Celebrating BIPOC identities in thuringen, germany
I live in a small state in the east of Germany called Thuringia. Home of the Bauhaus movement and the renowned Goethe and Schiller. A former GDR state, where the concentration camp Buchenwald is located and was once functioning under the regime of the third reich; a state that in 2020 had 67 far-right motivated crimes of racism.
In Thuringen, the acronym BIPoC has become very relevant as a starting point for the self-identification of communities that have struggled to find a place to feel at ease with their own racial identity. For people of color in Germany, and especially in this state, the right to exist has been contested by neo-nazi groups, far-right politicians and their rethorics of anti-immigration and nationalism, it also has been problematized by the media and its categories, like the one that places BIPoC individuals as victims; stereotypes, like male BIPoC being dangerous men, rapist, disrespectful; and assumptions like the one where all BIPoC women are exotic and sexualized; discourses that continue to separate and isolate our experiences within the narrative of the white german dominant culture.
What does it mean to identify as BIPoC and to live in Thuringen? What public places do we want to (re)claim and inhabit? To which everyday life experiences are we, nonwhite identities confronted when our skin tone and accent mediates how we are treated? What is the role that non-white activists have in fighting racism?
Since 2020, and with the rise of Black Lives Matter protests all over the globe, individuals, groups and organizations have began to organize in a larger level to fight discrimination and racism in the state of Thuringen, and for the first time, local politicians are begininng to talk about racism within their agendas. The majority of the times, such fights are lead by non-white individuals, either German or Internationals and who from different fields, are commited to reclaim a space to inhabit, to be able to feel that they belong and that they can enjoy the same rights as any white German.
With a series of pictures and interviews with self-identifying BIPoC individuals in Thuringia, I want to present a series of individuals that from different fields, have been fighting racism and discrimination in the region; as well as the context where they debate the right to exist.