Institutional racism

The German Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung/ bpb) has prepared a dossier on institutional racism in the German criminal justice system. More information in German can be found here.

Exclusion and discrimination are not always only caused by individuals who intentionally discriminate against others. A hitherto neglected form of discrimination is institutional discrimination.

The present dossier attempts to describe institutional forms of discrimination as opposed to direct discrimination emanating from individuals. As people with a migratory background or people of colour, PoC, (people or persons of colour is a self-chosen term of people who are marginalized by white supremacy and are affected by every day, institutional or other forms of racism due to ethnic attributions) are mostly target group of this form of institutional discrimination, which we wish to present in this dossier, we speak of institutional racism. It is, however, not intended to denounce individuals working in these institutions as 'Nazis' or 'racists'.

Institutional racism is a form of exclusion that arises through mechanisms and measures in institutions such as the police or public administration, and which usually so far remains undetected and therefore unprocessed. On the part of the institution there is generally no intent to exclude persons or groups of people. Nevertheless, in practice certain groups of people are treated differently and, in most cases, worse than others.

This dossier offers a definition of institutional racism and provides examples of some of its forms. Since in Germany forms of institutional racism are so far legally punishable only to a limited extent, we try to provide a legal contextualization to illustrate which legal framework could be used. We also exemplify how some forms of institutional racism could be addressed.

In addition, we would like to refer to additional material on this topic.

© Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V. 2018