It’s time to demand concrete actions against anti-Black racism, Dr Sylvie Nantcha, chairman of The African Network of Germany (TANG), has said. She made the call on Thursday while speaking at the virtual conference of the organisation on the ongoing anti-racism debate in the country.
“While we condemn racism in America, particularly the murder of George Floyd, we have to draw attention to racism in Germany too,” she said. Which is why TANG launched its #beiunsauch (#samehere) campaign, in collaboration with more than 120 migrant organisations, with a call to the federal government to recognise racism against Black people and to finally fight it decisively.
At the beginning of her speech, Dr Nantcha expressed the solidarity of TANG with Dr Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, a member the European Parliament, who was assaulted by Belgian police officers on 17 June in Brussels. She called on the Black community to stand by the European parliamentarian, adding that the huge media coverage of the unfortunate incident further supports demands for policy action against racism in Europe.
Nantcha also revealed that TANG had been receiving disgusting letters following its #beiunsauch campaign. She said the organisation would not be cowed by such hate mails. “We will not be intimidated and will continue to fight head-on against hatred and racism in Germany every day!” she reiterated.
As part of the #beiunsauch campaign, TANG has been reaching out to the media with a view to making it give increased coverage to anti-Black racism and highlight the views and experiences of Black people. “We have contacted more than 1,000 journalists in the course of the campaign,” Nantcha reported. “This is to put racism at the focus of public attention in the country.”
The efforts are paying off with the observed increased coverage of racism and police violence on radio, TV and newspapers in Germany. Nantcha herself has been interviewed on TV and in several newspapers. “That the media now focuses on racism means that society and state have to deal with it,” she said.
The #beiunsauch campaign, launched on 1 June, has meanwhile reached more than 2 million people through the print and broadcast media as well as on social media, Nantcha revealed.
Speaking on the Black Lives Matter rallies taking place across Germany, Nantcha said it was encouraging that most participants are Germans. “However, we don’t only need solidarity but action from the state to address the grievances of the Black community,” she added.
TANG has also issued a position paper on the issue with a catalogue of recommendations for action directed at government at all levels.
“Racism against Black people in Germany must be finally acknowledged, named and fought. The fight against anti-Black racism must be taken up at the highest level of government. The issue must be placed on top of the agenda of the Cabinet Committee against Right-Wing Extremism and Racism,” the statement read.
In the 14-point document, TANG supports the call for the removal of the word race from Article 3 of the German constitution and to be replaced with skin colour. The organisation also rejected the use of the n-word, which it describes as “discriminating, racist and degrading”, in any forms and under any circumstances.
TANG calls for the creation of an independent public office for complaints against racism while demanding improvement in the anti-racism training of police officers, judicial officials and teachers.
The organisation also called for more empowerment programmes for Black people while urging the media to reflect the diversity of society. “We demand that talk shows about racism should feature the victims,” the paper said.
TANG called for support for victims of racism in their efforts to seek redress while a category for anti-Black racist acts should be created in official statistics on politically-motivated crimes compiled annually by the office for the protection of the constitution.
Moreover, TANG called on Germany to implement the action plan of the UN Decade for People of African Descent, to which the country is a signatory, with concrete measures.