Mind your privilege

The relationship between North Africa / Middle East and Europe is still shaped by the relationships of dependency that were established under colonialism. Colonial ways of thinking and political systems have persisted to this day. After the abandonment of the colonies, the countries of North Africa / the Middle East became politically free, but the western world still has a clear influence. In addition to an enormous economic dominance, colonialism also has a clear influence in the cultural area to this day.

The western world is still shaped by Eurocentrism today. Europe sees itself as a pioneer of global development and forgets that many achievements could and still can only be achieved through the exploitation of the former colonies.

In Germany, the post-colonial effects can be seen – among others –

• in racist and orientalist thought patterns

Racism and Orientalism are artificial constructs that were created to put Western civilization above others. The enlightened West was contrasted with the mysterious Orient, for example. The Global North has the power to define, which creates exotic, culturalist and racist images that serve as a legitimation for colonization. The thought patterns and perspectives thus formed have an effect up to the present day.

• in public spaces, e.g. in street names that were named after former colonial heroes

The presence of colonial heroes and symbols of exploitation and violence in public spaces honors crimes against humanity to this day. This shows both the ubiquitous racism in Germany and the fact that Germany takes no responsibility for its colonial past.

• in the artistic field

Time-honored images are still used in entertainment culture without questioning whether these were not created through a colonial self-image. Music, films, media and literature have an enormous reach and thus shape the views of civil society. Often pictures and words are used to exclude “the other” (“othering”). A difference between the people of the Global North and the Global South is drawn and described. For example, Arab and racist stereotypes are formed and disseminated.

There is also hardly any reappraisal of German or European colonialism in school lessons. In this way, stigmatized thought patterns are passed on to the next generation. If colonial history is not dealt with, racist structures will remain.

With regard to the migration from former European colonies to Europe, it is essential to grapple with the above-mentioned relationship of dependency and the resulting ways of thinking. It is important to deal with the background and to strive for a critical rethinking of our dealings with the countries of origin and their residents. On the basis of oriental studies, an othering process emerges, which leads to the fact that prejudices and stereotypes are built up to this day and centuries-old patterns continue to come to the boil. He mixes stereotypes and prejudices of the Orient with those of Islam or Muslims.

The persistent orientalism in the media and society makes it possible, among other things, for refugees to deny the right to asylum, to condemn Arab men as misogynistic and to deny Muslims the practice of their faith in public.

In the last few years, the topic of postcolonialism has come more into the public eye, primarily through the work of NGO’s. With regard to the North Africa / Middle East region, the challenge is that little background information and material on the subject of post-colonialism has so far been available or discussed in public. Public discourse, however, is essential for clarifying and strengthening perspectives critical of colonialism with the aim of breaking up colonial perspectives and actions in the Global North.

With the information and event series “Mind your privilege”, 14.4km e.V. would like to shed light on the relationship between North Africa / Middle East and Europe from a post-colonialist perspective and encourage those interested to reflect on their own and encourage them to question their own actions. By dealing with post-colonial issues, racist thought structures are to be dismantled.

To do this, the four cultural aspect

     – film and serie
     – Public room
     – Music and dance
     – literature

critically examined and problematized, and traced the aftermath and persistence of colonialist structures and ways of thinking in these relationships.

“Mind your privilege” is a hybrid information and event series that takes place online, but also has on-site events planned. Most of the event will take place on the Instagram channel of the 14.4km e.V. To do this, we use both the story function and the writing of posts on Instagram. The information is described and made available in both German and English. The news function serves as a platform for exchange between the participants and the experts.

In addition to the online offer, there will also be an on-site event on each topic. This serves as a platform for the personal exchange of interested parties.

Over the entire period, the 14.4km e.V. Instagram channel serves as a platform for exchange for all interested parties. This can be done both via the news function and via the comment function under the posts. Furthermore, the information and event series is reported on the association’s website. After completion of the project, the results will be summarized in a short brochure and published on the association’s website.

Interested? Stay tuned on Instagram!

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