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Curiosity on the racial issues.....

Travel Forums Europe Curiosity on the racial issues.....

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1. Posted by Big Dreams (Budding Member, 12 posts) 11 Feb '12 20:56

Hi everyone.
I am new to this site, but I plan to use this site a lot on my future endeavors. I just have a question on Germany. It may seem like an odd question, but are they against blacks? I'm white, but the man I'm with is barbadian. So he's black. He wants to see some stuff in Germany but is a bit unsure because Germans are known for the racism factor. But I think they have become a bit more civilized, but I want to make sure that if he comes with me, we won't have to worry about being chased with torches and pitchforks because of his colour. Any insight would be fantastic.
Thank you.

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator, 4365 posts) 12 Feb '12 01:22

There is, especially in the poorer parts of former Eastern Germany (but certainly not exclusively there), a small subsection of the population which is openly racist. I don't think this subsection is actually significantly larger than in pretty much any other country, but they get more attention due to WWII connotations. You won't encounter these people in any tourist destinations, and even if you do, they tend to reserve their attentions for the locals.

Other than that, Germany is like any other successful cosmopolitan European country. Everyone would like to think we're completely accepting and open-minded, but we'll still treat everything "other" just a bit differently, just for a second. But mostly, it won't be intended, and with another generation of hard work, it might finally be stamped out for real. I won't claim you won't have any bad experiences during a visit, but you really shouldn't (modulo common sense about avoiding dodgy areas).

I think in this case the fear and prejudice is actually way worse the other way 'round; this is the first time I've ever heard a sentiment like Germans being "known" for racism, and I'll assume the ludicrous idea of torches and pitchforks was hyperbole.

3. Posted by vanessa (Travel Guru, 256 posts) 12 Feb '12 05:27

HI!
"Germans are known for the racism factor" - scratched my ear.
I have German friends. I travel in Germany and in other German-speaking countries quite often and prolonged. Everywhere, even in very little towns, I seen black and Asian ppl and I NEVER seen any antagonism or racial behaving. Oppositely, there r many mixed couples now, of course it is more visible in big cities. That's my own experience.
I'm not sure that my experience can count cause I'm Caucasian myself, but still I'm so-called "Mediterranean" type (dark hair and eyes and sun-burned skin).Germany is very comfortable for travelers - clean, clear and welcoming everywhere I stepped in, very nice and helpful ppl as well. There are many good things that I can say about "Germans", but my favorite quality of their "national character" (Gosh, it feels terrible to make generalizations and speak stigmas!!!) - they are straight minded ppl. I think it is very important quality and it's not that common everywhere.

Berlin is traditionally cosmopolitan, Munich is "typical Bavarian" - but very tourist-oriented, Cologne is known for its free-soul. I don't know where u plan to go, but guess there are mostly tourist destinations.

Definitely it's not "all in pink colors" in Germany, there are also problems. As I mentioned - most of probs. have a social character and they are the local probs: it's about illegal foreigners, limited job market, mental differences - when it comes on the level of the neighborhood. If you are traveler and behave - it seems no trouble is expected.

In any case, it's better not to mess up with folks that drunk badly or they look like neo-Nazi or criminals - but it's common rule for any place you go, not really matter which color u are.

Something else: I don't know another country but Germany, who educates and cares so much about not to be known as "racists", who non-stop apologies and pays in all ways for what happen there in 1930-40th. If you will visit Berlin - you will see it yourself.

4. Posted by Big Dreams (Budding Member, 12 posts) 12 Feb '12 10:50

Sander,
It was in fact a hyperbole. I did not mean to offend you if I have. My biological father was German and was right from Germany. His entire side of the family was and they were all racist and my entire life he put in my head a true German did not accept colors. Obviously I didn't see a difference because we are all the same color when the lights are off. But I have never known much about German culture because how he portrayed Germans, it was an honest disgrace. I have met many German people and they don't care about colror but they also grew up in places where there was a lot or color so if they did dislike colors, they were kind of a loner.
I figured the racism would be like anywhere else. But still was not sure because my entire dads side was against anything not white. Some might of been lying to keep the peace, but thats how they came across. So i had to make sure it was just in their heads.

Vanessa,
Thank you for that a information. Just like sandy, that is exactly what I was hoping for. I thought they were more civilized, but like I explained to sandy, my father took it to the extreme. I do have family there, but if I was to ask any questions about the racism, I know for a fact they woudld not accept because they are racist. But it is such a reflief to know it really isn't as bad as they make it seem.
I do plan to go to some tourist destinations. He is pretty quiet, does not speak out of turn, very polite. So I don't think we will have any problems with anything. I know we will come across our share of comments and snide remarks, but I get that here at home too. I know regardless of where I go, that wil happen. Just had to make sure it was how I thought it was, not how I was told.

Thank you both. You put Germany higher up on my list of places to see. :)

5. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru, 1940 posts) 12 Feb '12 11:17

Germany is one country that I personally avoid (I am German/American, a so-called Pennsylvania Dutch white guy). Why do I avoid it - I find the German nationals to be loud and generally quite rude. Yes, I admit that this is a gross generalization, but I will still continue to avoid it. I also find many of my fellow Americans to be loud and generally quite rude! I do have hope that the younger generation of Germans and Americans will be more broadminded and friendlier, but until I personally see this, I will travel to places where I find more friendliness (such as UK, Netherlands, France, Scandinavia, E. Europe and Asia).

[ Edit: Edited on 12-Feb-2012, at 11:19 by Daawgon ]

6. Posted by vanessa (Travel Guru, 256 posts) 12 Feb '12 12:30

Hi there, once again.
It's interesting issue and, well, sensative for many.
Racism is ugly thing and it's no excuses - at my opinion one of the worst human qualities. it has many faces - ppl do hate each other for difference: racial, religious, mental. Our world is far from being loyal, unfortunatelly. I dont speak German and dont read thoughts - so cant pretend I know what exectly other ppl thinking or feel, but I like meet new ppl - sometimes it's small talk and sometimes it becomes relations. I hardly can name one or two places in the world where I felt not comfortable, and Germany felt good to me. I know folks who "never visit Germany" and they have their reasons. I dont blame them - it's their choice. It's pity that your father made you feeling like this. And sad to think that (up to him) all his family / comunity are pure racists there. I still believe that he is wrong about. He left Germany long time ago, as i understand. I wanna hope he is not updated :-) And, do you know what? I really would like to hear from you if you finally went there and if you liked it. I think it's important to get out of stigmas and lables and try things yourself. When you are going with open heart - people smile to you back. Normally it's working like this.
Cheers,
Vanessa

7. Posted by Big Dreams (Budding Member, 12 posts) 12 Feb '12 13:03

Daawgon,
I have heard that as well from many people, but I also hear French are just as rude. Which you said you find more friendly in France. I guess it depends on who you are and who you are around. If I go there and a week later you go there, chances of us meeting the exact same people are pretty slim. You might of just met the bad crowd. But I am glad to know I shouldn't expect every single person to be bubbly and stuff. Thank you for your view. Much appreciated.

Vanessa,
I do agree it is a tough topic for many reasons, which is why when I do talk about the racism in Germany and such, I don't forget to mention i am German so people don't think that I am picking on them for no reason. And it is a shame my father is narrow minded. But I guess when you grow up only knowing one thing, how else are you supposed to feel? He did come to Canada in the 80's but he is not a citizen, he stays true to Germany. He goes back all the time. I actually haven't seen nor heard from him in almost 20 years. It's probably why I am so open minded. I didn't live with his racial talk and thoughts. I do speak German though. But I would love to go there. I forget that people care wether a person is black or white or red or yellow so with my partner being dark, and me being white, it is a challenge finding a place where we won't be ridiculed. Luckily, his family is from the Barbados and other carribbean islands so we cab hit the hot vaca spots with no worries : ) but I am european, being my only family in Canada is my mother and sister, so I would like to visit a lot of countries over there and see where I come from. So if I do make it to Germany, I will for certain go out of my way to message you and tell you all about it. Thank you for your info : )

8. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator, 5540 posts) 12 Feb '12 13:11

Hi,
Just my quick 50 cents to throw in: don't worry, Germany is just fine and like others said above: not much more or less racist than average.
I do want to mention that further east, that is the former communistic countries in general, racism is much more of a problem. So if you have plans to go there, be warned, they tend to be rather xeno- and homofobic for some reason, usually low self-esteem;). But mostly it's nothing more than staring and the occassional calling/swearing, that's it.
Just ignore them and be the better person. Feel sorry for them, because it is their loss and lack of understanding.
Cheers
Mike

9. Posted by vanessa (Travel Guru, 256 posts) 12 Feb '12 13:19

cool! :-))
will b waiting for your "report".
u can message me here, on TP, if u wanna do it not public.
Good luck!
v.

10. Posted by Big Dreams (Budding Member, 12 posts) 12 Feb '12 13:58

Hey utrecht,
Just out of curiosity, which countries are you meaning?

Vanessa,
It will be a long time before I do go, but I will for sure tell you : )