Unfortunately, there is a widespread misunderstanding about racism and racist policies.
Indeed, we tend to assume that discriminatory policies are the exclusive result of explicit racist ideologies and practices. It is expected that such policies and the ideologies that support them necessarily need some “race manifesto” and some intellectual and scientist willing to demonstrate that “races exist.”
Of course, we must admit that racism is also that. However, history, and especially Italian history, teaches us that racism and discriminatory policies can have a different origin.
Some authors, still praised today by the “double-headed right,” have publicly called for discrimination against certain ethnic groups and at the same time have written that racism was a doctrine without any scientific basis. Thus, racism is by no means necessarily a biological theory of politics. There is also political racism.
From the outset, there has been a common characteristic feature of racist ideologies: their profound ambiguity, their position between what they say and do not say, between affirmation and denial. A characteristic feature of these ideologies is the deliberate use of lies, which is theorized as functional to describe what is “likely.”
Therefore, racist discourses always refer to an international context that constitutes a threat for the “homeland.” There is always an international conspiracy to fight. In this regard, racism is used as a deliberate propaganda weapon, not for purely ideological purposes, but to promote active policies of aggression, such as the fascism of the early ‘20s.
In addition, from the beginning these discriminatory practices have used “censuses,” aiming to create a state within a state. They start with surnames and then draw up and publish lists, launching complex procedures for “recognition.” In this way, they write the economic and institutional geography of the way the discriminated groups took certain jobs and certain positions. Typical of these racist ideologies is to present the marginalized groups as instigators of discrimination, as groups that reject integration.
Political racism also stigmatizes humanitarian and cosmopolitan ideologies, which conceal the interests of nationalist groups. The invoked purge of marginalized groups has always been accompanied by their assimilation to other groups which, in one way or another, constituted “a state within the state,” “traitors,” who naturally also had to be eradicated.
Moreover, before arriving at the legislative codification of racist and discriminatory policies, discrimination takes a simpler route in the form of propaganda: newspaper headlines, interviews. Then it becomes ideological party structure. Then an administrative measure apparently in line with the legislative framework that contains it. Then it becomes a matter of public order, criminalizing the group that is being targeted for discrimination.
Finally, when the public conscience has grown accustomed to discrimination, when discordant voices are made the minority, when everything described above appears politically correct and shared, racism becomes a code, a law, an organization.