(HinterlandEditorial) — Fear of a black Europe is giving rise to intolerance among many, as the continent grapples with economic woes. One would think that the appointment of Congo-born Cecile Kyenge as Italy’s first black cabinet minister would be a unifying moment, but instead, it has sparked racism from many, including Mario Borghezio, a member of the Northern League Party. He dismissed Cecile Kyenge’s appointment, saying, “It seems to me she’d be a great housekeeper, but not a government minister.” His comments were despicable and patently racist.
The anti-gay movement across the continent has also had it in for blacks. For example, French anti-gay protesters displayed a poster portraying Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who is black, as an evil gorilla. Unfortunately Nazi-inspired gr0ups are getting a foothold in many areas in Europe and it is alarming and warrants the concern of many.
This racial intolerance is also evident at soccer games, where Greek soccer player Giorgos Katidis celebrated a goal with a Nazi salute during a game in Athens. He feigned ignorance at the implication of the salute and was kicked out of the league.
Greece is proving to be a hotbed for racial intolerance. It was hardest hit by the euro zone crisis and serious problems have arisen involving racism linked to the rise of the Golden Dawn party, which is inspired by the Nazi movement. According to the Global Post, it saw its support rise from 0.3 percent in the 2009 elections to seven percent in 2012, winning 21 seats in the parliament. The Golden Dawn party ran on the slogan, “So we can rid this land of filth.” Greece’s Racist Violence Recording Network have blamed the group’s black-shirted followers for many of the 154 incidents of racist violence that rocked the country last year.
Italy’s Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said it best when she pointed to the fact that “fear and prejudice are being spread across Europe mainly by nationalistic and demagogic groups, who are exploiting the current malaise and social despair.” It’s a sad commentary that the dark-skinned immigrant is taking the brunt of the outrage for the current economic woes. Xenophobia, populism and discrimination is slowly making many countries in Europe an unattractive place for anyone of color to visit, much less live. It’s a sad commentary because we all want the same things out of life.