Black Lives Matter: Macromedia student contributes in local newspaper

‘After a very short night, during which I thought a lot about the events that are currently taking place in the USA, I wrote an article on racism. It is not meant to be an accusation, but rather an encouragement for many people to deal with the topic,’ Naomi Berhane, a journalism student in her second semester at the Macromedia University in Cologne, wrote to her professor Marlis Prinzing. This resulted in a statement about the experiences of the 22-year-old with discrimination, which was published in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.

A video showing how African-American George Perry Floyd was killed in Minneapolis in the course of a violent arrest caused a worldwide outcry. His fate unleashed a global wave of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and sparked many discussions about aspects of diversity. Diversity, and racism in particular, is an important topic also in university studies, e.g. also for media companies – and for everyday life right here.

"Some people just touch my hair": Otherness as ongoing theme

Macromedia student Naomi Berhane picks up on this. Berhane’s parents are from Eritrea, she grew up in a white family in Germany. In her guest article "Some people just touch my hair" for the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, she describes her experiences. "Imagine that you would feel this way: A stranger just touches your hair, tries out how your curls react when you pull them down and let them bounce back up again. Twirls your hair between thumb and forefinger to sense how these unusual hairs feel. Well, are you feeling a little uncomfortable? Welcome to my world."

This is how Naomi Berhane sums up her experiences with racism, including those situations that may not be intentional, but still turn out hurtful and assaulting. She is disturbed by the forced confrontation with attributions and the constant pressure to justify oneself: "In many minds there are stereotypes, certain preconceptions. And those are held on to until  the other person proves the opposite. This constant burden of proof may not be meant badly, but it hurts."

Fight racism: less habit, more education

Naomi Berhane ends her guest article with a strong appeal for more education: "Racism does not always come from hatred, it also comes from habit and from too little education, from too little knowledge of what racism actually is. Take the current situation in this world as an opportunity to inform yourself. To show your children what is right and what is wrong. To show that it makes no difference what colour of skin a person has or where they come from. But above all, look at yourself, see what you can do differently. Each one of us can make this world a better place."

You can read the guest article in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger here.

Further information about studying Journalism at the Macromedia University of Applied Sciences can be found here.

Marlis Prinzing