For a City Without Racism [1]

Racism and exclusion are often seen in relation to migrants but only rarely linked to the social majority that profits from racist conditions. Research by migrants [2] in different countries clearly shows that the dominant position of the white majority must also become a focus of public debate. In a workshop with the 8c (art) class at the Elly Heuss middle school in Munich, Giesing we discussed racist, sexist and other discriminatory terminology, images, and structures. We were primarily interested in conveying and establishing in discourse practical knowledge we gained through collaborations with feminist migrants. [3] Together with the students we developed posters and postcards. We invited Munich-based social scientist and DJ, Anil K. Jain, as a guest speaker. He posed the question “why do you think you are a racist?” to everyone, including himself, which resulted in a controversial discussion involving the part that each and everyone plays in upholding racist conditions in German society. 

The posters and postcards we produced were based on students’ photographs in which they had staged and mimicked scenarios they felt reflected in some way racist, sexist or other forms of discriminiation. Together we selected which pictures we would use and, for each one, texts were made to address the white majority. In one of the small working groups students formulated the following questions for the selected photos: 

Is nationality innate? 

Is friendship innate? 

Is racism innate? 

Is the future innate? 

Is the family innate? 

Is Munich innate? 

Is taste innate? 

Is behavior innate? 

This workshop focused on creating posters and postcards specific to Munich’s situation. Nonetheless, we conceive this project as a work in process that can therefore be done in other schools and cities.  

Workshop participants:  

Yassin Aly, Nadine Baltruschat, Daniele Bosch, Michaela Brunnert, Dorothe Ehrmüller, Jessica Drazic, Anja Fabian, Nitja Ferstl, Christian Gruber, Saskia Hartmann, Mandy Horn, Ivonne Kalter, Patrick Kurschat, Ariane Kusi, Lorraine Kusi, Andreas Lachauer, Harald Leib, Isabella Lottner, Dennis Mannhercz, Victoria Matten, Paul Pfitzner, Katharina Philipp, Julia Rieger, Patrick Schünemann, Flora Triolo, Vanessa Varga, Pia Wißkirchen, Anna Wittig, Helene Ziener. Teacher: Karla Hendel. Guest speaker: Anil K. Jain. 


[1] This title plays on the name of an anti-racism platform in Austria called “Für eine Welt ohne Rassismus [For a World Without Racism],” which came together in 1999 as an action platform comprised of migrants and antiracist groups following the murder of Marcus Omofuma during his deportation from Austria. The platform remained active as such until 2003. See: Gini Müller, 10 Jahre Volxtheater. http://no-racism.net/article/948/

[2] One such notable publication is: Maureen Maisha Eggers, Grada Kilomba, Peggy Piesche, Susan Arndt (eds.), Mythen, Masken  und Subjekte. Kritische Weißseinsforschung in Deutschland, Münster 2005. 

[3] Two of the most significant research groups are maiz (Autonomous Center by and for Migrant Women in Linz) and BWC (Black Women’s Community in Vienna). http://www.maiz.at, http://www.schwarzefrauen.net