Racism in all its facets

George Floyd's killing has sent shock waves around the world, driven hundreds of thousands onto the streets and sparked a major debate about racism. But racism has many faces, commentators explain - and voice annoyance at hypocritical expressions of solidarity.

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24 Chasa (BG) /

Masked by fake smiles

The perfidious thing about racism in the US is that it is often glossed over, writes US-based columnist Irina Asiova in 24 Chasa:

“If someone in Bulgaria doesn't like you, they will quickly find a way to show you this. With the Americans, aversion is soft-boiled in the pot of good manners and tolerance - two characteristics that are not typical for humans, with the result that the pot boils over every now and then. In this instance a white policeman killed an innocent black man by placing his knee on the man's neck, and the whole world is now talking about America and racism. But the rest of the time a perfidious, sneaky racism simmers behind fake smiles. This racism is much more dangerous than any other because it is not talked about. Only its stench is in the air.”

Azonnali (HU) /

Denounce the problems in our own society too

Racism in the United States should not be used as an excuse for not dealing with problems at home, author Ádám Fekő counsels in Azonnali:

“I do not want to make light of George Floyd's death, but the many spectacular statements of solidarity prove that Hungarian Society has lost touch with its own reality. ... We theatrically mourn George Floyd, yet there's no mention of how the Hungarian state has used public money to turn the entire country into a hotbed of Islamophobia within just a few years. … Or about how the same state has refused to pay the compensation the Roma were awarded in a legally binding court ruling.”

Expresso (PT) /

Nothing is more racist than the stayhome hashtag

Many of the expressions of solidarity we are now hearing are hypocritical, columnist Henrique Raposo laments in Expresso:

“The bourgeoisie, white and privileged, locked themselves in their spacious apartments while millions of poor people (mostly dark skinned) lost their jobs. ... The hashtag stayhome was only possible because the bourgeoisie were fed by an army of poor (mostly dark skinned) people. And now this bourgeoisie is up in arms against police racism in the US? As if the American police were the only institution where there are racists. As if the entire middle and upper classes of the West had not participated in the greatest racist, classist experience of this century: stayhome.”

Der Standard (AT) /

For the media migrants are never normal

Der Standard explains that coverage in the media can also promote and cement racism:

“If we were to rely solely on the information and images provided by the traditional media, we would only find out on two occasions that people of different skin colour, origin, language or religion live in our society. Namely when the majority society perceives their existence as a problem, keyword 'integration problems', or in particularly tragic, spectacular cases, when they fall victim to terrorist attacks. ... There is currently no media normality in which migrants, their descendants, immigrants, black people and Muslims are part of society. They are always only the problem and the exception. This is part of the great social problem complex that we subsume under racism and exclusion.”

Kristeligt Dagblad (DK) /

Skin colour should not be an argument

With an eye to the recurring criticism that white people would do better to keep a low profile in anti-racist demonstrations, Kristeligt Dagblad describes how quickly people can fall into the habit of thinking in categories of skin colour:

“Using skin colour - whether white or black - as an argument for anything only deepens the rifts and divisions. This is exactly the opposite of what the civil rights activist Martin Luther King meant in his famous speech when he expressed the hope that his four children 'will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character'.”