"When is Refugee Policy Racist?"
Prof. Dr. Stefanie Ernst, Prof. Dr. Joachim Renn, Dr. Errol Babacan
The war in Ukraine has forced a large number of people to flee. In European countries, they are encountering a great willingness to help, solidarity and, above all, surprisingly cooperative bureaucracies. Criticism of this willingness to help has been voiced on the margins, but still audibly, because it seems to be quite different from earlier resentment against refugees. Ukrainians, it is said, are given preferential and privileged treatment compared to other refugees. While other refugees (Syrians, Africans) are perceived as "different" and are either immediately turned away at European borders or subjected to miserable conditions upon admission, Ukraine is favored, its inhabitants are declared culturally "suitable". It seems to mean a difference that they are typecast as "white, Christian and blue-eyed". The suspicion of racism is in the room. Are the current refugee policy and the willingness to accept refugees, which is currently widespread in civil society, racist in substance? Does a latent, a structural, a cultural or a systemically induced racism lurk behind the humanitarian facade of helpfulness? We want to discuss what sociology can contribute to sorting out, understanding and perhaps even explaining the circumstances.
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