Is Europe the most racist continent

Racism: Europe is not innocent

One of the tasks of EU Commissioner Margaritis Schinas is to protect the "European way of life". The Greek politician sees himself responsible for the issue of racism. "We have fewer problems than the United States, our social systems are better," said Schinas at an event organized by the Delphi Economic Forum. But he admits that there is still a lot to be done in Europe in terms of equal life chances, "a lot of issues that we still have to deal with".

The French illusion

One of the "issues we still have to deal with" is discrimination when looking for a job. For the Paris law student Kesiah, this is bitter everyday life. One by one, she was turned away while looking for an internship in a law firm. The place was already occupied, it was usually said.

Law student Kesiah: "There is a lot of hypocrisy in France"

"They want us to believe that they accept us. But I think there is a lot of hypocrisy here. It's not like George Floyd in the US, where you see the racism for 1000 kilometers, it's more hidden. In France, notices you do it on the basis of many little things, when looking for a job, or that you are stopped on the street for no reason. ".

Kesiah took to the streets with thousands of French people last weekend to protest against racism and discrimination. The reason for this was also the cases of police violence in France, most recently the death of Adama Traoré in 2016.

Deadly racism: at a rally in Munich, demonstrators remember George Floyd and Oury Jalloh, who died in a prison cell in Dessau in 2005

It's not just about brutal treatment - racial profiling is part of everyday life in the French suburbs. A survey by the Council of Europe among 5,000 young men of African or Arab origin showed that they were stopped by the police twenty times as often as other residents of France.

The mass protests in France have produced an initial result: Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has banned police grips around the neck during arrests. Although he denies that his police are generally "racist", he admits that "some police officers are racists".

Colonial rule and genocide

There were demonstrations not only in Paris, but also in Brussels. "We came because this is the capital of Europe," says one of the organizers. Brända Auchimba is annoyed by the "everyday discrimination and attacks by the police that stop African and Arab boys on every corner".

But she also wants the statues of the Belgian King Leopold II (1835-1909) to be removed from their pedestals. Belgian colonial rule in the Congo is part of the country's suppressed past. It was not until 1998 that the historian Adam Hochschild brought the genocide and the exploitation of the country back into national memory.

Protester Brända Auchimba: "African and Arab boys will be stopped by the police on every corner"

Around ten million people died under the colonial regime of Leopold II in the Congo. To this day, the Belgian school books are silent on this part of the story. "I hope people understand how we feel when we see these statues," says Brända. In Antwerp, the mayor has now shipped the Leopold statue to the museum.

Kulturkampf in Great Britain

In London, even the mayor is on the side of the monument strikers. Labor Sadiq Khan, son of a Pakistani family, had the statue of slave trader Robert Milligan removed from West India Quai in east London: "It's a sad truth that a lot of our wealth came from the slave trade - but we have to do not celebrate in our public places ".

The conservative British Interior Minister Priti Patel, who is also of Pakistani origin, disapproves of this type of protest. Protesters who threw the statue of the slave trader Edward Colston into the harbor in Bristol would face prosecution for "their deeply shameful acts".

No more false worship: in Bristol, protesters threw the statue of the slave trader Edward Colston into the harbor basin

"Great Britain is not innocent. The government and the police have never been held accountable for many black lives," said a protester in London's Parliament Square. "It's good to see the collective grief and the willingness to change our situation here. That's what it's about," says his neighbor.

Solidarity with George Floyd has also brought out anger in the UK over everyday racism, social disenfranchisement, police assault and discrimination. These include, for example, the "Windrush Scandal": Officials deported immigrants from the Caribbean who had lived in Great Britain for decades - simply because they had never been formally naturalized.

"Identified as a problem"

"There are many examples of individual and institutional racism among the police in Europe," says criminologist Ben Bowling from London's Kings College. The extent of police violence in the USA is more extreme, however, where 1000 people are killed by the police every year.

Criminologist Ben Bowling: "Minorities are marginalized"

The problem, according to Bowling, is "how the organization deals with minorities and marginalized groups. You can see how the police deal with black and Asian populations in the UK. You can see it clearly in Germany, France and everywhere in Europe, where minorities are marginalized and identified as a problem by the police. "

But it is about more: "The discrimination goes beyond the police, it has to do with the economy, with education and the family". The countries in Europe must recognize that their future is multicultural and diverse and that every citizen must have equal opportunities in life.

"I am ashamed"

Europe is still a long way from this recognition. Only 24 out of 705 members of the European Parliament are of African-Asian descent, although they make up around ten percent of the European population. One of them is the Swede Alice Kuhnke from the Greens: "I am ashamed because we don't really represent the people in Europe. So we have to make sure that there are more MEPs in the future who look different and have different backgrounds".

Kuhnke is rapporteur for the EU's anti-discrimination directive, which has been on hold since 2008. The legislative proposal, which prescribes the equal treatment of all citizens in social matters, is blocked by many member states. Half of the European countries don't even have an action plan on how to tackle racism.

The Swede hopes that the demonstrations in the EU will get things moving: "I am convinced that we can use the excitement and awareness of so many now. But it must not end with fine words about equality, that must finally be in the Reflect EU legislation ".

  • Banksy strikes again

    Man breaks out with a typewriter

    A video posted on Instagram on March 4, 2021 shows the creation of this image on the building in Reading, UK. In March, the Ministry of Justice wants to decide on the future of the former prison, in which the writer Oscar Wilde was once imprisoned. With his picture, Banksy makes a clear statement for the conversion of the ex-jail into a place of art.

  • Banksy strikes again

    A heart-shaped lifebuoy

    A girl with a life jacket and a heart-shaped lifebuoy decorates the side of the "Louise Michel". The street artist Banksy sponsored the rescue ship, painted it and made it available to the German aid organization Sea-Watch. The ship has already saved 89 refugees in the Mediterranean, tweeted the organization. "We are excited about the pink reinforcement!"

  • Banksy strikes again

    The US is on fire

    Banksy believes that not only blacks should fight against racism after the death of George Floyd. At first he thought that he should just shut up and listen to the blacks on this topic, he wrote on Instagram, but then thought back to: "Why should I do that? It's not your problem. It's mine." People of Color would be let down by the "white system".

  • Banksy strikes again

    Thanks to the heroes of the Corona crisis

    Spiderman and Batman are yesterday's heroes, this little boy prefers to play with a nurse in a Superman cloak. With this picture, in early May 2020, Banksy thanked the doctors, nurses and nurses who struggle with the corona pandemic every day in the completely underfunded health system of Great Britain.

  • Banksy strikes again

    Tribute to the homeless

    This Christmassy graffiti created a topic of conversation: It is intended to draw attention to the situation of the homeless. Two flying reindeer appear to be pulling a park bench. In a video that Banksy posted on the Internet, an apparently homeless man is lying on the bench. Fans celebrated Banksy for the socially critical work of art. Meanwhile, strangers have added red noses to the reindeer.

  • Banksy strikes again

    Monkey theater - Made in Britain

    The famous street artist Banksy could not foresee the political chaos that the British Parliament found itself in until recently due to the Brexit debate. In 2009 his painting "Devolved Parliament" was created on this huge canvas (2.8 x 4.5 meters). The picture was auctioned on October 3, 2019 in London - for 9.8 million pounds (around 11 million euros).

  • Banksy strikes again

    Image destruction

    An auction at Sotheby's in London caused a coup once before. After the painting "The Girl with a Balloon" sold for £ 1.2 million, it suddenly began to self-destruct. A shredder was hidden in the lower part of the frame. Only bits and pieces remained. The motif first appeared as a mural in London.

  • Banksy strikes again

    Shop without a buyer

    The amount of millions for which the painting "Devolved Parliament" (2009) has now been auctioned also triggered criticism. There was no information about the buyer. Banksy himself, who has set up this closed shop with art as a current statement in London, posted after the auction that works of art had become the property of the rich instead of "being the common property of humanity."

  • Banksy strikes again

    The World of Banksy

    Banksy is one of the most famous street artists in the world. His true identity is still unclear, at least there is no clear biography about him. Paintings or drawings on paper are rare with him. The British artist anonymously sprays most of his pictures on walls of houses and demolished ruins. These works are not for sale.

  • Banksy strikes again

    Steve Jobs

    A recurring theme in his imagery is global predator capitalism. Banksy sprayed this mural in the entrance area of ​​the refugee camp in Calais / southern England. You can see the late Apple founder Steve Jobs with his legendary first Mac computer in his luggage. The Apple manager's father came from Syria.

  • Banksy strikes again

    EU dissonance

    With this work, Banksy got involved in the Brexit debate in Great Britain in 2017. This meter-high picture appeared overnight on the wall of a house not far from the Dover ferry port: A man is standing on a ladder and is trying to remove one of the EU stars with a hammer and chisel. The picture has now disappeared from the wall. Someone whitewashed it white.

  • Banksy strikes again

    Israeli-Palestinian exchange of blows

    The British street artist has also tackled the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2017, Banksy opened a hotel in Bethlehem right next to the barrier wall, which he furnished with his art, with which he wanted to set a "sign of non-violent resistance". Since 2005 he has left many works in the historical place. There is already a "Banksy Tour" for tourists.

  • Banksy strikes again

    War is not child's play

    Banksy's identity remains a mystery to this day. All that is known is that the now world-famous artist comes from Bristol in the south of England. At the end of the 1990s he came to London and began to spray his picture messages on the walls in specific locations, such as here in 2016 in an English primary school in Withchurch.

  • Banksy strikes again

    Global climate crisis

    In his artistic way, Banksy has always been a visionary. In his wall works he often addressed the political problems of the future, such as global warming here. This sprayed message, which could not be clearly assigned to Banksy, was created in London in 2009 - long before US President Trump announced this sentence in all seriousness.

  • Banksy strikes again

    Media criticism

    Banksy also denounces the brutalization of the media world, which is greedy for sensation and pounces on victims of war and terrorist attacks. This work was exhibited in a London gallery in 2018 and not sprayed on a house wall. His painting "Devolved Parliament" is also framed and was valued at an estimate of 1.8 to 2 million euros for the auction at Sotheby's.

    Author: Suzanne Cords, Heike Mund, Stefan Dege