InDepth-longread: Knowledge and Compassion: Reflections on Institutional Racism in the U.S.A.

Yoko Arisaka

“Either we learn a new language of empathy and compassion, or the fire this time will consume us all”.
Cornel West
Race Matters, 1993.

In the wake of the pandemonium spreading across America after the May 27th murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the whole nation appears to have reached the point of irrevocable split. Is it finally the end of pretense of a great nation and a possible new beginning, or is it the ultimate downfall of a racist oligarchy, a “failed social experiment,” as Cornel West recently broadcasted?[1] The anger against the long-standing brutality and racism of the police, against white supremacy, against the entrenched history of racism everywhere, and against Trump erupted everywhere. But such protests were suppressed by force; they were anti-American. One thing is clear: the emotional explosions are immediate and intense; they have shattered the nation as well as families and friends. Violence and destruction have escalated everywhere. Social media are inundated with reports and commentaries that are meant to flame up the already unbearable situation. The whole nation is breaking down (again).


Schwerpunktbeitrag: The Philosophy of Kitaro Nishida – a Historical Introduction

Yoko Arisaka

Japan has a unique history. From 1639 until the mid-1800s, it remained isolated from the rest of the world: In order to control the spread of Christianity, the Tokugawa Shogunate closed all the ports, except the port of Nagasaki in the southernmost island of Kyushu, and only China and Holland were allowed to continue trade under strictly controlled conditions. By the time the American „Black Ships“ lead by Commodore Perry arrived at the shores of Yokohama in 1853, Japan had missed out on the amazing industrial advancements and revolutions that occurred in Europe and America during the 18th Century. With his modern weaponry and superior military power, Perry demanded the opening of the country, and Japan faced two alternatives: either to become a victim of Western expansionism, or to open itself up to modernization in order to protect itself. Weiterlesen

InDebate: Willkommen, aber unerwünscht. Die Kämpfe der Geflüchteten um Menschenrechte und Menschenwürde

Ein Interview mit Maissara Saeed, Refugee-Aktivist in Hannover
(englische Fassung siehe unten)


Maissara Saeed, Yoko Arisaka, Jeanette Ehrmann, Michael Thomas

Maissara Saeed flüchtete 2010 von Omdurman in Sudan nach Deutschland, wo er politisches Asyl beantragte. 2012 erhielt er eine unbefristete Aufenthaltsgenehmigung. In Sudan hat Maissara Saeed an der Universität Khartum einen Bachelor-Abschluss in medizinisch-technischer Laborassistenz und in klinischer Chemie erworben. Anschließend arbeitete er als medizinisch-technischer Assistent in verschiedenen Krankenhäusern in Omdurman sowie als Berater für soziale Arbeit im Bereich Kindergesundheit. Er war als Mediator für HIV-positive MigrantInnen am Ethno-Medizinischen Zentrum Hannover tätig und hat auf internationalen Konferenzen zahlreiche Vorträge zu den Themen Public Health und soziale Arbeit gehalten. Maissara Saeed ist Mitbegründer von drei NGOs: AFRIDE. AfrikanerInnen in Deutschland, The German Sudanese Association for Development und Al Bait Al Sudani Association. Zurzeit ist Maissara Saeed am Aufbau einer selbstorganisierten Empowerment-Gruppe von geflüchteten Menschen beteiligt.

Maissara, wie war Ihr erster Eindruck, als Sie in Deutschland angekommen sind?

Ich habe Sudan im Juni 2010 wegen der untragbaren Sicherheitslage und der politischen Instabilität des Landes verlassen. Ich flüchtete über Ägypten und Österreich und kam im August 2010 in Deutschland an. Weiterlesen

InDebate: The Existential Self and the Politics of Place: Environmental Racism as a Philosophical Problem


Yoko Arisaka

When we think of the notion of the “self,” we tend to think of “it” as a thing that has internal states, physical characteristics, history, “identity,” relations, and so on. One important feature that is often overlooked is the fact that a living self is, existentially speaking, always placed. I am who I am in a particular place, which may define the language I speak, the culture I am a part of, a particular history that may define my worldview; I am and become who I am through being placed, with its features that make up my surroundings. The place of the self is also its natural environment. I live in a certain climate and environmental conditions—it might be in extreme heat or cold, or with or without clean air and water, etc. The natural environment of the earth provides the ultimate horizon within which all human beings live and survive. If we continuously live in a polluted place, our health becomes compromised. The children grow up sick. Generations suffer bad health effects. In short, our well-being is very much affected by the kind of place we live in. In this short paper I would like to start from the explication of this premise—that our being and flourishing are grounded in place—and bring our attention to a newly emerging field of study, environmental racism. Weiterlesen