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Anti-discrimination policy and anti-racist activism in polarized times

woensdag, 5 december, 2018 - 18:00 to woensdag, 5 december, 2018 - 19:30
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Institute for European Studies, Pleinlaan 5
Room Rome & Lisbon, floor -1
Panel discussion

In June 2000, the European Council adopted the Racial Equality Directive 2000/43/EC in a record tempo (Geddes and Guiraudon, 2004; Givens and Evans Case, 2014). Next to the efforts of anti-racist activism, it was the government participation of the radical right-wing populist party FPÖ in Austria that played an important role in the genesis of the Directive. The Directive stemmed racial equality activists hopeful, as it covered both direct and indirect discrimination and allowed scope for positive action. Researchers quickly warned however that, although the Directive introduced big changes in national legislation, this only concerned policy on paper as the new anti-discrimination legislation in Europe was poorly implemented on the national level (Bell, 2008; Möschel, 2011).

Times have changed since the adoption of the Racial Equality Directive. Today, participation of radical right-wing parties in governments has become the new ‘normal’ and anti-racist claims-making, particularly from black and Muslim grassroots activists, has considerably increased. The activists of the ‘second anti-racist wave’ (Wekker, 2018) have lost hope in anti-discrimination legislation, and its individual approach, and demand structural reforms and the decolonization of minds and societal structures. What does the co-existence of these two phenomena (right-wing populism and anti-racist activism) mean for the development of racial equality policy, as both pull in different directions. Do anti-racist activists have a stronger voice in European and national policy circles or not? Or, do populist pressures make it impossible to gain whatever victory in the development and implementation of racial equality legislation and policies?

Chairs: Prof. Ilke Adam (IES & Rhea, VUB) and Prof. Sophie Withaeckx (Rhea, VUB)

Panel guests

  • Prof. dr. Jean Beaman, Purdue University (USA)
  • Ms. Ojeaku Nwabuzo, European Network Against Racism (ENAR):
  • Mr. Alfiaz Vaiya, Coordinator of the Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup at the European Parliament
  • Prof. dr. Patrick Simon, Sciences Po, Paris & INED

The panel will be followed by a short networking reception.

To register, please fill in the following form.

This event is jointly organized by the Institute for European Studies and Rhea, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.