The Icelandic version of the book The Ten Little Negros was republished in the autumn of 2007 after its original publication in Iceland in 1922, creating multilayered debate about the meaning of race and racism in Iceland. In this paper, I stress that, within the European context, 'whiteness' has to be theorized as emerging from particular histories and realities, being entangled with other identifications such as national identity. I explore the debate surrounding the book, claiming that it reveals how Icelanders struggle to see themselves as innocent in relation to racism. I suggest that the constant references to the past in these dialogues seek to establish Icelandic innocence as a persistent and ongoing Icelandic characteristic.
The research was supported by the Development Fund for Immigrant Matters, run by the Ministry of Social Affairs in Iceland. It is also based on data from the project ‘Icelandic Identity in Crisis’ funded by the University of Iceland Research Fund. Acknowledgements