„Bundespolizei darf Bahnreisende aufgrund Ihres ausländisches Aussehens [und Hautfarbe] Kontrollieren“ http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/bundespolizei-darf-reisende-wegen-auslaendischen-aussehens-kontrollieren-a-824066.html
Koblenz Court ruled that it was legal for the “Bundespolizei” (Federal Police) to ask individuals "riding the train on certain paths used for illegal entries” to the country, to identify themselves solely based on their “foreign looks;” without a cause for suspicion. In other words the court ruled that racial profiling is a lawful measure in Germany.
There are effective and fair procedures to detect illegal residents: randomly picking a train car and asking all passengers for identification. That way, the “bad guys” can be caught no matter what they look like.
Naturally, racial profiling in Germany is not limited to certain “travel paths that are used for illegal entries” to the country. The method is used broadly. It is common for the police i.e. to stop a person at the train station and ask for his/her id. The target of such arbitrary procedures is usually a non-white male person. Like the officer mentioned in the Spiegel article “Der Polizist war verblüffend ehrlich…” [the officer was surprisingly honest about it…]. Most people in Germany don’t “make a big deal” out of discrimination because these measures are generally not considered a discrimination. As mentioned in my previous blog http://diversitygermany.blogspot.de/2012_09_01_archive.html, there is a lack of education in Germany about what discrimination, racism and so forth exactly is.
There are several problems with this court ruling. First, it indicates a lack of concern for civil liberties—suspecting and stopping a person without a due cause. Second, the court decision sends a strong message that some people “look like they don’t belong here.”
The court decision sends an especially painful message to Germans with a “migration background”* since they are more likely not to “look German.” Given that many people with migration background already feel like foreigners in their own country, it is unclear why such a measure would even be considered as an option.
According to a study published in die Welt, immigrants of Turkish descent are the least “integrated group” in Germany. People with i.e. a Russian background are better integrated
Here is a question—people of which descent are more likely to be stopped in the train based on their “looks”? It may sound far-fetched to conclude from one problem to the other, but it is evident that a mindset “someone looks foreign” does not stop at the train station. It rather carries on into the day-to-day interactions of people living in Germany.
Racial profiling is a very damaging method to the society. If not stopped, it will lead to even more tensions and the country’s shaky so called integration efforts will fail for good.
In a democratic society, racial profiling cannot be an option.
*In Germany, ethnic people such as the people of Turkish descent are called "Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund" (people with migration background). Many of them are German citizens, born and raised in Germany.