The Go Africa…Go Germany…-Alumni Association e.V. (GOAL) has signed an open letter to the German schoolbook publishers Westermann Verlag and Schroedel Verlag. The letter criticizes the often still stereotypical and racist representation of Africa and people of African descent in the companys’ geography books. These books are widely used in German schools to teach young people about the world.

In signing the letter, GOAL has joined organizations such as the “Netzwerk Rassismus an Schulen” (NeRaS) and the “Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland e.V.”.

The letter can be accessed here and gives several examples of stereotypical texts and pictures in the books. It also criticizes the sometimes incorrect and imprecise representation of African history and society.

A realistic and up to date picture of other cultures is an important prerequisite for understanding and appreciation – something that cannot be learned early enough.

This is why GOAL strongly supports the requests of the letter:

  • A full revision of the school books with regard to content and methodology – from an anti-racist and diversity point of view;
  • A multi-perspective representation of Africa, its history and its people;
  • The prevention of racist, ethnocentric stereotypes;
  • A response to the criticism by the Westermann Verlag, including a statement on how to ensure non-discriminatory language and content in its schoolbooks in the future.

For more information on the discussion and on the first reaction of the Westermann Verlag, also read this article by the newspaper “Die Süddeutsche”.

by Lisa Breitenbruch (GAGG Alumni 4th generation)