My name is Franka Kiesewetter and I am studying International Relations in the third semester. Today’s article is related to my job as a student assistant at the Karlshochschule Library. Namely, I want to announce some new media in the library, dealing with the topic of racism. The trigger for these purchases was, you might have guessed it already, the murder of Georg Floyd.
In spring this brutal event revived demonstrations and protests of the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight against racism in all forms:
The term „People of Color” (PoC)
Before I continue this article, I want to clarify two terms that I am using. The first, People of Color (PoC), is a term that people who experience racism have given themselves. It is not talking about the skin color of the people but it is referring to a political notion, that solemnly refers to the experience of racial marginalization and discrimination they experience. PoC are not a homogenous group and the racism they face can take very different forms and shapes, nevertheless all of these forms are discriminating and need to be changed (Diversity Arts Culture, 2020; Neue Deutsche Medienmacher, 2020 a). Even though the term was developed by PoC, of course not all PoC can identify with it and might use other terms.
The term “White Person”
Similar to the term People of Color, also the term white is not referring to the skin color of people, but to a social group of people who do not experience racism (Neue Deutsche Medienmacher, 2020 a).
After the killing of Georg Floyd and the resulting powerful demonstrations, People of Color all over the world were asked to share their experiences with racism and were invited to give interviews, come to talk shows and write blog posts.
The high public interest in racism has already decreased again since then, which in my opinion shouldn’t be the case. It is a topic that needs to be discussed constantly, since it is important that people are and stay aware of this form of discrimination. Racism is embedded in our society and in order to counteract on that or learn to change our behavior, white people need to learn to see this racism. Therefore, an important step for a white person is to educate oneself.
I, as a white person myself, am not in the position to educate anybody about racism. I am not affected or even harmed by it and because of that I need to actively inform myself about the topic. This does not mean that it is PoC’s job to educate white people. The experiences they have with racism are often hurtful and it can be tiring and painful to retell them over and over again. Therefore, it is important to listen to the experiences that PoC want to share, while at the same time not pressuring PoC to share them. Especially, to acknowledge the effort of this educational process by helping to create a space for the topic and the chance to earn money with it (by e.g. selling books) is one way white people can support PoC.
Therefore, when I met Michael Zerr, the president of our university, on the hallway, I spontaneously decided to ask if there is anything we could do to support this active examination of the topic and show appreciation towards PoC for taking the effort to share their experience with racism. And since diversity is one of the key values promoted by Karlshochschule, I got the permission to collect some books, articles, movies, podcasts, and websites, in which PoC share their experience with racism. Among them are famous authors and anti-racism activists like Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Reni Edo-Lodge or Ibram X. Kendi. Additionally, media is provided in which background, historical developments, and connected topics like racism at the intersection with other forms of discrimination and different forms of microaggression are discussed.
The books, movies, and printed articles can be found in a separate shelf in front of the Karlshochschule library while links to articles, videos, podcasts, websites, and audiobooks are either on Infopool > Services > Anti-Racism or directly here.
If you have any further recommendations, critique or other requests, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you will have an instructive time reading.
Article by Franka Kiesewetter *FK – International Relations (B.A.), 3rd Semester
Diversity Arts Culture. (2020) PoC/ People of Color. Retrieved from https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/poc-person-color
Neue Deutsche Medienmacher. (2020 a) People of Color (PoC). Retrieved from https://glossar.neuemedienmacher.de/glossar/people-of-color-poc/
Neue Deutsche Medienmacher. (2020 b) Weiße Deutsche. Retrieved from https://glossar.neuemedienmacher.de/glossar/weisse-deutsche/