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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 31, Issue 1, 2021

Racism

Krzysztof Przybyszewski
Pages 157-175

Populism as the Cause of Legitimising Racism in Western Societies

The article aims at demonstrating that a spike in populist narratives (fear management in order to evoke fear of the Other) in Western societies leads to the legitimization of a new type of racism, xenoracism. Societies belonging to the so-called Western culture in the second half of the 20th century were attached to the liberal values where every sign of racism was negatively perceived as pejorative and attempts were made at eradicating it. In the 21st century, in turn, various economic and social crises caused by, inter alia, globalizing processes, were attributed to liberal values which contributed to doing politics through fear management towards the Other. The difference between racism and xenoracism lies in the fact that the former was an ideology focused on biological differences while xenoracism abandoned such differences in favour of socially and culturally imbuing them with objective and unalterable character. Populist narratives evoking fear of the Other question that behaviours triggered by this fear result from racism despite the fact that these actions are virtually identical to the ones motivated by the ideology of racism. Therefore, such behaviours and activities are more commonly perceived as positive and not pejorative and as in effect acceptable.

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