WiG Leadership Statement: Black Lives Matter

We, the leadership of the Coalition of Women in German, condemn the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery amidst numerous other heinous acts of racist, white supremacist violence. We would like to express our condolences to their loved ones and affirm our support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

We want to express our solidarity with the protesters demanding justice and with our Black colleagues, students, and community members. The global pandemic was already setting into greater relief the inequities faced by People of Color, from horrific anti-Asian and anti-immigrant violence to stark racial inequalities with regard to access to medical care. These events further remind us of the work all of us, and especially white people, have to do in order to create a truly equitable society. 

To our non-Black members: If you are standing by, thinking that this situation does not apply to you, you are allowing structural inequalities to persist. It is never enough to simply not participate in overtly racist acts; it is about giving up your privilege and working to dismantle systems of oppression. As demonstrated most recently by Amy Cooper’s false report to the police, the racist anxieties of white women have long been central to the enabling of white supremacy. Thus, as members of a feminist organization with a majority white membership, we must commit ourselves to anti-racist action. 

Both as an organization and as individuals affecting our own spheres of influence, we must fight against all behavior that works to uphold systemic oppression and normalize injustice. Below is a list of resources to educate ourselves and take action.

Act Now: Call for Justice for George Floyd

Minnesota Freedom Fund

Critical Resistance’s Abolition Organizing Toolkit

Anti-racism resources for white people

An Anti-Racist Reading List

Resources collected by Dr. Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility

Anti-Oppression LibGuide – New York Institute of Technology

Information for white parents having “the talk” about race with their children

WiG Leadership Statement after Hanau

In recognition of the intertwined histories and present manifestations of antisemitism, anti-Muslim and anti-Black racism, xenophobia, heteropatriarchy and white supremacy and as feminist scholars within German studies committed to intersectional understandings of social justice, we condemn the violence that has again come to a head in the last week. We are sorrowed by the attacks at two Shisha bars in Hanau and the resulting deaths.

Once again, a violent attack has made painfully visible the ways in which white supremacy and heteropatriarchy continue to wield power in our society. These attacks demonstrate the entanglements of gendered anti-immigrant racism and misogyny. The nine victims of this rampage were part of Turkish, Kurdish, and Roma communities in Hanau.

We express our solidarity with the families of those murdered and with immigrant communities in Germany. We note that our solidarity with the targets of xenophobic racism must include a commitment to fighting racism in all its forms as well as a refusal to normalize racist ideology, misinformation, and far-right radicalization on social media and in our societies. 

Many are asking how this could happen in a country with fairly strict gun regulations. While we affirm our support for the proper regulation of firearms, it is clear that such actions are not enough. Ending the violence of white supremacist heteropatriarchy is a task that requires our broad interventions through our daily actions and interactions; through education; through the speech and discourse we normalize in our culture, whether through art, literature, social media, news media; and through our organized activism.

As a feminist organization, we are committed to teaching and scholarship that challenges interlocking systems of oppression and power. Feminist goals must include the end of racism and white supremacy. The systems that promote and rely on racism; sexism; homophobia; transphobia; ableism; colonialism; and other forms of exploitation, hatred, and exclusion are interlinked and often support one another. We express our solidarity with all groups who fight these systems of oppression.

This continues to be a painful time for our members, students, and colleagues who are targeted directly, often daily, by racist, Islamophobic, antisemitic, xenophobic, and misogynist violence – whether as physical threat or verbal aggression. We express our solidarity with all of you. 

Individual acts respond to a social context, one in which hate speech enables and promotes violent actions. We call on our members, as teachers, scholars, and leaders, to name and challenge white supremacy and heteropatriarchy wherever it is manifest, whether in everyday speech, social media, political discourse, or elsewhere. We cannot allow violent speech to seem “normal.” We cannot allow an atmosphere that enables and normalizes such horrific violence to continue.

Coalition of Women in German Leadership Statement on Halle

In recognition of the intertwined histories and present manifestations of antisemitism, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, heteropatriarchy and white supremacy

and as feminist scholars within German studies committed to intersectional understandings of social justice,

we condemn the violence that has again come to a head in the last week. We are sorrowed by the attacks against a synagogue and kebab shop in Halle and the resulting deaths on Yom Kippur. Once again, a violent attack has made painfully visible the ways in which white supremacy and heteropatriarchy continue to wield power in our society. The attacks, and the livestream that accompanied them, demonstrate the entanglements of gendered antisemitism, anti-immigrant racism, and misogyny. 

We express our solidarity with Jewish and immigrant communities in Germany. We note that our feminist solidarity with the targets of antisemitic and xenophobic racism must include a commitment to fighting racism and misogyny in all its forms.

We note as well that the calls for more police protection will not solve the problems of white supremacy and racism that create a culture promoting racist violence. Yes, racist violence is a security issue: as are all forms of precarity that expose groups to the threat of violence and death. This is a question of human safety and security. All too often racist thought has proven to inform police action, and police action has so often resulted in targeting communities of color. Ending the violence of white supremacist heteropatriarchy is a task that requires our broad interventions through our daily actions and interactions; through education; through the speech and discourse we normalize in our culture, whether through art, literature, social media, news media; and through our organized activism.

As a feminist organization, we are committed to teaching and scholarship that challenges interlocking systems of oppression and power. Feminist goals must include the end of racism and white supremacy. The systems that promote and rely on racism; sexism; homophobia; transphobia; ableism; colonialism; and other forms of exploitation, hatred, and exclusion are interlinked and often support one another. We express our solidarity with all groups who fight these systems of oppression.

This continues to be a painful time for our members, students, and colleagues who are targeted directly, often daily, by racist, antisemitic, xenophobic, and misogynist violence – whether as physical threat or verbal aggression. We express our solidarity with all of you. 

Individual acts respond to a social context, one in which hate speech enables and promotes violent actions. We call on our members, as teachers, scholars, and leaders, to name and challenge white supremacy and heteropatriarchy wherever it is manifest, whether in everyday speech, social media, political discourse, or elsewhere. We cannot allow violent speech to seem “normal.” We cannot allow an atmosphere that enables such horrific violence to continue.

Coalition of Women in German Steering Committee Statement on Islamophobic Violence and the Murders in Christchurch

In recognition of the intertwined histories and present manifestations of antisemitism, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, heteropatriarchy, and white supremacy –

And as feminist scholars within German studies committed to intersectional understandings of social justice –

We condemn the Islamophobia, and all forms of white supremacy and racism, that have manifested in this last week in the murders at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, even as we mourn the victims. This is not an incident that has occurred apart from our own location in North America. The 2015 shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, the 2018 shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and the Christchurch murders are all part of white supremacist violence. This violence is not isolated to these individual acts of terror, but rather, a part of a wider structure of racist violence that is enabled and promoted by racist, antisemitic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic speech, microaggressions, policies, and policy proposals.

We reiterate: As feminists, it is important to speak out in moments of oppression. We know that this violence is not new, but the murders last week in Christchurch painfully illustrate the ways in which white supremacy and heteropatriarchy continue to wield power in our society. We have joined in public protests, and we will continue to protest and speak out. We recognize that silence becomes complicity.

As a feminist organization, we are committed to scholarship that challenges interlocking systems of oppression and power. We recognize that feminist goals must include the end of racism and white supremacy. We recognize that the very existence of German studies in North America cannot be separated from a history of settler colonialism. We recognize that systems that promote and rely on Islamophobia; racism; xenophobia; sexism; homophobia; transphobia; ableism; colonialism; antisemitism; and other forms of exploitation, hatred, and exclusion are interlinked, and often support one another. For our members, students, and colleagues who are targeted directly, often daily, by these forms of oppression and violence – whether as physical threat or verbal aggression: we mourn with you and express our solidarity with all groups who work against these systems.

We once again call on our members, as teachers, scholars, and leaders, to name and challenge white supremacist heteropatriarchy wherever it appears, whether in everyday speech, social media, political discourse, or elsewhere. We cannot allow violent actions, speech and policies to become “normal!” We must interrupt a social context that enables such violence.

Women in German Statement on Antisemitic, Racist, and Transphobic Language and Violence

  • In recognition of the intertwined histories and present manifestations of antisemitism, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, heteropatriarchy and white supremacy –
  • And as feminist scholars within German studies committed to intersectional understandings of social justice –

We condemn the violence that has again come to a head in the last week. We are sorrowed by the murders of 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and the murders of two African Americans in a Kentucky grocery store, all at the hands of white supremacists. We denounce the symbolic violence that has taken place through the circulation of misinformation about trans people and transphobic language, through antisemitic and racist speech posted in social media and in the physical public, and the ongoing rhetorical attacks targeting immigrants and refugees.

As feminists, it is important to speak out in moments of oppression. We know that this violence is not new, but the convergence of these violences over the last week makes painfully visible the ways in which white supremacy and heteropatriarchy continue to wield power in our society. We have marched and protested, and we will continue to march and protest and speak out. We recognize that silence becomes complicity.

As a feminist organization, we are committed to scholarship that challenges interlocking systems of oppression and power. We recognize that feminist goals must include the end of racism and white supremacy. We recognize that systems that promote and rely on racism; sexism; homophobia; transphobia; ableism; colonialism; and other forms of exploitation, hatred and exclusion are interlinked, and often support one another. We express our solidarity with all groups who stand against these systems of oppression.

This continues to be a painful time for our members, students, and colleagues who are targeted directly, often daily, by racist, antisemitic, xenophobic and transphobic violence – whether as physical threat or verbal aggression. We stand with all of you.

Individual acts respond to a social context, one in which hate speech enables and promotes violent actions. We call on our members, as teachers, scholars, and leaders, to name and challenge white supremacy and heteropatriarchy wherever it is manifest, whether in everyday speech, social media, political discourse, or elsewhere. We cannot allow violent speech to seem “normal.” We cannot allow an atmosphere that enables such horrific violence to continue.

– Women in German (WiG) Steering Committee

In Memoriam Julie Klassen

Dear Wiggies,

We are heartbroken to hear the news of Julie Klassen’s passing. As we enact change at our institutions in this political climate, we must also remember those who worked tirelessly before us. Julie was a longtime active and activist member of Women in German who frequently attended the annual meetings (and helped script the Cabaret!), took care of printing and mailing the Newsletter for several years, co-organized the 1990 annual meeting, and served as president from 2006-2008. She was a supportive and enthusiastic mentor to many younger Wiggies over the decades of her engagement with the organization. We recall Julie’s work and presence at WiG with fondness and admiration. While we are sad to know that we will no longer see her there, we will celebrate her life and her contributions to our profession. We remember and will remain inspired by her sharp intellect, her generosity, her care for and support of junior faculty, her humour, her commitment to feminism, her work as an activist, and her deep love for literature.

We extend our condolences to those who knew her and her work well.

Sincerely,
Your WiG Team