The invention of race

On September 14th, 2022, Christoph Hassler, Head of Social Change at the company “Thoughtworks”, was invited to give a speech on the topic of racism where he especially dealt with “the invention of race.” He has been active in the struggle against racism and capitalist exploitation since the 1990s. All the grade 12 classes of the BBS-Buxtehude took part in this event as part of their English lessons and listened to what Chris had to say.

Race is a social construct, which means that there must be a reason for its construction. In this talk, he shed some light on the relatively young history of race and its purpose. Where it came from and why still has a major impact on our lives today. Chris pointed out that hopefully, we will be able to see that race might not be real, but racism and its effects certainly still are, so that we can find a way to deconstruct these harmful power dynamics in our daily lives. At the end of his presentation, the students were able to ask him questions to which he responded in detail. It was a combination of informative facts and his personal experience.

“Impressively systematic and historically based presentation that helped me to further understand an issue I wasn’t aware of before, but that I can now confidently discuss with and explain to others,” a student replied. “The presentation showed me a new perspective on the issue of racism.” another student said. It was also mentioned by those present that his courage to share his own experiences made it even more interesting and relatable.

His attendance was important for the students to get in touch with something practical, something real, from someone who communicates a socially critical topic with passion and commitment. 

Text: Leonie Schnell (BGG21A)