How can I stop my racism

Amnesty International

© Amnesty International

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, most white people act racistly in everyday life.

This is because they grew up in a racist society and so unconsciously learned and internalized racist behavior and ways of thinking. Recognizing this in others - and especially in yourself - is not that easy.

We have collected SEVEN recommendations to help people understand racism and act anti-racist, even if they have not personally experienced racism.

Because the best remedy against racism is yourself, and critical questioning of your own actions and speech.

Noah Sow, author

We can't help it that we've been taught so much racist nonsense. But we can get rid of it now!

1. Find out more

Find out - through books, on websites or blogs of organizations - about the positions of black people and people of color and deal with their arguments. Get to know their perspectives and try to understand how racism affects them. Read their articles, comments, blogs and posts. Consciously take an interest in different perspectives. Because people - depending on their age, gender identity or social status, for example - have very different experiences of racism.

To read in and listen to

Where to start Here you can find various books, audiobooks and blogs that deal with racism.

  • George L. Mosse: The History of Racism in Europe
  • Bell Hooks: Black looks
  • Reni Eddo-Lodge: Why I no longer talk to whites about skin color
  • Noah Sow: Germany black and white
  • Alice Hasters: What white people don't want to hear about racism but should know, also on Spotify
  • Kübra Gümüsay: Language and Being
  • Maisha Eggers: Myths, Masks and Subjects - Critical Wisdom Research in Germany
  • Walter Sauer et al .: From Soliman to Omofuma
  • ENAR: Invisible Visible Minority
  • How To Be an Antiracist: »The bravest book yet on racism in Western thought. (Ibram X. Kendi)
  • Vanessa Spanbauer's blog
  • Noah Sow's blog

There are also workshops on the subject of racism in everyday life, especially for multipliers, such as people in educational professions:

2. Realize your privileges

Whether at school or university, during an interview, looking for an apartment or during police checks - whites have privileges over people of color. Even if they don't want to or are not aware of it.

It's not a reason to feel bad, but a good one to get involved in. Use your voice against racism if you benefit from racism as a white person. Do this towards other white people and especially where people of color are discriminated against, are absent or have less say.

3. Listen

Regardless of whether you get information from self-organizations or black people and people of color in your environment comment on racism: Listen carefully to what they have to say.

If you don't experience racism yourself, then you can learn all the more about it. In this case, withhold your personal opinion and realize that there is a lot you cannot know about experiences of racism because you do not do them yourself. And very important: acknowledge the experiences of those affected.

4. Name racism

If you're witnessing racism, don't just let it go. Talk to your fellow human beings about racist expressions and racism in your everyday life and thus contribute to making racism visible and to sensitize those around you. So ask critically, but stay factual and try to create understanding.

Also show that you don't find jokes funny at the expense of those affected and that racism is never okay. No matter how he is "meant". No matter whether online or offline.

5. Get involved and stand side by side with those affected

If you witness racism in public, you can help ensure that there are consequences for the perpetrators. But don't put yourself in danger and inform the police in an emergency.

If the police themselves behave in a racist manner, witnesses and those affected can contact the advice center of the ZARA association (ZARA - civil courage and anti-racism work). Those affected by an official act can ask the officers for their service number. Those affected also have the option of filing a policy complaint against the behavior of the police officer.

You can also offer yourself as a witness to an affected person. In the case of criminal content on the Internet, you can secure and display the evidence with screenshots (also anonymously).

6. Don't speak for others

Do not push yourself to the fore in your engagement against racism. Instead, make black people and people of color more visible and audible. So don't talk for others, talk to them, and preferably ask directly what kind of support is actually desired.

This could be participating in a demo, financial or organizational contribution, or sharing or liking posts, articles and blog posts can help raise the voice of People of Color.

7. Pay attention to your language

Most of us don't want to hurt anyone with what we say, but sometimes we just can't find the right words. Here, too, it helps a lot to find out more.

In the glossary for discrimination-sensitive language you will find some important tips on which expressions and terms have negative connotations and which you can use with a clear conscience instead.