African and African American Studies Faculty Member Speaks on ‘Being Black in Europe’ Study
Elisa Joy White, associate professor in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science’s Department of African and African American Studies, is part of a team providing input on the report “Being Black in Europe” at the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights in Vienna, Austria.
The European Union is examining discrimination and ethnic profiling across Europe that appears to be paralleling the rise of right-wing populism.
“Some of it takes the form of housing and employment discrimination and some is more aggressive violence on the street,” White said, noting attitudes can shift a great deal depending on the political situation and who is in office.
The report compiled data from 25,515 individuals with ethnic minority and immigrant backgrounds across the 28 EU member states related to discrimination in work, employment, housing, education and daily life as well as experiences of ethnic profiling by police, hate crimes, racist violence, and rates of reporting such crimes.
“Our expert team will address the survey data on individuals identifying as being of ‘sub-Saharan African’ descent, who notably experienced the highest rates of discrimination and hate-motivated incidents,” White said. “This is alarming and particularly tracks the rise in right-wing populism in European regions.”
Most of White’s research has been in Ireland and Spain where a little more than one percent of the population is of African origin or ancestry.
Spain had a very open migration policy, but now most of the arrivals are held in detention, she said. Ireland welcomed asylum seekers from Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo during economic boom years from 1995 to 2007, but that changed when the Great Recession struck.
Her Irish research is an important part of her book Modernity, Freedom, and the African Diaspora: Dublin, New Orleans, Paris (Blacks in the Diaspora). She recently contributed two new chapters for the revised edition of They Followed the Trade Winds: African Americans in Hawai’i and is co-editor of the forthcoming volume Relating Worlds of Racism: Dehumanisation, Belonging, and the Normativity of European Whiteness.