Normalizing racism: Vigilantism, border security and neo-racist assemblages
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In this essay, we trace the relations among the early years of the US–Mexico borderlands after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), the role of racialist discourse in shaping the border and US immigration policy, and contemporary bordering and security environments. Our ultimate aim is to show how contemporary security knowledge and practices form an assemblage with racialist discourses and practices in the post-9/11 era. Current security thinking is in itself racialized and follows the contours of what Étienne Balibar has described as ‘neo-racism’ (1991), which has offered vigilante groups more credibility in matters of security and immigration than they previously enjoyed. In short, we will show how the racial–territorial nexus of ‘classical’ racism has come together with the security–economy nexus of securitization theory and practice to form a neo-racist assemblage that we identify at the heart of US–Mexico border security and migration debates.
Keywordsimmigration racism vigilante border patrols minutemen security
The authors would like to thank Philip Armstrong and Reece Jones, as well as several anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier drafts of this essay.
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