Why this story matters:
Yes, Attilio Fontana's provocative statements have stirred up a controversy. But this does not mean that racist speech is universally condemned in Italy.
Highly disturbing statements have been made -- and tolerated -- in the political sphere lately, especially when the migration issue is concerned. This is a step towards the normalization of racist discourse -- a threat that closely concerns many European countries, and of which every citizen should be wary.
Details from the story:
- On January 15 Attilio Fontana, the center-right candidate for regional elections in Lombardy, declared that "the white race is at risk".
- It is not the first time that an Italian politician openly expresses openly racist opinions
- The worst offenders belong to Matteo Salvini's party, La Lega. In 2013, Roberto Calderoli -- then vice-president of the Senate, insulted Cécile Kyenge -- then Minister for integration -- comparing her to an orangutan.
- The structure of the discourse and the lexicon used by members of La Lega owe a lot to the repertoire of National Socialism: from zoological metaphors used to de-humanize foreigners to the myth of "blood and soil".