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Decolonizing the way we see refugees

Raising awareness to the abuse lived by black asylum seekers/refugees 

Lesvos: a hellhole for black refugees and asylum seekers 

How does institutional racism impact refugees/and asylum seekers on Lesvos? How black asylum seekers and refugees are experiencing racism even in the most hostile and inhuman living conditions  and what racism and anti-blackness actually are and how our institutions are shaped by it. 

Guest speakers: Prince, a former resident of Moria camp who has now been granted refugee status and his very aware of the racists dynamics on his island.

  1. Introduction: Prince + Ophelie 
  2. Prince’s own experience of racism as an asylum seeker and now refugee: “I am tired of white people trying to save me” and “they always feel and act like they need to save us”

How was your experience as an asylum seeker shaped by your colour ? What it means to be a black asylum seeker

From asking for asylum to opportunities for integration and work to interactions with the authorities (fear of being stopped by the police based on their racism) and police harassment, and insecurity. Black people are constantly the target of police

Why you never walk in the street with a big group of black people because you will always be annoyed by the police

How you are careful about what you say because you feel you are not free and are always under the control of the white Greek man who, although granted you asylum, is still controlling you

  1. Internalised racism amongst black asylum seekers/refugees population: (a form of internalised oppression; Internalized Racism: Internalized racism is defined as “the acceptance, by marginalized racial populations, of the negative societal beliefs and stereotypes about themselves” (Williams & Williams-Morris, 2000, p. 255; Taylor & Grundy, 1996). Individuals may or may not be aware of their own acceptance of these negative beliefs. Internalized racism can also be expressed via a rejection of the cultural practices of one’s own ethnic or racial group.)
  • Black communities idolize white people
  • Black people have internalised inferiority 
  • Black boys feel entitled and proud when they have white friends 
  1. Black people being denied asylum because considered economic migrant: comment etre accepter. Considered economic migrants; Coming from countries that are not at war, and not considered a failed state, yet they return their lives are under threat. Also they are victims of colonisation 
  1. Black people always portraying an incorrect image of their reality as asylum seekers in Europe on social media to maintain their reputations back home, rather than speaking about the reality of living in the camps which is nothing like they expected and how this is link to the fake European dream that doesn’t apply to black asylum seekers and refugees and feed into a fake narrative of Europe being the dream
  2. White saviorism: White people trying to save black people from the consequences of what they have done to us


  • Most if not all refugees* from African countries that spoke to DW feel that they are being mistreated by the asylum services at the camp who – they claim – do not take their asylum claims into serious consideration and instead prioritize the cases of refugees from the Middle East.
  • The asylum process is slow and refugees believe they are being discriminated against based on the countries of their origin. “The major problem is that people who examine asylum claims at the asylum services do not know refugee law and they do not know how to interview people. And the refugee themselves don’t have any idea about what refugee law is. So it’s an impossible situation,” said Dr Harrel-Bond.


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