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Resumen: The essay is structured around four questions: a) What is racism?; b) Why racism?; c) What are the differences between current racism and racism in the past?; d) What are the possible antidotes against racism? The author replies to the first question by reminding the scientific baselessness of the classification of mankind in «races» and by proposing a definition of racism as anthropology of inequality, «invented» by those who deny human dignity to a whole class of persons. Following this definition, also sexism, homophobia and classism are forms of racism. The author replies to the second question —why racism?— by maintaining that, if races do not exist, then the only possible explanation of their «invention» is of political nature. Typically modern phenomenon, born with the discovery of the New World by the Europeans, racism was needed to justify the domination of colonisers on indigenous peoples and, nowadays, it is still needed to make the racial laws of our days —the laws on immigration— acceptable. Racism turns out to be the effect, rather than the cause, of the discrimination and persecution policies carried out by Western countries against whole classes of individuals. In dealing with the third question, the author stresses how, although the discredit the nineteenth-century theories of «scientific» racism experienced, forms of «cultural» racism do persist, nourished by a new type of «institutional» racism, which, in Europe, irregular immigrants, Rom and Sinti in particular are victims of. Both of them mainly derive from the growth of inequality, which the political structure of racism allows to tolerate or ignore. If this is true, the answer to the last question, concerning the possible antidotes against racism, might consist in indicating social inequality and juridical discrimination as the two objectives against which a twofold fight, political and cultural, should be addressed.
Palabras clave: Inequality. Racism. Immigration. Citizenship. Fundamental Rights.