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  1. Opinion: India must act against Afrophobia in its cities | Opinion | DW |
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  5. Opinion: India must act against Afrophobia in its cities

Colonialism scarred the destiny of millions of men, women and children and left an indelible mark on our world. It shaped European societies for centuries and led to deeply rooted prejudices and inequalities. Its consequences are still largely ignored or denied today.

Opinion: India must act against Afrophobia in its cities | Opinion | DW |

In a number of my country visits I have been worried by manifestations of both old and emerging forms of racism and discrimination against minorities. Black people are particularly exposed to racism and intolerance in many areas of their daily life. It is disturbing to note that in several European countries, rhetoric used by certain parties and politicians may be qualified as hate speech. There are, sadly, a number of examples where politicians have targeted their Black colleagues with racist abuse.

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The cases of former ministers Ms Kyenge and Ms Taubira, in Italy and France respectively, were among the most shocking. The rejection of diversity also has a potential deterrent effect on those who might engage in politics, thus perpetuating the underrepresentation of Black people in politics at national and European level. Politicians, journalists and opinion-makers have a particularly important role to play by not allowing such intolerance and hate to proliferate. They should be encouraged to abstain from negative stereotyping and to promote rights-based values.

Sports play an important role in the development of positive values in our society and have a strong impact on young people. Instead of being protected, he was sent off the pitch by the referee after reporting racist abuse.

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This example, far from being isolated, shows that regrettably racism still plagues sports, and football in particular. Insults, slogans, symbols, gestures and chants of a racist nature have no place in and around stadiums. European countries must prevent and combat these phenomena, protect the victims and sanction the perpetrators. Migrants have often been portrayed by media and politicians as a menace to security in Europe and, in the long term, a direct threat to our cultures and societies.

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Fuelling public anxiety about migration combined with the absence of a serious debate on the causes of migratory flows from Africa, which is the home of some of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world, cannot but reinforce the negative stereotypes associated with Black minorities in Europe. The practice of the Spanish authorities of summarily returning Sub-Saharan Africans to Morocco from the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla illustrates some of the dangers of this approach.

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Many European politicians call for closing the migration route from Libya and the immediate return of asylum-seekers from sub-Saharan Africa in the mistaken belief that their claims are always manifestly unfounded. They are ignoring that migrant flows from sub-Saharan Africa are multi-faceted and include people who are in need of protection and should be granted refugee or subsidiary protection status when they arrive in Europe. I am particularly concerned about the racial profiling of Black people and other visible ethnic minorities by law enforcement forces.

Conversely, Chinese views for lighter-than-average skin are more positive, as reflected in advertising.

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To overcome any perceived "Afrophobia", writer Langston Hughes suggested that European Americans must achieve peace of mind and accommodate the uninhibited emotionality of African Americans. Author James Baldwin similarly recommended that White Americans could quash any "Afrophobia" on their part by getting in touch with their repressed feelings, empathizing to overcome their "emotionally stunted" lives, and thereby overcome any dislike or fear of African Americans.

In , Tess Asplund made a viral protest against Neo-Nazism as part of her activism against Afrophobia. Some afrophobic sentiment centers around ideas of Africans being unsophisticated. Such perceptions include of Africans lacking a history of civilization, and visual imagery of such stereotypes include living in mudhuts and carrying spears and other notions indicating their primitiveness.


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Sweden, a European country known for its long history of openness and tolerance, now suffers from growing racial discrimination towards people of sub-Sahara African descent. In response to "a heightened xenophobic and racist attitude against migrants and refugee communities with African descent," the United Nations called on the Swedish government to take significant measures to end "Afrophobia" within the country.

Opinion: India must act against Afrophobia in its cities

The working group urged the Swedish government "to develop a Human Rights Strategy and other measures that would address racial discrimination against Afro-Swedes and Africans. Sweden's African community has been discriminated against due to "the lack of equal access to justice, racial profiling and the failure to effectively investigate, prosecute and deter Afrophobic hate crimes.

The number of hate crimes against Sweden's black community is on the rise. Reported cases of hate crimes against Afro-Swedes rose by 24 percent, according to a Swedish government report released in February. The report reveals that Afro-Swedes are among the minorities most exposed to hate crimes.

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As hate crimes prevail within the country, Sweden was hit by riots over the weekend. During heavy clashes between protesters and police in a poor suburb in Sweden's capital of Stockholm, 11 young people were arrested for rioting and arson.