Playing in the Dark


Playing in the Dark

... or the RACISM TRAP

A three-part discussion series at the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN

With the the series PLAYING IN THE DARK or the Racism Trap with Michel Friedman, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN examines and discusses the the racist discourse in Germany - competent and nuanced, polarizing and connecting, undogmatic and free of fear.

On three different evenings, notable guests from the arts and culture, politics, journalism, science and research will come together to discuss.

The entirety of the debates were recorded and can be viewed on YouTube (in German):

"You Can't Say That" - Discriminatory Language in Politics, Media & the Every-Day

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

"From Childhood On" - Racism: Origins, Mechanisms & Ways Out

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall" - Who is the Most Integrated of Them All?

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

December 15, 2010 | 7 PM | Saal

"You Can't Say That"

Discriminatory Language in Politics, Media & the Every-Day


Europeans sit, Africans squat. Europeans discuss, Africans babble. The Christian Occident suffers family tragedies, Muslims commit honor killings. And when Asians smile, the European should be wary. Racism can also speak with subtle words: The supposedly neutral term 'migration background' has in the meantime become synonymous with 'problem'. Even supposed patrons of objectivity and neutrality, such as journalists, are incessantly walking straight into the Racism Trap: Peter Scholl-Latour seeks to strip the audience of their fear for terror alerts by raising an eyebrow at the organizational incompetence of "the Oriental in general" on broadcast television. At the same time, German hip hop artists - whatever their background - rap battle against each other with terms such as 'sellout nigger'.

How entrenched is discriminatory language in the media, politics and the every-day? How do seemingly neutral terms take on racist meanings? And lastly: How do artistic and cultural producers with transcultural backgrounds deal with this? By adopting and satirizing it or showing resistance? Do as you please? Or is it a question of perspective?

Elizabeth Blonzen, Actress & Writer
Masayo Kajimura, Video Artist & Filmmaker
Shermin Langhoff, Director Ballhaus Naunynstraße
Nadja Ofuatey-Alazard, Journalistin & Writer
Imran Ayata, Writer, DJ, Founding Member of Kanak Attak & Associate & Manager of communications agency a,b&one
Moderation: Michel Friedman

November 24, 2010 | 7 PM | Saal

"From Childhood On"

Racism: Origins, Mechanisms & Ways Out

   Like Horst Seehofer, who calls for a halt to Arab and Turkish immigration, Thilo Sarrazin has continued in this vein with his latest attacks on the German President.

Both politicians hail 'from the center of society' and assert they are not racist. Most proponents of their theses who come from mainstream society purport the same, which often accompanied by vacuous yet very telling statement: 'I am not racist, but…'

There is obviously a need for clarification.

What is racism? How does it come about? How does it work? What masks does it bear and what consequences result? And lastly: What are the ways out of the the 'racism trap'?

Prof. Dr. Iman Attia, Education Researcher at the Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin
Prof. Dr. Maisha Eggers, Education Researcher at the Universität Magdeburg
Petra Rosenberg, Education Researcher and Chairperson of the Landesverband Deutscher Sinti und Roma Berlin-Brandenburg
Prof. Dr. Michal Bodemann, Sociologist at the University of Toronto
Moderation: Michel Friedman

October 27, 2010 | 7 PM | Saal

"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall"

Who is the Most Integrated of Them All?


With increasing frequency, members of ethnic or cultural minorities are orientating themselves by a question which is simultaneously hidden from mainstream society yet openly discussed: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most integrated of them all?"

The opening event addresses the question by discussing how the accompanying implications affect the self-image of those belonging to cultural minorities in Germany.

States of shock & self-loathing or solidarity & resistance? How does one feel when confronted with an omnipresent, generalizing image of oneself which is masked by a supposed objectivity? What does one do with 'good' and 'bad' ascriptions from the outside? What happens in Germany when complex societal challenges become 'ethinicized' or 'culturalized'?

The pressure to define and to define oneself is threatening to become all-powerful.

Dr. Naika Foroutan, Migration Researcher, HU Berlin
Dr. Kien Nghi Ha, Political and Cultural Scientist
Anetta Kahane, Chairperson of the »Amadeu-Antonio-Stiftung«
Dr. Mekonnen Mesghena, Head of »Migration & Diversity« Department at the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung
Maryam Stibenz, Integration Commissioner of the District Berlin-Mitte
Moderation: Michel Friedman