A club for diversity
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Reasoned debate on this important subject is a process of continuous learning and understanding – that never ends. Always being on the ball is not only of crucial importance on sports grounds across the world. It's about playing together. As was the case two years ago, FC Bayern is again taking part this year in the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March involving people at the club such as Julian Nagelsmann, Robert Lewandowski, Leroy Sané, Karin Danner, Bianca Rech, Jens Scheuer, Giulia Gwinn, Saki Kumagai, Marko Pesic and Othello Hunter as part of ‘Red against Racism’ in campaign shirts to make people aware of the need for tolerance, diversity and openness through the teams in football and basketball.
"Sport sets an example of what the whole of society should be like," said the Japan international Saki Kumagai of the FC Bayern Women's team during the photo shoot: "We come from a lot of different countries but go onto the pitch as a team and stick together. We all respect and value each other. And the opponents regardless of where they come from. Everybody in sport contributes a different cultural background – but instead of perhaps finding things to be strange you always have the opportunity to be open with and interested in your fellow human beings. I've learned a lot in my time in different countries and I've come across so many people with different stories. It's wonderful."
„Everybody in sport contributes a different cultural background – but instead of perhaps finding things to be strange you always have the opportunity to be open with and interested in your fellow human beings.”
Jennifer Danquah was a key contributor to the round table discussion last March organised by FC Bayern as part of the anniversary of Red against Racism. Together with president Herbert Hainer, Serge Gnabry, the France international Viviane Asseyi and Demond Greene of the FC Bayern basketball team, the educational scientist discussed the examples of racism. She said it is important that FC Bayern remain on the ball with this subject as the basic problem is still that debate, insofar that it is held, "too often remains superficial," said the 28-year-old. "We need a deeper understanding." It is helpful if a club with the reach of FC Bayern can draw attention with symbolically important campaigns but they cannot stop there.
We all bear the responsibility to ensure that mistakes of the past are not repeated is the view of club president Herbert Hainer. And we have to be aware these days that not just physical violence is detrimental, said Viviane Asseyi of the FC Bayern Women's team at last year's round table discussion. Forms of everyday racism are not appreciated by a lot of white people, said Jennifer Danquah. The question of where somebody comes from immediately draws a justification reflex as the persons concerned are immediately marked out as a non-German. And touching Afro hair represents transgression of boundaries. In such moments the people affected are seen as something different and less valuable said the expert. On top of that, there is the difficulty of many black people not having a point of support particularly in their working environment. Their experience of racism thereby remains invisible. And lack of empathy for people affected ensures stagnation in the battle against racism.
Racism is not only the loud, shocking scandal caused by headlines, explains Jennifer Danquah. Racism is often unspoken, pervasive and subliminal. Therefore it is important to develop a collective understanding of the underlying principles. When FC Bayern launched the Red against Racism campaign in March 2020 the club formulated an appeal to all people in the name of the club and the whole FC Bayern family. At the stadium, in halls, on the street, everywhere: Listen to what's being said, stand-up, discuss, counter the argument – help! The important thing is: People against racism are in the majority. But they must not stay silent if in doubt. Looking the other way does not reduce racism.
Images: © Fritz Beck
All images are available in the current edition of the club magazine '51':