Being subjected to discrimination can be hurtful, confusing, embarrassing, overwhelming. It can cause anger and/or a feeling of helplessness and weakness. Discrimination can motivate objection and/or lead to resignation. There is no such thing as one right answer, and neither is there a completely wrong response. People react differently – depending on their personality, their state of mind on the day, the situation, the other people involved, events that happened earlier, assumed consequences, and past experiences... Sometimes there are spontaneous reactions, sometimes there are reactions that come to fruition with more distance to the situation and perhaps in consultation with others.
Addressing and speaking out against discrimination is not easy. However, simply accepting it often has consequences as well.
The following rule applies: Discrimination violates the dignity of the individual and infringes upon the fundamental right to equal treatment. It is also provided by law." - from the Anti-Discrimination Association Germany(only available in German) (Antidiskriminierungsverband Deutschland)
Have you experienced discrimination?
- Always remember: You did nothing wrong.
- We recommend you talk to others about the situation. With friends, family or in a counseling session.
- You can act against discriminating conduct. Witnesses and/or proof are advantageous in such a situation. For instance, you can talk to individuals that were present when the situation occurred or save e-mail contacts.
- Keep a written record of your recollections of the event after it occurred. You can find a template for such a written record (“Gedächtnisprotokoll”) from the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency here (only available in German).
It is not always easy to put discriminatory behavior into words and to recognize it. If you are unsure or have any questions, you can always contact the counseling services at the University of Potsdam.