Globalized anti-blackness: Transnationalizing Western immigration law, policy and practice

Vilna Bashi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The racial category "black" is not merely an excluded category in a history of documented Western preference for "white" immigrants. Comparative historical evidence shows clear strategies to keep black persons out of First World nations, except as temporary labour. In this climate, black migration occurs partly because each nation has an ambivalent relationship to the black labourers, soldiers and seamen who offer their service expecting membership in the polity in return. Finding such membership objectionable, Western governments individually avoid black immigration. They also watch, imitate, and respond to each other's admission policies vis-à-vis blacks to ensure each limits the size of the black population they "welcome" relative to the other nations. When seen as a policy corpus, these actions may be interpreted as an anti-black immigration policy operative on a global scale. This article theorizes a transnationalization of racialized (anti-black) immigration policy in the histories of the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-606
Number of pages23
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Black Caribbeans
  • Immigration law
  • Immigration policy
  • Racism
  • Transnationalism
  • West Indians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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