#SystemChangeCamp only anti-racist! – On dealing with “white locks”

The camp should be a place free of discrimination. We try to do this through different approaches. One of them is that we ask white people to engage with “white Locks” (1) and cultural appropriation.

We will point out, both on the website and through signs at the camp, that white locks are a symbol of cultural appropriation and therefore can be hurtful to BIPoC (2). If you don’t understand this, maybe even feel angry about it, take a moment to read our rationale and our proposal for dealing with it.

The fact that so many white climate activists walk around with locks at climate camps and in actions has been publicly mentioned by BIPoC several times as one of the reasons why many often cannot feel comfortable in spaces of the climate movement in Germany. You can read or listen to the reasons for this at your own pace (currently only available in German):

https://maedchenmannschaft.net/schwarze-widerstandssymbole-auf-weissen-koepfen

https://missy-magazine.de/blog/2016/11/03/kulturelle-aneignung-und-koloniale-gewalt/

We ask you to take this criticism seriously. Talk about the topic with your friends or political groups. Read one of the texts linked above together. Talk about racist behavior with your friends – but please take into account different levels of knowledge. The point is not to exclude individuals or publicly denigrate them, but to initiate structural anti-racist changes. When you criticize other people: CHECK YOUR POSITION! All people, especially white people reproduce racism because we are socialized in a racist system. All people started dealing with it at some point and no one can claim to have completed the process. So criticize racist behavior of others, but remember that you are not free of racism either!


(1)There are different positions on the term “dreadlocks” and we feel unsure about its usage. The word “dread”, borrowed from “dreadful”, can evoke a negative connotation. Therefore, its use is criticized by some BIPoC. Since “locks” is also understandable and we want to use the most sensitive language possible, we use the term “locks”.


(2)BIPoC: Black People, Indigenous People and Persons of Color. The term is a self-designated term that resists discriminatory foreign designations by the white majority society. It does not describe the biological characteristics of people, but a social construction that assigns people a certain social position. BIPoC combine shared experiences of racism, exclusions from the white-dominated majority society, and attributions of being “different.”

Information on cultural appropriation and white locks can be found here (currently only available in German): https://www.ende-gelaende.org/news/antirassistische-infomail-3/

More information about the anti-racist approach in the Ende Gelände 2022 action in Hamburg can be found here: https://www.ende-gelaende.org/en/information-for-an-anti-racist-approach-in-the-ende-gelaende-action-2022-in-hamburg/ or in our anti-racist brochure for activists (currently only available in German).


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