People of African descent experience widespread racism and discrimination across the EU and in all areas of life, including employment, education, policing and the criminal justice system. Recognising and addressing Afrophobia as a specific form of racism that affects people of African descent and Black Europeans is essential to ensure their inclusion in Europe.
There are an estimated 15 million people of African descent and Black Europeans living in Europe, making them one of Europe’s largest marginalised communities. People of African descent and Black Europeans constitute a diverse group: while a part of the Black population are migrants, others have been present in Europe for several generations with a long history of citizenship, forming large and established Black communities. Discrimination and stigmatising perceptions due to their physical traits or visibility, regardless of their nationality or immigrant status, are often common experiences.
Discrimination in employment is prevalent and barriers are erected at every stage to prevent black people from gaining employment that matches their skills and experience. Black people are also particularly exposed to police violence, racial profiling, as well as racist violence and abuse from other members of the public. Black pupils experience racism in schools such as racist bullying and biased teaching materials and practice. This can have significant implications on educational attainment and life chances of Black people. Other examples of discrimination include refusal of health treatment for Black people and prejudice shown by health care staff; significant discrimination in the private rental market; and stereotypical representations in the media.
Afrophobia is a specific form of racism that refers to any act of violence and discrimination including racist speech, fuelled by historical abuses and negative stereotyping, and leading to the exclusion and dehumanisation of people of African descent. It is the result of the social construction of race to which genetic and/or cultural specificities and stereotypes are attributed (racialisation). It can take many forms: dislike, bias, oppression, racism and structural and institutional discrimination, among others.
There is currently no EU or national policy developed specifically to combat racism and discrimination against people of African descent and Black Europeans. Despite EU and national legislation providing legal remedies for discrimination, Afrophobia in the EU is still a reality. Strong and specific policies are needed to address Afrophobia, including its structural dimensions and impact on economic and social outcomes for people of African descent and Black Europeans, including in employment, housing, education, health, political participation, criminal justice and other sectors.
What are we doing about it?
ENAR calls for national strategies to combat Afrophobia and promote the inclusion of people of African descent and Black Europeans, based on the model of the European Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies adopted by EU Member States in 2011. The framework will serve as a means to develop targeted and effective strategies to counter the structural and everyday racism that prevents the inclusion of many Black people in European society.
The following elements should be put in place by Member States in order to ensure the success and efficiency of the national strategies:
– Recognition: We are asking EU decision makers to take steps to publicly recognise Afrophobia and thus describe a reality that so far remains invisible – especially given Europe’s role in the slave trade and colonisation. Such recognition is a necessary basis for all legal and policy attempts to reduce the effects of racial discrimination against people of African descent and Black Europeans across Europe.
– Equality data collection: Proving racial discrimination is difficult; often it is only when the most obvious blunders occur that racism can be identified. ENAR is therefore calling for disaggregated equality data collection to document racist crime, discrimination, racism and exclusion impacting people of African descent and Black Europeans and to inform and monitor policies and measures aimed at reducing racism and discrimination.
– Equal access and rights: EU Member states should ensure that people of African descent and Black Europeans have equal access to and rights in employment, quality education, health care and justice. They should also end discriminatory policing of people of African descent and Black Europeans to end racial disparities in police profiling, sentencing, incarceration, and other inequities in the justice system.