The recent protests against anti-Black racism in the United States have ignited a global movement against racial injustice. While the historical trajectories in national contexts differ, the events in the United States have shed light on the experiences and effects of racial discrimination globally. In Europe, it represents a moment of reckoning on past and present issues of race and racial oppression. While mainstream political discourse is focused on policing and racism, we also have the responsibility of challenging white supremacy at all levels. A central issue we raise is how this political moment compels us to analyze and address the violence of anti-Blackness and systemic racism within German society, and specifically the ways that our disciplines and institutions are deeply implicated in its persistence. These and related concerns have moved us to invite all members of the JFKI to start a conversation in the form of a “teach-in” to show solidarity with those protesting systemic racism and police brutality in the U.S. and Germany. Potential guiding questions for the event might be:
- What actions must follow the institutional statements of solidarity with protestors of anti-Black racism and white supremacy in the United States?
- How do we understand the urgency of the present in the context of the university and our disciplines?
- What does fighting back against societal and institutional racism in society and the university require, and from whom?
- What are our goals as researchers, members of an institute, and citizens?
- How do we move from a focus on the US to an emphasis on the particular issues at work in Germany?
- How do we prevent this discussion from being a balm for white innocence or guilt?
We envision the format of the “teach-in” to break up the more conventional teacher/student and expert/audience interactions of the university classroom and we would like for the event to evolve naturally, with as little moderating as possible; however, because – due to COVID 19 – the event has to take place online, we will briefly establish some technology-based guidelines at the beginning of the “teach-in”. Log-in information will be circulated among students and faculty. If you wish to join us as a guest, please send an email to Martin Lüthe.