Amok Mama: True discrimination in this country



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>>>"In my experience minorities always feel discriminated against no matter what everyone does or does not do. And whenever someone doesn't like them they blame it on race, gender, sexual preference etc. not realizing that someone might not like them because of their personality"

so you think all non-white Germans have the same personality?f<<<

No,obviously that was just an example.

Father Ted more than 8 years ago

Oh right, just an example

well if all non-white Germans don't have the same really terrible, annoying personality, what other possible reasons could there be for, for example, that survey where they sent out the exact same CVs with the same qualifications & experience and the German-sounding names got invited to an interview like 70% more? Maybe I dunno. Racism? Just throwing that one out there.

Jacinta Nandi more than 8 years ago

@yasi & Jacinta

Yea, I read the interview- and yes I think Rösler and his whole party are a bunch of idiots. Nevertheless I completely agree that the interview was more than inappropriate and discriminating. However you have taken this whole thing as far as projecting this kind of behavior on 80 Million other people- which is what I'm interested in because I couldn't disagree more.

It doesn't really matter if the Holocaust was mentioned in the interview or not. I was simply trying to explain to you why things aren't as simple as saying "All Germans are racists". This brings me back to question what is "racist" anyway. Personally I'd erase the word from vocabulary because it's meaningless. Discrimination is a more fitting term and people get discriminated against all the time everywhere and you can't do anything about it, we're all too different to make it right for everyone. So I think the best thing one can do is trying to blend in as much as possible and deal with problems as they come up. Furthermore it's bloody ignorant to claim that white people don't know what it feels like to be discriminated against. Especially as someone has brought up London as a paradise of a multi cultural city where everyone lives happily ever after^^ I don't know a city with more race related crime committed against all kinds of people!!

@ Jacinta

I don't think Germany is a multicultural Country (yet) unless you want to regard Saxons, Bavarians etc. as separate cultures. Berlin and other cities on the other hand do have some percentage of people with non German roots.
I agree that people simply need to learn to get along but I fear that'll take decades. And I think it's wrong to point fingers at German society that is supposedly racist. In my experience minorities always feel discriminated against no matter what everyone does or does not do. And whenever someone doesn't like them they blame it on race, gender, sexual preference etc. not realizing that someone might not like them because of their personality.

More to the point: There is absolutely no place on earth where multiculturalism is working. The reason is that there is no mixed culture but only multiple cultures existing next to each other.

Father Ted more than 8 years ago

those darkies all got bad personalities man

"In my experience minorities always feel discriminated against no matter what everyone does or does not do. And whenever someone doesn't like them they blame it on race, gender, sexual preference etc. not realizing that someone might not like them because of their personality"

so you think all non-white Germans have the same personality?

Jacinta more than 8 years ago

Primitive, offensve article

1. You know you're different and yet you expect people to pretend that you're no different?? It doesn't help feeling like a victim day in and day out. Naturally people will treat you as such.

2. What's racism anyway? Is it to simply "notice" that someone looks different? In turn is it discriminating to give up your seat for a blind person in the U-Bahn because you''re "noticing" that person is disabled??

I think those situations described here by people are VASTLY exaggerated. Nobody tries to run over whole families with their car because they are foreign looking...what a bunch of lies.

Aside from that these situations where people feel discriminated against, looked at in a demeaning way on public transport, or feel treated differently are perfectly normal in all cultures. People fear what is different. Everyone needs something to identify with and what's better suited than your own culture. People are in a way an anachronism, basically they want to belong to a larger group and not stand out and on another level they want to stand out through their individuality.

This is all pretty much common sense and it's absolutely pointless to get worked up about this perfectly normal behavior.

Your problem is that you don't even try to understand the German point of view. The German point of view being that generations that had nothing to do with WW2 are being held responsible for it. Nobody says it openly but it's always in the air.
What do you expect from people that are taught in school that they're supposed to feel responsible for one of the greatest genocides in history of mankind- and at the same time to be open and tolerant to all that is foreign while politicians talk of freedom of speech? Can you see the conflict there?
There is no German identity and it's only natural that some people get weary of being pc all day long. What u consider "racism" is clearly not racism but merely a strong opinion.

To the author of this article:

"Stop it. Stop telling people what is and isn't racist. Like, when I have a plumber over, I don't start lecturing him on toilet design. Stop it. Grow up. White Germans – Brüderle, the people at Taz, all my mates – they need to shut the fuck up, grow the fuck up, and fucking listen."

A little self indulgent to expect a whole nation to change because you're overly sensitive don't u think?

Father Ted more than 8 years ago

Snot about me

But about ethnic minority Germans. Yeah, I think German society has to change. I think the cost on German society of discriminating against non-white Germans is too high. The cost isn't just about how ppl grow up with low self-esteem etc, etc, it's also just highly impractical. German is a multicultural society now and I really think ppl should stop blacking up or doing impressions of Rösler w. a Vietnames accent on the TV. Germany would be a better country for everyone to live in if it were less racist.

Jacinta Nandi more than 8 years ago

I really don't think you read the Taz interview

And I don't know how you can bring WWII into it. The Taz interview has literally nothing to do with the Holocaust, it is simply racist in its own right. Read the original interview and then write back, yeah. I think you haven't read it, otherwise you wouldn't be all snide about "What is racism anyway?" and "People get weary of being pc about it". But even if you haven't read it, I still find it a bit weird to bring WWII into it. I think the whole Nazi thing makes the subject of racism a bit heavier, for sure. But he's a German-Asian

yasi more than 8 years ago

Great Article

This stuff should be printed in German in all major Newspapers. Could really help this country understand the issue...

flo more than 8 years ago

Dont forget about the discrimination against non-western persons

Concerning the "german bashing" - the very important crique of racism, might be also way for some, to express us-american imperialism and legitimate gentrification. Often in discussions in leftist circles it looks like academics are people from the creative class from rich western cities like NY are the most discriminated social group here in Berlin. I dont neglect the expierence of racist discrimination of POCs with the citizenship of rich western states do have, but also its a fact, that for example beeing a american automaticly rises someones social status and germans usually admire americans. So yes - lets speak out against racism, but please dont forget to be critical towards your own postion, as citizen of a imperialist state in a global world order. I would wish we also pay attention the structural discrimination of people beeing identified as non-western, as i think such groups of people do really need our support. Also please dont forget that, forcing everyone to speak english is discrimination against people for whom its not a mother tongue and its clasism and imperialism too.

Stasiek more than 8 years ago

a look, a German leftist thinks he can speak for my experience

Germans usually admire Americans? Oh really? Well you've never been an American in Germany, now have you? Perhaps you confuse "recognize the political and military power of the United States" with "are not condescending dicks to the individual Americans they encounter". It's true that Western expat foreigners, including people of color, enjoy forms of privilege which other Ausländer do not; is it not EXACTLY WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING WITH THIS PRIVILEGE to use our privileged position to draw attention to Germany's racism problem rather than, say, sit around bitching about how the Mexican food here sucks? Forcing everyone to speak English?!? Dude, I'm American, my German is exponentially better than your English, and every single day Germans force me to speak English with them. If you Germans don't want us foreigners to converse amongst ourselves in English, maybe you should stop refusing to speak German with non-native speakers/ treating the German language as the exclusive property of your ethnic group/failing to provide adequate German language instruction to immigrant children in the school system?

Rosa more than 8 years ago

Racism in America

The stuff people say and tweet about the new Miss America...I am speechless!

Indy more than 8 years ago


Bolches yarboclos

PAOK 44 days ago


Being one of the Migrationshintergrund people...
I still say WTF for many reasons. I applaud the article and totally agree with the gist. The questions were despicable and a lot of you say is valid and coincides with my experience.

But after reading the comments: What's up with the German bashing? Is that any better than what happens to non-whites everywhere?
I have lived most of my life in this country and yes - there is a lot of stupid everyday racism around.
But having lived some years in other countries as well, in my experience the situation I found myself in was the same: In Africa I was not "black" enough having a German white mother - in UK, France, US, Spain, Japan I was not "white" enough and singled out and made different by the white people (do you really believe that calling me AFRO-German makes anything better!?! I am as German as the rest of you and despise you for singling me out based on my skin colour - many thanks to the US for starting the trend on that one...).
So I am back here and happy to be here because there IS a discussion (in other countries I just go told that there IS no racism here, thank you) For every situation I get "labeled", I experience at least one other situation where "ze Germans" do not see me as anything that needs to be labeled as different. Perhaps it all has to do at least a little with your own expectations as well? I do not feel as a victim of society - is it this factor that makes my experiences here so different from many of the commenters?
On a different note: I have learned over time that there seem to be a lot of us non-whites who want to be labeled as sth different (e.g. afro-german, POC - sorry being brown-skinned myself that is the terminology I know best...) for whatever reason. If this makes them happy I totally respect that.
To me the labeling is the first expession of the true underlying issue: we should all be the same no matter the way we look, no matter the way we live, no matter the way we love, no matter the way be believe. Labels separate and lump you into a certain group and in my eyes that prevents true equality always. Labels are always used by a group to make themselves better than others.

And lastly: I do not believe all you people that will leave Germany because it seems to be the last racist country on earth in your eyes and go back home to "better countries" will never encounter the othering, the harassment - basically this separatist idiocy - elsewhere.

But I honestly wish you could and I hope you will find what you are looking for.

Sonja more than 8 years ago

fuck yeah!

ex-berliner is usually shit for the upper-middle-class ex-pat crowd that seems to feel like it's on vacation from political commitments since its on vacation from it's own local, rooted contexts. which is particularly why im pleasantly surprised to see this overdue, fantastic piece featured here. THANK YOU!!!! german racism is jaw-dropping in it's creepy 19th century ethnographer-style naivete (which, after ww2, can never claim naivete again). the worst is the left, embroiled in stupid arguments between white anti-deutsch germans and white anti-imperialist poc-fetishizer germans. neither side seems to actually organize with or listen to their neighbors and colleagues of color (do they have friends of color? not clear..) it's no accident that two of the most inspiring political movements in the last year have been camps runs primarily by people affected by racism (in addition to so many other things) at kotti & co. and the refugee strike at oranienplatz. jacinta, do you have a blog or something? would be great to read more, or for ex-berliner to feature more about this, to get an ex-pat political backbone instead of giving ridiculously too much airtime to femen #solidarityisforwhitewomen.

melanie more than 8 years ago

I don't know

I am an Ausländer but am suitably blond and blue-eyed, so my experience seems to be very different from yours. I don't live in Berlin either, but Berliners have the reputation of being rather impolite and stuck up where I live.

I have not once experienced impoliteness directed at me; there have been some comments about my country that were not as polite as they might be - unlike my countrymen, many Germans are far, far more direct when they want to criticize something. There is no polite tip toeing around the issue, not a lot of humility - they see something they don't like, they tell you that. This is an awful habit that I don't like at all, but I don't think it's racist per se. It's just ... German.

Then, how people are treated - I have never witnessed racist incidents like you describe, I'm just not sure how much of this is hostility and how much of this is thoughtlessnes and the result of a rather homogenous white culture and population. I work with refugees, and most of them do not have any contact to Germans at all. It seems to me that white Germans mostly interact with other white Germans and never ever have a conversation with somebody who isn't. So they simply don't know the etiquette. Maybe it hasn't developed yet in everyday life?

This is NOT meant to excuse racism, I'd just like to know what's in the background when somebody makes an unwise or hurtful remark.

That said, some of the comments here are less than polite and openminded - considering that you deplore the rudeness and impoliteness of Germans.

And, I don't know, could we do without the cussing? ("The use of profanity is an ignorant mind trying to express itself." - Malcolm X. I must say I agree.)

Susan more than 8 years ago

Let's take this a bit further

Ok, let's say we can't talk about Migrationshintergrund and all that anymore, because That's Not What This Person Is About, and they're German (whatever the hell _that_ means, fuck nationalism anyway, but that's another subject).
Because it is, in a way, racist to talk about racism - that's kind of the point of this article - because it reproduces and reinforces the prejudices and conditions that constitute racism. I am totally on board with that.

Now could we please, please start doing the same for the sexism debate too? No more interviews with successful women talking about how on earth they manage to combine career and family, how they came up against the glass ceiling, how it is to work in a male-dominated environment, how they felt disadvantaged and what they did to get over it - let's just fucking NORMALIZE and HUMANIZE everyone. Because Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund, Frauen, Männer, Transgender, Pass-Deutsche, Nicht-Deutsche, Touristen - we're all people.

Wal Is more than 8 years ago


But those interviews are just patronizing, have you read the questions? He was being asked to justify himself. It was like the equivalent of people reading out the worst misogynistic hate mail Merkel gets and then sitting back, arms crossed, eyebrows raised and saying 'What do you say to that?'

I think we're all people but some people are marginalized etc and if they want to talk about it, that's fine by me. Maybe after Rösler's lost the election he'll come out & admit he thinks Germany's a racist country. That's fine by me. I didn't like the contempt of the questions, and the relentlessness of them, and the superiority. I'm not one of these people who thinks racism will end if black people stop using the N-word & sexism will end once women stop asking men to help them open jars

Jacinta Nandi more than 8 years ago


Completely agree and i'd argue that it is getting worse and worse since "political correctness" entered the dialogue (or ended the dialogue i should say). Ok, we had "gutmensch" before that(thank you, nazis, for that one!) but now people seem to think they can say the most outrageous racist, misogynistic bullshit because they're just "honest". They claim that they want to talk about "the truth". I remember that taz interview:I was SO SO DISAPPOINTED when i saw all those ridiculous questions. I agree that he could not have answered a single one of them without accepting their racist presumptions and terminoloy. Disagree with what someone else said about "Migrationshintergrund" though, i think that one's fine as a descriptive term (NOT CAUSAL) as long as it's properly applied. It seems pretty neutral to me (but i don't mind to be proven wrong on that).

Sara more than 8 years ago

you're right.

white female German here. Thank you so much for this post. I totally agree that the interview was racist, and that many many people here just don't seem to get ANYTHING about racism.

I'm married to a Czech man, so I got a tiny glimpse myself what being "foreign" in German can mean - though I guess for him it's not as bad because he doesn't "look" "different". I can only imagine how bad it must be for people who look anything different than Causasian :-(
That's why I'm really thankful if people speak out. People need to get that the "Deutungshohheit" about racism is by the oppressed minority.

ubarto more than 8 years ago


I moved to this city (Berlin) with the same disillusionment as every non-Anglo Immigrant; that this was a Society of Diverse backgrounds and Accepting Culture, where everyone had the same Opportunities as the locals. Word-of-Mouth marketing and Vacation highs are a bitch aren't they?! As an African American, Im used to the Racial Undertones (Bag clutching, car locking, the "will he, wont he Rape/Rob me" air of apprehension that just comes with being Black in America. But Germany takes the cake on being one of the most blatant Countries in terms of Racism and Xenophobia. This election has shown its true Colors...Alabaster! From those ridiculous questions to "Auslander Condoms", to the Magic Carpet/Mosque references on Political Posters...(seriously?!) I agree with Jacinta, I'm ashamed of this Country. *Not to be confused with the other Franco, who seems to be lost in semantics.

Franco Davis more than 8 years ago

nazi condoms

I was really looking forward to my Nazi condoms though, I was thinking of writing to them & asking them for a vibrator.

Jacinta more than 8 years ago


But thats not all inclusive of those that dont practice Penetrative Sex. Perhaps if they just developed a simple Lubricant instead, it may have been received better? *Trademarks Nazi Spit

Franco Davis more than 8 years ago


It actually pains me how right Jacinta is with this piece. As a white German who's lived in NY for 10 years, I was shocked upon my return by the amount of everyday racism here - even in Berlin. Things that are being said from 'I don't like watching Asian films because I can't tell the actors apart.' to 'Oh, what a cute chocolate baby!.' It boggles the mind... I've resorted to just blurting out: 'Das ist verdammt rassistisch.' And when I get an incredulous look I explain to them WHY it is racist to say shit like that. I wonder if it's the sheer absence of different ethnicities being present in the media and in schools up until the late 80's. Racism had become so institutionalised in films and comedy shows - complete with black face, slanty-eyes-L-instead-of-R-jokes, Winnetou the brave 'Indianer' and so on.. It's slowly getting there... I'm not asking for patience but rather the courage to speak your mind TO those friends and acquaintances when they say something horrendously stupid and racist. Most of them seriously don't get it until you shake them up a bit.

Rudy Eff. more than 8 years ago

Well said!

Excellent article.
I have a German colleague (early 40's, white, liberal) who constantly uses the N-word (the English one, not the German one), but doesnt think it's racist because "there isnt another way to describe them". If he says the word to a black person, they shouldnt be offended because "he doesnt mean it in a bad way". None of my other colleagues think this is particularly strange (or racist), infact they agree with him and openly sympathise about the quandry of "political correctness". My most PC colleague calls ALL black people "African American". Jeez.
I had a fine old time on the S-Bahn last week, sitting near to a lovely black family who were chatting amongst themselves in flawless, native German.... while the entire carriage stared, open mouthed in disbelief. Eventually someone said, very audibly and rather sarcastically, "well, thats the new Germany" and everyone nodded and laughed.
Your article is absolutely right - Germany is incredibly racist and I am constantly surprised by the apparent lack of desire to address or understand it, even amongst people who would describe themselves as liberal. They fly a little flag for Tibet or something and think they have ticked the "cultural understanding" box, which makes them feel so much better about themselves.

James L more than 8 years ago

I hear ya....

...and I agree that there are a lot of people in this country who don't get what "racist" actually means but I'm also sick to dath of this generalising and people talking about THE GERMANS. There are about 90 million Germans and you think that you know what all of them are like?! Come on, stop using your limited frame of reference (i.e. a couple of German friends) as "proof" for your accusations. Proper journalism is based on actual research!

SamW more than 8 years ago

Generally you are right, but...

the sad truth of the matter is probably that Jacinta's frame of reference is most likely the more PC, left-leaning people. Proper research on the subject reveals even sadder facts about everyday racism in Germany. However I don't know of many countries that are less racist. I am reasonably sure that Sweden and Italy aren't the tiniest bit better.

Johannes, or what not more than 8 years ago


I don't think many countries are much better

Jacinta more than 8 years ago

Everyday racism

Johannes and Jacinta, you're definitely right about that - I was told by a Scandinavian friend that there is a Swedish delicacy called "nigger balls"! And I never thought there was a way you could top "Negerkuss" and "Mohrenkopf"... :(

SamW more than 8 years ago


I was real angry when I wrote it, I sat down and wrote it in a fit of white rage, I was angrier about the response than the questions themselves. And what I really envisioned happening - I realize I am slightly insane for envisioning this - was, every German person who read it being overcome with guilt re: how racist they had been towards Philip Rösler and, I don't know. Saying sorry or something. Or at least admitting it. But instead we all started bashing Germans, as yous (feminist yous alert) know, I am not adverse to a bit of German bashing but that wasn't the intention but I guess really this should've been written by a German in German. However, I do think there has to be a way to say "Germany is a racist country" without it becoming like a Racism-O-Meter or something, you know? Like, I think a lot of ethnic minority Anglo-Saxons who come to Germany come from really urban areas and we learned we were non-white here in Germany, so we're a bit paranoid. You know? But there also has to be a way to talk about racism without it being, like, a competition. I've never lived in Italy or Sweden, I've only lived in England & Germany, I find Germany slightly more racist and England slightly more sexist but there has to be a way to talk about that, doesn't there? And I do find it weird that people are allowed to ask questions like "When did you first notice you had funny little Chinky eyes?" you know but people aren't allowed to get angry back? Isn't it weird? How petrified people are of anger about racism? It's like they feel anger about racism is really, really dangerous & must be controlled? Or maybe it's white guilt, I dunno (I would feel really guilty if I were white, too - JOKE)

Jacinta more than 8 years ago

I couldn't agree more

There has to be a way to speak about these problems and the fact that Sweden, Italy and the US of A are also racist doesn't make anything better for us Germans. I have also wondered during the debate in your blog whether people from abroad coming into another society are really testing the society's tolerance whereas people who just stay home live and thrive in their little communities and do not have a real feeling about the racism and intolerance in 'the country'. The encouraging thing about Sweden is that there is also racism against white foreigners although it is worse against jews and people of color. I don't think that guilt will be a good adviser against racism, daily non-racist practice probably is. I always try to describe people without mentioning the color of their skin and have thus instituted some thinking in some friend of mine.

Johannes, or what not more than 8 years ago

Oh, one more thing

the almost 1000 comments on the taz-article were written in German and the vast majority of them was seeing the interview as pure racism. So I would say that Germans wrote something about it in German.

Johannes, or what not more than 8 years ago

Yeah okay

good point Mr. Or What Not

Jacinta more than 8 years ago

Discrimination in Germany...

They are completely blind to the fact that by making it (Rössler's background) a topic they are making a statement about his race, identity and his existence in Germany. It doesn't matter how the questions are posed, what exactly they ask and if they are "nice" about it or whatever. The moment you ask about "Hintergrund" in this country, the implied line is drawn, and this is racist. And of course at the risk of stating the obvious - the underlying assumption of these questions is that Rössler isn't really German. When did the laws change for German citizenship, does anyone know? It used to be only if you were of German "blood" (What an awful way to put it, but...) vs. the "Boden" laws in countries, i.e. America, but now EU citizenships can automatically get dual citizenship and "others" after being here for some time? Obviously the old laws hold fast in most people's minds. As my husband and I used to say (both of us pesky Ausländer who have lived here from childhood), we knew these people were out there, but we didn't realize we went to the same parties...

AllieKat more than 8 years ago

Citizenship laws

To answer your question, the old ''citizenship only by blood'' laws were changed in a series of reforms under the Schröder government between 1999 and 2002. Yup..!

Andy more than 8 years ago

From Canada loved Berlin, not so much the racist attitudes

Because I am a person of colour from Canada I get the surprised looks and disbelief when I mention that's home. Like I cannot choose to call a place home unless its okay with everyone else too. (i.e. white folk)
I quit Berlin in 3 months because I couldn't take anymore of this constant low hum of racist shit. Seriously, you would think Germany is still back in the pre war days. God, how it calls itself a developed nation is incredible.
Great article, glad you were brave enough to say it like it is!!!

Barbara Brown more than 8 years ago

thank you!

Thanks so much! I can't begin to tell you how hard and scary it is for me to live in Berlin, a city which I had thought embraced differences and was tolerant to social as well as ethnic diversity. After living in Berlin for 7 years as an American (though Korean and adopted in the US) I cannot tell you how important it is to hear such voices!

Daily I get harassed, screamed at, was physically abused, and was surrounded in the Ubahn during rush hour and was getting a lot of people asking me "if I am from Japan" or making noises that saying "konnichiwa" laughing! When I verbally correct them in English everyone around rolls their eyes! When I was kicked by a drunk German man on the Ubahn NO one did anything except look away except an old woman who said something. That was the ONLY time anyone said anything back - most of the time German Society (even the young educated) have a hard time talking about racism as they do not want to worry about political correctness all the time. I mean for me it is insensitive and DANGEROUS ! I get NO respect in public spaces from Germans and I get harassed DAILY from people about me being "Asian" when I am actually American! Somehow when i tell friends about it, they often never hear about how racist German culture is. it is dangerous!

The white German majority really needs to have an open dialog about social and cultural differences that does not include an opinion from the Majority. Race is not limited to what someone visually looks like and Germany is not the center of the universe and if someone appears to be Asian it is not ok to ask them if they are from Vietnam or associate them with stereotypes from the working class or anything else attached to how they look! that is very provincial thinking It is beyond belief that this still happens in a country with an appalling history of indifference!

THanks for opening up the lines here! It is getting really bad here and it is scary to think how this happens in such a time

CJ more than 8 years ago


Best article this magazine has ever run!

Ceven Knowles more than 8 years ago


Sing it, sister! I've noticed too how most Germans don't seem to think anything's racist unless it's a) antisemitic or b) happening somewhere else. Neo-nazis are not the problem... Begriffs like "Negerküsse" and "Zigeuner" and "Migrationshintergrund" are.

Alison Haywood more than 8 years ago


is a good term, don't you think? I mean, it's funny coz it is often used in just as racist a way as Kanake but it's okay, Migrationshintergrund. What would you like instead? Nicht-deutscher Wurzel? I mean, we need a word.

Jacinta Nandi more than 8 years ago

How could this be okay?

The "M-word" makes germanspeaking people with a german Passport feel that they don't belong, that they are not of german blood = less worthy.

Migrateyourbrains more than 8 years ago


What else can we say? I'm not saying that in a defensive/challenging way, what else can we say? We need a word. We do need a word. We'll need this word, whatever it is, for a while yet

Jacinta Nandi more than 8 years ago


I think it's a dishonest term because they're not actually talking about a "migration background". Tons of white Germans have a literal migration background - I mean, look at the population exchanges that happened at the end of the war. So many white Germans you meet in Berlin, their grandparents were from what's now Poland or the Czech Republic or whatever. They literally migrated. What people actually mean by Migrationshintergrund is "German who looks less white than a white German" so why not call them German minority groups or German minorities or something?

Jane more than 8 years ago

Those words are terrible...

...but English terms such as "gypsy" or even "pikey" aren't any better, are they now?

Ali more than 8 years ago

Pikey's okay

Pikey's okay, isn't it? It just means a scally, doesn't it, but one who's a bit alternative? No? I think chav is much worse than pikey. I don't think gypsy's bad at all, at least not as bad as Zigeuner. But what do I know.....I don't even think people SAYING N*gerkuss is that bad, you know? I think what was really hurtful was this self-righteous indignation during the Kinderbuchdebatte, we were talking about a kids' book aimed at five-year-old German kids and some fiver-year-old Germans are black, you know? It was the bristling that was bad.

Jacinta more than 8 years ago


The level of institutionalized racism in Germany is so shocking. It is everywhere and oh so normal. It makes me want to leave this country. The things I've witnessed here in the last 8 years are ludicrous: such as 'Indian war dances' as a school endorsed activity, anti-fascist type punks making short films with evil Native Americans going after settlers, people of another background but born in Germany not being referred to as Germans and on and on. The most ironic thing is that they don't even get it. At all. They think they aren't racist! Their relationship with such questions has evolved since the Holocaust you know, it's a new world and they are the progressive leaders of Europe. Yeah right! This article echos my feelings on the subject exactly.

Suzanne more than 8 years ago

Indian war dances

I also think the Indianer stuff is racist, but think it's just so far away from people over here that of course it doesn't seem racist to them, you know? I would totally let them off the hook for the Indianer stuff. Actually, I would let them a little bit of the hook for a lot of things, and I also think THEY think things we do & say are racist, like even how we use the term white/non-white, for German ears that sounds Nazi, doesn't it? And I think ppl watch shows like Ricky Gervais & South Park & their English isn't quite good enough so they see ppl making risque jokes & then when they try making risque jokes it's just a bit clumsier and then when we go oh, that's racist, they go, oh, you're just saying that coz of the Holocaust. Na? Isn't that what happens? BUT there have to be some fucking standards, man. That Rösler interview. I'm surprised they didn't do the whole thing with their eyes pulled to the side. Also, I just think they shd listen to non-white Germans more. I remember when Martin Sonnenborn (who I would still shag, just in case he reads this) blacked up and someone said what if you hurt Migrationshintergrund people's feelings and he said "I could not give less of a shit." Like that is literally what he said. But why can't he? Why is it too much to ask? The whole Sarah Kuttner doll thing. Everyone was like: she was being ANTI-racist! Why couldn't they have just done one fucking interview with the boy who didn't think it was actually that anti-racist? Like why not? I am a proper Ausländer and with this blog I am preaching to the converted when the ppl I wanna reach are my trendy-wendy liberal mates and I just want to force them to listen to actual German Migrationshintergrund people (and not only their cleaners, who will obviously say no that's not racist can you pay me in cash this week).

Jacinta Nandi more than 8 years ago

racism is not just B/W

Racism in Europe and especially racism in Germany history can not be reduced to a simplistic black-white dichotomy. Actually one of the biggest population killed by nazis during world war 2 where "slavic" people, seen as a lower race. The trauma related to this massmurder is still alive and unfortunately also till today racism against so called eastern-europeans is very common.

from somewhere from the east more than 8 years ago


"the Germans", right.. everybody alike.. if you try to be PC, maybe start with your own choice of words

Franco more than 8 years ago

Grow up

Oh please. You don't get a cookie just because you're a white German who isn't racist. Do you ever say anything when you're friends say racist things; tell them that's not cool? Yeah, I totally bet you do. And even if you do, get over yourself. Brown people have enough to deal with in Germany, they don't need a bunch of self-congratulatory non-racists going around bragging about how not racist they are too.

Isoperla more than 8 years ago

yes please

please stop being so full of yourself. i'm neither white nor german. i just dislike people talking about "the germans". as well as i dislike the term "the americans", "the french", "the whatever country you come from". thats sth. i consider uneducated and narrow minded. i guess you & actually most of the rest of the commentators should not be so (to use your words) self-congratulatory about being such intellectual world citizens.

franco more than 8 years ago

I'm not trying to be PC

I'm trying to change the world.

Jacinta Nandi more than 8 years ago

Thank you for this article!

Yes, you've said it! Couldn't agree more. I gave up on the Kacktaz after their dumbass "Uncle Tom's Cabin" headline. And that time they insulted transgender people. Or all the other times they insulted a minority because they were too busy being right to check their facts.

Mia more than 8 years ago


thank you for publishing this long overdue article. right on!

el more than 8 years ago

Are you surprised?

After all, your friend thinks Sarrazin is racist - which can't be corroborated by his writing. So don't expect your friend to be any wiser when talking about the questions to Rösler.

FreeSpeech more than 8 years ago

Mmm hmmm

Love it. I'm not targeted racially, but I feel for those who are. The lack of humility Ive experienced from Germans when they tell me things about my home country, though they have never been there and without even caring whether or not I have some input on the subject, has always blown me away and I know that that pretentiousness extends way beyond small things like that.

Alexiexi more than 8 years ago


Should also add that giving one's symbolic backing to anti-Nazi blockade action or mentioning the national football teams' ethnic composition does not automatically grant you a "ask/say-all-the-racist-things" card.

Aiden more than 8 years ago

"melted the fat inside"

we have a saying in turkish when we see something mind-blowing which articulates the things we couldn't somehow. this article did it for me jacinta, it fucking melted the fat inside me. thank you!

this judgmental, euro-centric, pretentious, obnoxious, high-brow bunch think they do and make it better than every single one of us and have no idea how subtly racist, patronizing an moralistic their tone are. same thing with the financial crisis. just randomly pick an article from one of the so-called left-wing publications like spiegel or SZ and you will be amazed at the patronizing, unashamedly neo-liberal and culturally racist tone. and yes they get away with it, because they are fucking liberal intellectuals of this country. they are not writing for völkischer beobachter, they are respectable, they are always politically correct. hey, they even employ people mit migrationshintergrund so that they can call their own lot not as germans but as leute mit migrationshintergrund. isn't it just great?

Deniz A. more than 8 years ago

One can dream.

How wonderful it would be if all the white Germans left Berlin for the rest of us!

Moishe Silberstein. more than 8 years ago


I think that is pretty racist too :)

Didi Klotz more than 8 years ago


That is super racist! Why not gasify them?

Sitke more than 8 years ago


So you don't have to deal with them and maybe even try to learn a word or two in German...?!? If this isn't ignorant and racist then I don't know what is!

Kate more than 8 years ago

You never see non-White Germans at Australian restaurants in Neukölln.

Therefore, they are the antidote for the hipster tourists that white Germans also despise so much.

Harry Helper more than 8 years ago


I stopped counting after my first week here how many times people pulled their eyes back in response to my saying that I came from Canada: "no, but, where are you FROM?" *make slanty eyes* Not that this doesn't happen at the individual level elsewhere, it's just not quite as institutionalized and widespread as in Germany.

Migrationshintergrund more than 8 years ago

"How do you speak English so good?"

"I'm from California."
"I was BORN in California."
"And... you grew up there?"
"... yes."

JoyUK more than 8 years ago

Person of colour from Canada

I hear you, similar experience here because I am a person of colour from Canada, therefore this conundrum is obviously too complex for Germans to wrap their heads around.

Barbara Brown more than 8 years ago


I've been here one year as an Asian American and my husband is Caucasian american -- amazing how differently I'm treated and regarded when we're together by 'regular white Germans'. I've been yelled at, pushed (in front of our children), given dirty looks for no reason that I can think of. Yes, I've been nearly run over on the legitimate pedestrian crosswalk WITH MY KIDS (literally cars coming right up to us as if we need to hurry up!!!??? WTF Germany?) -- my husband attributes it to the general aggression German culture embodies when it comes to civility and respect for your fellow human. I know this is all true, but I definitely know i am a target of racism here. It's sad because I love Berlin. My children love Berlin too, but they see how horribly different I'm treated from my blond hair, blued eyed husband who is just as American as I am -- and yet because I'm a person of color.....,,well, Yes, wake the fuck up Germany. Shouldn't you have already considering the sordid past??? My god...get a clue.

Yeah more than 8 years ago


This is the best thing the Ex-Berliner has ever run. I'd like to add that white Germans (including the editorial staff of the Taz, as became apparent in their reaction when the American site Wonkette called them out on their racist Uncle Tom's Cabin thing about Obama in 2008) subscribe to the notion that white people not only can figure out by themselves whether or not something is racist, but actually can tell better than non-white people whether or not something is racist, because their position is more "objective".

Jane more than 8 years ago


What do you expect from a country in where everybody who came after 1945 in the country is considered an immigrant, even though they've been here for 3 generations.

Apart from being closed minded when hiring people to work, they always rather hire Germans. It's not like other places, such as London where if you are good, they would hire you regardless of your nationality.

Immigrant more than 8 years ago

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