What does it mean to act white

How to become an Ally: The Golden Rules of Allyship

Solidarity is one of the most important building blocks of a democratic society. It means empathizing and making yourself strong for others - even without being concerned yourself. Show solidarity is what the privileged can do for other people by theirs Use privileges properly: You can e.g. B. draw attention to topics that do not affect all fellow citizens. A form of allyship.

Even after the racially motivated murder of nine people in Hanau and the attack on a synagogue in Halle, solidarity with the bereaved was demanded. In public, the acts, as well as the NSU murders and the arson attacks in Solingen and Mölln, were described as individual cases. But these are not isolated cases when people in our society are deliberately attacked because of their beliefs or the color of their skin.

BIPoC (Black Indigenious People of Color, i.e. all people who are not “white” or who do not call themselves “white”) are increasingly affected by racism and right-wing extremism. It concerns everyone equally and we all have to do something about this injustice. Next Education, Law Enforcement and Prevention what is needed for those affected is solidarity. And not just as a call for bad deeds, but permanently. How? By making those not affected try to be good Allies - so Allies - to be affected by those affected. We have put together some pieces of advice to help you reflect on your own position and become a good ally for everyone affected by racism and right-wing extremism:

1.Check your privileges. 

Privileges are advantages within a societywhich in almost all cases were not achieved through one's own performance, but are given from birth. The “White Privilege” means that white people are treated better than BIPoC for no good reason. It is important for good allies to recognize that they have privileges and therefore in many cases have an easier starting position than those who are not privileged. An example:

The annual report of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency shows that every third person with a migration background has experienced discrimination when looking for accommodation has experienced. Applicants with a German last name or a look that reads German - for example, stereotypically blond and blue-eyed people with light skin - will be given preferential treatment. Racist prejudices, which are deeply rooted in our society, are also the reason why BIPoC often have poorer chances on the job market. Also when going out it is often BIPoC that are not allowed into the club. There is seldom a direct justification from the bouncer. All of these are experiences and encounters that one Feeling of exclusion entail.

Many BIPoC are already treated differently during their school days than their white classmates. Several studies show that children with an alleged migration background are given worse grades and, despite good grades, do not get a high school recommendation. To put it bluntly: These children are being treated unfairly because their name is not Max, but Murat.

Under #MeTwo In 2018, many BIPoC shared their experiences with everyday racism. Good allies should inform themselves about the experiences of the BIPoCin order to recognize more quickly in one's own everyday life if someone is discriminated against and treated unfairly because of their skin color, (alleged) migration background or religion.

2. Recognize everyday racism and react. 

Everyday racism is the form of racism in which BIPoC are less openly insulted or attacked, but subliminally treated differently from their white fellow human beings. An example situation in a bar during non-Corona times:

Amina, black hair and dark skin, meets Sebastian, blond and light skin. Both come from Berlin and study business administration, but have never met before. Sebastian curiously asks Amina: "Where are you from?" "From Berlin.", She replies. "No, where exactly?" “From Steglitz, but now I live in Kreuzberg,” Amina says. Sebastian laughs and shakes his head: “Okay. But where are you from actually come from? ". "I was born in Berlin ..." replies Amina. "You are German? You don't look like that at all! ".

A typical form of everyday racism. Sebastian is probably an open-minded, nice person who does not want Amina bad. But insisting on finding out where she comes from, questioning her answers, even doubting them and saying that she doesn't look German, shows Amina one thing above all else: She is "different" in his eyes. Not part of "normal" society. It is suggested to her that because of their appearance they are not German canwhether she was born here or not. In this situation, a supposedly harmless question is hurtful and exclusive for BIPoC.

Anyone who experiences this situation as a white German can interfere as an ally and point out that this question is misleading and misplaced. It is very important solidarity and empathich to be. Nobody should have to justify their own appearance in their home and / or country of choice.

3. Listen to those affected and believe them. 

If you, as an ally, are told about a situation in which a BIPoC had an experience with everyday racism, it is important to first listen to the person affected. By not being affected yourself, you may find it difficult to imagine the situation. You should but believe those affected without questioning their report.  

Unfortunately, when victims publicly report experiences with racism, the opposite can often be observed, especially on social media: In their comments, people express doubts about the credibility of the story or, much worse, claim that the victims only want to "play the victim". Such comments are deeply hurtful. To portray such an experience requires a lot of strength and courage - at the same time it makes those affected vulnerable and open to attack.

For this very reason it is important to them To give space to share your experiences, if that's what you want.  

4. Leave enough space for those affected. 

The more you deal with allyship, i.e. the alliance with those affected, the more you want to intervene and become active yourself. However, it is important that the Allies' role is a supportive onewithout taking the stage from those affected.

An important keyword is here Tone policing. Tone policing means that people are told when to talk about a certain topic, how to address the topic, or when it is enough. Allies should not influence when and whether a person concerned wants to talk about their experiences of racism. Allies shouldn't tell stories on their behalf either - unless explicitly asked to do so.

If someone from your own environment expresses himself racist or behaves in a racist manner, it is again important to intervene. Anyone can act in a racist manner - unfortunately, no one is filed in advance. Therefore, allies should not deny their experiences to those affected, even if they know the perpetrator and would not classify them as racist people. At this point a enlightening conversation help. A lot of tact is required here: There must not be a victim-perpetrator reversalwhere the perpetrator is suddenly the victim because he / she is accused of having acted racially.

5. Educate yourself and inform yourself

Many BIPoC are ready to answer white Germans in their role as allies about racism and their own experiences of racism. However, all of these should not assume that everyone will want to talk to you about it. Many of the stories are linked to painful experiences that could evoke traumatic memories.

However, there are many other ways to find out more and learn more. Films, series and books by and with BIPoC are a great way to learn more about people's experiences. We have compiled a list of recommended reading from BIPoC:

  • Alice Hasters: What white Germans don't want to hear about racism - but should know
  • Tupoka Ogette: exit RACISM: learn to think critically
  • Fatma Aydemir, Hengameh Yaghoobifarah (Ed): Your home is our nightmare
  • Noah Sow: Germany Black White - The everyday racism
  • Ferda Ataman: I'm from here. Stop asking!

6. Support and promote BIPoC

With the help of the tips collected here, you too can become an ally and actively support BIPoC. It is great that you show solidarity with those around you! If you want to support BIPoC in other areas as well, it's very easy: by reading their books, watching their films, consuming their products and buying their articles, you are promoting them in equal measure.

Allies can also support their organizations, give them space in the media and take part in their demos - as long as they do not take the stage with BIPoC (see point 4).

One final note: you should yourself be affected by racist attacks on the Internet or are attacked because of your allyships and need support, please contact us!