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Black Lives Matter

The Department of Germanic Studies joins the international community in condemning the senseless and cruel murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other victims. We support the world-wide protest movement to repudiate the systemic, police, and state violence against black and brown people in our communities.

We are global citizens and scholars of a language and culture that encompasses a long history of state-sponsored police brutality in contexts such as the Third Reich, East Germany, and German colonialism. But we also need to acknowledge the racism and xenophobia of private individuals and groups such as neo-Nazis in more recent history.

We recognize that it is our responsibility to identify the language and socio-cultural contexts and causes of white supremacy, xenophobia, and racist conditions in order to bring about structural change and justice. As May Ayim, an Afro-German poet, educator, and activist, puts it, we cannot allow that “racism remains /the pale face of a disease / that secretly and publicly consumes us.”

„rassismus bleibt
bleiches gesicht einer krankheit
die uns heimlich und öffentlich auffrißt“
(from May Ayim, „Soul Sister“ (1992))

Instead, we need to take action.

Black lives matter.