Is racism on the rise? For decades, the tide has been against bigotry in all its forms. Racist views were dismissed as “old-fashioned”, held by Alf Garnett characters on the periphery of politics. Has the tide now turned?
In recent years, anti-immigration politicians across the EU (and the US) have been riding a wave of popular anger, with mainstream political discourse growing increasingly focused on “cracking down” and getting “tough” on immigration. In America, this has led to the ongoing child separation scandal. In the EU, far-right politics has apparently been normalised, with political parties once considered anathema now joining governing coalitions and seizing the levers of power.
In Austria, the far-right Freedom Party has formed a governing coalition with the right-wing People’s Party (when this happened once before, in the 2000 general election, Austria was sanctioned by other EU governments. This time the response was much more muted). In Germany, the Alternative für Deutschland party gained 12.6% of the vote in federal elections – a 7.9% increase. In Italy, the anti-immigration Lega Nord (now simply the “Lega”) has formed a populist coalition with the Five Star Movement built on Islamaphobic rhetoric and rising xenophobia.
Is racism back? Did it ever really go away? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!