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Africans in the Basque Country, more than just activism against racism

25 May 2023 - 15:23

In Euskal Herria, the Black and African person, and I imagine that in the rest of the Western world the same thing happens, seems like an eternal sentence, individually or collectively. It seems that he is condemned for life to commit himself to social movements against racism and the discourse of hatred for life, to political actions to promote diversity and defend coexistence, and all that this can lead to as stereotypes and prejudice.

Apparently, in our context, the African black individual cannot be defined or linked politically and socially in any area other than racism and diversity. For almost every white person here, African black people seem to be always discriminated against, seeking piety and understanding. In addition, it must be the engine of diversity, because it must be remembered: African black or black, here in the Basque Country or there in Africa it will always be different, exotic, from a European point of view. So it's up to him to learn to live, to behave, to integrate, to adapt, etc. Right?

For almost every white person here, the African black person seems to be always discriminated against, seeking pity and understanding.

Before continuing this discussion, it must be stressed that under no circumstances is it a question of delegitimising the fight against racism and work for diversity and coexistence, which are important and which must continue to make progress in ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all. I myself enjoy what was achieved thanks to the work of many years of men and women of all colours, immersed in these tasks.

And what just happened in Spanish football with the case of the Real Madrid player, the Vinicius Junior, reminds us that in this society being black, being a millionaire or not, being famous or not, puts you at risk of any kind of violence and discrimination at any time in your life. That is why we must continue to fight for racism.

However, making black people responsible for being anti-racial agents from social movements and public policies, without being able to participate in other political and social debates outside this area, is really the most dangerous racism: institutional racism. This discourse that exalts respect for diversity keeps some groups out of the great social debates about life and the economy, of the boxes that never emerge: anti-racism, diversity, coexistence, etc.

To always refer to a collective only because of its diversity and inequality, is to condemn it to a concrete situation, it is passive discrimination

It is true that not recognising the diversity and differences of one and another is denying their existence, but it is also true that always speaking to a collective because of their diversity and their difference is condemning them to a given situation, that is, to put it another way, that it is discrimination, passive, even if in this case it may seem positive.

And that passive discrimination is what allows those “Vinicius are a monkey” of football stadiums. Discrimination included in the favorite motto of entrepreneurs and politicians “We are anti-racial and protect diversity”, applied only to black or African people at conferences, which normalizes and implements common racism, presenting it only as a problem of a specific collective, as if it could only be solved by means of photographs with them.

The day in Africa we want to claim that we are more than black and African people with folkloric culture committed to the fight against racism.

So, in addition to celebrating May 25, 2023, African Day, we want to claim that we are more black and African people with folkloric culture committed to fighting racism forever. We are neighbors and neighbors of the annex building, of the upper floor, of the ground floor, we are partners and partners, and we have the opinion about the housing law, it is just that yes about the law, about the law of mobility and about all the laws that affect Spanish citizenship, because we live in this country and we want what anyone else wants: decent living conditions. Being different and anti-racial should not be excluded from other social and political spaces. In the end, the best way to put an end to common and institutional racism is perhaps to appreciate that in the political and social spaces it is only us. Black, African yes, but people like you.

Toussaint Degueno, a young venous settled in Vitoria

Pro-Africa Group (network of sixteen Hego Euskal Herria NGOs working in Africa)

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