Criticism of documentary about anti-racism training on ZDF

On July 10, 2014, ZDFneo showed the documentary “Der Rassist in uns”. Volunteers take part in the so-called “Blue-Eyed Training”, which is designed to let participants experience first-hand what discrimination means. Does the experiment really make clear how racism works? Does it help fight and push back against racism? “Miteinander – Netzwerk für Demokratie und Weltoffenheit in Sachsen-Anhalt e.V.” finds no and argues in the article “The authoritarian character. The ZDF Project ‘The Racist in Us'”that the experiment contradicts an “emancipatory educational work”. In our opinion, the approach of Blue-Eyed trainings, which aim to evoke empathy and understanding in White people (“in four hours you can empathize with what racism feels like”), rather trivializes racism experiences of Black people and People of Color. Racism is reduced to an interpersonal level instead of addressing the complex interaction with societal and institutional levels. From our perspective, the experiment neglects not only perspectives of resistance, but also the historically grown, structural character of racism, which Ahmer Rahman’s clip on Reverse Racism sums up well.