There has never been a need for civil rights movements in Europe like those in the United States or South Africa because no minority was ever brought here against their will, they were never there in the first place (they were not natives), but they came to fill open job positions as the old continent was in need of labor at the time.
The only recent episode of segregation I can think of was during Nazism, against the Jews. The war was lost, people were set free and efforts were made to not let it happen again.
The question is: have there ever been protests and movements for the rights of ethnic minorities in Europe, in general?
I can’t speak on behalf of 50 countries, but I can tell that Italy had some sort of case, but I’m sure the same events occurred in other places in Europe.
Late 60’s, years known for the social protests, especially workers’ rights.
Technology rapidly changes labor and, at this time, the rural economy that was still ruling, especially in the South of Italy, was replaced by the industrial one.
The industrial areas of the North were blooming and in need of more workers, so we had a massive internal flow of people moving from the South to fill these job positions.
Meanwhile, the flourishing economy also attracted people from foreign countries.
Everyone was equal under the law, so the Constitution stated, but it wasn’t the same for employers, who still held prejudices and were acting in a discriminatory way. In fact, minorities (Southerners included) were paid wages lower than average.
The protests were successful and new laws concerning labor rights were written.
Unfortunately, labor rights are going lost once again. The high unemployment rate gives employers plenty of power: people desperately look for jobs and will accept any condition. If you refuse a job offer because the wage is too low, rest assured that there will be another candidate who will take it. Most of the time, it’s the migrants that will “gladly” do.
Here comes the saying “migrants steal our jobs.”
They don’t steal our jobs, but by accepting to be paid so little, companies lower salaries so much they are no longer enough for a person to reach financial independence and maintain a decent lifestyle, like renting a small apartment on their own, buying food and clothes, and paying the bills.
Some say “migrants do jobs that the local population doesn’t want to.”
True. However, it is not about getting hands dirty, but a matter of pay.
The middle class is about to disappear, but the middle-class mindset is not. Most natives don’t want to give up their comforts, the little amount of luxury they were used to.
I can’t really blame the employers. I know some personally. They have to be competitive in order to survive in this free global market; the only way available is to pay poorly. It’s a vicious cycle because poor workers are also poor customers, unable to buy and support local businesses, making them go bankrupt.
I think I’m going off-topic. Enough for today.
Does your country have a high unemployment rate?
Yes (over 20%)
Kind of (from 10% to 20%)
No (below 10%)
Are there people in your country who believe “migrants are stealing their jobs”?
Yes, just a few