Race Relations: Global Edition

RealClearWorld has a recent post that should be instructive to Americans in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case and the racism claims that accompanied it. Though racism certainly exists in America (I’m willing to bet it will always exist everywhere to some extent), to obsessively focus of America’s past and present sins while ignoring the rest of the world is problematic. Here are a few points the RCW article makes:

  • A large number of Hungarian parents will not allow their children to be friends with Jews (46%), Africans (58%), or Roma/Gypsies (68%).
  • Italy’s first black government minister was openly compared to an orangutan by a senator and had bananas thrown at her by a citizen.
  • Dutch politicians exploit racial tensions to advance a particularly anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant agenda.
  • Mexican navy cadets were attacked by some 300 “soccer fans” on a Polish beach.
  • The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party caught 7% of the Greek popular vote in June.
  • The National Front caught nearly 18% of the French vote in the April 2012 first-round presidential elections.
  • The Freedom Party in the Netherlands caused the government to collapse in April 2012.
  • Extremist parties were part of government coalitions in Italy, Switzerland, Austria until recently.
  • Similar parties are gaining momentum in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland and were met with electoral success in the 2009 European Parliament elections in Hungary, the UK, etc.

As the article concludes, “Perhaps those who continue to obsess over American race relations should try reading global news every once in a while.”

3 thoughts on “Race Relations: Global Edition”

  1. Yes, at least anecdotally, I can confirm this. I saw a fair amount of antisemitism when I was in Hungary but it was mostly with the older generations. Germans, on the whole, are a bit more sensitive to racism but still nowhere near as sensitive as Americans. When I tell Germans that at University I had to take a “diversity credit” in order to graduate, they just shake their heads and chuckle.

    In Munich, where I live, there are often some interesting contradictions — black people wearing lederhosen at Oktoberfest drinking with his white buddies, walking downtown at just about any time and finding Arab women in their black abayas shopping with their husbands. On the other hand I hear the word “neger” bandied about regularly with the youth, and though it’s not as pejorative as the English n-word, it’s still not even close to PC. Also, I’ve heard well-to-do Turkish families that can’t find an apartment in nice neighborhoods simply because they are Turkish.

    In Europe racism just doesn’t reach the same level of cardinal sin that it does in America.

  2. In Europe racism just doesn’t reach the same level of cardinal sin that it does in America.

    I’m not sure if any sins are as sinful in Europe as they are in America. Something about our Puritan heritage…

  3. While I can’t say that Hungarian Antisemitism isn’t worrying, things are much worse in Rumania. Also, in Western Ukraine the blood libel is still a widely held belief, and I recieved death threats in Southern Russia for being Jewish, so Hungary pales in comparison.

    As an aside, an older Russian once told me how he would never want to live in the USA, because there is a significant lack of freedom. “In the USA, I cannot say the word negr whenver I feel like it.”

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