Racism has existed for centuries and where some have believed that the problem would have disappeared in 2020, it is completely wrong out of ignorance. In 2019, the Federal Ministry counted 7,909 racist offenses. Around 3 percent more than in the previous year. About 7 percent of the population have racist views - they devalue people based on their skin color or descent. Around 19 percent are xenophobic, which is also racist - because they agree with statements such as "There are too many foreigners in Germany".
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I experienced racism again a few weeks ago. When I took the train, I saw a man insulting a woman because of her skin color. I was shocked that no one around her used their voices to protect her. People keep looking away because they want to avoid unpleasant situations, are not affected themselves, think it would not be so bad, do not want to be in trouble and are even afraid. Such situations are not isolated cases. Nobody should be discriminated, oppressed and verbally or physically attacked. Treat everyone how you want to be treated. Show respect and make no difference. Everyone should have equal opportunities in life. Let's make change, let’s make a difference. Let us raise our voice and take action against racism. We all have a responsibility if we remain silent instead of acting out loud.
I was wondering how I could take the topic further into my everyday life. What can I do against racism on a daily basis?
1. Knowledge is power / educate yourself
Find out about racism, because it is all around us. Racism does not leave after social media trends and hashtags like #Blacklivesmatter #Blackoutuesday #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd are forgotten. It is a long process in which each individual has to be very consciously active. Systematic racism does not only exist in America, but all over the world, also in Germany. I have always described myself as an anti-racist and was shocked how uneducated I was at some point. I was completely unaware of how privileged we are. People of Color are born into a minority right from the start. A minority that is oppressed in every respect and does not get the same opportunities that whites take for granted. The better you are informed about racism and the more you educate yourself on the subject, the more strength and arguments we have to take action against it.
2. Raise your voice
Talk to your family, children, friends and acquaintances. Position yourself consciously. Discuss the problem and always draw attention to the topic. It is not enough to say: "I am not a racist."
The system, the systematic oppression, must be broken. This can only happen if we always deal with it consciously and raise our voice against it in every situation.
3. Take responsibility
It's not about guilt, it's about responsibility. Do not avoid unpleasant discussions and situations. Act proactive. Everyone has a responsibility to fight racism.
4. Be careful!
Listen carefully to those who are affected when they report on their experiences. Ask how they are, how they feel and what you can do for them. You may not experience racism yourself, but you can learn more about it. It often helps to exchange experiences and get to know different perspectives of those who are affected. The knowledge and commitment will be empowering.
5. Support "Local Black Businesses".
It is important to set an example here. The self-employed are too often disadvantaged due to racism.
6. Support organizations
Find out about the positions of People of Color on websites of organizations. Get to know their perspective. Support with money donations if your financial situation allows and sign petitions.
7. Recognize racism in your life, as well in your past.
Take a moment and reflect on your childhood, your school days and think about all the moments when racism was present.
If you ask people where they come from and they answer Munich - then that's probably just the way it is. Please do not immediately ask about their parents, grandparents. Don't make racist jokes either. It's not fun to joke at the expense of (disadvantaged) other people.
8. Recognize your privileges
Not being affected by racism is associated with social, political and cultural privileges. Be aware that people who are not affected by racism - regardless of how they personally feel about this ideology - often benefit from it. Be aware that it is important to get involved and use your own voice for more justice and equal opportunities.
9. The most important thing at the end
Stay tuned and don't let yourself be unsettled.
The problem will not be solved in a few days, so it is more important not to give up and continue to stick to the points that have been mentioned. Through continuity and solidarity, we will be able to improve the world together.
Film, book and podcast recommendations:
• I am not your Negro
• The Cantral Park Five
• The Black Panthers: Vangueard of the Revolution
• The Rachel Divide
• Get Out
• Dear White People
• American Son
• See You Yesterday
• When They See Us
• Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975
• Exit Racism
• About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
• 1619 – New York Times
• We need to Talk about the British Empire – Afua Hirsch
• Good Ancestor Podcast – Layl F. Saad
• Seeing White
• Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
• Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Dr. Brittney Cooper
• Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
• How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
• I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
• Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
• Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
• Raising Our Hands by Jenna Arnold
• Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
• Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
• So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
• The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
• The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
• The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
• The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs
• The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
• Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
• Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde