Bratt, Christopher. Is it racism? The belief in cultural superiority across Europe. European Societies, 24(2), 2022, 207–228.
Are Europeans racist if they maintain that some cultures are superior? Theorists of cultural racism argue so and suggest that modern racism in Europe is expressed as a belief in cultural superiority. But this claim has been based on theoretical arguments, not on empirical tests. The current research investigated how widespread a belief in cultural superiority was in European countries and tested how such a belief related to biological racism. Analyses of data from the European Social Survey (21 countries, total N > 33,000) showed large differences across countries in tendencies to endorse the belief in cultural superiority. But in nearly all countries, a factor model consistent with the theory of cultural racism had much better support than a factor model building on the assumption that culturalism is distinct from racism. Even when the factor analysis was able to maintain a distinction between racism and culturalism, the two factors had a very strong correlation. The present research suggests that although a belief in cultural superiority may harbour different views, expressed beliefs in cultural superiority and cultural concerns are strongly associated with traditional racism.