A protester holds a banner bearing the photo of Achidi John, a Cameroonian asylum-seeker who died in police custody in Bremen in December 2001, at the ‘No To Racism rally’ in Berlin on 6 June 2020. The African died due to a combination of factors, including the stress caused by emetics forcibly administered on him by the police. According to the new survey, 41 percent of Black men reported having encountered racist discrimination when dealing with the police/Photo: AfricanCourierMedia

Extent of Racism in Germany exposed in new survey

Black, Asian and Muslim people reveal the extent of discrimination they experience in Germany on a daily basis in a new national discrimination monitor. Marcel Fürstenau/DW reports

Disparaging looks or insults are daily occurrences in Germany for people with dark skin, Muslim women who wear a headscarf and people who speak German badly or not at all. Discrimination in Germany has many ugly faces and is widespread throughout society.

These findings are neither entirely new nor completely surprising but have rarely been determined as precisely as in the report of the National Discrimination and Racism Monitor (NaRiDa) by the German Center for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM), which was presented in Berlin on 7 November. Around 21,000 people were surveyed from June to November 2022.

According to the findings, more than half of Black people in Germany (54%) have experienced racism at least once. Almost one in five women from this population group said they were threatened or harassed several times a year. Among the respondents, 14% of Muslim women and 13% of Asian women reported such problems.

“Repeated experiences of discrimination and racism have consequences for health and are demonstrably linked to a loss of trust in state institutions — this can weaken and threaten democracy,” said DeZIM Director Naika Foroutan, who wants to establish a permanent monitoring system in Germany.

Forty-one percent of Black men and 39% of Muslim men reported having encountered racist discrimination when dealing with the police. These groups also experienced racism and discrimination in public offices.

They also experience racism when it comes to healthcare. People of colour have more difficulty getting a doctor’s appointment and are less likely to feel their problems are taken seriously. Black, Muslim and Asian respondents stated that they had delayed or avoided medical treatment for fear of being treated badly or changed doctors frequently.

“Our data shows that experiences of discrimination and racism are also very clearly linked to anxiety disorders or depressive symptoms,” said DeZIM co-director Frank Kalter.

His recommendation to politicians and society: Develop preventative measures to better support those affected and civil society organizations “that work daily for a democratic, free and peaceful society.”

Skin colour or surname should never be the deciding factor in the quality of medical care, who gets a doctor’s appointment or can start therapy, warned Reem Alabali-Radovan, the Federal Government Commissioner for Integration. Doctors, nursing staff and hospitals need “tailor-made anti-racism training and concepts,” she said.

Similar demands have long been made with regard to staff working in public offices.

Sexism and age discrimination

White people also reported having experienced discrimination. According to the study, women complained about sexist attitudes, and men because of age discrimination.

This study is to be followed by others. DW has learned that, in light of the Israel-Hamas war, the next report will focus more on antisemitism. The German Center for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM), which is financially supported by the Ministry of Family Affairs, has expressly been asked to do so.

“In order to be able to take even more targeted and effective measures against discrimination and racism, we need more scientific findings and regular data,” wrote Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) in response to a DW inquiry.

This article was originally written in German.

© DW


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