The Italian Antiracist Movement Between Advocacy, Service Delivery, and Political Protest
journal contributionposted on 09.02.2010, 14:20 by Carlo Ruzza
The Italian antiracist movement is a composite political entity that has expressed the views, concerns, and political protests of various institutionalized and noninstitutionalized constituencies. In recent years, this movement has mainly taken a defensive stand because in the mind of many Italians "race" is associated with migration, which, in turn, is associated with crime, ethnic rivalry, and illegality. The movement has focused on affirming the primacy of human rights and individual responsibility in the face of a political system that has often yielded to negative stereotypes in order to exploit emerging political opportunities for the populist right. In addition, the movement has been active in particular policy fields where racial discrimination is more likely to occur, such as housing policy, education, sports, health policy, and practices in the job market. This article reviews the role and impact of the main actors of the antiracist movement in terms of its structure and composition, its campaigns, and its activities. It argues that facing hostile public opinion, and interpreting the grievances of socially and politically weak groups of recently arrived migrants, it has learned to rely on the generalist associational resources of the leftist and Catholic conscience constituencies. It has formed a broad and articulated antiexclusionary advocacy coalition.