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Anti-racism is a term used to describe all approaches that aim at eliminating conditions and attitudes that are considered racist . Its goals are freedom and equality for all people without discrimination and apartheid .

to form

Many different lines of argumentation of anti-racism can be distinguished:

These forms are by no means to be understood separately, they often complement each other, whereby they sometimes contradict each other decisively.


Flag of the Cologne initiative "No Veedel for Racism" (2020)

There has always been opposition to and resistance to racism, for example in the anti-slavery movement , protection from the displacement of minorities or the anti - anti -Semitic movement in the late 19th century.

As a term, anti-racism appeared for the first time after the liberation of Europe from fascism , more precisely in Sartre's foreword Schwarzer Orpheus to an anthology by Leopold Senghor in 1948. In 1969 the World Council of Churches passed an anti-racism program against the oppression of minorities and above all apartheid in South Africa .

By 1975 at the latest it became clear that there was no consensus on what should be considered “racism”. At that time, Arab states tried in UN Resolution 3379 to have Zionism condemned as racism. Similar efforts have jeopardized the implementation of the anti-racism conference in Durban . There, even the mainly African and Afro-American groups could not prevail with their demand that colonialism and slavery be condemned as crimes against humanity.

Due to the outrage over some right-wing extremist and xenophobic pogroms such as in Rostock ( riots in Rostock-Lichtenhagen ) or assassinations such as in Solingen ( assassination attempt in Solingen ) and Mölln ( assassination attempt in Mölln ) at the beginning of the 1990s, the anti-racist movement in Germany gained popularity . The initiative no man is illegal emerged from this. Anti-racist border camps have been held annually since 1998, making state racism the subject of numerous activities on the German eastern border, at airports and in the port of Hamburg. The concept has also been adopted by activists from other countries. There were (no-border) camps on Lesbos, in Bulgaria (Siva Reka) or in Sweden (Stockholm).

From 2011 onwards, the movement dealt more and more with the strongly academic concept of critical whiteness . In some cases, there were strong polarization waves.

Academic anti-racism

At the beginning of the 20th century, leading anthropologists such as Franz Boas , Marcel Mauss , Bronislaw Malinowski , Pierre Clastres and Claude Lévi-Strauss led with their works to the decline of biological thinking and biological explanatory approaches within the social sciences - including the paradigms of cultural evolutionism that had prevailed to date and Darwinism - and established cultural relativism as the new dominant paradigm, resulting in the end of racist theories in the social and human sciences. In academic discourse, the term criticism of racism is sometimes preferred because, unlike the term anti-racism, it refers to the fact that there can be no racism-free spaces in racially structured societies. The criticism of racism also opposes a distinction made in anti-racism between (racist) perpetrators and victims of racism, since all members of a society are affected by racism.

Defense against accusations of racism

The United Nations criticize that state organs in Germany define the concept of racism too narrowly. As a result, many courts have made statements that are considered “racist” abroad as legitimate freedom of expression, which should not be punished. The fact that the term is often avoided is due, among other things, to the fact that racism is primarily associated with the crimes of National Socialism. Applied to current conditions, the term often appears inappropriate and emotionally charged. Instead, expressions such as xenophobia , xenophobia or xenophobia are used. However, these terms are problematic for several reasons: "Xenophobia" ignores the fact that "hostility" is not only directed against " foreigners ", but also against certain "residents" or German citizens who are attributed a migration background due to their appearance . The term “xenophobia” implies that those affected are “ strangers ”. With this designation, they are contrasted with a social “we” as “other”. Their supposed otherness then appears as a quasi-natural cause or prerequisite for hostility, which at the same time is played down as a primarily individual attitude problem.


  • U. Bielefeld (ed.): The own and the foreign. New Racism in the Old World? . Junius, Hamburg 1991.
  • Ljubomir Bratić (ed.): Landscapes of action. Measurement, transformations and ambivalences of anti-racism in Europe . SozAKTIV, St. Pölten 2002, ISBN 3-901847-06-5
  • T. Geisen: Anti-racist history book. Sources of racism in the collective memory of Germans . IKO, Frankfurt am Main 1996.
  • I. Geiss: History of Racism . Suhrkamp , Frankfurt am Main 1988.
  • Kien Nghi Ha: Ethnicity and Migration Reloaded. Cultural Identity, Difference and Hybridity in the Post-Colonial Discourse. Revised and exp. New edition, [Westfälisches Dampfboot / WVB] 1999/2004, ISBN 3-86573-009-4
  • W.-F. Haug: Politically right or right political, left politics in transnational high-tech capitalism . Argument, Hamburg 1999.
  • M. Heinemann, A. Schobert, C. Wahjudi: Handbook of anti-racism. Projects and initiatives against racism and anti-Semitism in Germany . Zollverein coking plant, Essen 2002
  • S. Hess, A. Linder: Anti-Racist Identities in Motion . edition diskord, Tübingen 1997.
  • Interface (Ed.): Resistance Movements. Anti-racism between everyday life and action . Association A, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-935936-34-6
  • jour fixe initiative berlin (ed.): How do you become a stranger? Unrast Verlag , ISBN 3-89771-405-1
  • S. Jäger (Ed.): From the workshop: Antirassistische Praxen. Concepts - Experiences - Research , DISS, Duisburg 1994, ISBN 3-927388-45-9
  • A. Kalpaka, N. Räthzel (Ed.): The difficulty of not being racist . 2nd Edition. Mundo, Leer 1990
  • M. Lange, M. Weber-Becker: Racism, anti-racism and intercultural competence . Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Göttingen 1998.
  • A. Magiros: Critique of Identity. ' Bio-Power ' and ' Dialectic of Enlightenment ' - tools against alien defense and (neo-) racism . Unrast Verlag, 2004 ISBN 3-89771-734-4
  • B. Roß (Ed.): Migration, Gender and Citizenship. Perspectives for an anti-racist and feminist politics and political science. Publishing house for social sciences, Wiesbaden 2004
  • N. Seibert: Forgotten Protests: Internationalism and Anti-Racism 1964–1983. Münster 2008. ISBN 978-3-89771-032-0
  • H. Steyerl, Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez (Ed.): Does the subaltern speak German? Migration and Post-Colonial Criticism . Unrast Verlag, 2003, ISBN 3-89771-425-6
  • P.-A. Taguieff: The power of prejudice. Racism and its double . Hamburger Edition , Hamburg 2000.

See also

Web links

Commons : Anti-racism  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Karim Fereidooni: Theory and practice of social science teacher training critical of racism . In: Praxishandbuch Habitus Sensitivity and Diversity in University Teaching (=  precarization and social decoupling - transdisciplinary studies ). Springer Fachmedien, Wiesbaden 2019, ISBN 978-3-658-22400-4 , p. 293-318 , doi : 10.1007 / 978-3-658-22400-4_14 .
  2. Thomas Hummitzsch: UN Anti-Racism Committee reprimands Germany ( Memento from February 20, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). “Network Migration in Europe” / Federal Agency for Civic Education. June 15, 2013
  3. Ellen Kollender: When the United Nations speaks of racism - and Germany does not ( Memento from February 20, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). “Network Migration in Europe” / Federal Agency for Civic Education. June 11, 2015