When did you realize that everything is only temporary

"It's about developing together and getting on the same wavelength": Interview with Basiru Touray from the SportMobil team

Moin Basiru, thank you for taking your time. We already know each other through the SportMobil. How did it come about that you started to take care of the mobile playstation?

I practically grew into it and so far it has not let go of me. My mother was often there as a supervisor and took me with her. As a result, I was a bit of a circus kid from an early age, you could say. That's how I got to know plate turning, diabolo and a lot of other sports equipment. I also wanted a diabolo right after I had it in my hand for the first time. In this respect, the opportunity quickly came to show and teach the kids something during the missions. I then had so much fun that I kept going, got to know the other people at the LSB (editor's note: Landessportbund Bremen), got into the e-mail list and off we went.

We were once in Bremerhaven at FC Sparta. It was impressive what you can do with the diabolo. Do you remember which events you attended?

So I was at many sports festivals from the Vahr to Huchting and Bremerhaven, as you have already noted. I was really happy to be part of the African Cup because I used to take part myself. From time to time I have also been to various accommodations for refugees here in Bremen. Overall, however, mainly sports festivals and occasionally smaller events, such as at the St. Johann church in the city center. So it felt like I've been there all over Bremen.

You mean you went to the African Cup. This is mainly a soccer tournament of the different African nationalities who live together in Bremen, isn't it?

Yes, but also culture, you could say, at the huge food stalls in the participating countries. The Cup is there to ensure that the countries of Africa are represented and can play. When I was 14 years old I played in the youth cup. This liveliness on the pitch is also really nice, the discussions on the field, Cameroon versus Gambia, Senegal versus Nigeria, it's spectacular what's going on. Above all, the whole African community comes together on the pitch and no matter how big the differences are now, no matter whether east, west, north, south, at that moment they are there together and show what they can do in sport, but especially when it comes to the food. It's a real battle: “My stand sells more than yours, I've got baked bananas again, do you want that spicy? But mine is spicy really sharp, believe me. ”You go through there and are a little taken into this world. There is a lot of dancing at all ages, especially on the place in front of the stage, you rarely see that in Germany and I celebrate it enormously.

Which nation were you traveling for?

For the time being, of course, for Gambia, I have to support my roots. Unfortunately, we always lose very early. (laughs) But I would say that since I've been there myself and dealt with the country, I've of course somehow associated myself with the Gambian culture. We're also the smallest country in Africa and it's nice to see when “your” team wins. It's like Bremen with Werder, isn't it? You're almost automatically for it. But at the end of the day, football is even more important to me because there are actually a lot of talented people who really get started and then it doesn't really matter where the people come from.

Is such an event also a good opportunity for you to have an exchange?

Yes, in any case! Precisely because, I'll say, I'm half-half. Of course, I am influenced by German, I also live in Germany and have established many connections to German society. But there in the Gambia team it was also the case that I got to know guys who look similar to me and who have had exactly the same experience. It was really the first exchange of this kind that happened independently of my parents and in which I noticed: “Okay, they understand me. They feel how I feel They see the world in the way I see it, because they just had the same experiences and thus developed the same view of things. ”That was when I was 14, 15 and that was a completely different understanding than in my class, where everyone was actually white. It was nice, I have to say, so the exchange also made you stronger because I noticed that I am not alone. That was really one of the best experiences I have had.

What were those experiences that you exchanged?

For example, we talked about our hair. So I had braided hair at the time. At school a lot of people were like: “Wow, really cool, can I touch them?” - and at the cup one of my team said: “My hair, it annoys me so much.” And it was exactly the same for me . Combing is stressful, brushing is stressful, it's just exhausting and a lot of people don't understand that because they don't have the same hair. You just had an exchange that usually has to be explained again, for example: "Yes, the neighbor always looks at me strangely, maybe he's a Nazi." I could understand such concerns. “Yes, I also know it when people walk past you on the street, look at you and shake their head.” I had the feeling that people understood one-to-one how I mean things, where they come from and there I don't have to explain it to the outside. That was really a wavelength on which you were traveling through your experiences, like a community, I would say.

How are you doing with friends who may not have a history of migration to address such topics?

So now I actually speak directly to everything that concerns me and then try to explain my point of view. I had bad experiences earlier, when I wasn't that confident and didn't know who I am and where I want to go. For example, I was once in Hamburg at a friend's party, it was a bit out of the way, more rural and the guests were also more rural-German. I had dreadlocks and then people drank a few beers, came over and just started touching them and I just thought to myself: “You might have done your hair too, and I don't just come and touch it Hair and stroke it through. ”I was still unsure, my buddy was already sleeping at the time because he wasn't feeling well, so I was practically alone at the party and it felt like one for me Felt kind of harassment. But I didn't know how to deal with it either, I didn't want to be the ass that spoiled the mood, even though it was actually excessive. For example, this is something that I noticed that you have to clarify straight away, because then something like a conflict does not even arise if you say something like: “Hey, you just grabbed my hair , I don't think that's good, please let it stay. ”So far and not really further. You can then explain that further.

Did you ever get help in a situation like this?

Yes, in any case. I would also say that my circle of friends also consists of super open-minded people. Like you, they ask in a correct way whether things are okay. I also think that if a misstep happens and I know this person had no bad intention behind it, then I just address it and say: "We can see whether it works better next time." That is also the most important thing, to talk about what went wrong. Not that you throw everything right at someone's feet, but that you make it clear what has just bothered you so that you also understand what happened to the other person, you can learn from it and hopefully get together.

In my experience, when someone is approached about racism, it is often pushed away from them first instead of listening, accepting it, thinking about it and acting on it. Have you ever noticed that people tend to be uncomfortable talking about the topic?

Yes, you can already say. In fact, at the university a while ago too. We talked about the Western balance of power. The lecturer slipped out that there used to be words like the N-word and used it. I was offended by something, but nobody in the class said anything and I brought it up. My fellow students then said that they didn't know how to address it either. But I thought to myself: “If you don't know how, then talk about it first and just say that you don't really know how to address it, then a lot has been gained." I think the word fits not at all in the academic context, especially if it is not clarified afterwards. The lecturer evaded that by pushing People of Color again. She could have said again that the word is actually not said, but just ignored it. I then wrote her another email and we had a zoom talk. She then apologized in private, but not in public, and there it would have been much more important to see that you made a mistake and that it was just moving. That sounds banal, but it was bad for me because I felt left alone in this situation because that happened although we have spoken exactly about the fact that such power relations are not in order and that the oppression of blacks is still going on across many levels. I just thought to myself, it can't be that nobody opens their mouths now and everyone pushes it away from them like that.

How are things for you in sports?

Well, I already have a few sayings in my head: “Oh, the young black guy, he can play football!” Also in basketball at school: “I choose Basi, he can definitely play basketball.” I'm a bad basketball player and on top of that, I'm little too, that just doesn't work. These are of course prejudices that are reproduced: “You like sport and you can dance too.” Club sport also offers a chance because you get to know each other: “Ah okay, Basiru can do a lot of things, but not dribble, for example. “It's the same in private, but when I played in a selection, they said I was fast and agile and they had to line me up as a winger, but I'm a central defender because I can assert myself even when I'm small am So, especially when you're black, there are already a lot of clichés in sport. It surprises me that something like this still happens, the best example was the comment about Boateng: Playing football is okay, but he doesn't have to be a neighbor. But it is good and important that something is done about it.

Are there also positive things that can be found?

Well, it's nice that people see that talent can be found anywhere, but then it must not be left out that there is also a person behind it. Sport can be valuable because it creates an opportunity to get to know each other. “Integration through sport” and some clubs make good offers to create connections and to communicate when the language is just a barrier. It is also important that the social factor is taken into account so that football talents are not only used as tools in the Bundesliga or in clubs, but are also recognized as part of this society. The focus should also be on the person and not just the athletic performance they bring. Perceiving people outside of sport, showing the culture, a “Come on, I'll show you my Germany” really helps. We are sometimes a little tense, especially in these times, but that will be fine.

Do you have anything else you would like to see together?

Yes. Even if you mention something that went wrong, you should always try to be respectful. If you just pamper yourself aggressively, then the other person is certainly even more inhibited to say something about it afterwards. It's about developing together and getting on the same wavelength. “If I say something wrong, please correct me, I want to understand. If you have a problem, I'll listen to you. ”Incidentally, that also applies to me, just because I'm black doesn't mean I know everything about racism. You can see where you can find your way together, exchange is just incredibly important to me. We may not be the generation to see the end of discrimination and racism, but we must pave the way if we are to get there. Wouldn't it be nice if our grandchildren said someday: "My grandparents already took part in Black Lives Matter back then and now you see, there is no longer a problem, you can talk about everything sensibly, the world is colorful."

The interview was conducted by Patrick Pavel (speaker in the IdS program, LSB Bremen)