How are you racist

enlightenmentcourage demonstrate against Everyday racism

Racism is a structural problem that shows up in everyday life. Much of what people without racism experience hardly or not at all notice, has far-reaching consequences for those affected. What helps against this is education, showing an attitude and offering support when someone is treated in a racist manner.

In her everyday life, Shana Jones repeatedly encounters so-called positive racism. Other people then give her a supposed "compliment" because of the color of her skin.

They assume, for example, that she is particularly good at dancing, singing, or sprinting. "These are people who think they would say something positive, but the opposite is the case. Because I keep realizing: Okay, I'm different," she explains.

Daily confrontation with stereotypes

So what people actually do is othering. That means: You attribute certain characteristics to a person and emphasize them as special. They use this to exclude the person from their group because they describe the person as different. Often they devalue the other person with these stereotypes, explains Thivitha Edwin from the anti-discrimination office of the Caritas Association in Cologne.

"We then attribute certain things to the 'others': knowledge of German, intelligence, musicality, criminality. To say 'You are so beautiful, you are so sporty and so on' is directly linked to the negative stereotype about black people that they are less are more intelligent than white people. "
Thivitha Edwin, anti-discrimination office Caritasverband Cologne

Do we hear that someone is being treated in a racist manner, be it as a non-affected person it is important to show attitude. As a friend of those affected, we can, for example, mirror what the person who is causing the racist behavior is saying and confront them with similar stereotypes about themselves, says Shana Jones.

"From the person who is with me, I think it would be cool to just mirror that. That is to say, 'You are probably good at punctuality and you eat potatoes all day.' Stupid example, but just as stupid are the prejudices against me. "
Shana Jones experiences racism every day

It is just as important to intervene and offer help if we notice how racism is happening to someone, for example on the street, on the train or in a club.

Even after the actual situation is over, it can help to approach the person concerned and ask them if they need support, according to the anti-discrimination officer. It is about showing those affected that they are not alone.

Change is everyone's responsibility

In her workshops, however, Thivitha Edwin often experiences how many people assume that racism is a problem that does not concern them. Above all, these are people who hardly or not at all deal with the topic, she says. Conversely, they assume that they cannot change the racist structures.

For a change towards equality and tolerance, everyone needs everyone: Everyone bears a share of the responsibility here. This requires a willingness to find out more about racism and question old thought patterns instead of taking a defensive stance. Because then an argument can take place, she explains.