Areas to avoid as a person of color?

Old Apr 11th, 2015, 07:37 AM
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Areas to avoid as a person of color?

I've been wanting to travel to Germany for quite some time now, and upon doing some research on areas to see, the topic of racism arose. Many blogs said to avoid Eastern Berlin and Eastern Germany as much as possible because racial tensions run very high. Which areas should I avoid as a person of color? Which do you think would be fine to visit? Also, have you personally experienced racism or witnessed it in Germany? Thanks in advance!
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 07:47 AM
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There are racial attitudes everywhere, but Germany is exceptionally tolerant on the whole - racial tensions do not "run very high" - and there is no measurable level of random violence against non-whites. There IS a degree of anti-immigrant sentiment, but that won't be you. You have nothing to worry about as a visitor to the country except the normal concerns (avoid soccer matches, midnight strolls through low-rent areas. etc.)
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 07:48 AM
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>>>because racial tensions run very high<<<

This a typical exaggeration of the media. Look at the upper picture how persons of colour are treated in Germany:

http://www.promideluxe.de/jerome-boa...-deutschlands/

The persons on the picture are (left to right): The federal president Joachim Gauck, footballer Jerome Boateng, federal chancellor Angela Merkel and secretary of state Thomas de Maiziere.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 07:57 AM
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On my most recent trip to Germany, I was struck by how diverse it had become over the years. I'm not a person of color, but from what I've seen, I wouldn't hesitate to go to Germany.

As far as experiencing it, I have to mention the lovely biracial family with whom I chatted at a restaurant in Göttingen, as I was sitting at the next table to them. The man was white, the woman black, and their beautiful little girls appeared to be fluent in both German and English.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 08:04 AM
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As a White guy I would find most of the questionable areas also uncomfortable to walk (esp. at night).
Low-rent is not necessarily a determining factor - many low-rent areas of Berlin are actually very diverse.

In Berlin (and allow for some generalization), I would not avoid the districts East, Northeast and Southeast of the S-Bahn loop (but not by a few 100 meters, more in general). So only the outer districts of what was East Berlin require some caution. The districts of Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg or Friedrichshain are also in East Berlin - but quite diverse and unproblematic.
The Western partof the city is less of a problem - though I would also avoid the very South of Neukölln district (where U7 subway ends) and some parts in the North .
While in real life, the actual numbers of violence against minorities are low, it may be more an "unsafe" feeling than a real threat.
The upside is that there is little to nothing to see in the questionable neighborhoods I mentioned.

Eastern Germany is a pretty huge area, so it is hard to give exact predictions where you may or may not feel uncomfortable. In the current climate with some isolated tensions spurred by right-wing nutters (mostly connected with housing for refugees) in the East I would not know what to suggest. Personally, I'll spend my tourist euros somewhere else, but that has little to do with a clear and present danger.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 08:06 AM
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I find it absolutely appalling that in 2015 you even have to ask the question.

I have only been to Germany twice, so don't have in depth experience but as a country it does have a very good mix of ethnic background. Generally, in Europe, some countries in the East have had issues with racism, some sports teams have been banned due to the racism exhibited by their fans. This does have no reflection on what happens on the street.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 08:22 AM
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I lived in Berlin for 15 years till 2006, and now "commute" back and forth 20 times a year
And if OP was visiting me, I'd definetely not want her to go to certain Eastern residential districts with their wasteland of GDR-made highrise apartment buildings which have a predominantly White, low to lower middle class, narrow-minded population with a remarkable tolerance for racism against ethnic minorities, gay/lesbian people or anyone who does not fit into their little post-socialism brains.
It does not mean that you run a high risk of harrassement or physical violence - but I would also not bet too much money on it that you could spend a day and night there as a Black person and not get harrassed or feel intimidated.

Again, as a tourist, you do not accidentely stumble into these neighborhoods as they are far from the next tourist-related sights. The only two sights I can think of are the former Stasi HQ in Lichtenberg and the former Stasi prison (now memorial).
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 08:33 AM
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Thanks for all of the replies. To those with somewhat negative feelings towards my question, these are questions I'm at liberty to ask. To say that racial tensions don't exist in 2015 is extremely ignorant. Living in America, I've been privy to several incidents of racism, so it's not outlandish for me to wonder about racism in countries with drastically lower rates of minorities. It has nothing to do with Germany in particular. I would just rather go to a country aware of where I stand, then blindly believe that the majority of people are going to like me.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 08:35 AM
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The whole issue of colour in a non mutli-cultural area is interesting.

There have been many times in Southern States that we have been fairly uncomfortable due to our white, middle class, smart casual clothes. We received warm welcomes and never encountered colour prejudice but still had a feeling of not being comfortable.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 08:41 AM
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I find it absolutely appalling that in 2015 you even have to ask the question.>

Not me - take Britain - I've found blatant anti-Black feelings at times in Britain - was shocked when one bloke went on a virulent anti-black rant and yes treatments of say black football players is legendary for racism all over Europe.

Racism exists everywhere but not nearly as bad as in the U.S. IME - to wit the many violent police atacks on people of color here - not ad overt in Europe but is there - my many French in-laws are not overt racists but still have many racial stereotypes and jokes - like they say Belgians who speak French speak 'nxxxxx' French, etc.

All of this is mute however for the general tourist who will never come in contact much with ordinary people as such. but racism is something you can never say does not exist - even in enlightened Germany.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 08:52 AM
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great question

A few years back I traveled with 3 work colleagues, one white (and me also), one ethnically Han chinese and one actually Pakistani. All three had PhDs, all spoke English well and German not at all.

Flying into Munich three of us passed straight through the whole reception committee of stuff. Our Pakistani colleague came through 20 minutes later.

Still the chinese guy and I traveled around America and were pulled over for 15 minutes at every (4) internal flight.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 08:58 AM
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"All of this is mute however for the general tourist who will never come in contact much with ordinary people ..."

As a tourist who has been mugged once and should have been a second time in areas tourists would not normally frequent I appreciate any and all advice on go/no go areas.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 09:19 AM
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Wanttogobutidk: "To say that racial tensions don't exist in 2015 is extremely ignorant."

Yes, that would be as ignorant as Ahmedinejad of Iran denying the existence of homosexuality in his country, like he did.

But the thing is, Wanttogobutidk, NO ONE here said anything like what you said above at all - did they?

Wanttogobutidk: "Living in America, I've been privy to several incidents of racism..."

Yeah, me too. But your question is whether you should become a tourist in Germany, based on whether anyone else has had racist experiences there. Do you advise foreign tourists to stay away from America because of the incidents you speak of?
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 09:22 AM
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As a tourist who has been mugged once and should have been a second time in areas tourists would not normally frequent I appreciate any and all advice on go/no go areas.>

Was the mugging racially inspired - I would think no - where was it? Was it racially inspired - there may be no go zones everywhere but not because of racism the question at hand.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 10:00 AM
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I understand why the OP would be worried given the recent history of anti-islamic marches in Germany - racists are not well-known for being able to distinguish between different groups that they happen to dislike.

His experience being a person of colour is going to be very different to that of the majority of fodorites.

Wanttogobutidk - that said, i think that you would be very unlucky to experience any racism in Germany so long as you stick to normal tourist areas - you will, after all, be a normal tourist.

Perhaps you could come back and let us know how you get on.

Gute Reise!
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 10:11 AM
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Half my family is African American and all of them have on occasion experienced a different standard of treatment because of their skin color while traveling in Europe. And yes, they knew it was because of their race. It was not their overwhelming experience of Europe, and fortunately nothing frightening, but it certainly happened.

This is something non-Europeans encounter when they travel to Europe, and the majority of Fodorites are just very ill-informed about it, living off ideology, not reality, about this.

Try to learn something, people!
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 10:44 AM
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Fussgaenger, my statement was made in regards to a comment saying they were appalled I would even ask my question. And yes, I would advise some people to not visit certain areas in the state I live in. What is so odd about that? I spoke about America because it is generally regarded as a progressive country, much like Germany. I'm not understanding the cause of your hostility.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 10:49 AM
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Wantogobutidk - BC can speak for himself, but I think that what he meant was that he was appalled that it was necessary to ask the question, not that you did ask it.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 11:25 AM
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"I understand why the OP would be worried given the recent history of anti-islamic marches in Germany - racists are not well-known for being able to distinguish between different groups that they happen to dislike."

What you call "racist" are valid protests, (aimed at the German government, mostly,) over the presence of extremist Islamic immigrants and visitors in Germany. The recent protests came in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Germans don't want to live with jihadis. Who does? Parallel Islamic societies with values contrary to European law have taken root in Europe and in Germany too; there are 20 or more known Islamic terrorist cells in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany. If I were German, I'd want something done too.

German "racists" didn't commit the recent racist terrorist acts in Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Paris, Stockholm, Bulgaria (30 dead there) or Brussels, attacks that injured and killed dozens altogether. Islamic racists did. Nor did German racists behead the British soldier on a Woolwich street a couple of years ago.

As a visitor, one's personal safety in Germany (and the rest of Europe) is in fact threatened far more by racist Islamic evil-doers from Syria, Tunisia, and other Middle East nations than by German residents.

German racists exist. But they have nowhere near the record of violence we see among Islamic immigrants.

If you are attacked in Germany, Wanttogobutidk, it will not be Germans who hurt you.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 11:44 AM
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Wondering what racist, terrorist attacks have happened in Frankfurt? One of the most diverse cities in Europe with about 28% of us being foreigners and over 45% of us having some kind of immigration background? You must be thinking of Dresden where those bigoted Pegida demonstrations are popular.

When Pegida has their weekly demonstration, there is usually about 20 of them and 1000's of anti-Pegida demonstrators. This is not a racist attack, it is an anti-racist demonstration. If you meant the ECB riots, this had nothing to do with racism. I've listened to their rhetoric and a more bigoted bunch of ignorant neo-nazis can't be found. Their speeches are certainly about more than being anti-jihadists.

So, yes, I would recommend staying out of Dresden and Leipzig. Berlin should be fine as would any other city. Try Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne.
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