We used to sing this song on the playground when we were in school. We’d pull our eyes in an upward direction for the word “Chinese”, in a downward direction for the word “Japanese”, then, for the word “knees” we’d touch our knees, and then at the end we’d pull our school shirts out in front of us to show where our breasts would be, if we’d had tits, that is. The song itself went: “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, what are these?”
I’m not saying it is the most racist thing human beings have ever done. It’s not like it’s even in the Top Five. If there is a Top Five of Racist Stuff, it probably doesn’t go, like: Auschwitz, slavery, Wetten Dass and the blackfacing, that TV presenter getting Samuel L Jackson mixed up with Laurence Fishburne, the “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, what are these song”. I’ll give you that. However, I’m not saying it was not racist either. It was a bit racist. But, you know: we were only kids, we were only seven years old, we didn’t mean anything, we were only having fun.
Fast forward a few years. A couple of decades, in fact. A couple of years ago, I was talking to a Vietnamese girl about Angelina Jolie. I quite liked the Vietnamese girl, although she could be quite severe with me sometimes.
“Angelina Jolie’s adopted her kids?” she asked.
“For sure, she’s adopted her kids,” I answered. And then – and I don’t know why I did this – I pulled on my eyes.
Fuck. I literally don’t know what I was thinking. But I know what I saw in her eyes though – it was genuine pain, actual hurt, real anger. Not “offence” which is what we call pain and hurt and anger when they happen to people whose feelings we don’t respect. She wasn’t “offended”. She was fucking hurt. I looked at her. And I felt like a total cunt.
There’s a German friend of mine, Jens, who sometimes makes jokes about Indian people stinking. Now, for what it’s worth, I think that kind of joke is basically okay, in a way that the Schlitzauge thing isn’t – because we really do, deep down, think that Asian people have “funny-looking” eyes, whereas nobody thinks Indian people actually smell.
Still. “This is Jacinta,” Jens said one night, when he was introducing me to people. “She’s Indian, but she smells quite okay.”
I didn’t mind. I wasn’t even that upset. I hadn’t heard any Pakis-Smell-of-Curry jokes for a while, so I was a bit confused. But I didn’t really give a shit. He’d said I didn’t smell, hadn’t he? I didn’t mind. But, afterwards, I did say to him – I did mention – that nobody had made a joke like that, in my presence at least, since the 1990s.
“I’d forgotten people thought Indians smell,” I said. “Until you made that joke. I’d totally forgotten.”
Jens bristled. He didn’t just bristle, actually. He fucking bristled.
“You want me to be politically correct,” he said. “And that is the one thing I refuse to be.”
But I didn’t. I didn’t give a shit. I’d just genuinely forgotten that that was a thing people said about Indians. I was just telling him.
When I was in high school, we had to learn an example of a paradox off by heart. It went: “He who goes against fashion is himself its slave.” Nice, huh? Well, replace fashion with political correctness and that’s modern Germans for you. They’re desperately, fanatically, zwangshaftly, frantically trying to avoid ever saying anything politically correct ever. Even by accident. All they want is to be politically incorrect. That is all they want. They will say anything, as long as it’s not PC. It doesn’t matter how funny or meaningful or true or original or not it is. Hauptsache, politically incorrect. Their mantra goes: “The only thing that matters is if the thing I say manages to hurt the feelings of people slightly – or even a bit more than slightly – less powerful than me. That is my one and only aim in life.”
It is fucking rubbish. It’s a rubbish mantra. When Stefanie Aehnelt refuses to apologize for the Schlitzaugen-photo they had up at Heimathafen in their I Love Neukölln exhibition, she is being fucking rubbish. Fundamentally fucking rubbish. She should just admit that they did something wrong and now she feels like a cunt. We all do stuff wrong sometimes. Afterwards you feel like a cunt. Then you say: “Fuck, I feel like a cunt now.” This has got nothing to do with political correctness, by the way. It’s just about not actually being a total cunt. You are a cunt if you can’t bear to admit to feeling like one sometimes. We’re not seven years old anymore. We should know better. Stefanie Aehnelt and the Heimathafen Neukölln should know better. They should stop being cunts and fucking apologize. And that is, basically, all I have to say on the subject. You cunts. Grow up and fucking apologize. There. Is that politically incorrect enough for you?