Why does racism make most people angry?

After the death of George Floyd : Finally face your problem, dear whites!

Alice Hasters is a journalist, podcaster and author. Her book “What White People Don't Want to Hear About Racism” was published on September 23, 2019. But should know ”(Hanserblau in Carl Hanser Verlag), on which this text is based, which appeared for the first time in September 2019 in the Tagesspiegel. Due to the current situation in the USA, we are playing it again.

Skin color doesn't matter. Unfortunately not. Ignoring that doesn't get us anywhere. That's why I refer to myself as black. It is an important part of my identity and reflects my relationship with world history. I capitalize “black” because it doesn't refer to the actual color of my skin, and certainly not to a biological “race”. It's my self-designation, part of my identity.

Rarely do white people feel so attacked, alone and misunderstood as when they or their actions are called racist. The word “racism” has the effect of a watering can full of shame, poured out on the named. Because the shame is so great, it's rarely about the racism itself, but about the fact that I attribute racism to someone.

White people are so inexperienced in confronting their own racism that they tend to get angry about it, start crying, or just leave. For many people, the R-word feels like killing a fly with a baseball bat. When I call someone racist, that person usually doesn't hear what I'm saying to him or her. What he or she hears is, “You are a bad person. You are angry. You're a Nazi. ”This is also because people have a one-sided idea of ​​what racism is.

Racism is supposed to create a world order

Racism, so the common assumption, is only open hatred, contempt, and has only occurred sporadically since 1945. Hardly any other country has tried as hard as Germany to come to terms with its own racist past, they say. That's why it's good now. And anyway: Racism against blacks is a problem in the USA anyway - or in Great Britain or France.

There are different definitions for racism. For example, the historian Ibram X. Kendi defines it in his book “Brandmarked” as follows: “Any idea that regards a certain ethnic group as inferior or superior to another ethnic group.” But in a world of inequality is also Racism is weighted unequally. Many people assume that basically any person could be affected by racism. These people see racism as a purely individual attitude. How a single person organizes the world for himself has little consequences at first. But racism is a system that was created with the intention of establishing a certain world order. It was built over centuries and is powerful. The hierarchy of racialized groups was laid down in it, and it reads, roughly, as follows: whites at the top, blacks at the bottom.

The echo chamber is called: White Supremacy

So if someone believes that blacks are inherently superior to whites, then that is theoretically a racist idea - but in practice a very ineffective one. There is no echo chamber for this, this thought will not be reflected in the world. It is different if someone believes that white people are superior to blacks. This notion feeds the already existing system. The echo chamber for this is huge. This system is called White Supremacy.

Noah Sow notes in her important book “Deutschland SchwarzWeiß” that racism does not start with the thought of inferiority. Sow writes: "Nowadays racism is the belief that people have certain predispositions (dispositions) of all kinds." So if one were to assume: "White people speak high, black people have a deep voice", then there may be no evaluation. The statement is racist anyway.

If you see racism as a mindset that is purely conscious and with malicious intent, then few people are racists. But racism is more than that.

Afraid of the black man

It has been so firmly anchored in our history, our culture and our language for so long and has shaped our worldview so much that we cannot help but develop racist thought patterns in our world today. Racism is in our system. So much so that it often happens unconsciously - especially so-called everyday racism.

So you can't get rid of racism just because you claim not to be racist. It can be, for example, that you demonstrate against racism during the day - and still get scared if you run into a black man at night. Or that you are briefly surprised when a woman in a hijab speaks perfect German. Even if those who cross to the other side of the street or are puzzled for a moment don't think about it any further and believe that this one second, this one harmless act would go unnoticed and wouldn't make much difference, it does. For those affected. A German hijabi gets puzzled looks every day when she opens her mouth. A black man sees hundreds of scared faces in his life as he walks the streets. You notice. I notice

These little moments, they look like mosquito bites. Hardly visible to bear in detail, but the sheer sum of the pain becomes unbearable. These mosquito bites have a name: microaggressions. There are also different levels of this.

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