Developing Projects to Combat Bigotry and Hatred
Through his long-term study entitled "Deutsche Zustände" (German Conditions), sociologist Wilhelm Heitmeyer has measured a large increase in hostile attitudes towards minorities and other outgroups in German society. These tendencies can be found among all social classes in Germany, and they continue to increase. Unfortunately, representatives of the "middle of society" - up to now guarantors of political stability in Germany - are increasingly susceptible to radical attitudes and ideas as well. In order to find model strategies to counter this development, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation has established a network of various organizations. Every organization contributes to this project by bringing in their respective experience and competences.
The basic approach is to strengthen a democratic culture oriented towards equality and the protection of human rights. This goes along with establishing a culture of recognition and with combating the various elements of bigotry and hatred: racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, sexist attitudes, hostility towards disabled or homeless people. The focal point of the project is equality, because bigotry (devaluation of outgroups) is based on an ideology of the alleged inequality of human beings. Moreover, with the help of an inductive method the project partners are able to counter various elements of bigotry and hatred at the same time without ignoring the distinctiveness of the single elements.
"Living Equality" is unique in Europe as it is the only program to confront multiple forms of bigotry and hatred at the same time. It also stands out because it provides effective networking opportunities for program partners all over Germany as well as academic support and evaluation.
The Amadeu Antonio Foundation coordinates the program. Further partners are:
- the Federal Working Group of the Regional Center for Education, Integration and Democracy (RAA)
- the Center for a Democratic Culture (ZDK)
- the Association of German Sinti and Roma in Baden-Württemberg
- the Work Group “New forms of Antisemitism in the Immigration Society”
Dr. Andreas Zick and Dr. Beate Küpper of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence
(Institut für Interdisziplinäre Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung) at Bielefeld University provide scientific support and evaluation for this program.
The project is funded and supported by the Ford Foundation
in New York and the Freudenberg Foundation
in Weinheim, Germany. The project partners rely on a close cooperation and an intensive exchange of ideas.