The end of colonialism, apartheid and Jim Crow have marked the global rise of liberal racism – what sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva calls “racism without racists”. Even when we do not openly endorse colonialism like Zille does, our works are filled with strategic silences, omissions and erasures that continue to sustain ideas of Western superiority.
Some scholars hint at the superiority of the political institutions of Western democracy. Others mention the “inevitable” rise of capitalism, seen always as a quintessentially Western achievement. Others still talk about the “advanced” cultural practices of “European modernity.” Even critical Western scholarship opposed to the neoliberal paradigm rarely acknowledges the persistence of whiteness and racial inequalities, often developing criticisms of the world of finance, the banks or the multinationals that underplay the role of race in these institutions. These coded forms of racism have contributed to consolidate white supremacy in the last few decades of neoliberal hegemony.
That edifice is now crumbling. The Zilles of the world are tired of beating around the bush. They want to speak openly about white superiority and do not want to feel uncomfortable for their views.
They believe that postcolonial countries have been given a chance but failed to assert their worth, denying the fact that neocolonial structures are just as sturdy as colonial ones. They are tired of “diversity talk,” it is all a sham in their opinion. They see a return to the “good old days” of fascism, colonialism, Jim Crow and apartheid as the way forward.