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Frankfurt Central Station symbolises the mobility of modern society, is a hub in the city, in Germany and in Europe. It stands for the joyful anticipation of a journey far away or for the hope of arriving safely and coming home. However, the central station is also a place where people who are read and/or racialised ⊕ as migrant and whose mobility is thus connoted as problematic are threatened and affected by Racial Profiling ⊕ on a daily basis. In the video, S. and Miguel from Copwatch Frankfurt talk about racial profiling and the political work against it.
The main railway station is the gateway to a closely networked world and the arrival point in the European metropolis of Frankfurt. Almost 500,000 travellers arrive, depart or continue their journey here every day. Being mobile, being on the move, being able to move freely is a central motor of life, a matter of course for many. Freedom of movement is a fundamental right for EU citizens. In the summer of 2015, people at the »gates of Europe« fought hard for a brief moment to take this for granted. Some of them also arrived here at the main station in Frankfurt in search of a life in safety and peace. The images of civil society for help and solidarity at the main station here and throughout Germany were emblematic of the so-called »German welcome culture« at the time. While this fit in quite well with the self-image of a humanitarian, (once again) good German nation, it also stood in stark contrast to the realities of German asylum and migration policy.
Racially excluded and controlled
Realities of racism and nationalism inscribe themselves into the city and as well as into people’s lives here at main station. Because freedom of movement does not apply equally to all people. Mobility is categorised, evaluated, promoted or limited. People are made into »expats«, »refugees« or »migrants«. When »migration« is mentioned, it is often in a negative and racist context. Migration is usually treated as a social problem that needs to be solved. One that supposedly threatens law and order. One that is closely entangled with capitalist interests and racism.
And people who are read and/or racialised as migrant feel this every day — also here at the main station. For example, when they are checked by the police »without suspicion« because of »external characteristics«. Because they are assumed to have a migration history or a certain origin, the main station and its surroundings are anything but a safe place for them to arrive, to leave, to stay, to be (welcomed). Copwatch Frankfurt counters the normality of racial profiling and racist police violence with concrete support for those affected, solidarity-based activation of passers-by and political public relations work. You can find out more about the work of the initiative here.
In racism research, the term »racialised« describes the categorisation and hierarchisation of social groups as well as the attribution of meaning to certain characteristics of these groups.
Racial profiling refers to police measures and measures taken by other security, immigration and customs officers, such as identity checks, questioning, surveillance, searches or even arrests, which are not based on a concrete suspicion or danger (such as the behaviour of a person or group), but solely on the basis of (»external«) racialised or ethnicised characteristics — in particular skin colour or (presumed) religious affiliation. Often there are also interconnections with other dimensions of inequality such as gender, socio-economic status, legal status, sexuality, disability, language and age.
Deportation prisons and the resistance against them
The authority for foreigners
The difficult way to both a residence and working permit
Working in Frankfurt
The fight for workers’ rights
Racial Profiling as a constant threat
The fight for a selforganised migrant center
The attack in Hanau
Against racist terror and oblivion
Important hub for migrant life
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The tour is free for everyone and is accessible to as many people as possible. At the same time, we are dependent on donations and support — we want to make the tour better known and, in a second step, expand it to include additional topics and stations.
The project is designed, organized and carried out by the non-profit association turn the corner. turn the corner is committed to a society in which we together and consciously shape how we want to live and work independently. A society in which people can be different without coercion. Learn more about turn the corner.