Europe's New Racism: Causes, Manifestations, and Solutions

By Evens Foundation | Go to book overview

HATE SPEECH, VIOLENCE AND
CONTEMPORARY RACISMS

John Solomos and Liza Schuster


Introduction

In thinking about the issues we are addressing in this paper and the conference as a whole, we had two statements in mind. First, the statement by W.E.B. Du Bois to the effect that ‘the problem of the twentieth century will be the problem of the colour line’ (Du Bois, 1903). This is a phrase that has, in many ways, shaped much of the discussion about race and racism over the past century or so. Second, we were reminded of a more recent statement by the British sociologist Stuart Hall that, ‘the key problem of the twenty-first century will be the issue of how we can live with difference’ (Hall, 1993).

This is perhaps not surprising, since it seems clear as we stand at the beginning of the twenty-first century that we need to reflect deeply about the reasons for the continuing significance of racism as a social and political phenomenon in contemporary Europe and other parts of the globe (Hainsworth, 2000; Holmes, 2000). The prognostications of both Du Bois and Hall can be seen as tied in to concerns that were dominant at the beginning and then at the end of the twentieth century. However, they seem to us to remain pertinent to an understanding of the politics of contemporary racisms as they evolve and change at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The pertinence of Du Bois' prognosis for the twentieth century can be seen from the fact that there can be little doubt that, for many countries across the globe, one of the

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