Denmark’s plans to divide immigrant “ghettos” by imposing a 30 per cent limit on the number of “non-western” residents allowed to dwell in restricted zones.
The restricted zones appeared on the surface to be at odds with segregationist Jim Crow and Apartheid legislation – at least in part. On the other hand, combined absorption and constrained isolation are based on philosophical misgivings. Different societies are viewed as second-rate and a threat to the standard by the two.
The text of the Danish law reflects this. Rather than promoting multiculturalism, resilience, and mutual respect, the new administrative measures’ overarching goal is to combat the growth of so-called “equal social orders.” This recalls the “no-go zone” terminology that has long saturated far-right and has recently found its way into mainstream politics.
This mindset can also be found in other areas of Europe, such as France, where President Emmanuel Macron’s scaremongering about “Islamist separatist” in the French republic borrows extensively from the far-right textbook.
Furthermore, it has been repeatedly demonstrated, both experimentally and anecdotally, that when people from various cultures mingle and engage, they are less likely to hold unfavourable ideas of the fearful “other.”
Another potential flaw in this method is the assumption that people have homogeneous, easily classifiable personalities. Apart from the fact that it’s unclear what “western” means when used at home, it’s much cloudier what defines “non-western,” which encompasses almost the whole globe.
More crucially, by focusing on petty identity politics, the Danish government diverts attention away from the real issue: socioeconomic marginalization is the primary cause of minority ghettos.
Another practical issue with this concept is that it assumes people have uniform, easily classifiable identities. Not only is it unclear what “western” means at home, but it’s much more so when it comes to “non-western,” which encompasses almost the whole planet.
Immigrants tend to congregate in specific places not because they want to live there but because they have little to no other option – either they can’t afford to leave or are afraid of being discriminated against if they do.
This truth is evident in the fact that many immigrants who grow more rich and successful leave of their own will. While Denmark has not yet fallen off the cliff into the abyss, the harsher bill presently being floated has taken it that much closer.
Before rising authoritarianism gives birth to full-fledged fascism, it must take a step back. If the Danish government sincerely wants to integrate its minorities, it must cease considering them as possible adversaries and fifth columnists constructing “alternative civilizations.”
Rather, they must treat them like other citizenries, enacting laws to conflict discrimination and provide them with the opportunity to live as a full and equal participant of society in a respectful and dignified manner.