Discovering Whiteness Young Adults and their Understanding of Racism



Young black Africans with self-made ladders, climbing over barbed wire to reach Europe. Ships full of desperate young men trying to reach the Canary Islands, after the EU has blocked the North African coast. Hundreds of mainly black bodies are washed up on the European beaches of the Mediterranean Sea every year. These are just some of the news stories brought to the attention of Europeans in the last several months. ‘Fortress Europe’ has now been finalised and extends its borders to Northern Africa, with the help of post-colonial governments. The locking up of Europe has created separate places. Its segregated populations reproduce recognisable identities. Etienne Balibar speaks of an emerging “European Apartheid” (Balibar 2003: 253ff). In German, the word ‘Europäisierung’ (Europeanisation) stands for a positive political idea that encourages hopes of a unified, non-exclusive and non-discriminatory Europe, respects human rights and has overcome the legacies of nationalism, colonialism, imperialism and holocaust in a positive way. David Theo Goldberg presents a less idealistic understanding of social processes in Europe and argues that the “ethnoracial” (Goldberg 2002: 82–102) is constructed globally through specific local practices, which he names in the European context “racial Europeanisation”. He describes aspects of a structural momentum of EU migration and integration policy, which Balibar conceptualises as a question of access to European citizenships.


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© VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften | GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituts für Migrations- und Rassismusforschung (iMiR) und WissenschaftsjournalistDeutschland

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