Protecting Your Story – Tipps And Questions Before Collaborating With Documentary Filmmakers

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This article is loosely based on part of a keynote I held at the University of Toronto at the conference of the Black German Heritage And Research Association BGHRA in May 2018.

(Ich plane, diesen Artikel ins Deutsche zu übersetzen, brauche dafür aber noch ein wenig Zeit :-) Wer eine Benachrichtigung möchte sobald er online ist, bitte links in der Menüleiste bei "posts abonnieren" eintragen. Danke.)




It is my belief that as individuals of minority populations we should be more deliberate about whom we share our stories with. At the end of this article you will find a questionnaire for your own considerations; questions we can and should ask ourselves in every encounter with the media, to secure that we keep some sort of control over our own stories.


Our biographies are spectacular. They are incredibly rich parables that directly lead to a better understanding of how societies work, how diaspora works, how Europe works and how resilience works. .We need to start regarding each and every one of those biographies as a treasure that is worth protecting, and in my humble opinion we should stop selling the rights to the first random Jochen who shows some interest. This is not to say we shouldn’t share our stories. Quite the opposite. I think we should share them on our own terms. And be very careful in the process.


In the writing of history, in media and in publications, we are usually portrayed from an outside perspective. Studying or portraying a minority (or learning about oppression) is not automatically or inherently good. After all, it is possible to do it only in order to learn how to better exclude people. In order to derive resources from them, or in order to gain an advantage over them. All of which is vividly shown in the example of the so called Black Studies Bremen.