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October 24, 2010



This is an aspect I have wondered about since the public climate changed so dramatically: How long do they stomach this change?

They surely must feel extremely unwelcome by the time. If the well educated ones leave, this would indeed be a shame.

Yes I know you won't believe I mean it this way, but I do.
I do think that immigrants should be able to gain their place here - only I would demand a whole lot more from them than you would.

For example:
I cannot see why they should not give their children German names. This would accelerate the process of assimilation considerably.

Also secularism is a reality here. People who allow their religion to influence all their aspects of daily life are (rightly) considered to be odd today.


Really, the Germans love to pat themselves on the back about their wondrous cultural norms. And a lot of them don't mind expressing racial ideas that would make a Southern Cracker blush.
I couldn't believe how I was treated in Berlin because people mistook me for a Turk. It was crude beyond belief: being followed around in stores, shouted at by a museum guard, glared at by passersby on the street, and so on... just the everyday crap I imagine any person of color puts up with in at least Northern Germany. And I'm not even a person of color, just tanned from living in Hawaii. East Indian friends of mine corroborate my feeling that Germans are hostile to dark-skinned people. They got the treatment all the time in Berlin and found it exhausting.
And I think telling people they ought to change their names in order to fit in is offensive and disrespectful of others.



How did this experience differ from Switzerland?


Many people there are darker, so I don't stand out as looking different. I was never hassled there. Remember those Roman legions?
It always pays to speak English and not German, too, I've discovered. That way I'm not identified as an immigrant but as an American. A lot of my friends did that when they shopped on Bahnhofstrasse, even if they spoke Swiss or German, because they got better service.
But my East Indian friend, who lived in Switerland when she was younger, as well as in Berlin, was constantly propositioned in downtown Zurich, the premise being that dark-skinned women were prostitutes.
This is street level stuff, of course, and I imagine all kinds of people have all kinds of good experiences in Germany and Switzerland. Good friends and career satisfaction and all that.

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