Monitoring racism

Written by Henry Goodwin on . Posted in Current profiles, Profiles

In 2017, white supremacists marched through the streets of Charlottesville, a small US city in Virginia, carrying torches and chanting slogans like ‘Jews will not replace us’. In Myanmar, the Burmese troops have carried out a systematic campaign of expulsion, persecution and violence against the Rohingya, a Muslim minority from northern Rakhine State. The UN has labelled it ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’. Across Europe, the electoral campaigns of the likes of Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders and others, not to mention Brexit, have openly espoused xenophobia and intolerance, and won significant success at the ballot box in doing so.

MONITOR aims to bring academic research on racism to a wider public.

Journalist and translator Monica Gonzalez-Correa emphasises, however, that this is ‘but another stage in the long history of racism’. The reality on the ground is exacerbated by a lack of available knowledge and expertise on racism and anti-racism. ‘There is vast archival intelligence on racism,’ Gonzalez-Correa explained to EUI Times , ‘but it’s all locked away in academic journals and monographs that nobody outside of academia would ever wish to encounter.’

Now, however, Gonzalez-Correa is launching a new project that aims to step into that void. MONITOR: Global Intelligence on Racism is a new multimedia magazine which aims to bring together NGOs, museums, policymakers and academics to showcase their latest research and initiatives on and about racism around the globe to a wider public. MONITOR, which is housed at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and is part of its Global Governance Programme, aims to become the go-to source for research-based public debate on racism. It launched on 7th February.

Trained in Brussels and London, Gonzalez-Correa is the magazine’s editor and, speaking with EUI Times ahead of the release of the magazine’s first issue, she outlined MONITOR’s fundamental goal: ‘to help academia reach a wider public.’ Its inspiration, she explains, was the Brexit campaign, which she describes as a ‘wake-up call’. ‘People were fed strange information, and immigration became the number one subject. There were all sorts of numbers being thrown here and there, but none of it really made sense. That issue really pushed me to start MONITOR.’

That sense of urgency was crystallized when Gonzalez-Correa read a recently published book on the interconnectivity between Islamophobia and anti-Semitism by historian James Renton, a Visiting Fellow at the Schuman and the Academic Advisor to MONITOR, which examines the affinity between the two racisms from the Crusades up until present day in Europe. ‘I thought “this is amazing, why don’t people know about it?” In this day and age, where information is so readily accessible, there is nowhere for the vast majority of people to access academic research on racism.’

Until now. Having already held a pre-launch event at the Houses of Parliament in London in association with the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism at the beginning of January, the first issue of MONITOR has just gone live. It is deliberately global in its outlook, counting among its editorial board academics from the Universities of Paris, Duke, Sydney, Melbourne, and Warwick as well as the EUI’s own Professor Anna Triandafyllidou and the Head of the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool. It is also not your normal magazine. Among the written pieces, the first issue hosts a number of rich multimedia features – such as explanatory videos from the issue’s authors and podcasts.

Featured in the first edition is an exclusive preview of a groundbreaking report into the extent and effects of racism in the workplace compiled by the Trade Union Congress (TUC), a federation of trade unions across the UK with roughly 5.6 million members. The report, due out in full in March, reveals that ‘nearly 100% of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) people reported that their experience of racism at work has had a significant negative impact on both their work and personal lives, such as loss of confidence and isolation.’

Also featured in MONITOR’s first issue are a sharp analysis of the anti-Muslim discrimination inherent to France’s state of emergency, which was recently written into law, prompting high profile observers to talk of a ‘permanent state of emergency’. Other contributors from academia across the world have published articles in the first issue on European racism and the Mediterranean migration crisis; questioning the link between xenophobia and populism in central Europe; and the new racism in Italy—a hot topic in the run up to March’s general election. From the Parliament launch, Gonzalez-Correa also delivers a podcast interview with the Director of the Runnymede Trust, the British think-tank which first coined the term ‘Islamophobia’.

The whole issue is available now, for all to see, at www.monitoracism.eu.

_______________________

Tags: , , ,