Our new column, “Among People”, aims to offer a plat­form to mar­gi­na­li­sed peop­le so they can share their expe­ri­en­ces of discri­mi­na­ti­on and draw atten­ti­on to the unse­en. In this first inst­alm­ent, Genaro is sharing his thoughts with you: “Between Oppression Olympics and Olympus”.

At times, when I’m just pon­de­ring away and it kind of feels like sit­ting on a motor­way bridge, down below vehi­cles full of thoughts and lor­ries full of worries, I am over­co­me with memo­ries. Memories of me stan­ding with other pupils in the yard as the few non­-migr­an­ti­sed boys were desper­ate­ly try­ing to come up with their own eth­nic back­ground so they could fit in with us. Take Kevin, for examp­le. He was at least one six­te­enth Russian and most cer­tain­ly one eighth French—so why shouldn’t he suf­fer just as loud­ly as we did when the tea­cher told us to car­ry on stu­dy­ing even when we end up in jail? This situa­ti­on that would later reap­pe­ar to me in Mohamed Amjahid’s book “Der wei­ße Fleck” (“The White Spot”) as Oppres­sion Olympics did look quir­ky to me back then but by no means pro­ble­ma­tic. Today, situa­tions like the­se do their cri­ti­cal part to me fee­ling asha­med when I talk about my experien­ces. I feel like this impos­tor, like the boy who hasn’t been wan­de­ring through the yards of my memo­ries for a long time. Instead, after a long and hard road, I final­ly fit in with the elite—I go to uni­ver­si­ty. It is not without pri­de that I am wri­ting this sen­tence. I go to uni­ver­si­ty. This is a cir­cum­s­tance that see­med unthin­ kab­le to me or my for­mer school­ma­tes, a suc­ cess sto­ry that could very well end with this sen­tence and ever­yo­ne would be happy—the Kebab from tho­se days has fit well into socie­ty and Germany has done a bril­li­ant job in hel­ping him to achie­ve that. I beg your par­don, dear rea­der, but it’s not over yet.

My mother is German, my name is European, my skin tone is the “good” kind of brown—just about white enough to not stand out. I once was con­si­de­red by white scho­l­ars to not fit in, now I am con­si­de­red by white scho­l­ars to fit in and again my impos­tor phe­no­me­non is trig­gered—where is my place? Should I be flaun­ting my “light” bur­den? Should I talk about how I was abu­sed at the age of 16 years by four true fascists, how their ciga­ret­tes have over time been deco­ra­ting my hands and arms as silent wit­nes­ses of their deeds fore­ver? How the poli­ce­man later asked me why I didn’t strike back—after all, I was a “state­ly man”? Or should I nod hap­pi­ly, thanking them for fit­ting in now? Don’t get me wrong, I do want to belong, I want to be part of this uni, but I still want to be my who­le self.

Like most who are going to read this, I am stu­dy­ing at a uni­ver­si­ty in Halle an der Saale named after an anti­se­mi­te. A uni­ver­si­ty which offers the “Anti­Discrimination Prevention and Counselling Office” as its only point of con­ta­ct for migr­an­ti­sed peop­le. As much as I appre­ciate its work in the area of inter­sec­tio­n­al femi­nism, it still is a coun­sel­ling office of white peo­ple who can pro­bab­ly bare­ly empa­thise about racist expe­ri­en­ces. More atten­ti­on for margi­nalised and migr­an­ti­sed peop­le is nee­ded on a struc­tu­ral level as well, in order to meet the ori­gi­nal con­cept of uni­ver­si­ty: entirety.

While I am try­ing to share my know­ledge with other pri­vi­le­ged peop­le in my capa­ci­ty as an ally, I should like to point out that rai­sing awa­reness is not just the duty of mar­gi­na­li­sed peop­le. What we can all do is lis­ten more and look into our own pri­vi­le­ges, even if it may feel like a loss or an affront at first. Let us try to tre­at each other with more care, and sin­ce­rely ask about and noti­ce other people’s needs even wit­hin busy col­le­ge life, and we will be of help to all of us.

Text: Genaro Heuer
Translation: Konrad Dieterich

Certified su (CC BY 2.0) flickr.com/photos/certified_su/229016531/
Sam Bald (CC BY 2.0) flickr.com/photos/28931095@N03/5345386518/

• Do you feel discri­mi­na­ted against, too? Our new column, “Zwischen Menschen” (“Among People”), aims to offer a plat­form to mar­gi­na­li­sed peop­le so they can share their expe­ri­en­ces of discri­mi­na­ti­on and draw atten­ti­on to the unse­en. Would you like to take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to pre­sent your unfil­te­red expe­ri­en­ces and thoughts on this topic? Please feel free to get in touch with us at zwi­schen-men­schen [at] pos­teo [dot] de.

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