Is there a black privilege

"Critical Whiteness" : The invisible white norm

Immediately after the attacks on New Year's Eve in Cologne, the headline was “Focus” with a picture showing a white woman's body tainted by black palms. The physical marking of the blond whites by the black hands revealed the symbolic marking that people of color are provided with in the context of a “white” knowledge formation to this day. The portrayal made use of the stereotype of the dark-skinned, instinct-driven Oriental as an inferior counter-image to the white, rational-centered Westerner.

Despite the scientific discrediting of the race concept, racism is booming worldwide, especially in Germany, where the so-called "ethnicity" is still defined by descent, regardless of the Shoah. Even if the legal situation should gradually soften, the jus sanguinis is deeply anchored in people's minds.

German is combined with white - and Christian -

The fact that the juror of a popular German casting show obliges her dark-skinned participant to accept their supposed foreignness, even though she lists Germany as the country of origin, sums up the whole misery. Not only those who chant “We are the people” in Saxony, also those who congratulate a black-haired person with a darker complexion on his good language skills or ask where he actually comes from, equates German with white (and Christian).

"Critical Whiteness" has long since reached German universities

Against the background of the popular discourse that is burgeoning in Germany, it is worth taking a look at the concept of “critical whiteness”, which has been widely discussed in recent years and stems from the think tanks of the Afro-American civil rights movement. At the beginning of the noughties it came to Germany under the somewhat bulky label “Critical Whiteness Research” and has since been received by various disciplines such as literary studies, sociology and African studies. At the same time, the theoretical principles have found their way into the anti-racist practice of various groups of authors and activists. Far from being a unified theory, however, the various approaches have one thing in common: Racism is not understood as the sole problem of backwoodsmen who have come too late, but as a matrix that structures society.

"Race doesn't exist, but it kills people"

According to the representatives of Critical Whiteness, postulates of equality are not enough because the social reality is unfortunately different. Although the race concept lacks any scientific basis and has long since proven to be biologically nonsensical, we have to operate with the terms “white”, “black” and “colored” to determine the position that a person has in society whether his skin and skin Hair color is appropriate to be able to adequately describe. Color blindness is not a solution because racism is a real fiction. Or in the words of Colette Guillaumin: "Race does not exist, but it kills people."

One starting point of the theory is the observation that people of color are perceived by whites as deviant and simply remarkable. Your own whiteness is unconsciously assumed as the norm and not reflected further. The Enlightenment one day brought about the colonial-ethnological view of the foreigner, who in his otherness, perceived as exotic, became the object of Western knowledge and the victim of ruthless exploitation. With their hierarchical anthropology, western intellectuals such as Kant and Hegel provided the theoretical basis for the suppression of the supposedly unreasonable (Kant) and historyless (Hegel) blacks.

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