Racism — It’s here, it’s alive and we need to fight it!
This story is part of a broader, distributed series that has been initiated by a few software developers on Twitter, including myself. It serves as a remainder on how racism is influencing our daily lives and how people experience racism on a daily, local and international base. And yes — it’s not only based on public opinions, but on personal views and experiences.
What is Racism?
Racism consists of both prejudice and discrimination based in social perceptions of biological differences between peoples. It often takes the form of social actions, practices or beliefs, or political systems that consider different races to be ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities. It may also hold that members of different races should be treated differently (Wikipedia)
That’s the rational explanation of what racism is. It does not cover all the pain and the struggle of people experiencing racism at first hand. It has no way to express how it feels to come home to your family after being discriminated, sometimes even abused and lied to on a daily base.
Racism is also expressed through territorial claims like borders, that lead to wars, dead and destruction. Not only of lives, but whole cultures have been uprooted and eliminated.
Than there is the kind of racism all of us know very well about. The way racists distinguish between skin color, the size and form of your head, your ethnic background and the way you talk and live. This is the strongest and most distributed form of racism accompanied by fascism. This is what the media reduces it to on a daily base: The war between black and white. It is the most popular form of racism practiced in our societies world-wide.
(Image Source: WikiPedia)
Next on the list are immigrants, mostly defined by standard phrases like “This people are taking our jobs!”, “Those people are raping our woman, taking our children!”, “Those are the people who bring crime to our country!”, “This are the terrorists who are a threat to our country, our values and lives!” and much more. Most of the people spreading this hate, have not seen more of the world then their own backyard.
(Image Source: WikiPedia)
Well, this my friends is the lowest, ugliest and most popular way to spread misinformation, hate and fear in my, your and other countries. You digest that every day! Mostly in a subtle and unconscious way.
You are sprinkled with that kind of information day by day, which makes it so dangerous. Or would you like to take a seat beneath a bearded man from Afghanistan, Tehran or India? Think about it. Fascists use the same methods Pawlow did to condition your behavior. Don’t fall for that.
Goebbels used very similar methods in Germany. Playing with your most fundamental fears and needs, planting the seeds of hate into the brains of his people.
There are many, if not endless ways to influence and manipulate people through the media using misinformation, telling them what’s right or wrong. That’s what is called propaganda.
But the most subtle manifestation of racism is to just accept things and not to do nothing against it. Like for example China, not allowing it’s people to get informed about what’s going on in the world.
By limiting, manipulating and suppressing the information flow from and to the country. You might ask yourself, what this has to do with racism.
Let me tell you: Other countries use and abuse this kind of suppression of information's to keep this countries “on track”. They accept it without doing anything against it, just to keep this people on a “low-level” and that way out of “Their Thing”. They put their interests above people and that is exactly one facet of the superior kind of thinking that is one of the fundamental believes of fascism and racism. Those two go hand in hand.
Let me connect now to what Marco said about his experiences living as a foreigner in Germany.
You always are a stranger, no matter what you have achieved or what you have done for the society you live in.
I just took his original statement and I modified it, extended it a bit. Let’s talk about some of the struggles and discrimination's you have to go trough in your day to day live.
First of all, I was born in Germany as the child of immigrants from Serbia and Bosnia. My parents came to Germany to make a better living and to help to rebuild Germany after WWII. That was in the late 50's. So did many people from Croatia, Italy, Spain or Portugal and other countries.
They have been isolated from the beginning and had to live for quite a while in barracks and other facilities built for this people who where not considered more than a working force to rebuilt this country.
Later they have been moved to cheap housing facilities and mostly areas inhabited by foreigners.
This shed’s a first light on the topic of integration and adaption. Like “If you want to live in this country, you have to learn our language!” or “If you live in this country you have to live by our rules!”. The people back then had not a very big chance to integrate them into the foreign culture and society. That my friends, was the first step to what they call today ghettoization (this word is not even in the dictionary, to correct my spelling). And it is not the right way to integrate foreigners into your culture. There are much better ways to do it.
Today racist pick this up to offend foreigners and to push their propaganda here in Germany. Like the Turkish people for example, who are blamed to form societies within the current society. Living by their own rules and laws. A circumstance that the German government has created back then in the late 50's when they actively separated the immigrants from the Germans. Home made problems, they want to blame this people for today.
But no one mentions what this people really do for Germany. Many of them are successful entrepreneurs paying taxes, creating jobs and paying the pension of fellow German citizens. Some of those entrepreneurs however, made the decision to leave Germany and to move their money out of the country, because they have never been accepted — even if they made millions of Euros and paying taxes on a regular base. And so do many of “us”.
Most people (like in other countries as well) here in Germany are still afraid of the “unknown”. And that includes a different skin color, a different way of dressing and more. Here is a video that expresses very well how you feel as a foreigner (in this case a visitor from the US), if you move through Germany on a daily bases:
The next thing that is part of my personal experience is, the twist of identification. At a certain point in time (I think I was about the age of 25) you ask yourself: “Am I a German or Serbian?”, “Do I respect my roots or do I have to disrespect them in order to be accepted?”.
It’s a tough situation I have personally been through. And, especially after my father died, I made the decision to keep my roots alive and to tell my daughter about it, who she really is and where she initially came from. This is a struggle many of “us” (which is again a separation spoken out by myself) have to go through in this country. Here is a video that helps to understand what I am talking about. And it show’s the two side’s of the coin. At the end you are still not fully accepted by the society.
My personal decision was to keep my Serbian passport. My daughter however has a German passport that will help her to avoid most of the problems connected to free travel regarding visa based and other problems.
What my Wife experiences every day
My wife was born in Lithuania and has come to Germany also seeking for a better life.
She learned the German language very quickly and adapted as good as she can to the local circumstances and cultural aspects.
But even if she did that, she is treated like an alien. She carries the Lithuanian passport which makes her a 100% citizen of the European Union. Many Germans don’t even know (and that includes people working for the German government as well as everyday citizens) that Lithuania is part of the EU.
Now, like every foreigner who has been raised in a foreign country, she comes with an accent. And that is enough to be discriminated here.
Every time she goes for example to clarify something here in the local town-hall, she’s being misinformed or not even helped. And each time I have to go there and clarify the situation, take her with me and demand what is her right. The right of being treated and informed like every other human being living in this town.
Most of the people she deal’s with treat her like an uneducated and naive as well as dumb being just because of her accent. And only because of their cut and dried opinions.
Violence against foreigners and people looking for asylum
I experienced also a lot of violence as a teenager between foreigners and low-level-racists here in Germany. One day in a small city we were surrounded by a group of about 25 Skins (we were 4 people) and beaten to a pulp. That’s only one encounter. Another encounter which I had in another city, was a foreign girl (about the age of 17 or 18) beaten with a baseball bat by a Skin, showing off her arm bones that have been broken. And much more.
But it’s not only me. Based on the fact that the social system in Germany has been abused by many people (Germans and foreigners). Nazis in Germany have started to put a “stamp” on people seeking for help, because their life was threatened in their home country. And this lead to a harsh wave of violence in eastern Germany in 1991.
That’s the worst form of racism that you can experience here. And it’s not dead. It’s very alive and present in this country.
This violence was caused by a failed politics after they have torn down the Berlin wall. And left the people in eastern Germany on their own without thinking about the consequences.
Many of my fellow German citizens in eastern Germany have been financially ripped-off and bullshitted by their own government. Taking their houses, selling their land and city infrastructure to shady investors all over the world.
With the consequence of cities that have become ghost-towns because there is no work, no future whatsoever. And that my friends, is the hotbed for racism.
What others say about being an immigrant in Germany
This video tries to visualize in a very constructive, positive way, what other people think about their life as foreigners and immigrants in Germany.
A school project about migrants in Germany. Our main target was to clear cliches about migrants Germany,specially in Berlin.
I am very glad to see this kind of projects here and consider that as a huge step forward in thinking of the next generation that grows up here. They have my respect.
What I am thankful for
Despite of all the racism surrounding us in our everyday life's, I am grateful for the education I have received here.
Especially I am grateful that I had one teacher who literally saved my life.
I will not name him here. What I can say is, that this man fought for my interests as an immigrant child and opened a whole new world to me, by teaching my how think on my own, how to form my own opinions and to respect other people independent of their heritage, culture or religion. And he showed me, how to open doors for others as well.
This teacher was suspended from our school after only a year of teaching, but he opened many doors that allowed us to kick-start our life's.
And I am thankful that I have grown up with friends from all over the world: German, Turkish, Italian, Albanian, Croatian, Russian and more. I don’t remember exactly all the countries — because it made no difference for us.
It is not only Germany, racism is EVERYWHERE! In my home-country, in all of Europe and the United States.
For this reason, I see education and respect as the only cure against racism.
We need to do our best to avoid prejudice, intolerance, violence and disrespect for each other and to make this world a better place for our children and the future generations.
This can be achieved in small community projects for example that help us to understand our different cultures that can enrich our life’s in so many different ways.