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The short summer of Black Lives Matter – does it have longer episodes?

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One year ago the protests that drove hundreds of thousands to the streets after the death of the black US citizen George Floyd, not only in the USA. In Germany, around 200,000 people demonstrated against racism in their own country by the end of July 2020, through the police, discrimination in public services and against running the gauntlet, which is their everyday life for the majority of non-white people.

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Forget everything? The last demo at the Brandenburg Gate only got a thousand people on their feet, despite relaxed pandemic regulations. Media interest in “Black Lives Matter” also quickly subsided after initially broad coverage, as a group of researchers from Germany, Poland, Italy and Denmark discovered, who examined the phenomenon for their respective countries a year later.

But that only seems to be the surface when you read what the social scientists from the German Center for Integration and Migration Research DeZIM in Berlin, the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, the University of Copenhagen and the Polish Academy of Sciences in interviews with active people , Media analysis and on four maps of the protest. In all countries, the short #blm summer made racism a topic more visible and black voices more audible than ever.

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Even if, as quoted in the research report, the enthusiastic newcomers had to be made clear that the black movement in Germany has not only existed since May 25, 2020, but for about forty years: Now it has gained momentum and publicity, According to the report, racism has become “a political issue like never before”. Even for Poland, where the protests were relatively small, limited to big cities such as Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw and Katowice and where there was a lack of energy from government measures against women’s and gay rights, they find that last summer made racism a public issue in the first place .

What is particularly interesting is the comparative look at the two countries with a fascist and colonial past at the same time: In Italy as in Germany, the #blm protests reached the whole country, and both movements referred to this past. In the media, on the other hand – and possibly beyond – there was a resistance to the connection between today’s racism and national history. According to an analysis by the team from Florence, even Italy’s left-liberal and traditional left-wing newspapers have dealt with the US protests in much more detail than with those in Europe and Italy Made movement out of the words of the dying Georg Floyd, interpreted away from anti-black racism and pointed out the many who suffered from shortness of breath – due to the pandemic, the climate and the economic crisis.

In Germany, the “Bild” newspaper practically completely concealed the subject. The narrative that minorities have wanted to break open for decades, that racism was successfully overcome together with fascism and national socialism, still seems resilient. One does not like to read that it could be otherwise. Francesca Melandris’ excellent literary novel about the racist Abyssinian War and its consequences to this day (“All but Me”) sold 70,000 times in Germany in the first year, while at the same time it had just sold 10,000 times over the counter in Italy. Racism is primarily that of others.

The two countries are far apart in terms of the echo of established politics on #blm. In Italy, the momentum on the way up to the so-called “Palazzo” seems to have subsided: “At the political-institutional level, we have not yet seen any effects,” says the research report.

In Germany #blm had the – although the report only mentions this in passing. Although the movement, according to the researchers, was less diverse in this country, had fewer refugees and fewer active people than in Italy: It was probably exactly the right people for German association democracy: long-established Afro-Germans with the necessary experience in German politics. For example, they accompanied the Chancellor’s right-wing extremism and anti-racism cabinet committee, and since then there has also been more money for Black’s commitment.

We will see how long the issue of racism arrives at the upper levels of the institution. Just like the researchers: inside write: A look at the one short summer is too short for a real judgment about #blm in Europe .:

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