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What does it mean to have intersectional battles together? A statement

On the occasion of the mass feminicide in Atlanta a month ago, the ugly grimace of right-wing, misogynistic and racist violence was once again evident. In the first part of our statement, we therefore shed light on the various dynamics of violence against Chinese-read women * in the USA and Germany. In the second part we look at the colonial legacy of our society and the reasons why racism and sexism persist. In the third part we describe our observation in the struggle against all oppression and social injustice. And we realize: only in a solidary unity can we free ourselves (from it)!

In Memory In Restistance: The Atlanta Assassination

On March 16.03.2021, XNUMX Hyun Jung Grant, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Suncha Kim, Soon Chung Park, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun and Paul Andre Michels were murdered by a sexist racist.

Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, the attacks on people who read Chinese have been loud in the USA Message of the Stop AAPI initiative. Stop AAPI confirms that over 70 percent of these hate crimes were explicitly directed against women *. In Germany too, racism, especially against women who read Chinese *, has increased sharply since the beginning of the corona pandemic. Different people do it Asian-German organizations and Activists also attentive in this country. The fact that our communities are also being racially attacked every day in Germany is unfortunately an ongoing reality for all migrants and those who “read differently”. We already reported about this immediate danger on the occasion of the racist attack in Erfurt.

The hatred of women * was also reflected in the racially motivated femicide in Atlanta. In order to understand the motives for this act, it is not enough to look at individual forms of discrimination:

“Migrant women * are exposed to complex forms of discrimination. Therefore, it is not enough to look at violence against them exclusively from a racism perspective, but also to include sexist prejudices, which bring with them a long colonial past. Rather, for example, the recent attack in Atlanta was about racially motivated femicides, that is, murders of women * precisely because they were women *. ", Kook-Nam Cho-Ruwwe (CEO of DaMigra eV)

Femicides are a global problem. Every minute women * and girls * die worldwide because they are women * and girls *. Femicides are not isolated cases. There are no "relationship dramas", no "family tragedies", "honor killings". The Atlanta attack showed that racist-colonialist stereotypes go hand in hand with hatred of women *. Whether in Asia, Africa, America, Australia or Europe - behind every femicide there is also patriarchal thinking and acting.

This patriarchal, misogynous system paired with racist thinking is reinforced by constant repetition in society, the media, literature, educational institutions, etc.

The Western European view of East Asian read women * as "love servants" is firmly anchored in Western European literature and culture.

From Giaccomo Puccini's “Madame Butterfly” to David Bowie's “China Girl” - the “white” view of East Asian women * always sees a compliant object corresponding to the sexual desires of the white man.

When the Atlanta assassin gives his sex addiction as the reason for the murders, which is why he sees massage parlors run by Asian women * as a “temptation”, then precisely that sexualized point of view is expressed.

This point of view is not limited to the USA, like the Hornbach hardware store chain in theirs commercial from 2019 occupied - here it was the sexualized image of an East Asian-looking woman * who was allowed to sexually arouse herself on the smelly underpants of sweating white men.

The Hoyerswerda and Rostock pogroms - racism against “contract workers” in Germany

In 1991 violent right-wing extremists attacked former GDR contract workers in their collective accommodation in Hoyerswerda, Saxony. In 1992 the worst racist riots broke out in Rostock-Lichtenhagen. Around 1000 right-wing extremists attacked a block of flats with Vietnamese workers and set it on fire to the applause and hoots of 3000 spectators. The police and fire brigade, who arrived only hesitantly, withdrew completely in the meantime. Almost three decades later, we are sobering to find that these acts have happened again and again throughout the Federal Republic of Germany and around the world. This is because the same racist-chauvinist structures paired with patriarchal thought patterns still exist.

Racist sexist violence against women * is a colonial legacy

As early as the 15th century, colonial powers around the world justified the exploitation and oppression of other peoples and groups of people with an alleged white, western superiority. The classification of people according to outward characteristics, religion, gender identity, class etc. served a single function: the cultural devaluation of others, the creation of a legitimate reason for their exploitation and the accumulation of property.

This legacy is still evident today in our patriarchal society. Racism, sexism and classicism serve to preserve property and privileges for a few and thus social inequality. The term ethnosexism refers to precisely that form of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity [race] and gender. The cornerstones of the patriarchal system are traditional, that is, firmly anchored values ​​of a “strong” masculinity that devalue women *, migrants, members of the LGBTQI + community and all the various lifestyles.

The fine line between identity politics and standardization

We observe that discourses on various forms of racism and sexism do not always include those affected. For example, the term “anti-Asian racism” is often only used in connection with East and Southeast Asia. But what about countries like Turkey, India, Pakistan, Russia or Iran, for example? We recall that colonialism in particular used phenotypic traits as an artificially-creative justification for our supposed "otherness."

We should therefore be critical in analyzing and replaying various debates on racist-sexist discrimination. Often the experiences are similar to those of other affected groups. They are therefore not always specifically assigned to a single group.

In the course of reporting on the Atlanta attack, for example, the attack in Hoyerswerda was often discussed. In addition to Vietnamese, people from Romania, Ghana, Iran and Bangladesh also lived there. Here, too, many other identities were not named in order to specifically highlight the so-called "anti-Asian" racism.

More than 30 years ago Audre Lorde stated: “It is part of the standard repertoire of right-wing cynicism to pit members of discriminated groups against one another. As long as we are divided on the basis of certain identity shares, we will not be able to unite for effective political action. "[1]

In the fight against sexualized, gender-based violence, it is therefore always necessary to understand the individual experience in a context of oppression against all women *.

Not only women * read from East Asia are subject to sexualized and racist ascriptions and fetishizations, but all migrant women *, only in different ways.

It should be emphasized that every individual experience is important and must be made audible; because our migration biographies and the stories of our ancestors couldn't be more different. Nevertheless, an individualistic view of individual forms of discrimination does not serve the uniform, organized fight against patriarchal structures. What unites us are the multiple experiences of discrimination on the basis of racism, sexism, classism etc. In order to achieve a future without this oppression, we have to go this way together and as one.

Unfortunately we experience time and again that both women * who have migrated among us, but also in society as a whole, are played a “dismay bingo” to show who of the already oppressed people is “worst off”. In doing so, we lose sight of the common goal and the right-wing are happy about any distraction that prevents a unified fight. In the spirit of Audre Lorde, we would like to say to everyone who has committed themselves to the struggle for social justice: Don't let yourself be played off against each other!

In this solidary unity, we should also resolutely oppose the media and the dominant society and thus make every form of racism visible in our communities in order to be able to fight it. Attack one of us, attack us all.

[1] Lorde, Audre (1984): There is no hierarchy of oppression. In: AnouchK Ibacka Valiente (ed.) 2015: Trust, strength and resistance. Short texts by Audre Lorde. Berlin: w_orten & meer, pp. 45 - 48.


Download statement here

Press release "We have to protect our dignity" on the racist attack in Erfurt in April 2021


DaMigra eV represents the interests of migrant women * self-organizations and their concerns and advocates equal opportunities, equal participation and the equality of women * with a migration history and refugee experience in Germany. DaMigra follows the approach of anti-racist feminism.


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