My aspirations in the Green Party Diversity Council

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With this year's Diversity Council, my party, Bündnis90/Die Grünen - which were also referred to as Bündnis90/Die Weißen in a pointed comment by a journalist a few years ago - is making a claim on itself to deal offensively self-critically with its own deficits. My party is a party that has committed itself programmatically to the issue of diversity, but has had to - and still has to - realise that it does not sufficiently live up to the claim of diversity in its own ranks. To ensure that the "equal participation of all people", as our diversity statute[1] puts it, can be realised, the Diversity Council has been meeting twice a year since 2021 to monitor compliance with and implementation of that very diversity statute. As a delegate for the group of MEPs, I am particularly committed to migrants in politics and the Afro-German community.

In this position, I would like to point out that the Black Lives Matter movement in Germany has shown how great the backlog is in terms of perceiving and including Black history and Black biographies in Germany and how crucial it is to reflect on German and European colonial history. Picking up the threads of the Black Lives Matter movement at the political level and steering them in a positive direction is what I am now raising my voice for in the Diversity Council. My main concern, in a nutshell, is to see "Black Studies" introduced at German universities. The Federal Government has the important task of encouraging the Länder to initiate and consistently support corresponding efforts.

It is an absolute necessity to start at the academic level when pursuing the approach of tackling decolonisation processes at the federal level. Critically examining one's own view and structures with regard to white privilege is the basis for really getting to the root of racism and freeing people from individual as well as group humiliation. At this point I quote from the open letter of complaint[2] of the Black Student Union of the Humboldt University Berlin:

The experiences of students at the Institute of Asian and African Studies clearly show that it neither meets the requirements of a "university of excellence" nor Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin's own "mission statement". In particular, the Department of African Studies is evading its social responsibility by ignoring the historical connection between (German) colonialism, imperialism, racism and science, as well as by remaining silent about the resulting power constellations today and the lack of reflection on its own position within them. The result of this fundamental problem is the constant reproduction of racism and discrimination at the institute and in teaching, which leads to the student resentment listed here and damages the reputation of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin as a German university of excellence.

There is currently a generation of German politicians, activists and students who are very present and fresh in standing up for their rights. When I was a student in Germany, I was surrounded by people who wanted to make progress in terms of diversity - at that time, they didn't use that term, but the term 'interculturality'. All of them, or most of them, left at some point - American and Canadian universities could offer my colleagues at the time much more for their concerns than German universities. Little has changed in that respect. The paternalistic and still exoticist veneer that institutes at German universities have not yet tried to get rid of sufficiently in this millennium does not promote an urgently needed decolonised view of history and society. We must and we can change this.

The introduction of Black Studies informed by German history is the central starting point for this. In the Diversity Council, I can and will consistently raise and demand this concern. Black Studies Matter!


[1] https://cms.gruene.de/uploads/documents/20210122_Vielfaltsstatut.pdf

[2] https://bsuhu.wordpress.com/2021/07/16/offener-beschwerdebrief/

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