Why does racism hurt so much
It only takes two minutes and Daniel Gyamerah ends up where it hurts. He was born in 1986 in Tübingen, grew up in Swabia, says he was a very ambitious student and almost became a professional basketball player. This lunchtime in Bellevue Palace he reports on his Abi party.
It was very beautiful; everyone was so proud; The graduation ceremony lasted correspondingly long. Then, shortly after five in the morning, he was standing in front of a bakery with his closest friends. Some would have knocked on the door hungry; they hoped the bakery would open soon. But the baker called the police. And the police didn't question all of the boys who were loud. She surrounded only him, the only black man, with ten men. "No matter how good you are; no matter what you can do - over and over again they only control us," complains the Afro-German. "And no: that has not changed until today."
It's just an episode. But it quickly shows that nothing is being embellished, even if the Federal President may have hoped for something better. Frank-Walter Steinmeier invited four people with African roots to talk about racism. And he experiences four personalities who describe in a friendly and ruthless manner how they experience Germany.
Gloria Boateng is "fed up with having to do five times as much to get a crumb"
There is the student Vanessa Tadala Chabvunga. She tells how she fared at a Berlin school when classmates painted a picture of Hitler for her and the teacher only explained that she would no longer exist anyway if Hitler were still alive. Intimidated and upset, she decided to change schools. Her mother recommended the Jewish high school; she hoped that the people there had "a sensitive heart". The student is lucky: "My mother was right."
There is also Gloria Boateng, a teacher from Hamburg who founded the Schlaufox school development association. She takes care of socially disadvantaged young people, no matter what their roots are. That doesn't mean that racism doesn't play a role in her. Boateng reports on a racism that unfolds in a structural struggle for power and opportunities. "Racism here means to humiliate the other; not to let them come up. It's about denied participation; it's about refusing to give children and young people the chance of better education and advancement." This is about structures, not individual cases.
The conversation lasts an hour and a half. But after only a few minutes it becomes clear that the Federal President is surprised by the friendly and sharpness of his guests. In his introduction he also complained that in this country "people are marginalized, attacked and threatened"; he also states that racism can still be found "in many areas of life" today. It is therefore not enough to be "not a racist". "Racism requires a counter-position, counter-speech, action and - perhaps most difficultly - self-criticism and self-examination."
But as decisive as that sounds, he hopes that his guests will also experience something like solidarity. When asked, Gloria Boateng nods briefly. But then she tells the story of her last application. After the conversation, the headmaster praised it very much, but then stated that he still could not take it. His reasoning: He could only take someone who would be supported by the whole college. For Boateng a rejection like a slap in the face. "I love living in this country so much," she says at the end. "But I'm sick of having to go five times as much to get a crumb
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