Diversity instead of prejudice - The anti-discrimination column

By Andy Schammo Switch to German for original article

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Anti-discrimination and social justice: A reflective column that invites you to rethink. Join author Andy Schammo once a month on a journey through complex issues and discover ways to create an inclusive and just society.

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It is time to look at the diverse issues of anti-discrimination and social justice. As the author of this column, I aim to address a wide range of issues in this area and offer readers a reflective perspective. I want to encourage you to think about these issues, broaden the discourse and actively contribute to the creation of an inclusive and just society.

What qualifies me to write about the issues of anti-discrimination and social justice? This is a valid and important question. Therefore, I would like to give you an insight into my personal background and experiences.

I am Andy Schammo and I work as a teacher and staff member in the field of anti-discrimination in the Ministry of Education. Through my professional work, I deal with the effects of discrimination and injustice on a daily basis. I see first-hand how prejudice and inequality can affect people's lives. My part-time master's degree in school management expands my knowledge and allows me to look more deeply into the challenges in the education system.

In addition, I have been involved in the field of anti-discrimination for many years. Through this work, I have had the opportunity to work with various organisations and activists working for social justice. These experiences have sharpened my perspective and given me a broad understanding of the many facets of discrimination.

"I want to encourage you […] to actively contribute to the creation of an inclusive and just society."

My qualification lies not only in my personal experiences, but also in my passion for social justice and my commitment to an inclusive society. The aim of this column is to raise awareness, provide food for thought and promote dialogue on anti-discrimination and social justice.

It is undoubtedly important to create platforms for those affected to have their voices heard and their experiences understood. But in this column, I would like to focus on a scientific and analytical perspective and shed light on issues from a broader perspective. By avoiding interviews and personal accounts, I want to give readers the opportunity to look at the content from different, factual and scientific perspectives and draw their own conclusions. There are many advantages to focusing on objective information and leaving personal emotions out of it. Emotions can influence the way we process and interpret information. They can cloud our judgement and cause us to jump to conclusions. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because emotions are an essential part of our humanity and can help us make deep and personal connections to the issues we care about. But when we are trying to gain a clear understanding of complex issues, emotionality can sometimes be a hindrance.

Moreover, when we look at specific examples, we can quickly come to the conclusion that this complex subject area is reduced exclusively to one specific case. This can give rise to the idea that one would "not do the behaviour described anyway", which can lead to evading deeper self-reflection. It is easy to reject something that one considers irrelevant without looking at it thoroughly. But it is precisely this mindset that can prevent us from seeing new perspectives and broadening our understanding.

By avoiding interviews and personal accounts, I want to allow readers to focus on the facts. Therefore, as the author of this column, I do not only want to draw on personal experience. I attach great importance to sound research and the inclusion of different perspectives in order to paint a comprehensive picture. I am aware that there are a variety of viewpoints and opinions on these issues and I want to create a space where readers are encouraged to draw their own conclusions.

The anti-discrimination movement has made great strides in recent years, but there is still much to be done. We need to understand the complexities of discrimination and recognise that it is not just about individual prejudice, but also about structural barriers and inequalities. It is our responsibility to identify and break down these barriers, be it in the education system, in the workplace and in society in general.

In my upcoming columns, we will explore different topics, from racism and gender justice, (post-)colonialism, positionality to LGBTQ+ rights and accessibility. We will analyse the complexity of these issues, discuss current developments and look at possible solutions to create an inclusive and just society.

I invite you to join me on this journey to sharpen our focus, break down prejudices and actively create change. I see every day as an opportunity to grow and learn a little bit more. New experiences and new insights as well as self-reflection are a constructive form of questioning that helps me to better understand myself and my environment. The will to learn and the willingness to admit mistakes are useful supports.

I encourage you to engage, question and seek dialogue. Together we can build a society where everyone experiences equal opportunities and dignity. The journey begins here and I look forward to it… Look forward to upcoming articles where we will explore the diversity and responsibility that comes with anti-discrimination and social justice.