The #DailyRacism platform has been querying hundreds of people in the last few months, asking them for recommendations on how to deal with racism and discrimination.This inquiry came about utilizing two different channels. Firstly, approximately 150 people sent us their top three recommendations via email. Secondly, more than 200 people were present at the Brussels Beursschouwburg plenary on 29 April, during which people were divided into groups and worked together to formulate possible solutions.
These recommendations were checked by experts such as Naima Charkoui (former director of Minderhedenforum) and Bambi Ceuppens (researcher).
The platform initiators have selected the following ten recommendations.
- Temporary quota are urgently needed, since people with a migration background are underrepresented in various important fields such as politics, government personnel, the media, etc. The many different governmental departments do poorly. The media are still a predominantly white field. Employers’ goals and good will have not yielded sufficiently results. That is why quota on different levels and in different fields are needed. In the case of the media, for instance, quotas could be implemented for creative professionals, guest speakers and in the editorial boards and management positions (and not just those dealing with issues of racism and discrimination).
- Proactive and systematic mystery calls in all fields and institutions. These mystery calls should have judicial validity and should be able to be submitted as evidence in a court of law when complaints are filed.
- A thorough system of social inspection with regard to racism, such as the system that is in place to inspect the food market. Alter the racism procedure to protect the victims when complaints are filed.
- Anti-discrimination laws that are clear, stricter, and that are actually enforced. These should also be attentive towards propagating consciousness with regard to the criminal nature and consequences of discriminatory behavior.
- Make the history of racism and colonization an educational topic. These should be part and parcel of educational plans and should not be left to teachers’ good will.
- Teachers’ courses need to be revised. There is currently little attention being paid to issues of diversity and students are insufficiently primed to teach in a multicultural society. Teachers are often unaware of institutional racism and thus need urgent support in lieu of the large number of testimonies on racism in our educational system.
- To combat arbitrarity and taking into account the structural inequality and the cascade system within the Belgian educational system and the negative effect this has on students with a migration background, we ask that independent officials are appointed to partake in class board meetings. These independent officials will take notes during meetings so that there is contestable evidence if necessary. We deem this necessary and important to instigate a change of mentality in teachers in the long run. This is only possible when teachers become aware of the existing exclusion mechanisms that exist within our educational system.
- Found a low-threshold hotline (0800 line) specifically targeting racism and discrimination where (mostly young) victims can file their complaints and turn to for advice. It is important to have a low-threshold organization that takes complaints involving racism and discrimination seriously. There is also a pressing need for the systematic and nationwide registration of these accounts and complaints per city, so that these can be mapped for future reference and response.
- Set up a broadly supportive website that can provide advice to victims and arm them against the negative effects of racism and discrimination. For instance by providing instructions on how to file an official complaint after racial discrimination.
- Found a decolonization and anti-racism organization to trace the roots of our colonial rhetoric and thought to proceed and combat these in fields such as education.
The #DailyRacism platform will publish a pdf booklet this Fall in which we will compile as many witness accounts of racism and discrimination as possible, but in which we will also include the dozens of recommendations made by civilians to help combat racism. After the success of the Brussels plenum we will also be organizing similar events in cities such as Antwerp, Ghent and Genk. This way we want to keep racism high on the agenda and instigate politicians, policy makers, employers, and other authorized institutions to take action.
Contact spokespersons of the #DailyRacism platform:
Bleri Lleshi firstname.lastname@example.org
Omar Ba email@example.com
Zeynep Balci firstname.lastname@example.org
Orlando Verde email@example.com
Samira Abakkouy firstname.lastname@example.org