People of different backgrounds, immigrants and refugees are victims of racism, according to a new book on the current social situation in Germany.
When Patricia Yen Lin Frymuth moved into a new apartment in Munich with her husband, one of her neighbors’ first questions was whether she was the new cleaning lady.
Freimuth, a public relations specialist and a Chinese-born German citizen, wrote in an essay in the book ‘People of Deutschland’ about the social and racist experiences she and her sister had in Germany, like other people of Asian descent. had to face it.
Germany considers itself a liberal country and much more cosmopolitan today in 2023 than in the last years of the last millennium. After the 2006 World Cup, it has often been said that Germany is more colorful and cohesive than ever. With the increase in diversity in media and politics, observers may even get the impression that racism is disappearing in the country.
But the government’s first annual report on racist social attitudes disproves this perception. The report was recently presented by Germany’s Commissioner for Social Integration and Anti-Racism, Reem Al-Abli Radovan. According to the report, which is based on the perspective of the victims, racism in everyday life in Germany is seen not only in the form of physical violence and verbal attacks, but also in schools and sports clubs against people with an immigrant background. Discriminatory treatment is also experienced in finding housing, at workplaces and by the police.
Published in Black History Month, People of Deutschland is a book based on the personal experiences of people with an immigrant background. Among them are celebrities such as author and social activist Dozen Tikal, TV host Mola Adebisi and professional footballer Hans Sarpai.
The book’s editor, Martina Rink, argues that ordinary people also experience racism, which can be more harmful than ideology-based racism. “Racism comes up every day with the paradox that it can happen anywhere and to anyone,” he says. Even the people who really like you hurt you and don’t care about it.”
Rink, who is of ethnic and part-Iranian background but grew up in Britain and Germany, and the book’s co-editor Simon Yusufou, the son of a French mother and a Nigerian father, also wrote articles for People of Deutschland. . This book of 45 personal stories was photographed by Berlin-based photographer Sammy Hart, known for his sensitive portraits.
Unconscious prejudice and physical violence
Speaking to DW, Yusufou said that the book contains stories of covert racism or such microaggressions, which deal with ‘unconscious biases, prejudices and stereotypes’. The book also covers the other end of the spectrum, namely psychological and physical violence. In fact, everything is represented in this book.”
Yusufou said that the purpose of this book is not to take militant action against racist people, but to make the readers aware of the fact that everyone has prejudices because we live in this society and that you can overcome patterns of racism. Can recognize and play an active role in changing them.
“In a way, it’s like a muscle in the body, which you have to exercise. If you connect with people and create sensitivity because of these stories, you can work on it.”
The majority are immune to the harmful effects of everyday racism
“Ideological racism is not the biggest problem in our society,” Yusufou says. The main problem is that we have a majority society that does not have the slightest experience of being a victim of racism. That’s why he doesn’t have a complete idea of how violent and painful such events can be in everyday life.
The book features stories of people from different and diverse backgrounds, including celebrities from the fields of music, sports, art and fashion, and the book’s editors hope that the issues it focuses on and how much it focuses on. has gone, she will not be limited to debates.
Yusufou and Rink plan to donate the proceeds from the book to the ‘German Dream’, a campaign started by Duzin Tikal for education. The organization strives to ‘carry democracy, tolerance and pluralism into the future’.
He says that racism is a problem for society as a whole and that all people in Germany need to fight it. “In everyday life, not all of us are able to encounter all kinds of events, even if it is not done with negative intent, unconsciously, reflexively and through communication in a racist way. “
These two editors say, “It is not enough that we do not think of ourselves as racists. We all also need to actively fight racism.”
(This article was originally written in German. Simon Youssouf was interviewed by Yann Durand for it.)
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