Hello at the Federal Antidiscrimination Agency (FADA),
Should one be concerned when reading in an article on a German news website of an incident where a black couple of African decent with daughter intended to do some shopping and access was refused to them by store personnel? This during the period of the Corona restrictions policy.
As reason was cited that only a certain number of shoppers are allowed in the store at the same time. Strangely enough though, several other persons could enter the store while the African couple was still waiting, so the article noted.
The article quotes as follows: “The Rossmann employee explained that there are clear requirements that must be complied with.” The African couple even showed their ID to prove their legal residence. To no avail and they left. This can hardly be explained as a decision of an employee run wild. There had to be an instruction from higher up at ROSSMANN.
For the sake of completeness, it should be noted that the ECRI REPORT ON GERMANY, published on 17 March 2020, laments among others about the FADA the following (emphasis by me):
2. With regard to the promotion and prevention function of equality bodies, the FADA lacks the competence to intervene in the legislative procedure (§ 13j of GPR No. 2). It also lacks substantial competences with regard to the support and litigation function: while the FADA has the competence to assist persons exposed to racism and intolerance by providing information, redirecting them to other organisations and by mediating, it cannot provide them, as recommended in § 14a, c, d and e of GPR No. 2, with legal assistance, represent them before institutions, adjudicatory bodies and the courts, bring cases in its own name or intervene as amicus curiae, third party or expert. The members of the FADA’s network against discrimination cannot provide such assistance throughout Germany either. As pointed out in ECRI’s last report on Germany, the FADA also lacks the power to question persons and to apply for an enforceable court order or impose administrative fines if an individual or institution does not comply with a decision related to its investigation powers (§ 21 c and d of GPR No. 2).
3. Also with regard to the FADA’s independence, ECRI regrets to note certain shortcomings. The head of the FADA is appointed by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs based on a proposal of the Federal Government (§ 26.1 of the AGG), while, according to § 23 of GPR No. 2, the executive should not have a decisive influence in any stage of the selection procedure. In addition, the duration of the mandate of the head is tied to the legislative term of the parliament, and civil society points out that the recent vacancy was not publicised widely and in a transparent manner. In practice, this led, for the second time in the relatively short lifetime of the FADA, to a complaint by an unsuccessful applicant to the administrative court; as a result, the position has been vacant for many months. Furthermore, the law only provides for the drafting of a common report by the FADA and other institutions every four years for debate in Parliament. In contrast, equality bodies should, according to §§ 30 and 35 of GPR No. 2, publish annual reports that are discussed by parliament and government but are not subject to their approval or the approval by any other external party.
I personally have to say that I am not at all surprised about any form of racism in Germany, or as the well known economist Mark Blyth, a Scotsman married to a German, stated about the Germans: “They are all a wee bit racist” at 50:46 in the video. One might wonder what would happen in German cities if there was, god forbid, a black news presenter on TV on prime time? Burning streets and cars are well conceivable.
Thank you for your attention and with regards,
Excerpt from The City and The City and Coronavirus by Kevin Rogan in Failed Architecture.
“Withdrawal from city life is a luxury. For the upper classes, the quarantine is an opportunity to relax (punctuated by Zoom meetings), and even fetishize the collapse: look no further than the New York Times photoseries, “The Great Empty” (with an introduction, naturally, by Michael Kimmelman). Public emptiness becomes a dystopic object of contemplation, evoking “the romance of ruins” or a colonial coming across the “remains of a lost civilization”. But out of sight (or maybe just out of mind), “essential workers” must continue life as before, with the additional risk of contracting disease. There is no solidarity, no ruined spiritual landscape here. There is no single, overarching “way of life”. There is no “human family”. Commitment to these fabrications belies a comfortable position at the top of things.
Beyond this, in New York City, the streets remain relatively lively outside of tourist epicenters, as people continue to commute to work, or find social distancing impossible in cramped apartments. But for the comfortable, there is a feeling that the city has been lost. This is not true—it’s just that the disparity at the heart of urban life is now unavoidable, so blindingly obvious that even Kimmelman is forced to notice it.
There is a stark difference, for example, between the writer safely ensconced in their apartment, whose biggest risk is a trip to the grocery store or the pharmacy, and the worker for whom there is no luxury of working from home. Consider the employees at the DBK1 Amazon warehouse in Queens, where a positive coronavirus case was recorded on March 18th. Amazon workers were notified of the positive case via text message and yet still expected to show up for their shifts, echoing Amazon’s behavior at their European warehouses. The pathetic “hazard pay” offered by Amazon—a mere $2 extra—is a pittance, a slap in the face of workers that continue to risk their lives to fill orders of new books and furniture. Amazon’s calculus is simple: workers are simply grist for the mill. As one general manager has been cited as saying, “you have to understand that orders have to be fulfilled”.
An encore hello Rossmann Drugstores,
keeping quiet does not seem to be the appropriate option of a response to this:
You can do better. Give it a try.
Hello at Rossmann,