Western, postcolonial societies are imbricated in an imagined idea of themselves – of their constitutive nature – as non-racist or, indeed, as anti-racist. However, this general consensus on racism as an evil that has no place in today’s democracies is belied by the facts: racism, while undoubtedly changing and constantly taking on new forms, as Stuart Hall (1997) reminds us, is far from being a memory from the dark past. As made clear in the Introduction to this volume, if anything, since 9/11 and the launch of the United States’ ‘war on terror’, racism – as active policy – is on the rise. The prevalence of the ‘clash of civilisations’ discourse has given racism new legitimacy (Bottici and Challand 2010). A renewed Orientalism manifesting itself in bellicose foreign policy and domestic Islamophobia also enables a revised history of European colonialism (cf. Ferguson 2003). While before, what Barnor Hesse (2007) calls the ‘European colonial relation’ was treated as a blind spot of history, in both France and Britain, for example, a growing number of historians and policymakers have promoted a cleansed history of colonial rule, presenting a sanitised view of
Daily racism continues, too, the brunt of the impact borne by the asylum seekers and migrants who face detention, deportation, exploitation, poverty and destitution.