The past few weeks we have seen a movement rise with mass protests kick starting in the US, after the killing of George Floyd. In the wake of his death, there have been ripple effects across the world. Europe wakes up again. ‘The issue has been slumbering in the debate, the past 10-15 years’, says Morten Kjaerum, Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute.
Listen to Michael McEachrane, visiting researcher at the RWI, who researches on postcolonial/decolonial perspectives on human rights, structural racial discrimination and reparatory justice and Morten Kjaerum, Director and to whom racism has always been an important issue. He used to be a member of CERD; United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and Director of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (2008-15) where he made the fight against racism a key topic and made sure to undertake a number of surveys on racism.
Among other things, we depart from author and historian Ibram X Kendi’s statements on the difference between a nonracist and an antiracist.
We address racism in Europe, what racism is, how we ought to address structural racism as well as what the difference between a non-racist and an anti-racist is.
Ibram x Kendi says that the heartbeat of racism, is denial. He means that we need to, first of all, be clear about when we express racist ideas. Being racist, he says, is to deny the racist inequalities that pervade society and to deny racist ideas. An antiracist is a person that is willing to admit and to recognize, as well as to work against racist ideas, structures, policies.
Neutrality is not enough. Antiracism requires work.
To make change happen, we must, first, be able to admit racism and racist ideas.
More to read:
As a response to the movement in the US, European Parliament adopted a resolution on Friday June 19 June. Read about it here https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0173_EN.pdf
A few quotes from the resolution:
“Article 1. Affirms that Black Lives Matter;”
“Article 4. Calls on the Government and authorities of the United States to take decisive steps to address the structural racism and inequalities in the country, as reflected in police brutality; condemns the police crackdowns on peaceful US protesters and journalists, and strongly regrets the US President’s threat to deploy the US Army;”
“Article 5. Supports the recent massive protests in European capitals and cities all around the world against racism and discrimination following the death of George Floyd; highlights the protesters’ call to take a stand against oppression and structural racism in Europe; expresses solidarity, respect and support for the peaceful protests, and believes that our societies need to put an end to structural racism and inequalities; recalls the right to peaceful protest of each individual as enshrined in international treaties; condemns the individual violent incidents that occurred;”
“Article 6. Condemns white supremacism in all its forms, including the use of slogans that aim to undermine or detract from the Black Lives Matter movement and dilute its significance;”
“Article 14. Calls for the EU institutions and the Member States to officially acknowledge past injustices and crimes against humanity committed against black people, people of colour and Roma; declares slavery a crime against humanity and calls for 2 December to be designated the European Day commemorating the Abolition of the Slave Trade; encourages the Member States to make the history of black people, people of colour and Roma part of their school curricula;”