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Book Review: Racisms by Francisco Bethencourt

Bethencourt has no time for such distinctions between biological difference and cultural stereotypes

By Maria Misra   January 2014

As we await the likely success of xenophobic parties in next year’s European elections, Francisco Bethencourt’s Racisms could not be more timely. A notable feature of today’s far right is their blunt denial of any association with the “scientific racism” of the Nazis; their concerns, they insist, are not with notions of biological difference, but with culture. The fear is not of “contamination” by inferior “blood-lines” but of domination by “alien” cultural values and practices—especially those of Islam. Bethencourt, a professor of history at King’s College London, has no time for…

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