Skip to content

Blog Post

German pluralism only goes so far

Even with inclusive policies at the national level, systemic continues to impede advancements towards equality.

With rising levels of violence, xenophobia and discrimination towards minority communities, Germany’s experience with pluralism is puzzling. In Germany, there is a broad understanding that diversity is positive. This idea is reflected in the country’s many legal commitments as seen in the dimension of Commitments in our Global Pluralism Monitor (see: Monitor Methodology)  which highlights the importance of equality for all and calls for an end to discrimination.

The country has a long history of multiculturalism and has become increasingly diverse due to migration and the ongoing refugee crisis. While German society has made efforts to promote equality, this narrative of pluralism only goes so far. Many minority communities still experience mistrust, exclusion, structural inequalities across societal, political and economic spheres and intergroup violence. Even with inclusive policies at the national level, systemic continues to impede advancements towards equality. Examples of discrimination towards minority communities include racial profiling that prevents equal access to the job market, biased media coverage that increases skepticism and prejudice, and a rise in hate crimes that reduce feelings of safety and shared ownership of society.

Again, while Germany has numerous policies that support pluralism, Germans often celebrate cultural diversity as a concept while simultaneously fixating on it. With approximately every second German believing that social coexistence is only attainable if minority groups adapt to the dominant culture, diversity is supported when it is less visible. For Muslim, Roma and Sinti communities, their hypervisibility is viewed by some as contradicting German culture. As such, they often experience greater discrimination and exclusion. For Germany to become more pluralistic, the emphasis can be shifted away from integration into the dominant culture and towards acceptance and inclusion. This could help mitigate the disjoint between some communities being accepted more than others.

To read more about the state of pluralism in Germany, visit our Germany Country Page.