This episode focuses on how structural racism manifests itself inside institutions, specifically within the German education system. Jennifer Kamau from IWS discusses the prevalence of racism in schools in Germany with Céline Barry – a Berlin-based social scientist whose research centers on the topics of racism, feminism and intersectionality in post-colonial contexts. We also look at how these dynamics were heightened during the Covid19 lockdowns – affecting many of our lives and our children.

Céline is active in various anti-racist initiatives such as the Berlin Muslim Feminists and KOP – Campaign for the Victims of Racist Police Violence. Céline worked at Each One Teach One e.V., which offers counselling for Black, African and Afro-Diasporic people and carries out monitoring on anti-Black racism. They are also involved in campaigns such as „Ban! Racial Profiling!“ and „Death in Custody“.

With music from Junior Marvin, Stromae and 113

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Transcript & translation

JENNIFER
Welcome to the seventh episode of IWS radio. Last time we discussed structural racism with Dr. Natasha A. Kelly. This time we will be discussing institutional racism. We decided to focus on structural racism and how it manifests inside of the institutions, especially within the German system. So we are very excited today to have Céline Barry on the show.

Céline Barry is a Berlin based social scientist whose research centers on the topics of racism, feminism, and intersectionality in post colonial contexts. She’s active in various anti-racist initiatives such as the KOP (Kampagne für Opfer rassistischer Polizeigewalt – Campaign Against Racist Police Violence) and the Berlin Muslim Feminists.

Céline worked for EACH ONE TEACH ONE, the anti-discrimination center at EOTO eV, which offers counseling for black African and Afro diasporic people, and carries out monitoring on anti-black racism. EACH ONE is part of the campaigns: „Ban! Racial Profiling!“ And „Death in Custody“. Welcome, Céline, we are very delighted to have you here.

CÉLINE
Thank you so much for the invitation.

JENNIFER
We will go straight to the discussion and maybe you can describe for the audience what institutional racism is and how it manifests in Germany.

CÉLINE
So I think to understand institutional racism, it’s very important to know what is structural racism. In Germany for many many decades, the idea was prevailing that racism is something that Neo-Nazis or “Einzeltäter” [lone perpetrator] do – we have this now in the police – the “Einzeltäter” idea – that it’s individual cases. And now what we did in this whole anti discrimination scene, and people of color, they really managed to make it understandable that racism is something that happens on an everyday basis, and that it’s structural so that it’s groups that have not really access to work or good income work, to education, and they have different life chances.

Also the idea of segregation, for example. The fact of segregation is very important to understand that racism is not something that happens once, I don’t know, a month, and then it’s like a pity, and then we continue. But really, it creates different groups with different chances – it creates social inequality. This structural racism is imbued and reproduced by the institutions of the state.
For example, the migration laws are very important. They play a very important role in reproducing inequality because they decide who has which status, who has the ability to [receive] all the benefits that the German state provides, for example, Social Security, or I don’t know, promotion and things.

And these laws, what is important when we look at anti-black racism is that they are also neocolonial. So the people that are not able to just come here and work here, for example, like EU citizens and people from the West, for them it’s really easy to get papers, but for African people, it’s almost impossible to just come and get papers.

Also we can look at it [through] intersectionality, which means that we look at different discriminations that emerge. For example, high skilled people, people with a very good education, they can receive a work visa here easily, when they have very high grades but these people also have to come from good families. This means that African people, in general, it’s not so easy for them to come here, but if they are super highly skilled, and have diplomas, then they can [get] a blue card. And that’s how classism and racism would reproduce. And when we hear them, then you have refugees that don’t have the rights and other people. So we live on the same territory, but we don’t have all the rights.

JENNIFER
That’s very true.

Can you describe the German school system and how children are filtered through it?

CÉLINE
So institutional discrimination is produced by various bodies of the state. By, I mean, all bodies because the whole state is built on this logic. And I already said that work is a central dimension of the reproduction of inequality: who gains how much money, who works where, who gets which chances, and which work I will be able to have later depends on school education.

So, actually, the whole structure depends on education and the chances that people have. For example, in our counseling center, half of the cases, or this year it’s a third of the cases, are in institutional domains, and almost half are in the school system. So this means that black people or people of color also in general, have less chances to get the grades, diplomas and stuff that are important to continue on and have a good career.

In Germany, we also have a very strong classism history in the school system. There was, years ago, this PISA study, where Germany scored really bad compared to other European countries. In Germany, the class factor was very important and decisive on which income or work children would have. And then they try to reduce it.

One problem was that the German system had three different schools after primary school and there is a moment when it is decided if a child would go to Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium. So after the PISA scandal, they said, “Okay, now we want to have a secondary school where everyone goes”. Then some would stop after 10th grade and some would continue to do Abitur [high school graduation], but from the beginning, everyone would have the chance to do Abitur at the end, which would then help them to get to university if they want to do that. But the fact is that Gymnasium still exists. So they said, “Okay, we don’t have Realschule or Hauptschule anymore, we have now Gesamtschule, schools where you can do different degrees”. But Gymnasium still exists, and these are actually the new elite schools. You can do 12 years instead of 13, and many, many people choose to do that. And so they are the schools.

And so, in the primary school, everyone has, formally at least, the same status. But then, after the fourth grade, or after the sixth grade, it will be decided to which school you will go to, to which school will you continue. And then it’s like, Okay, well, I go to Gesamtschule, where I will have this and that, or will I go to the Gymnasium and things like that. And this decision is based on the certificates, on the grading and stuff, and you need the recommendation of the professors. They would then talk to the parents, “Yeah, I saw that your child is like this, and like that, and performs well, or not so well. And that’s why we will write down that this kid really could go to Gymnasium or rather not”. And many discrimination cases come when parents realize, “Oh shit, my child would not get a good recommendation”. And this is very important to get accepted then in other schools. There we see really how kids of color are graded differently, get less good recommendations, and this is a very crucial moment of filtering.

JENNIFER
This sounds very difficult. It is a very complex system. But I’m trying to think of migrant women, for example, refugee women who still are trying to come to terms with the system, to understand the system. And how it would be difficult for them to make out the differences between these Gesamtschule and whether their child is being discriminated. You know, it’s a very complex system and I don’t know how we would be able to enlighten the women that we are working with on how this institutional racism manifests itself in this particular point in the education of their children.

CÉLINE
Yeah, so I think it’s very important. I mean, for example, work that you do, you have to talk to the women, to tell them to be careful about gradings. I mean, I worked in an anti-discrimination network before and there was this one very important case. Two Turkish women, so Gastarbeiter descendants, who came to me and said, “Hey, our kids…”, they were in primarily white classrooms and they were the only kids of color, and had really worse gradings than the others and they had microaggressions from the teachers and stuff. One of them was a teacher, the other one was even Elternsprecherin [spokeswoman for the parents]. So they were really engaged parents but they saw, “Hey, this is like our kids are not graded right”. And the other one was also a teacher so she knew exactly how the grading works.

So they surveyed the grading and what the kids were writing and stuff, so it was so much work for them and in the end they fought for the grades but also the recommendation. And this was then where we worked together with them: to really tell them not to accept this recommendation and to make trouble before the recommendation is written down because this will be so decisive later. Then they had the chance that there was written then, I don’t know what kind of Empfehlung [recommendation], but a better one.

JENNIFER
Wow. Let’s take a short break and we will continue with the discussion. We want to play a song by Junior Murvin, “Police and Thieves”. Would you like to say something about this song? It’s a very good song, I mean, but why did you choose this song?

CÉLINE
Yeah, so this song is very important for me and also for the KOP, the Kampagne für Opfer Rassistischer Polizeigewalt. When we do protests or something and we make a playlist, everyone puts this song on first because it’s … yeah. And I thought that right now when we have these Black Lives Matter movements and all these fights against anti-black institutional racism – this is very important to go to the streets and fight for a new nation.

 

[SONG: Junior Murvin – Police and Thieves]

 

JENNIFER
That’s a powerful song. Police and thieves. Guns and ammunition. The only difference is the uniform that the police wear, otherwise both of them have the same weapons. Powerful.

Welcome again. Earlier we were just talking about the institutional racism in the German education system. We would like to know how the school system got to be what it is now. We know that this separation in the school system is connected to the history of the “Ausländerklassen”. I don’t know what word in English we can use for the Ausländerklassen.

CÉLINE
“Foreigner classes”.

JENNIFER
Foreigner classes – okay, something like that – where children of guest workers were placed and which we see now as “Willkommensklassen” for refugee children. How does the school system now compare to what it was?

CÉLINE
Yes. So, I think that generally the school system is, and maybe will always be as we are in the same system, an institution through which we will have the reproduction of class and class-related racism. And it always comes in different forms. So there was always a development. They abolished the Ausländerklassen when there was this immigration of many refugees a few years ago then they created these Willkommensklassen, and these are also isolated classrooms – not integration.

What is important to get equal chances is that everyone is in the same class and we always need mixing. And what they do in this whole system, and this was also in these Realschule, Hauptschule and stuff, is that they segregate, they separate and this is our enemy: the separation of kids.

Segregation comes first in primary school. It emerged because you have a thing called “Einzugsgebiet”. Einzugsgebiet means that you go to the primary school that is where you live. This means that, as we have segregation in the city, there are areas where you have many Ausländer, or people of color, let’s say, many communities of color, and others that are more white, or some are more rich and less rich. You have this segregation in school. And these will be the kids that hang out together, that live together, the families get to know each other, and this is a very important social mechanism of creating groups – separation of groups.

But to make it clear, things like Willkommensklassen and Ausländerklassen, these are actually not right. This would be also something that we could fight against or criticize with the new “Landesantidiskriminierungsgesetz” [Berlin’s anti-discrimination law]. And I think that, so they say, “Okay, this is forbidden, we don’t do that anymore”. But it always comes in different forms.

For example, there was a big scandal with the class of “nicht Deutsche Herkunft”. So classrooms in which they would put kids of non-German background, which also hangs together with gentrification, because for example, we have Kreuzberg. Here traditionally, the Turkish guest workers, they came here, they built up the space. It was really also a marginalized space. But they built it up, it’s a really cool place now. So now it’s at the center of the capital city of Berlin and many people want to come here. You have many new German, white German families who come and they have educational interests. For their kids, they don’t want their kids in these Ausländerschulen, in these PoC [People of Color] schools, which they deem are not to their standard. And then they created a model in which they would be secured that they would have like … I say good, but how do you say that?

JENNIFER
In quotes.

CÉLINE
In quotes, yeah. “Good” schools and to separate, to make sure that you have “success” – education and success for their children in predominantly white classrooms. So this was also abolished, it’s not allowed to do that. But I heard that the status “nicht Deutsche Herkunft”, foreign background status, still exists and would make that the kids would be taken out of the classroom and then they would not follow the whole curriculum of the others. So you know, the separation always pops up in different modes and there we have to be always very, very careful and now that we have the law as specifically on these regulations and procedures that we can look at and fight against that.

JENNIFER
Sounds interesting because everybody wants to be in Kreuzberg because it’s cool, it’s multi-culti. But for the white people, it’s a statement. They say, “Hey, but the future of my children does not belong here”.

CÉLINE
Exactly. And there you see the difference.

JENNIFER
And this is where the difference comes in.

CÉLINE
Yeah, wow. Exactly. I mean, my kids went to school here at Lausitzer Platz and this is a school that has a good image because they say there’s a good mixing, but what means a good mixing in Kreuzberg is that there’s a lot of white Germans. So that the percentage of white Germans and many people get the chance to go to that school not because they are in Einzugsgebiet but because maybe they have a good word.

JENNIFER
Interesting and it’s very difficult for someone to comprehend these politics even when you are entering Kreuzberg in the school system and that’s why I find it important in what we do. Thank you so much for the historical context.

Can we bring it back to what is happening with Corona and the closure of schools. We know that suddenly, many people have had to become full-time caretakers and physically teachers for their kids. The media has been reporting a lot on the situation of white mothers especially struggling because of this aspect of Corona. But we know that this was surely a difficult situation for women who are living in the accommodation centers and in the Lagers.

In our first program, “Life in the Lager during Corona pandemic”, we were able to highlight the situation of women and children, of mothers, and the most important thing to highlight is that by structure, the Heims and the Lagers are usually placed somewhere in a very isolated area. Then came the lockdown, which meant it was double isolation for these women. The demand by the Ministry of Health to do social distancing was a privilege because then in these shelters and structures – it was not possible to do the social distancing because when women are five of them in one room and everything that belongs to them, all their belongings and everything are in that one room, of five people, how is it going to be possible to social distance?

Yet, now the media projects the white woman and the challenges of dealing with this situation of COVID-19 and their own children and the privileges they had in being able to social distance, vis-à-vis, the living conditions of women who by the requirement by the Ministry of Health, there was the demand to do the social distancing – but this was also not workable.

CÉLINE
I mean, you see there how the white woman is the norm and that other women’s lives are invisible and that’s why it’s super important to always look at it [through] intersectionality. I mean, it’s not that all Black women or all Black parents had the same problems – and then we have to even look at this intersection of refugee women. Yes, refugee Black woman from the perspective of a counselor at EOTO and I think that, exactly how you say, [the situation of] housing became really crucial and was a cause for super inequality.

The ones that had good housing and space and secure housing, they would have more chances and also that public space was not available anymore. This is also something that I heard a lot: many people live in some conditions and can still go out, you can meet people in the cafes, Nachbarschaftshäuser, so community centers and so forth. [If] this was not available, probably it was a very hard situation.

And so, yeah, I think that we really have to look at it. What I can say from the perspective of the counseling center that we have is, and this is also something that we really have to work on, to have more contact [with] refugee women and to get to know more of these situations they are dealing with and then design some programs and support. What is important and COVID showed it: networks are important to get in touch with each other and not to be isolated and like you said, to have a life in the Lager and stuff. This comes with isolation and this isolation got even bigger and to fight against racism, for me as always, to create community and to assemble people – and that’s why we have to work a lot together.

JENNIFER
Yeah, it brings to my mind that the Lager system is an institution, too.

CÉLINE
Yeah, exactly.

JENNIFER
This plays a big role in this context that we are talking about. Imagine a child that is growing up in this institution and is already being discriminated against and then not even understanding the education system. How do we overcome this challenge of enlightening and including the women that we are working with that are the focus group? How do we overcome this challenge because it’s quite a challenge.

CÉLINE
I mean, we thought about it a lot at the counseling center. We started two years ago but this is really some of the very pressuring things we have to do. And it was before COVID already a thing that we had to do is to go to the Lagers because we cannot wait until the people come. Traditionally, anti-discrimination counseling is the people have to decide themselves to come to us – so they have to make the first call. This is important because we don’t want people to help others and we don’t want to help people that don’t want help, so it comes from the idea of empowerment.

But in some cases, here, it doesn’t work because we can sit in our office and wait for ages, and there will be no refugee people coming with these specific problems. So we really have to go there and I think that ReachOut, for example, they do that a lot and they speak about it.

Because exactly, we have to overcome this isolation and regarding the law, the “Landesantidiskriminierungsgesetz”, as you said, the Lager is an institution and what I always say is that in the “Landesantidiskriminierungsgesetz” – the debate about it – we always speak about the things that we see. For the citizens that run around outside, freely in the territory, then we think about the Amt, job center, the school, police – everything that we can see.

But then there’s also these spaces that are closed. The closed spaces like the Lager, the prisons, the psychiatries, and these are state institutions where we have to look. So I think it would be very important to have like counseling centers or complaint systems, anti-discrimination complaint systems, within the institutions that are there because we cannot wait for someone from the Lager that comes and says they are here – I have here discrimination. We don’t know what happens behind the bars and the doors of Lagers and prisons – but we know that there’s a lot of discrimination.

JENNIFER
That’s where the discrimination comes. This is, how do you say, crème de la crème of discrimination?

CÉLINE
Exactly and we don’t know about it. We know nothing about it. We know sometimes when people tell their stories, but then they tell maybe their biographies and then this and this happened to me, but what would be important is to be there when it happens.

JENNIFER
Interesting. I think it’s time for another song and the song is “Papaoutai” by Stromae. I’m interested to hear what your feeling is about this song. I know that song, I like it a lot, I’ve danced to it, but I didn’t understand the political context that comes behind it.

CÉLINE
“Papaoutai” the title means, “Dad, where are you?” And I thought that because when we speak about institutional racism, something that came a lot in the last years is African dads that are in trouble with the baby mothers, so German baby mothers, and then they are at the Jugendamt and the Jugendamt is not believing the dad – thinking the dad will not [do] a good job and they believe the mother so much.

This is a problem because then later, [when they] decide about the Gutachten, or the references that these people write there, they would really write in favor of the mother and this is really a very big problem and, for example, for the discrimination in offices. The discrimination in Jugendamt, so youth office, is half of the cases. So it’s a very, very big problem and when the African father, mostly fathers, come and are angry maybe and they say, “Why don’t you inform me? Why do you talk to me like that? Why do you only believe her and not me?” then they are deemed aggressive and what do you want here and then they write this down in references and this is really, really bad.

So I think that discrimination in Jugendamt is very strong and what I always think is that the mothers, they have trouble with the guy, okay, they can have trouble, I don’t mind. But they have to think of the kid because if the kid, a Black child in Germany, doesn’t have contact with his Black parent, to his African parent, it will have long lasting bad [consequences] and maybe one day the child will come and ask, “Hey dad, where are you?” That’s why I chose this one.

 

[SONG: Stromae – Papaoutai]

 

JENNIFER
Wow, what a song. And families are also institutions and when these things begin to happen and racism starts to manifest within this institution, in the family, and it’s supported by organs, like Jugendamt – this is serious. This is cross.

You have been involved with Each One Teach One, which provides counseling to people who are experiencing discrimination. You said that a big part of the counseling is concerning schools and students. Can you explain what the students and parents are coming to talk to you about?

CÉLINE
Yes, so we have many, many cases coming from the educational system and almost most of the cases are discrimination from the teachers and so it’s not like we always think, “Oh, it’s the children that are racist and that’s so sad, the parents have to educate their children better”. But really the violence is coming from the adults. As I said earlier, this issue of “Einstufung” – not “Einstufung” – but the school grade and this recommendation when you get to the next school, this is a very important thing where people come.

Then also, what we see a lot is that Black children are criminalized. For example, I had one case where three Black girls, they were friends and [were] always hanging out together and they were really targeted and everything. Every child is [testing] out their boundaries and things like that, but when Black children are doing that, this is really seen as something that belongs to maybe their character, or who they are, because they are Black and then so they are getting criminalized, they get less good grades because the teachers don’t see their potential.

Also, a mother came and it was because her child, a boy in a new school, in the secondary school, came to the teacher after writing a test and then the teacher asked him, “What do you want to be later? Yeah, I want to study this and that”. [The teacher] said, “Yeah, but you know, I don’t think you’re gonna do that because we need a lot of mechanics here in this country”.

This is after the first test, I mean, let the kid breathe. And also, not [getting] the best potential of the child. So this was a white mother and then she asked her child, “Okay, what do you want me to do? Shall I say something? Do you want to say something and he said, “you can do something, I would be happy”.

But this is actually something that is not happening so easily because when you speak out about racism, then the teachers will be very angry and they will start to fight against you. As a white parent, she thought, “Okay, I will talk to them about this problem, I will protect my child”. But what happens when Black parents or migrant parents, that is – you see that they don’t know the system so well because of the language and stuff, they get really discriminated [against] then on top of that.

For example, there was a Muslim African dad coming because he was Muslim. He came to school and then the whole school was like, “He came here, he was so aggressive and stuff” just because he wanted to speak about a racist incident that happened. Or an African woman that really – this was about this group that was discriminated [against] and criminalized and she had to fight so much to make herself be heard and she was really in these Sitzungen, in these meetings, then that they have to talk about the problem. Then she was so discriminated [against], “Yeah, you don’t understand anything and stuff”.

Then our work is to strengthen the parents and also to speak [on] one side of the discrimination that happens for the children. Then it’s important also to do counseling with the child directly to understand, okay, what do you want? Because sometimes they don’t want to get too much attention. It’s also very embarrassing to say, yeah, I was called the N word, or I’m treated differently. You know, that’s very embarrassing. So we always have to speak with the child. Okay, what do you want, because you will have to go to school the next morning.

And on the other hand, we have to speak about the racism that the parents experience and how to deal with [the] situation: to tell them, this is not about you. This is something that I saw like 20 times this year already. Don’t let it hurt you in your heart. Yeah, this is how the system works.

Then what we do is to prepare meetings with them. Sometimes we appear as organizations so that the school is a bit more careful. But sometimes when we don’t want to escalate because the child still has to be able to finish this school year or something, then we stay in the background and we don’t say anything. And we just prepare the parents to say, Okay, this is what you can do. These are your rights. Be careful when they try to tell you this or that because sometimes, also, they make such a problem out of a black child. They say, yeah, the child is aggressive. He’s an integration kid. He has psychological problems, and then they try to get in treatments, go to therapy, and things like that. But what happened is he’s bullied. Yeah, because the kid is black. And if he’s angry against that, it’s okay.

These are the things we see and also how they really don’t protect the children against racism coming from other children, for example, when the N word is called, in school. This also, I think, it’s a problem of the adults and not of the children because they have to know what to do when the N word falls in the classroom. And if the teacher hears it and if he asks the child, “Oh, how do you feel about that?” – What should the only black child in the classroom say? Of course, like other racist slurs, we know what to say: It’s wrong. And the children have to remember that immediately. You don’t leave the child alone in this decision. So there’s a really lot of things to do in school.

JENNIFER
It’s sad how we try to become small to be not visible anymore when we are really facing racism. And instead of being able to deal with it, we cannot express our anger because then we become the black loud people. Instead, we try to become very small and invisible. And then we internalize it. We become very emotional about it that we can’t even talk about it.

And this is something that I have had many people say about it: that I don’t want to cause – I don’t want to create attention. I just want it to pass, you know. And most people just don’t understand the impact of just trying to let it pass because it will not be the end. It’s not the first or the last. So it’s important to talk to our people to help them understand that it’s okay to be angry and express your anger in the way you want to express it.

CÉLINE
I think it’s a bit difficult because actually, when you get angry, you get a lot of problems. And black people know that. And so, I think that people have to always decide themselves. I also think it’s really good to speak up and things, but I can really understand if a person is doing an Ausbildung and has racist colleagues – but the person wants to have the diploma and he knows if he’s gonna speak about it, he’s maybe gonna get in trouble. I only had like, very, very little cases in which the supervisors were like, yeah, I see that. I don’t accept racism here and I protect you. I will talk to them. This happens rarely. And people know that. Because what are the normal reactions? Are you sure? Do you think it’s really the problem? You know, they don’t believe and I saw that with teachers, too, you know.

A little child tells her aunt how she was bullied, has a very clear example, knows who are the children – we go to the school, talk to the class teacher, and he’s very stressed already because we speak about racism, you see, and then he’s like, okay, okay. Then he [has] ideas, then we say, okay, but first, we have to talk to her if it’s okay for her if you speak about it in front of the whole class because maybe she won’t want that. And then he said, okay, we will do that: we would speak to her but what happens if it’s not true? You know, and we were like, why would you think that this child lies about that? How would we invent something so violent and so hurtful? This is so strange. Yeah.

What I think is, and Eben Lowe, he is also a counselor and psychologist who works a lot in anti racism, anti discrimination therapist, he says that we don’t have the same opportunity – the same right to be angry. And that’s a true fact. Black people are not allowed to be angry because they wouldn’t be treated respectfully, they wouldn’t be listened to anymore. Or maybe also, then they call the police or something, you know.

That’s why he says it’s important for the white people to speak up and to take the privilege of being angry and fight the system because sometimes in the situation, people cannot do it. He said it regarding police controls. Because what you see often is that when you have like racial profiling and violent behavior towards black people, they’re there and they just keep cool. You know, they don’t say anything. Sometimes they say something but then they get “Anzeige” [police report]. Yeah, they get fired. And they can go to court immediately.

I think it’s also important to respect when people think strategically, it doesn’t mean that they don’t fight. What I would also say, it’s always depending on the area and the case, and sometimes to just let the situation happen, get out of it and then organize from the back, you know. And then you will come back [and] you will hear about me. Yeah, but just think about it.

JENNIFER
Wow. We’ve been talking a lot about what institutional racism is and how it manifests in the schools. What can be done about it? We had our program, I think it was the fourth, with Sanchita Basu from ReachOut about the new anti discrimination law.

If a parent has a child who is experiencing racism from a teacher, for example, just the case that you have explained, how do you think they can potentially use this law and what are the mechanisms that would be available? And also how does the State react to instances of racism in the schools?

CÉLINE
So basically, the law would help. It is a two step procedure: First, you file it at the new “Ombudsstelle” and if they cannot help with the case, then you go to court. So this would be the procedure and you have to do it within the next year, let’s say.

And, of course, this is basically something that is possible. But what we know is that already to say the word racism creates problems, and to even go to court, you will really have problems and this procedure is so long, and the child will always have to go back to school [this whole time]. So, it’s the same decision: sometimes we appear as an organization in this conflict, sometimes we prefer not to because the child has to finish school – maybe there is no other school available.

So you really have to decide from case to case because we have to understand that in the school cases, the children are then alone. And they have to go there. There is no other choice other than to say to go to the doctor and get a test to not have to go [to school]. And they will be alone with the teachers and always the class.

And so officially, it’s there, the law, but practically, it is a bit hard. But regarding like, for example, integration status, or “nicht Deutsche Herkunft status”, non German background status, this would be, for example, a possibility to file that and to file a complaint regarding that from an organization because in the law, you have the possibility for organizations to go to court and organizations are more powerful. So this would be something and then not regarding a specific case but regarding this procedure here or this regulation is discriminatory in its results so this has to be abolished. This would be a different level of using the law.

JENNIFER
Wow. So institutions have to step up and be ready to breach this in order to protect the children. This is what I’m picking from this. Yeah. Wow.

We will do our last song today. And this song is Oumou Sangaré. What’s the story behind it?

CÉLINE
Yeah, so this is a song by Oumou Sangaré and 113, a Parisian hip hop band – black diasporic hip hop band. They made a song together that speaks about decolonization. What I like about it is that it [talks about] the anti racism and the life of black people here in the diaspora and on the continent for the decolonization. We have to merge these things and [abolishing] the anti black racism will depend on the decolonization of the migration laws and of all these institutional problems that we have. So yeah, it’s a song about decolonization.

 

[SONG: 113 ft. Oumou Sangaré – Voix du Mali]

 

JENNIFER
That’s another good song. Very powerful. And, sadly, we have to come to the end of our program, because of time but it was really wonderful to have you here. We will find ways of continuing this kind of program and seeing how we create a structure to work around these topics that are affecting all of us. Thank you so much, Céline, for being here.

CÉLINE
Thank you so much.

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