Racially abused German woman blocked by Facebook for Austria post

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Imoan Kinshasa in dirndl Image copyright Imoan kinshasa
Image caption Imoan’s anti-racism blog has attracted messages of support

A black German woman has launched an anti-racism blog after Facebook removed her description of racial abuse she suffered in Austria.

Imoan Kinshasa says youths insulted her with the “N-word” and people stared at her when she wore a traditional dirndl dress at a wine festival near Vienna.

Facebook censored her post because she repeated the offensive word.

Ms Kinshasa grew up in Bavaria and says she loves the dirndl. “Whatever I wear, people stare at me,” she complained.

She is a 25-year-old IT professional now living in Vienna where, she told the BBC, the level of racism is not as bad as in small-town Austria.

In her blog (in German) she posted the message from Facebook explaining that her original post had violated the social networking site’s community standards. It says the block is active for three days.

She wrote that no sooner had she arrived in Traiskirchen with some friends than a group of boys aged 16-17 insulted her, using the N-word.

Then at the wine festival “all eyes turned to us – no, to ME!”

“I heard people saying ‘a black woman in a dirndl!’ Eyes looked at me – confused, angry or with amusement.”

She went on: “I felt like a leper, stared at and on show.”

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Speaking to the BBC, she said she was aware of “everyday racism” not only in Austria, but also in Bavaria.

“Basically it’s the same, because Bavaria and Austria are very similar – there’s not a big difference when it comes to racism.”

Image copyright Imoan kinshasa
Image caption Imoan posted photos of herself as a little girl in traditional costume

She intends to keep the blog going. “I want to share others’ stories – I got a tonne of stories from others about racism.”

By publicising the experiences of other racism victims, she said, “we can show that we are all human and have feelings, and it hurts”.

Austria now has an anti-immigration government, which includes the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ). And German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a hardliner on immigration, was previously Bavarian prime minister.

When asked if today’s politics was fuelling racism, Ms Kinshasa said “everywhere politics influences society – you can clearly see racism rising”.

She said she was heartened, however, by the many messages of support she had received.

Some Austrians have told her they feel ashamed that compatriots treated her in such a hostile way.

“I feel great about that, so I don’t feel alone,” she told the BBC. “Together we can really change something. It’s 2018 – we shouldn’t go back to hating people because of their origins.”

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