Racist Europe and Black Identity

16 Comments » May 12th, 2008 posted by // Categories: General Articles



Racist Europe and Black identity

By Taju Tijani 

Europe, a continent I have come to adopt as home for the past 19 years is under the grip of a new resurgence. The evils of xenophobic populism, anarchic patriotism, nationalism, racism and schadenfreude are now cascading down from the Norwegian fjords to the greenery of the British Isles. The perceived horror of Islamic fundamentalism, the liberalism if immigration and the spread of multiculturalism in both mainland and continental Europe are causing real irritation among far right politicians who, in turn, are embracing xenophobic and fascist ideologies that once shackled Europe in darkness.

 The recent absorption of countries from Central and Eastern Europe and old Soviet Union into one expanded European superstate has been yielding negative dividend in Western Europe. In the wake of the expansion, Britain was a country of choice for most Eastern Europeans. And to use Enoch Powell’s word, Britain was truly swamped. Polish, Latvians, Russians, Ukrainians and Romanians who left their harbours in search of opportunity and better life found it convenient to berth their anchors on a supposedly island paradise of Britain. 

The current dark echo of xenophobic populism in Western Europe could therefore be seen as a rearguard action to defend and erect fortress in the continent and protect personal and collective identity which is becoming diluted by foreign cultures and way of life. For instance, in the UK melting pot, you could hear cacophonic voices of 50 languages within one mile radius. A refugee from Kandahar could find ready acceptance by an ascetic Tibetan as both work out a new sojourning narrative in the cesspit of uncertain Diaspora. A former combatant from the despoiled wasteland of Mogadishu could be seen cavorting with a Malaysian beauty in a truly love is blind tango. An Indian shopkeeper, thoroughly curried from head to toe, could be the landlord of a Kiwi backpacker on a journey to travel the world. In Europe, destiny of peoples from different nations is interwoven together like a beautiful tapestry of artistic wonder.

Yet Europe, my Europe, is in denial. This prosperous continent is angered and disillusioned with the fallout of its expansion and the harvest of strange cultures that experiment brought about. Already, 55 per cent of EU citizens think that there are too many foreigners living in their country and immigration is a particularly sensitive and volatile issue causing serious aggravation.

 

Deep seated resentment against foreigners has led to the rise of identity politics which trades on white fear and reinforces a negative and exclusive sense of national or regional belonging, of ‘us and against them’ syndrome in virtually all European countries. The subliminal message of far right politicians desperate for vote is clear and unambiguous: Europe for Europeans. The timeless presence of blacks in their society is conveniently forgotten. Centuries of settlement by blacks, through slavery, are not taken into account. Often, blacks are the cannon fodders politicians use to fan the embers of delusional fears of crime and disorder among white people. Police, in shameful collusion with bigoted politicians, frame statistical abracadabra which suggest that foreigners have brought more crime to Europe than at any other time in their turbulent history. 

Social and economic contributions of blacks, no matter how little, to the prosperity of Europe are never mentioned in any European history. In the bigoted consciousness of European racists, black people are regarded as threat and scroungers in a continent laden with milk and honey. For instance, Britain is generally regarded as a tolerant and inclusive society.  Through its historic and national conversations, it had been able to bury the Powellian nightmare of the 60s, when Enoch Powell had an intimation of apocalypse if mass immigration was not controlled. The ‘river of blood’ he envisioned as inevitable due to mass immigration has not come to pass. The forces of modernity have pushed United Kingdom into rebranding itself as a vibrant and indivisible multicultural society.

The image United Kingdom projects to the outside world had been a sweet-scented one of inclusion, tolerance, fairness and diversity. That image is about to be irreparably smeared by the rise of conservative politics of hate and racism. Britain’s liberal pretension is about to be drowned by illiberal politicians who harbour barefaced dislike, or shall we say hatred, against foreigners and their queer ways. With the election of Boris Johnson as Mayor of London, a new chapter of racism darkness is about to fall on the shinning beacon lay down by Ken Livingstone during his time as Mayor of this beautiful city. The gains of Ken Livingston in London in areas of inclusion, anti-racism, tolerance and the common touch have been lost to the uncouth and abhorrent racist posturing of bohemian Boris. The newly elected Mayor of London, had, in the past, called blacks such name as ‘piccaninnies’ and offloaded racist opinion about virtually anything that moves.

 

In a very shocking and unexpected coup, Boris Johnson, the journalist and Tory MP won 1,168,738 (53 per cent) to Mr Livingstone’s 1,028,966 (47 per cent). Tory gains across United Kingdom and the rising confidence of Europe’s extremist political parties show that the continent is lurching dangerously to the right and embracing the discredited fascism of the 90s which had Italy, Spain, France and Russia in its ugly coil. Right wing parties are gaining stunning victory all across Europe to the consternation of Europhiles and political watchers. In Switzerland, the far right People’s Party is in control. The leader, Christoph Blisher, once put up an election poster with the legend: “The Swiss are becoming negroes”. 

Austria’s far right party Austrian Freedom Party is riding on the crest of anti-immigrant sentiment. France’s National Front was able to cut a slice of the French vote through the then Jean-Marie Le Pen’s populist demand for enforced repatriation of immigrants. Netherlands has its own Pim Fortuyn List which anchors all its manifestoes on the problems of immigrants. In Britain, the ultra far right party, British National Party made tremendous gains in this May election where it made significant inroads into Labour’s known strongholds. This changing political geography of Europe is causing understandable alarm and apprehension among blacks.

Most right wing politicians see blacks as political scapegoats and are blamed for virtually known and unknown ills of the continent and this translates into vulgar cultural chauvinism and shameless xenophobia among their people. However, I must say that my European narrative is informed by my exposure and experience inside the continent. Already the invasion of Polish, Russians, Albanians, Afghans and Romanians has caused serious job shrinkage among blacks in Britain. Most ‘dirty’ jobs traditionally reserved for blacks like cleaning, kitchen work, chamber maid, parcel/multi-drop courier, store assistant, train and bus driving and mini-cabbing have all disappeared into the hands of ‘preferred others’.

As European integration throttles furiously to its eventual destiny, black identity in the Euro project is still meaningless. They do not see themselves as part of the Union because Europeans still see themselves as people with a shared culture based on Greco-Roman roots and Judaeo-Christian ethics. They still dance on the altar of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and practice renaissance humanism and post-modern individualism. Also, as disillusion and worry grow among blacks in Europe, it is hoped that decent and progressive-minded politicians will stand up to the racist bullies and continue to defend and protect immigrant rights, liberty and freedom from the rabid prejudice and evil bigotry of right wingers.

Tijani lives in London.   

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16 Responses to “Racist Europe and Black Identity”

  1. Sid says:

    Negroes have contributed nothing whatsoever to modern society. Absolutely fuck all,

    So stop complaining and enjoy what’s been handed to you by a white person.

    • pmdaboh says:

      Sid, White people did not hand me a “thing”, but the Lord allowed me to go to college and earn an Assoicate degree, a B.S. of Business Administrstion degree, and am currently working on a M.S. of Education in Technology. In case you have not realized, if you want anything in this world, whether White, Black, or any ethnic group, you must earn it and not sit around waiting for someone to hand you anything–as you put it. I grew up in the north and had many White friends, and through the help and grace of God (for I give my Lord glory for helping me to accomplish anything), I far surpassed many of my White friends. Perhaps I may be in a position to help some of my White classmates. You have a right to your racist opinion, but that does not make it accurate–does it, Sid?

    • bigheart says:

      Sid ,you sound too naive,raw and rude in ur statement,have you forgotten that the wealth own by the Europeans are taken from Africa,then what else do you guys want from us.check urself before you brake urself.Did u go to school at all.

      • Johnny Brown says:

        Sid is a typical exampls of the uneducated redneck, or eurotrash as you call them in europe. He probably hasnt acomplished anything for himself and likes to peddle his frustration through racism on the internet and scapegoat a minority group for his personal gratification. Prior to imperialism, colonialism and the renaissance, Europe was pretty much a shit hole. As the previos poster has said; the wealth that we see in Europe is a result of the blood of the people of Asia, Africa and America. In all fairness, people should migrate to Europe and take back all the wealth they have stolen from coloured people. Why is it okay for Europeans to invade, occupy and plunder other lands and its not okay for people of colour to peacuflly and legally migrate to their countries and generate wealth. At least migrants wont slaughter and supress the native whites.
        -Johnny

    • ZM says:

      Racist?I am sure you are proud of your world view.Keep it up.

  2. danny says:

    What contribution did blacks for Europe? Nothing, expecially for E. Europe. I can’t name a sigle black scientist or a black man who did something very little for the european society ( except in sports and music)… You should stop complaning all the time and start going to collages ( like pmdaboh) because you have the same opportunities like every other white/green/brown/red/ blue european.
    BTW don’t blame the whole Europe for slavery! Europe is not only Uk, France, Spain, Portugal… the are more then 50 country and most of them were NOT involved in slavery

  3. Mike says:

    It’s sickening to see some of the comments on here. Admittedly the writer may have exaggerated a bit but there is an alarming truth to the point he has put across. Some people will hold on to any excuse in order to embrace racism. As for you Sid, it is clear you are ill-informed and lack proper reasoning. The contributions of black people to society are almost entirely covered up. Most of the Music you enjoy stems from black music, Folk Rock, Jazz etc. Modern culture has been greatly influenced by black culture, the internet and advanced high speed computer technology you enjoy today owes a lot to a black man, Dr. Emeagwali and there are many more. Danny who I’m guessing is Eastern European and has clearly written a post without using his brain cells should do a bit of reading as well. You complain about black people making no positive contributions to society. Yet apart from riding on the success of their Western neighbours, Eastern Europeans have done next to nothing to improve the world we live in. By the way, when Yugoslavians were spilling each others guts like Nearnderthals, a sizeable proportion of the troops drafted in to save your a**** were from Africa (Nigeria to be precise), maybe you should thank them first before posting the garbage you just put up there. Concluding with pmdaboh, it’s alright to thank Jesus, but don’t forget he was born in Bethlehem and his descendants haven’t the faintest clue who your original gods (African/black) are, thanks to the warped mentality that Western culture is superior culture.

  4. Paul Harrison says:

    And Africa is not for Africans, how racist is that then?

  5. Allraceisme1 says:

    Why is SA having large white population when the reverse cannot happen in Europe? The best thing is that the superior white people go to grave just as any poor black African in his primitive hut.

    What I see as most important is to co-operate. You can`t tell me a black person is not useful at all to a white person, Europe or the world. There must be an importance, economically, technological(which the white have being trying all their best to hold it back from the black race), politically, socially, morally and otherwise.

    Colour is well suited for those who beleives in racism and it`s nowhere near happiness only to hate their color as they get old. I really don`t see anything in racism than bully, prejudices, phobia, rudeness,every inhuman thoughts.

    As a young Nigerian, I must say here that I cannot see where the world can do without the black skin. Even the white person(yet pale looking to me) gets darken when tested under the sunlight.So, who`s really white in all?

    I like all race and I will continue to do so without reserve. I beleive not all whites hold on to this disturbing idea of racism as there are many who think beyond their colour and live beyond their eyes. The eyes can be deceitful. Don`t let color fool ya!

    Bless!

  6. Ted says:

    I dated an African lady recently (I am white British).

    That experience has proved to me that African males are the most racist human beings on this earth.

    West Africans in particular have no manners or respect for British people. Still hung up on slavery and colonialism. 2 things to remember however. Slavery still exists in a large number of African countries, with no white involvement. Also, back in the days of slavery, you sold your own people for trinkets. I overheard an African telling a West Indian he was better than him because he was not sold. Disgusting.

    I agree there is racism here in UK but lots of it is being fueled by the ignorance and lack of manners of African immigrants.

  7. Temitope Adesanya says:

    The comments to this story should be enough to signify to the writer and other readers of African origin hiding out in Europe that enough is enough.

    It is high time that African expatriates considered returning home to rebuild our own very beautiful and well endowed continent. What more abuse and humiliation do we have to endure before we get the message? If we put as much effort into developing our motherland as we do to forcing ourselves to survive the inhospitable arctic conditions of Europe, Africa would be the envy of the world and we’d have to have some hefty bouncers at the gates to keep out foreigners fleeing ice and credit crunch.

    Forget Europe. Africa is absolutely gorgeous. Let’s all go home and leave the racists to freeze their butts off where they are.

    • yA says:

      Many Africans living abroad would love to return to their home country. However, upon arriving they see nothing but hot promises and corruption in their Government. The country is so diversed with many religious groups and culture…..if only all these people would come together and make it a country to be proud of…..but how can this be possible with such diversity and corruption in Government?

  8. Andy says:

    Blacks take jobs and girls from British guys so they should be sent back to Africa.

  9. dk@myncnc.org says:

    You are all right but all wrong too.
    No one has put himself in the other persons shoes:’If you were white would you love blacks or non-whites over-running your estate? As a 10 yr old from Asaba in Nigeria, the Asaba Textile Mill and its staff quarters were in my village. We had Chinese Indians and then the Germans came… I hated those instantly ad would ride my bicycle and give a perfect Nazi salute one hand on my navel, the other outstretched as I belted out “Heil Hitler” no one told me to do it, I still cannot explain why I did it – but I did it…. looking back, I was a racist! Those German did nothing to me!!! Am I better today? Hardly I read a traumatic book: “Of gods and negroes” which aided my attempt to come to grips with my heritage as a “negro” described variously as a beast by the terribly pathetic Charles Carroll in his historical blunder f the same name published in 1900… a document guaranteed to ensure he spends the rest of eternity in hell….the book helped sanitize my soul… as I understood that i was God’s prized possession and that just as Authority shifted from Saul to the lowly David, it could shift yet again…. and also just as Obed? is that his name? was killed when he tried to stabilize the ark which was about to fall, those who denigrate the noble negro were doomed and would be destroyed. God will stabilize his wobbly ark himself! He will deal stabilize the Negro himself

    • Ire Lanu says:

      You are a liar because as a 10 year old in Asaba, you did not know the difference between the Asians and Europeans let alone knowing about Nazism or Nazi salute!A friend once said and I agree that once a Black person becomes successful or thinks he has become successful, he begins to re-write his history!!
      You appear to be re-writing your history here.

  10. Ire Lanu says:

    It is very ignorant for any Black person to respond to the serious question of what has Black people contributed to  Europe or Humanity with the story of how Europe exploited Black Africa as a plausible excuse for our failure!
    We must be honest to ourselves if we really desire to improve our situation.
    The issues we cannot shy away from are that; Europe conquered us because we were inferior ( at least developmentally) and that 50 years after independence, we have not made any significant progress!

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