chapter  8
Can the Institutions of the European Community Transcend Liberal Limitations in the Pursuit of Racial Equality?
ByFernne Brennan
Pages 16

Racial discrimination is like a canker sore on the body politic, involving as it does the differential treatment of people on grounds of race, ethnicity, colour or nationality. Closely linked to racial discrimination are the phenomena of racism and xenophobia, which involve a fear of all things foreign and irrational but perhaps excusable sentiments, capable of being expressed as much by jokes about foreigners as by violent expressions of hatred (Spencer, 1995, p. 127). Spencer argues that such language expresses aspects of mistrust of a person whose language, culture or appearance is different from that of the majority, allied with a conviction that one’s own ‘race’, nation or culture is superior to another’s. One immediate impact of racism and xenophobia on people subject to it in the context of the European Community is that a significant number are denied equal access to the internal market. Like majority populations, they are expected to comply with the laws that uphold it and to contribute to it through indirect taxation, but are not accepted as full citizens, let alone as participants. Most worrying is the psychological and political impact that racism and xenophobia have on people in terms of their self-worth and value in the Community. This is well documented.