Backlash to diaspora in the Global North
in Diaspora as translation and decolonisation
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This chapter examines the backlash to diaspora and thinks through the attempts to ‘write out’ diasporas of colour in the Global North through discourses of ‘anti-multiculturalism’ and ‘the left-behind’/‘traditional’ working class. Through a focus on the United Kingdom, the chapter examines how ‘anti-multiculturalism’ reached its peak at a time when social distance between groups in the United Kingdom was identified as decreasing, and that the discourse of ‘the left-behind’ as a code word for ‘white working class’ emerged as the working class is increasingly made up of migrants and people of colour. The chapter devotes significant attention to examining why these two discourses have had such purchase in wider political, media and academic debates.

The chapter argues that anti-immigration sentiments in the Global North are closely bound up with, if not at times used as a proxy for, showing discomfort and resentment of settled diasporas of colour in the Global North, and most importantly against their demands for equality. Worries about new migrations are closely entangled with anxieties about existing diasporas of colour. It argues that discourses of ‘anti-multiculturalism’ and ‘the left-behind’ have become convenient codes for providing an armoury for excessive and exclusive nationalism and majoritarianism, and for doing white identity politics without the need to mention colour.

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