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Is racism just a white problem? No. Black activists say they experience a similar amount of racism from people from Arab, Turkish or Asian communities. But people like to keep quiet about it - because it could endanger solidarity between discriminated groups.

By: Nabila Abdel Aziz

Status: 06/12/2020

Afro-Palestinian actress Maryam Abu Khaled is fed up. On June 9, she posted a video on her Instagram channel denouncing racism. And not by white people - but by their own Arab community.

"I think now the time has come when I have to respond to all of these people who say, Maryam, you are really comparing the racism from the US to the racism here? It's not that bad. At least we don't kill."

- Maryam Abu Khaled

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scenearabia “But we're not like the US! The words we say are completely spontaneous, we don't mean anything by it! It's all well-intentioned! " • Listen to what #Palestinian actress @ maryamabukhaled1 has to say about 'harmless' Arab racism. • • #ArabsForBlackLives #BlackLivesMatter

Racism - many only think of a problem for white people. The devaluation and structural exclusion of blacks is a problem that exists all over the world, in Asian and Arab countries as well as in Europe. With prominent examples: The shopkeepers who called the police about George Floyd were of Arab descent. One of the cops who watched George Floyd get killed, an Asian-American.

It's also an issue in everyday German life, says Nelly Pinkrah. She is a political activist and cultural scientist. "I was in a Späti in Berlin, and the person behind the counter didn't want to touch my hand when paying. At first I thought nothing of it, but the hand of the next person who was white was touched."

For many people who see themselves primarily as victims of racism, it is unfamiliar to deal with their own racism. And to accept that some are even more affected by racism than you are, says Nour Khelifi. She is a journalist. Your parents are from Tunisia. "I can well imagine that it is uncomfortable for some because you saw yourself as a victim of racism or discrimination. And suddenly a black person comes along and tells you that you are wearing a headscarf , still going through white and therefore won't experience the same hurdles and harassment as a black person, "she says.

Dealing with Racism in the Muslim Community

This is noticeable: In some Arab countries the word "Abeed", in German "slave" for black people is still widespread. Muslim communities often refer to icons such as Malcolm X or Muhammad Ali - but the racism in their own group has long been hushed up. But that's changing right now. The assassination of George Floyd has sparked an anti-black racism debate around the world. There is also a lot going on in Germany right now: there are fundraisers, articles, songs, demos and shirts with the slogan "Arabs for Black Power".

Noa Ha is an activist and heads the Center for Integration Studies at the TU Dresden. She says it's important right now to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. And sometimes to take a step back and let another group take the stage: "It is a great wish to join forces to fight against racism together. At the same time, you have to realize that it is not that easy. Because different groups of victims too are affected by racist violence, and then again very differently."

Discrimination and self-criticism

There is still a way to a really broad anti-racist debate in the Turkish, Arab or Asian communities in Germany. Towards the realization that it is possible to talk about your own experiences of discrimination and at the same time look self-critically at the racism against blacks in your own community. But that something is changing is now also visible on German roads. Thousands of PoCs set an example for the Black Lives Matter demonstrations and were on the streets during the protests.