How common is it to be multiracial?

Right-wing extremism

When is an act racist? And when is a "black" or "white" victim?

In the media there are often inconsistencies about when a right-wing extremist crime can be spoken of, whether xenophobia or racism are the background to an offense. A guide helps.

Advice: Information for journalists on the correct language handling of right-wing extremist or racially motivated crimes.

Due to a lack of information or simple ignorance, there are often inconsistencies in the media about when to speak of a right-wing extremist crime, whether xenophobia or racism represent the background of an act or how victims and perpetrators are to be classified or appropriately named. This can lead to unintentional insults through unconscious racism. A guide helps.

In order to prevent such misunderstandings, the Hamburg initiative "derbraunemob.de" (Black Germans in the media and public) has a guide together with organizations such as the "Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland eV", "ADEFRA eV" and the Berlin "Amadeu Antonio Foundation" Developed to report seriously on right-wing extremist or racially motivated crimes with the most correct language possible.

First of all are xenophobic and racially motivated Do not equate criminal offenses. An act is motivated by xenophobia if the victim does not have a German passport and the non-German culture was the explicit reason for the attack. However, if the victim has a German passport and if, for example, the skin color is the reason for an act that includes racist insults, then we are talking about a racially motivated case.

In the case of an assault on a black German, if one speaks of 'Xenophobia' Strictly speaking, this is how one expresses the fact that black people cannot be Germans. When making a distinction, it is therefore important to be careful not to pass the ball to right-wing extremists with rash statements by excluding racist motives for the act.

The same applies to 'Xenophobia'. An act is only considered xenophobic if the victim is, for example, a tourist or a recently immigrant. The origin or nationality does not matter. A citizen who has lived in the neighborhood for years and does not have German citizenship is not considered a foreigner. When using 'xenophobic'the suspicion can creep in that the trigger for the act was "being a stranger". In any case, however, it is not the origin or appearance of the victim that is the reason for an act, but the perpetrator's attitude towards these characteristics of the victim. All of this sounds like hair-splitting, but could name a lot of what is discussed in society and the media in a more differentiated and objective manner and thus avoid denigrations from the right-wing scene. If it is a racist offense, it should definitely be mentioned by name and not paraphrased using terms that could be misinterpreted!

From one right-wing extremist act can only be spoken if the perpetrator admits this, or expresses right-wing extremist ideas and is part of specifically organized groups. So if the act was 'only' committed on the basis of the personal racist attitude of the perpetrator, it is not necessarily right-wing extremist. This seems incomprehensible at first, but it serves to ensure that such crimes and attacks cannot be attributed exclusively to right-wing extremist movements. That would mean a generalization according to which all racist, xenophobic or xenophobic violent crimes can only be found in right-wing groups. Dealing with racist tendencies in one's own everyday life and social environment is ignored.

Black people? White people?

Seen in Berlin-Kreuzberg near the Hallesches Tor. (& copy H.Kulick)
The politically correct language for black people would be: Black people. But here too, the skin color should only be mentioned if it is needed to understand the message. Likewise, an indication of the victim's origin is usually not relevant and therefore not necessary. However, if the origin is significant in a case, it should be correctly named. "Black Africans" does not even state which country the victim comes from, for example. Furthermore, black victims should not be typified as originating from Africa. People of all skin colors come from Africa just like black people live on all continents of the world!

According to the "Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland", ADEFRA (Black Women in Germany) and other experts, there are none Colored ones. The term comes from the colonial era, in Germany it replaced the racist word negro in the 1950s. Even if "colored" is still often used in unenlightened media, it should definitely be avoided, because it is all about 'people'. If there were people of color it would mean that they are usually "white". Furthermore, "colored" soothes the fact that they are black - like it's not okay to be black. In addition, colored means nothing more than that the person is not white. A comparison with food or other objects should also be avoided as much as possible. Especially with a violent background, it goes without saying that "cream", "cappuccino" or "ebony colors" are not appropriate at all.

If a racially motivated crime is reported, the color of the perpetrator can be mentioned, as well as the color of the victim's skin.

Because only if the difference in skin color is named does it contribute to the understanding that the act may have been racially motivated. This is already the rule in other countries.

Unfortunately, the term "Race" still widely used, not only in neo-Nazi propaganda. In no way can one speak of a non-judgmental and non-discriminatory formulation. The remnant of racist propaganda during the Nazi regime was an attempt to classify people in order to create a ruling structure from them. At most, "skin color" should be used today as a non-discriminatory designation.

If more objective reporting is guaranteed with such formulation aids, racist tendencies can be counteracted in this way and unintentional stereotyping and exoticization can be avoided. This also serves to reduce prejudice. After all, everyone is equal under the skin.