Eclectic Grounds

conflicts and conversation

Posts Tagged ‘Germany

New study compares levels of prejudice, racism and discrimination in several European countries

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A new study by by the Amadeu Antonio Foundation and University Bielefeld compared levels and nature of prejudice against immigrants, ethnic-cultural minorities, Jews, Muslims, women, gay men and lesbian women, homeless and disabled people in several European countries. Eight countries were selected for the study: Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Poland and Hungary. The results are alarming.

These are some results of the study:

50,4% of the Europeans somewhat or strongly agree that “there are too many immigrants” in their country. This statement indicates a generalized and blind rejection of immigrants.

24.5% supposes that “Jews have too much influence in [country]“. Here, a traditional facet of anti-Semitism appears that mirrors anti-Semitic conspiracy myths.

54.4% of the Europeans believe that “the Islam is a religion of intolerance.” This makes obvious that many Europeans share a generalized negative image of the Islam (and of Muslims as the agreement to additional statements reveals).

Nearly one third (31,3%) of the Europeans somewhat or strongly agree that “there is a natural hierarchy between black and white people”. Thus, they agree to a very blatant and direct statement indicating the belief in ethnic hierarchies legitimised by implied natural differences.

A majority of Europeans of 60.2% stick to traditional gender roles that result in economical and power gender inequality as they are demanding that “women should take their role as wives and mothers more seriously.”

42,6% deny equal value of gay men and lesbian women and judge homosexuality as ‘immoral’.

Download the press release and short report here.

Blackface Journalism

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In a new film, German investigative journalist Günther Wallraff “has a makeup artist cover him in dark brown makeup, he wears brown contact lenses and he dons an afro wig. Then, using the alias Kwami Ogonno, he takes a trip across Germany to discover for himself what it’s like to be black in Germany” (SpOn).

He apparently didn’t think it was more approriate to simply ask black Germans. Instead, he hired a make-up artist, a camera team, he dressed up as an “African” and  went on to release a book and a movie. Supported by predominantly positive media coverage, this concept is a box office hit. Germans seem to be startled: ‘Racism, here?’ – it’s something most people seem to be blatantly ignorant of, unless they are told by a white guy.

The international site of Spiegel Online reports citically:

There’s just one odd thing about the movie: If Wallraff really wanted to find out what it’s like to live as a black in Germany, why didn’t he take the time to let any blacks living in Germany answer the question? […]

Black Germans are on the fence about the film. “We find the mindset behind Mr. Wallraff’s film very problematic,” says Tahir Della, a spokeswoman from the Initiative of Black People in Germany (ISD). “As is so often the case, someone is speaking forrather than with us.” Noah Sow, an educator and musician associated with the media watchdog organization Der braune Mob (The Brown Mob), even goes so far as to accuse Wallraff of “making money from our suffering” regardless of whether he “really intends to combat (racism) or not.” […]

The main criticism levied against Wallraff’s film is that it fails to portray the debate about racism against blacks in Germany as being as advanced as it really is. For example, Della criticizes the film for “making absolutely no mention” of how much blacks in Germany have organized themselves. “We’re happy that racism is discussed,” he says, “but black groups have been doing the same thing for over 25 years.”

Sow has a similar criticism. “Wherever you look,” he [sic] says, “whether it’s in academia, publishing or the annual reports of anti-discrimination offices, knowledge about everyday racism is present — and accessible with the click of a mouse.” He adds that: “Whites just have to stop ignoring and doubting these findings.” As he sees it, the only reason Wallraff succeeds in drawing attention to the plight of Kwami Ogonno is that he is “privileged in the racist system (over) research results, publications and testimonials produced by blacks.”

Update: see Noah Sow trying to earn a buck by dressing up as Wallraff here.

Written by henrik

November 4, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Negative group stereotypes: A self-fulfilling prophecy

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Reminding individuals of a negative stereotype about their social group decreases their confidence, their performance, and ultimately creates a situation where the stereotype becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is suggested by Allen McConnell’s and Sian Beilock’s research, which they present in the video below.

While the research presented here focuses mainly on steretypes against women, the results also add to the debate on the educational achievements of other social groups. The German weekly Der Spiegel, for example, remarks in a report on a recent study on the educational attainments of immigrant groups in Germany that:

If your name is Ümit rather than Hans or Gülcan rather than Grete, you’re less likely to climb the career ladder. Some 30 percent of Turkish immigrants and their children don’t have a school leaving certificate, and only 14 percent do their Abitur, as the degree from Germany’s top-level high schools is called — that’s half the average of the German population.

The study draws a complex picture, yet “low prestige, negative stereotypes and lack of role models” are central features in the explanation of the results.

Negative stereotyping and its ugly consequences are not easily fought off. An example: last week, a prominent social democratic (!) politician stated that “a large number of Arabs and Turks in [Berlin] have no productive function except selling fruit and vegetables”. A sad state of affairs…

Written by henrik

October 7, 2009 at 10:39 pm