Was Noah black or white

"Germany Black and White": Racism tutoring for whites

Racists - it's always just the other. Many Germans are absolutely convinced of this. Yes, in the USA or South Africa there is racism, you are sure. But there is no such thing in this country - at most with right-wing extremists or neo-Nazis. However, the author Noah Sow shows the opposite in her book: Racism is everywhere.

The white Germans are spoiled

The first edition of “Deutschland Schwarz Weiß” appeared ten years ago. In a short time the book became something of a modern classic - quoted by countless researchers and activists. An updated version has now been published for its tenth anniversary. The central message is still: Racism dominates everyday life in Germany. Those who do not belong to the white population are confronted with it every day - on the street, in the media, at school, at work. And yet the problem is ignored by the majority. Sow hardly makes sense of why that is so. "The Germans always want to know everything exactly," she writes in the foreword. "Why only about this one topic so little?" The answer: "You are spoiled" and are afraid to face the painful reality.

Sow wants to do something about ignorance, she wants to create awareness of racism in the country and open the eyes of whites. In her book, she shows what it means to be constantly pigeonholed by classmates, colleagues or friends because of the color of the skin - for example with discriminatory questions such as “Where are you really from?” Or with poisoned compliments such as “You speak German well ". Sow is by no means bitter - on the contrary: in the book she shows a fine sense of humor. "Let's make a deal," she urges her white readers. "On the following pages I will guide you through a central part of the ideological consensus prevailing in this country - and you will read on every time as soon as you have relaxed again."

Racism in the family

It is clear to Sow that she is putting her finger in the wound with her book. In seven chapters, it deals in detail with various aspects of racism - from racist language to the German colonial past to strategies against discrimination. She gives the white readers helpful advice on how they can behave less racist in the future. Sow also addresses points that are likely to surprise many: "Having a black child does not per se mean to be free of racism," she explains, for example. "I've already had so many stories from Afro-Germans about the racism of their white parents that I honestly can't hear any more."

It is the central point in Sow's book: Anyone who grows up in Germany may think of themselves as liberal, cosmopolitan or even anti-racist. However, hardly anyone can escape the stereotypes that are conveyed en masse in school books or daily newspapers. Sow demands that anyone who believes they are completely free of racist or discriminatory thought patterns should think twice. Your book is the perfect guide to this.

The author apologizes

The author expressly does not exempt herself from the accusation of discrimination. In the first edition of “Deutschland Schwarz Weiß” she also used hurtful expressions, she admits - and apologizes for it. The new edition has now updated them, introduced new terms and focused on current developments.

With the first edition of “Germany Black and White”, Noah Sow landed a great success ten years ago. Many recent publications on the subject, such as “Among Whites” by Mohamed Amjahid or Lamya Kaddor's “Zerschprobe”, build on this preparatory work. It is sad that the situation has not improved in the past ten years. On the contrary: with the AfD, radical racists are now sitting with parliamentary groups in the Bundestag, and the public debate about flight, migration and Islam in Germany is more racially charged than it has been for a long time. Sow also devotes a few pages to this phenomenon. If you missed your book ten years ago, you should read it all the more now.

Noah Sow: Germany black and white. BoD-Books, 344 pages, ISBN 978-3-7460-0681-9, 12.95 euros