Narrating a Nation through Mixed Bloods

in Social Analysis
Restricted access

Is nationalism more noble than racism? Anderson argues that it is: “Nationalism thinks in terms of historical destinies, while racism dreams of eternal contaminations, transmitted from the origins of time through an endless sequence of loathsome copulations” (1991: 149). For Anderson, racism springs from ideologies of class, which are rooted in notions of blood purity. In contrast, he holds that patriotic dreams and nationalist fellowship rest on a fundamentally different criterion—the language encountered on the mother’s knee. This distinction that Anderson draws is crucial. It leads him to view nations as open and inclusive, since one can be invited into the nation (as is implicit in the term ‘naturalization’), whereas the impulse of racism is to exclude.