Navegação – Mapa do site

InícioNuméros51-1Actualité de la rechercheDébats. Reflections on the Interp...Reflections on the Interplay betw...

Actualité de la recherche
Débats. Reflections on the Interplay between Race, Ethnicity and Migration

Reflections on the Interplay between Race, Ethnicity, and Migration

Marie L. Mallet-Garcia e Bani Gill
p. 247-250

Texto integral

1Recent events such as the Windrush scandal and the Black Lives Matter movement have sparked a global conversation on racial inequality and systemic violence. There is an urgent need to critically reflect on issues of race, racialization, and ethnicity as embedded in, shaping, and transforming diverse contexts of migration and mobility across the world. This debate dossier builds upon this momentum and draws on some of the contributions from the seminar series on ‘Race, Ethnicity and Migration’ organized by the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford to reflect on these issues through the prism of Hispanism.

  • 1 Panebianco, Stefania (2016), «The Mediterranean migration crisis: border control versus humanitari (...)
  • 2 Georgi, Fabian (2019), «The Role of Racism in the European ‘Migration Crisis’», in Vishwas Satgar (...)
  • 3 Jeandesboz, Julien, Pallister-Wilkins, Polly (2016), «Crisis, Routine, Consolidation: The Politics (...)
  • 4 Ansems de Vries, Leonie, Carrera, Sergio, Guild, Elspeth (2016), «Documenting the Migration Crisis (...)

2As such, the current context of a «migration crisis» in Europe lends itself well to the exercise. Since April 2015, when over 800 migrants perished in a shipwreck while crossing the Mediterranean Sea, the European Union has acknowledged that there was, indeed, a migration crisis1. This state centric language of ‘crisis’ however portrays refugees and asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East who attempt to reach Europe as being the problem2. It also diminishes the historical and structural role played by increasingly restrictive European border policies that leave migrants with few safe and legal routes to migrate3 and the macabre spectacles of policing and violent deaths that have marked the maritime border of the Mediterranean Sea4, as well as that of the Atlantic coast with the migration from sub-Saharan Africa to the Canary Islands.

  • 5 Pécoud, Antoine (2019), «Death at the Border: Revisiting the Debate in Light of the Euro-Mediterra (...)
  • 6 De Genova, Nicholas (2018), «The “migrant crisis” as racial crisis: do Black Lives Matter in Europ (...)

3Border deaths embody the violence that underpins these restrictive policies that aim to control peoples’ movements and prevent certain groups of foreigners—who are predominately non-white—from reaching European borders5. In this respect, migration regimes in the Mediterranean and the European Union at large epitomize how issues of race, racism, and racialization have become intertwined with broader issues of migration and mobility. It is no coincidence that it is primarily the mobility of people from former colonized countries in the Global South that are restricted by being preemptively illegalized6.

  • 7 Georgi, 2019, op. cit.
  • 8 Anderson, Bridget (2013), Us and Them? The Dangerous Politics of Immigration Control, Oxford, Oxfo (...)
  • 9 De Genova, 2018, op. cit., p. 1769.

4The putative ‘migrant crisis’ has been characterized by large scale border deaths, virulent policing practices, acceleration of border regimes and have, simultaneously, been accompanied by the intensification of political polarization in Europe, both within and across states, marked by a rise of welfare chauvinism combined with fierce nationalism7. Populist rhetoric ostensibly focuses on the legality of border crossing and authorized residence to construct ‘illegal’ migrants as particularly predisposed to immoral personhood, combined with politicised discourses of economic competition, welfare dependency and imaginaries of cultural disharmony. Scholarship has amply demonstrated how immigration politics extends well beyond the border and questions of legality into the very heart and chassis of modern nation states. As Anderson argues8, «modern states portray themselves not as arbitrary collections of people hung together by a common legal status but as a community of value», such that renders unstable the very construct of categories such as ‘citizen’ and ‘migrant’ as gauged along ethnic, religious, cultural, and indeed raced values. Even if the dominant discourse on migration by European States systematically dissimulates race, due to what De Genova considers Europe’s «sanctimonious desires to renounce race as a residually race-ist article of faith9», it remains that the vast majority of those who perish on their journey to European shores are non-white migrants. In the same vein, it is non-white citizens who are reminded time and again to ‘prove’ their credentials of belonging, beyond that of legal status, by consistently and explicitly articulating and performing their distinction from those hyper visiblised as the raced Other.

  • 10 Georgi, 2019, op. cit., p. 101.

5Across the European Union, the racialization of migrants has also coincided with their ‘islamization’ and rising levels of islamophobia, demonstrating how notions of race intersect with identities of religion, ethnicity, class, colour, gender, language to produce differentiated and mutable experiences of domination and suppression. In this sense, «pure racism» is giving way to «intersectional racism, intertwined with and formed by the dynamic interdependence with other relations of oppression. Additionally, racism10 has itself taken on a new proxy- that of ‘nationalism’. Its tenets rest on the idea that there is a strong bond between certain groups of people (linked by a sort of social contract), that does not exist with certain migrants who seem too ‘different’ to ever be able to co-exist. Worse, these migrants are often seen as changing the social fabric of their host country, thereby prompting the resurgence of nationalist feelings advocating for exclusion of bodies racialized as foreign.

  • 11 Stierl, Maurice, Schwarz, Nina (2019), «Amplifying Migrant Voices and Struggles at Sea as a Radica (...)
  • 12 Anderson, 2013, op. cit.
  • 13 Pierre, Jemima (2013), The Predicament of Blackness: Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race, (...)

6That identities such as race and ethnicity are relational, relative, and socially constructed has been remarked upon by several scholars. Yet, the reification of such identities in state and popular registers have real and consequential effects for migrants, that include profiling, policing, exclusion, xenophobia, violence and even death. The Mediterranean Sea has become the nucleus of such conflicts and tensions, «where precarious movements are both the result of restrictive migration policies and forces of defiance11», for the Sea is also synonymous with resistance, political struggle, and humanitarian intervention. As such, the Mediterranean migration ‘crisis’ highlights fundamental issues faced not only by Southern European countries but also reflected elsewhere primarily due to the historically charged structural conditions of inequality and their impact upon the unfolding dynamics of race and migration pulsating across the globe. To be sure, such frictions are not limited to the border in a context where borders are being simultaneously multiplied, externalized, and internalized, and where core liberal principles of ‘rights’, ‘equality’, ‘freedom’ itself are being reassessed in public debate12. Whilst Euro-American contexts have direct histories of slavery and colonialism that manifest in contemporary migration policies and border regimes, hegemonic representations of race intersect with localized histories of difference to produce racialized postcolonial spaces across nonwhite contexts such as Africa and South Asia as well13.

7In the dossier presented here, scholars from across geographical location, institutional affiliation and disciplinary training engage with the analytical optic and lived reality of race and ethnicity in relation to Hispanism and mobility. The dossier begins with a contribution by Frier and Bird who underline the working of race, racialization, and ethnicity in much of Latin America as relative and conditioned by considerations of gender, education, and class, much like light passing through a prism. In this sense, socio-racial differences in the region operate as a relational continuum, and blend into one another rather than presenting sharp categories. The complexities of translating these intricate and diverse lived realities into traditional data sets used in quantitative analysis of migration, race and ethnicity is addressed by Vargas-Silva. The interplay of race and legal status in identity formation is further discussed by Mallet-Garcia in the context of Latino migrants in the United States, with a particular focus on undocumented youth who have been granted temporary relief from deportation as DACA recipients. Esposito analyses the exacerbation of already existing and intersecting vulnerabilities in immigration detention by highlighting the role of colonial histories and brings to the discussion the often overlooked gendered experiences of women. Finally, Jones-Correa explores the contradictions between state categorizations of race and ethnicity as immutable and migrant conceptions of such categories as contingent, and the latter’s attempts to manage the processes of both migration and their racial/ethnic categorization. Together, these contributions offer generative insights that may facilitate a more nuanced understanding of the present and indeed future of human mobility.

Topo da página

Notas

1 Panebianco, Stefania (2016), «The Mediterranean migration crisis: border control versus humanitarian approaches», Global Affairs, 2 (4), pp. 441-445, DOI: 10.1080/23340460.2016.1278091.

2 Georgi, Fabian (2019), «The Role of Racism in the European ‘Migration Crisis’», in Vishwas Satgar (ed.), Racism After Apartheid, pp. 96-117, DOI: 10.18772/22019033061.9.

3 Jeandesboz, Julien, Pallister-Wilkins, Polly (2016), «Crisis, Routine, Consolidation: The Politics of the Mediterranean Migration Crisis», Mediterranean Politics, 21 (2), pp. 316-320, DOI: 10.1080/13629395.2016.1145825.

4 Ansems de Vries, Leonie, Carrera, Sergio, Guild, Elspeth (2016), «Documenting the Migration Crisis in the Mediterranean: Spaces of Transit, Migration Management and Migrant Agency», CEPS Paper in Liberty and Security in Europe, 94, [available online on <https://ssrn.com/abstract=2859431>]; Bulmer, Martin, Solomos, John (2018), «Migration and Race in Europe», Ethnic and Racial Studies, 41 (5), pp. 779-784, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2018.1426872; Fiore, Teresa, Ialongo, Ernest (2018), «Introduction: Italy and the Euro–Mediterranean ‘migrant crisis’: national reception, lived experiences, E.U. pressures», Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 23 (4), pp. 481-489, DOI: 10.1080/1354571X.2018.1500787.

5 Pécoud, Antoine (2019), «Death at the Border: Revisiting the Debate in Light of the Euro-Mediterranean Migration Crisis», American Behavioral Scientist, 64 (4), pp. 379‑388, DOI: 10.1177/0002764219882987.

6 De Genova, Nicholas (2018), «The “migrant crisis” as racial crisis: do Black Lives Matter in Europe?», Ethnic and Racial Studies, 41 (10), pp. 1765-1782, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2017.1361543.

7 Georgi, 2019, op. cit.

8 Anderson, Bridget (2013), Us and Them? The Dangerous Politics of Immigration Control, Oxford, Oxford University Press, p. 2.

9 De Genova, 2018, op. cit., p. 1769.

10 Georgi, 2019, op. cit., p. 101.

11 Stierl, Maurice, Schwarz, Nina (2019), «Amplifying Migrant Voices and Struggles at Sea as a Radical Practice», The South Atlantic Quarterly, 118 (3), pp. 661-669; p. 668.

12 Anderson, 2013, op. cit.

13 Pierre, Jemima (2013), The Predicament of Blackness: Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race, Chicago, University of Chicago Press; and Gill, Bani (unpublished), «In the Shadow of Illegality: The Everyday Life of African Migrants in Delhi», Ph.D. Thesis defended in 2019, University of Copenhagen.

Topo da página

Para citar este artigo

Referência do documento impresso

Marie L. Mallet-Garcia e Bani Gill, «Reflections on the Interplay between Race, Ethnicity, and Migration»Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez, 51-1 | 2021, 247-250.

Referência eletrónica

Marie L. Mallet-Garcia e Bani Gill, «Reflections on the Interplay between Race, Ethnicity, and Migration»Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez [Online], 51-1 | 2021, posto online no dia 15 março 2021, consultado o 18 maio 2021. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/mcv/14729; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/mcv.14729

Topo da página

Autores

Marie L. Mallet-Garcia

University of Oxford

Artigos do mesmo autor

Bani Gill

University of Oxford

Topo da página

Direitos de autor

Licence Creative Commons
La revue Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d’Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 3.0 France.

Topo da página
  • Logo Casa de Velázquez
  • Logo DOAJ - Directory of Open Access Journals
  • OpenEdition Journals
Pesquisar OpenEdition Search

Você sera redirecionado para OpenEdition Search