Journal Article — Islamophobia/Hispanophobia: The (Re) Configuration of the Racial Imperial/Colonial Matrix — by Walter D. Mignolo




There are enormous historical and social differences in the imperial making of Islamophobia–the fear and the hatred toward a powerful and widespread religion–and Hispanophobia–the fear and hatred toward secular subaltern forces with mixed religious beliefs that emerged in the seventies in the U.S. without the extended political connections or support from “Latin America.” We need to understand how the imperial imaginary constructs phobias in the mind of civil society, but at the same time be aware that on the other side of the imperial/colonial phobias potent de-colonial forces are at work, among Moslems and within Hispanics in the U.S., and Indians and Afros in South America (or the Latin America of the white population from European descent). There are enormous differences, but we have overcome the belief in abstract universalism and that the proletariat or the multitude will provide one single solution for the wretched of the earth. It so happens that the wretched of the earth know that if they are proletarian or part of the multitude, they are also imperial/colonial wretched, that is, racialized beings–beings marked by the colonial wound, that is to say, the lower rank in the human scale of being that, built by Christian theology during the Renaissance, were reactivated and maintained by secular philosophy during and after the Enlightenment. Islamophobia and Hispanophobia, it seems to me, are entrenched in the colonial horizon of modernity. However, de-colonial projects are at work, all over the world. Unveiling and uncovering the imperial foundations and reproductions of phobias (Islamic or Hispanic) are ways of de-colonizing (and de-naturalizing) what imperial rationality convinced us to be real, and that the real is accountable by only one rationality. The racial matrix holding together the modern/colonial worldmatrix is unfolding and updated in what we are witnessing today as Islamophobia and Hispanophobia.

Recommended Citation

Mignolo, Walter D. 2007. “Islamophobia/Hispanophobia: The (Re) Configuration of the Racial Imperial/Colonial Matrix.” Pp. 13-28 in Othering Islam (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume V, Issue 1, 2007.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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