Installation views, Sweet Lies. Rethinking Identity, Ludwig Forum Aachen © Photos: Simon Vogel
Our origin is a substantial part of our Identities. To be able to understand the history of one’s family is a privilege. Not having to explain it, is another one. More than 21 million people with a so-called migration background live in Germany. Yet many Black people and people of color are confronted every day with the challenge of having to answer the question “Where do you come from?”. It is usually posed by a White person and addressed to, for example, a Black person. For citizens who must explain and legitimize themselves and their presence continuously, this question can be very stressful. It implies that there is an imbalance of power, by alluding to the alleged otherness of a person and thus excluding the person from the society they live in. In addition, this question can be triggering, for instance, if someone had to flee and in these instances evoke memories of war, violence, and trauma. Sometimes this is linked to existential fears of xenophobia in the form of physical and psychological violence, which is also expressed in structural and everyday Racism.