This project examines the recent introduction of a mandatory handshake in Danish naturalisation procedures from the perspective of discrimination, with a main focus on 'cultural racism'. Drawing upon Critical Race Theory (CRT), it places the handshake requirement within a social, political and historical context to uncover its potential discriminatory and racial underpinnings and effects.
The article analyses the arguments brought forward during the legislative process, as well as the broader discursive context within which these arguments are located. The legislative history of the handshake requirement reveals that the measure primarily appeals to an idea of a fundamental incompatibility between ‘Danish’ and ‘Muslim’ values in the Danish social imaginary. The handshake requirement is concerned less with facilitating ‘integration’ or keeping a select few individuals outside of the national polity, but rather, to stigmatize Muslims.
The article argues that the handshake requirement forms part of a deliberate discriminatory pattern of legislation that, as a whole, can be typified as 'cultural racism'. The article discusses what legal remedies might be available under various human rights provisions. Moreover, it demonstrates that a social, political and historical contextualization of a legislative act can be necessary to uncover its discriminatory and racist nature.