"Only happens in the USA?": Christl Clear on everyday racism in Austria
"Only happens in the USA?": Christl Clear on everyday racism in Austria

Police violence and racism don't just affect the United States. We spoke to Christl Clear about recent events and what we can ALL do.


WOMAN: First of all, how are you? How have the last few days been for you?

Christl Clear: I'm pretty upset and feel like the past few days have been a roller coaster of emotions. I want to be happy about the solidarity online and in many parts of the world also offline, but the fact that many people are so surprised by the extent of racism that many people around the world have to grapple with is a sign that we still have a lot of educational work to do have to afford. And when I say “we” I don't just mean POC and Allies, but also the media landscape.

What would you meet people who claim the issue only affects blacks in the US?

Christl Clear: I would ask you to google the following names: Ahmed F., Cheibani Wague, Essa Touray, Marcus Omofuma, Edwin Ndupu, Bakary Jassey, Mike Brennan, Richard Ibekwe. Then I hope that their blinkers have fallen off and that we can talk about how problematic this ignorant mindset is. Police violence is an international problem, America is just the hotspot.

Everyday racism: is there a formative situation that stuck in your memory?

Christl Clear: No, they are all equally bad and all cause small scars. Most people have learned to live with it because they are exposed to it every day. But the delicatessen employee who refused to take my turn is just as bad as the bouncer who refused to let me into the bar because I made a short phone call outside and let me stand outside in freezing temperatures for a quarter of an hour. That, in turn, is just as bad as the lady who got up in the subway after I sat down next to her and says "Weh, I'm not sitting next to a gritty Ne * er!", Etc … I remember all of them stayed, shaped me and encouraged me to stand up again and again and to raise my voice.

"These things don't happen every day, but they happen regularly."

Are racist comments more likely to fall online or offline?

Christl Clear: It happens to me more offline. It's the taxi drivers who don't want to take any neighbors with them, the delicatessen staff who don't serve you, people who randomly yell at you, people who point their fingers at me, parents who don't correct their children when they say something "wrong", the bouncers who say the club is full and when you come in because you know someone, only to find out that there are hardly any people or, etc … I don't even want to start with everyday racism, that you have to deal with. These things don't happen every day, but they do happen on a regular basis. All of this bears no relation to the few online attacks.

What can you do? How can you get involved or show solidarity?

Christl Clear: I think it's great that everyone on Instagram is jumping on the bandwagon, sharing posts and videos, sharing the hashtag #blacklivesmatter and so on. But people who are regularly exposed to racism need real-life solidarity. Let people know that they cannot make racist comments, point them out if they are acting ignorantly, pay attention to diversity and please don't stop when this wave has weakened. Because if this is no longer an issue for the masses on social media, POC is still grappling with racism.

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