2. Tips to fight everyday racism
As a company with employees from 47 different nations – a rising trend – it’s very important to us, that everybody feels welcome here, no matter where they’re from. Thus, we feel very strongly about informing about everyday racism and are stepping up for diversity, also because ethnicity and origin are only a small part of the diversity dimensions. We are supporting the Charta der Vielfalt (Charta of diversity) and are celebrating the annual diversity month. But how can we actively do something against discriminations in the form of everyday racism?
Recommendations on how to be less racist:
– Be aware of your privilege of being a white person. It’s not about the color of your skin but rather your privileged standing in society. As a white person you are part of the majority, therefore are represented first in every matter and own privileges, which members of minorities don’t have.
– The next time you want to know more about the origin or birthplace of somebody, ask yourself if you would ask someone the same thing who looks a bit more “German”. Or to say it in Shashis words: „Be kind and assume that the person belongs exactly where they are.“
– In case you’re still asking that question, accept the answer – even if it’s not meeting your expectations.
– If you’re witnessing everyday racism, don’t just accept it, but offer your help to the victim.
– Question your prejudices and stereotypes which you have of certain ethnic groups or cultures.
– In case someone mentions that an expression you said was hurtful – take it serious and think about it. Such a reaction does not mean that the other person thinks of you as a bad person. You can take situations like these as a possible way to learn more about the hidden racism, of which you haven’t been aware before.
Background: Many people react hurt and defensive to such hints. Since they didn’t realize they were acting racist and don’t see themselves as racist people (“I’m not a racist!”), they are hurt quite often. In the worst case, victims get told to not act so sensitive about it and are expected to excuse themselves for their opinion. Unfortunately, also our colleagues have experienced such defense mechanisms. The suggestion that everyday racism is just an illusion can lead to the point that one starts to doubt his or her own perceptions, as Shashi explained to us.
– Inform yourself: There are various possibilites to get further information about everyday racism – for example workshops, podcasts, videos, articles and books.
Here’s a small selection of current articles about this topic:
– Alice Hasters: „Was weiße Menschen nicht über Rassismus hören wollen aber wissen sollten“ (German title). A prominent example for everyday racism marks the reception of the book itself: A famous German comedian called this book a „Big thing in the US“ – even though it has not been published there and the author is from Cologne.
– Tupoka Ogette: „Exit Racism“. The bestseller author and consultant for racism critique offers an online class and different workshops. With the Google Zukunftswerkstatt she’s holding a keynote on October 27th about the topic „Exit Racism – Rassismuskritisch denken, sprechen und handeln“. (German title)
– Vanessa Vu and Minh Thu Tran talk about many viet-german stories in their podcast „Rice and Shine“. The daughters of Vietnamese immigrants are looking into different stereotypes and show the fine line between appreciation and cultural appropriation.
– 20 Tipps, um sich weniger rassistisch zu verhalten (German article)
– Become actively engaged against everyday racism: Suggestions by Amnesty International
– Warum es keinen Rassismus gegen Weiße gibt (German article)
– Robin DiAngelo: White Fragility
– Aminata Touré: Wir können mehr sein. Die Macht der Vielfalt (German title)
– Mohamed Amjahid: Der weiße Fleck. Eine Anleitung zu antirassistischem Denken (German title)
– Emilia Roig: Why we matter. Das Ende der Unterdrückung (German title)
– Noah Sow: Deutschland Schwarz Weiß. Der alltägliche Rassismus (German title, also available on Spotify)
Conclusion: Everyday racism in its various forms and manifestations is unfortunately more widespread than we assume. Although most people agree that the future is diverse, there is still a lot to do – for society, for businesses, and for individuals. Or, as Tupoka Ogette writes in her book Exit Racism, „Don’t give up. Fighting racism is a long struggle which has been going on for generations, not a brief uprising. So keep your expectations real, stay positive and keep your heart in the right place.“ A big thanksnto our colleagues, without whom this article would not have been possible.