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FOOTBALL

German footballer calls on white sportspeople to support Floyd protests

Bayern Munich's Germany defender Jerome Boateng has called on more famous white sportspeople to add their voices to the chorus of outrage at the US police killing of George Floyd.

German footballer calls on white sportspeople to support Floyd protests
Jerome Boateng. Photo: DPA

Floyd, a black American man, died after a white policeman kneeled on his neck for several minutes.

His death has sparked eight days of protests in US cities, some of which have turned violent amid accusations of further police brutality used against demonstrators.

It has also seen athletes, sports teams and leagues expressing solidarity with protesters demanding an end to systemic racism and police brutality in the United States.

READ ALSO: German footballers probed after calling for racial justice in US after matches

“Our voices carry, we have a platform and we touch many people,” Boateng, whose father is from Ghana, told Deutsche Welle radio on Thursday.

“All white sportspeople who don't speak out are obviously not racists, but of course it is desirable that they also use their notoriety for this cause. Many do it, but I think we can do much more.”

Boateng added that a deeper message needed to be sent, beyond the world of social media.

“You need to take things in hand, whether in the form of work with children, or in integration projects,” he said.

“That always depends on the parents and what they're teaching their children.

“Also in schools, you need the issue of racism to be integrated in curriculum. It's only by doing that that we will progress.”

People across Germany, including footballers, have been protesting against racism and police brutality in the US over the past days.

More demos will take place around the country this weekend, including one at Berlin's Potsdamer Platz which officially has 1,500 registered participants.

On Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that the protests in the US are “more than legitimate.”

Taking a knee

Borussia Dortmund players also showed their support of the Black Lives Matter movement by taking a knee at a training session on Thursday.

Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi were cleared of wrongdoing by the German FA earlier in the week after revealing the message “Justice for George Floyd” on an undershirt during Sunday's win at Paderborn.

Centre-back Mats Hummels posted the photo of 28 players kneeling in the shape of a heart on a playing field on Twitter.

“We the players of Borussia Dortmund fully support the Black Lives Matter Movement,” he said.

“We don't accept racism of any kind. For an open minded and tolerant world, for a better world,” he added.

Earlier on Thursday, Hummels' former Germany and Bayern Munich team-mate Jerome Boateng called on more famous white sportspeople to add their voices to the chorus of outrage against the death of Floyd.

On Monday, the Premier League's Liverpool published a similar photo at their Anfield home.

Made famous by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's kneeling during pre-game renditions of the US national anthem, bending down on one knee has become a symbol in the fight against racial injustice.

 

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RACISM

Black people in Germany face ‘widespread’ racism, survey finds

In the Afrocensus, a first-of-its-kind survey charting the lived experiences of black people in Germany, the vast majority revealed they experienced 'extensive' discrimination in almost all aspects of public life.

Dr Karamba Diaby
Dr Karamba Diaby, an SPD politician and anti-racism advocate, carries out voluntary work in his constituency of Halle, Saxony-Anhalt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Hendrik Schmidt

“The results of the Afrocensus indicate that anti-Black racism is widespread in Germany and anchored in institutions,” the authors of the new report said in a press release on Tuesday. “There is no area of life in which discrimination and racism are not extensive problems.”

Though the overwhelming majority of respondents said they had experienced discrimination at least ‘sometimes’ in almost all areas of life, housing was the area where they said they were discriminated against most often.

Just two percent of respondents to the Afrocensus said they had ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ experienced racism in the housing market, compared to more than 90 percent who said they had experienced it ‘often’ or ‘very often’.

READ ALSO: ‘Black lives need to matter in Germany’ New project to uncover racism in everyday life

Experiences with police and security personnel also counted among areas of life where racism was particularly prevalent: 88 percent of respondents had experienced discrimination from security staff ‘often’ or ‘very often’, while around 85 percent had had the same experience with police.

More than 85 percent had also experienced racism in their education or in the workplace ‘often’ or ‘very often’ in Germany. One in seven had lost their job during the Covid crisis. 

According to the report, 90 percent of respondents had also experienced having their hair grabbed, while more than half (56 percent) had been stopped by the police or asked for drugs by strangers.

Meanwhile, 80 percent said people had made comments about the colour of their skin or sexualised comments about their race on dating apps. A vast majority – 90 percent – also revealed they hadn’t been believed when they’d spoken out about racism in the past, or that people had said they were “too sensitive”. 

READ ALSO: OPINION: My experiences of everyday racism in Germany

In spite of widespread discrimination, almost half (47 percent) of the respondents were engaged and active in their community – mostly carrying out some form of social or voluntary work.

First of its kind

Based on wide-ranging data, the findings paint a vivid and concerning picture of what life is like for the one million or so black people living in Germany today.

To produce the report, researchers from Berlin-based Black community group Each One Teach One and Citizens for Europe conducted an extended survey of 6,000 black people from the Africans and Afrodiasporic community to try and discover more about on the everyday lives and experiences of this group. The survey was carried out between July and September 2020. 

It represents one of the first attempts to gather a wealth of quantitative data on this subject, and as such offers some of the first truly scientific insights into anti-Black racism in modern Germany.

“With the Afrocensus, we have succeeded in doing exactly what has long been demanded within the black community for a long time: making the realities of our lives visible within the framework of qualitative, but above all quantitative research,” Dr. Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana und Dr. Karamba Diaby wrote in a foreword to the report. 

Diaby, a high-profile politician within the centre-left SPD party, was one of only two Afro-German politicians in parliament when he first took his seat in 2013. He has since become known for promoting political engagement and empowerment within the migrant and black community. 

In January 2020, an unknown gunman fired shots through the window of his constituency office in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, in a suspected racially motivated attack. 

READ ALSO: How people with migrant backgrounds remain underrepresented in German politics

Since the Second World War, Germany has avoided gathering data that allows people to be traced by ethnicity as a means of protecting persecuted groups.

However, critics say this approach only works to make the issues faced by these groups invisible. 

Writing on Twitter, Daniel Gyamerah, Division Lead at Citizens For Europe, called for an “action plan for tackling anti-Black racism and for empowering black, African and Afrodiasporic people” and the establishment of advice centres for people facing racism and discrimination.

More research into the intersectional experience of black people in Germany is needed, he added. 

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