out and ultimately cause mass destruction and chaos. This goes to support your comment that various groups seem to use racism to blame society’s problems on others.
Especially when bringing up the topic of transition, I think your points on blaming are especially pertinent. Especially when considering countries of the former Soviet Union, it could almost feel inevitable that different actors would look to find a source for financial woes present in the country. Interestingly, even in the case of skilled and unskilled workers, we still have this sense of the “other”, but simply based on skills rather than race or culture.
Keep up the good work!