Published by Blackwell Publishers for the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Journal of Social Issues vol:64 issue:2 pages:253-267
Two aspects of research on racism in Flanders (Belgium) are discussed in this article based on results from large-scale surveys between 1991 and 2003. The first relates to the (negative) attitudes of the majority toward foreigners (everyday racism). The second relates to the vote for an extreme right-wing political party that emphasizes anti-immigrant viewpoints in its political program and propaganda (political racism). Our main research question is how both forms of racism are related. First, theories to explain political racism are reviewed. Some theories suggest an extreme right-wing vote to be motivated by a content-related agreement with (part of) the program of these parties (e.g., racism, nationalism, or authoritarianism). Other theories suggest that this vote represents an antipolitical protest vote. From these theories, hypotheses are derived regarding the background characteristics and attitudes that are associated with an extreme right-wing vote (e.g., the Vlaams Blok). These hypotheses are tested using data from election research in 1991, 1999, and 2003. The results suggest that the vote for the party Vlaams Blok is a rational vote. Of all theories, the theory suggesting that everyday racism plays a prominent role received most support. Everyday racism thus motivates political racism in the Flemish part of Belgium.