Areas to avoid as a person of color?

Old Apr 11th, 2015, 06:54 PM
  #41  
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There's always that one person who ruins everything. Thank you everyone for your answers, and seeing as how racism may not be physical but emotional, all of your useful comments influenced me to make the trip later this year. If I do encounter any sort of nonsense, I'll be sure to make a note of where it happened and what might have caused it, for those of us who want time stamps and witness proof. I've always wanted to teach English there for a year and most of you have given me the confidence to do so. Fussgaenger, I don't know what your purpose was with all the retaliation, seeing as how this discussion was never meant to be an argument, but I hope you fulfilled your goal. Thanks everyone!
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 07:39 PM
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"If I do encounter any sort of nonsense, I'll be sure to make a note of where it happened and what might have caused it, for those of us who want time stamps and witness proof."

You asked which places in Germany to avoid on the basis of racism. So now you're "done" with the thread... what places will you avoid, if any? What information from this thread helped you decide? You're signing off with no clear conclusion?

I don't think your question was sincere in the slightest. You don't care whether there is any actual racism. You're just fine with rumors about the German people and all the irrelevant "information" you got, apparently. I think the German people deserve better.

If you want to know why this thread turned ugly, well, have an introspective look at your 9:33 post where you use the word "ignorant" on some phantom poster who was supposed to have said that racism doesn't exist (but didn't.)

Then you call me "hostile" because I asked you some direct questions.

Then you accuse me of "retaliation"... ?? When I was called drunk, illiterate, memory-challenged, and more, did I call you or anyone else anything at all? No. There was no retaliation.

So as a former teacher of ESL myself (nearly 20 years in all) I wish you a good stint in Germany. And I'd advise you to bone up on the meanings of some of the words you sling around very casually. Germans expect a certain exactness when it comes to language and thought. Be aware also that German students - I taught many of them - are very good at argumentation. You may not care about facts or meanings, but they do. They will hold you accountable for what you say. They are not easily satisfied with hearsay. And they will openly challenge your thinking.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 09:32 PM
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Sad to see what this thread turned into. I think if the original poster found information about racism in Germany in forums and in the news while planning the trip, then this is a very logical question to post here. I would have done the same.

Generally speaking, do as Cowboy said in his first post. The touristy areas are safe. In addition, I would check if there are any big events by multi-national institutions/organisations planned which could attract extreme left-wing protests. Just like it happened a few weeks ago in Frankfurt, when the ECB opened the new headquarter. This part of the city was like a battlefield, lots of injured police officers and damage done.

> "the so-called "anti islamic extremism" demonstrations which started in the state capitals of the East and only there have significant dimwit followers are just a disgusting mix of neo-nazis and brain-dead bigots who live in cities and regions which do not even have that "massive stream of immigration" they proclaim."

Agreed partially. On the other hand, the demonstrations were a much needed wake-up call for the politicians to organise immigration differently. A massive or not "stream of immigration", btw, is always relative - in a big city like Berlin nobody will notice some thousand more immigrants. In a small town with a population of a couple of thousand people, 200 or so immigrants are a problem in many ways. Or 170 immigrants in a village where some hundred locals live.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 09:52 PM
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Aspergers.
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Old Apr 11th, 2015, 10:23 PM
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Agree partially.
Organising immigration is a difficult task and could/can be done much better in many cases.

But the problems arising from housing 100 refugees in a village of 300 locals happens as well in rural Bavaria or Lower Saxony - and is not limited to the former East.
And also in the former West it had happened that refugee residences became targets of xenophobic graffiti or arson.
But: There has never been any kind of support or "understanding" for these criminal acts of vandalism or harassment by the locals - and I grew up in a village that had refugee housing for decades.
We never paraded around self-victimizing ourselves against an imaginary threat, targeting real people who barely escaped from a warzone.

These "protesters" are not my countrymen and they are not speaking in my name.
They lack intelligence, empathy, decency and are the biggest shame for my country since 1933.
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 12:42 AM
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> But the problems arising from housing 100 refugees in a village of 300 locals happens as well in rural Bavaria or Lower Saxony - and is not limited to the former East.

So? What are the locals in rural Bavaria or Lower Saxony doing about it? Go to church and pray? Nothing? Btw, these are not the Pegida protesters in the big cities in the East. But without the Pegida demonstrations the politicians would have never listened to these locals in small towns and villages.

> We never paraded around self-victimizing ourselves against an imaginary threat, targeting real people who barely escaped from a warzone.

Only a tiny minority (and I am sure some of those extreme right-wingers/Neo-Nazis live in the former West Germany also) targets people who escaped from a warzone. The overwhelming majority of protesters doesn't. The Tech University in Dresden did a study on Pegida, quoted in the FAZ (newspaper): only 15% have "reservations" towards asylum-seekers and immigrants. Which doesn't mean they "target" them.
http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/i...-13369494.html

> These "protesters" are not my countrymen and they are not speaking in my name.
They lack intelligence, empathy, decency and are the biggest shame for my country since 1933.

You are saying the Holocaust wasn't worse? World War 2? Wow.
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 02:26 AM
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There are few issues as complex as racism. But all you need is one racist, in any town, to create anything from an awkward situation to an out and out threat, to make one wonder the extent of the problem.

The most telling aspect in the US, is a poll which indicates that the vast majority of Republicans think there isn't a racial problem in the US, while a substantial majority of Blacks do. It is not a matter of perspective as much as experience.
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 03:05 AM
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Most of the race issues in Europe stem from mass migration which began shortly after WW2. The creation of the EU has definitely encouraged migration and member countries have become hugely more diverse.

Is this working ?

Yes and no.

Positively ( if you can call it that ) there are few occasions of civil unrest. On the down side, there are still large urban areas which show little signs of racial mixing.

The situation in the US doesn't give much hope for the EU. Immigration which started in the 1600s still has huge racial issues.

But as IMD posts, the issues are extremely complex.
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 06:00 AM
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"I think if the original poster found information about racism in Germany in forums and in the news while planning the trip, then this is a very logical question to post here."

I did not really object to the question. But now that I think about it... If you are a tourist (or visitor) "of color", then putting rumors of racism to the test is perfectly reasonable. "Is racism a real threat to my visit?" is a legitimate question.

But it is unreasonable to ask for anecdotes of "racism" on a Fodors thread and to anticipate valuable information. All you'll get - and all the OP got here - is more rumor, stereotyping, innuendo, and irrelevant chatter. Sadly, that might be what the OP was looking for...

"...racism may not be physical but emotional..."

OK, but if you're thinking of labeling entire cities or regions "racist" then you'd better have some truly relevant information about the racism you face there as a visitor - the real dangers - not just the "feelings" of some random traveler who stopped in Germany for a week and despite his ignorance of the German language, culture and people was able to decide that he was a victim of racism because of his feelings.

With that alone, you are just entertaining more groundless gossip about race.

Immigration policy and concerns about Islamization are interesting topics but totally irrelevant to a discussion of racism against short-term minority visitors from the USA. So why are those extended discussions here? Probably because the topic of racism always encourages the hunting down of racists, real or imagined, and results in lots of labeling and stereotyping. It's a ton of fun to call Eastern Germans "knuckle-draggers," but how this chatter impacts the concerns of a black American visitor at all is not at all transparent.

Back to what I first said. If you're a visitor of any color, go anywhere you like in Germany. Chances are you'll have a great time. There is no evidence I'm aware of that tourists of any color are targeted for racial hatred or discrimination of any kind; don't restrict your travel at all unless you have said evidence. If somewhere deep inside you "feel" at some point that some store clerk or Wurst vendor might not "like" you fully because of your color, then it will just be like those feelings you already have experienced back home.
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 06:44 AM
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Let us not forget how many European countries had colonies in countries that were not white and the treatment of the inhabitants. Or the fact that just about every country in Europe has either expelled, tortured or killed Jews. Or that the 30 Years War a conflict between Protestants and Catholics decimated the population of then Germany by 25% or all the wars between different sects, factions, and clans for a variety of reasons in Europe over the centuries.

I remember back in the 1960's Europeans were quick to chastise Americans for our racial policies and attitudes and they were right. But as pointed out then, most countries then were almost all white except for James Baldwin and Josephine Baker in Paris and people wondered what would have if that situation changed.
Do you think it is just a coincidence that Le Pen's party continues to grow as do other anti-immigrant parties in other countries?
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 06:47 AM
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Some person of color coming up to Northern Michigan would find many more problems with racism than anywhere in Europe - like going into a redneck bar by mistake and sitting there and sitting there and never get served - has happened in my town, sadly and the racist jokes amongst loal abound - the N word is regularly used.
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 07:12 AM
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PalenQ, what you just described about not being served, happened to me at a restaurant in Munich in 1982 !!!

Being Greek, with a german mother, they did not realize i was a foreigner, until my partner who was visiting me over Christams asked me something in Greek...

We were waiting and waiting and waiting to give our order, and were just being ignored... until i asked the waitress why she refused to take our order...

The answer was that they don't serve foreigners, because they had many problems in the past.....

The restaurant was located in the heart of Munich , at Viktualienmarkt...
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 07:16 AM
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British "Most of the race issues in Europe stem from mass migration which began shortly after WW2. The creation of the EU has definitely encouraged migration and member countries have become hugely more diverse."

Nonsense, fear of the different have been with mankind for many years. You can hardly be arguing that there was no racism in Europe or even the UK before or during WW2. The position of the Roma was horrid before WW2, very horrid during and still not always nice across europe.

Fear of change/difference/globalisation just muddies the waters around EU discussions.

However, trying to get back to the OP. Please tell us what you find when you get back?
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 08:30 AM
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as a somewhat known writer of both historical fiction, and non- fictional historical treatises on Europe, I've decided not to post herein, "on the grounds that it may incriminate me"...I'm going off to have breakfast. Bye.
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 08:36 AM
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Reading through these comments, it occurred to me that nearly everyone is writing about any discrimination as likely to be on the basis of skin colour, and that it will be the whites doing the discrmination.

I live in a large British city which has residents of several different ethnic or other minority groups. If you go into a building or area which is predominantly used or occupied by one of those groups, you are likely to feel uncomfortable and out of place, and may not receive the service or respect you would like. This can happen to a Jamaican going into a Somali area. It can also happen to a heterosexual couple going into a gay pub, or a middle-class person in a working-class pub. It is probably least likely to happen to a welldressed articulate person of colour in a mainstream shop or public building.

Much of the anxiety in Britain at present concerns the volume of immigrants from countries like Poland or the Czech Republic. The majority of them are physically and culturally identical to the host population. Our local Italian restaurant is run by Albanians, while another chain of pub restaurants is run by Romanians. I am not aware of any discrimination against them by the locals. If there were, the businesses would close.
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 08:44 AM
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Chartley's argument gnores history and derails the true argument. And while most violence committed against Blacks in the US is by other Blacks, there is little or nothing to suggest that they were Somalian tourists.
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 09:57 AM
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IMdonehere

Your ability to completely misunderstand what I wrote is amazing.

I was not writing about the United States, but about Europe.

My point was that tensions can exist between all sorts of different ethnic and social groups, which can make the individual feel uncomfortable. It is therefore rather difficult to know which "areas to avoid". In some places, there could even be prejudice against Americans of any ethnicity, rather than because of the colour of their skin.

Is that hard to understand?

By the way, the Somalis in my home town are not tourists but residents.
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 12:37 PM
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I did not misunderstand that you are trying to through a red herring into the conversation. Yours is entirely anecdotal and egocentric view.

It is just your level of discomfort that you are describing.
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 02:18 PM
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So, Fussgaenger, how did you get the impression that I was ignorant of the German language when no one asked me if I was...? Because you don't like the way I phrased my question, suddenly you can make claims on my intelligence? The only one making irrelevant chatter was you, really. All you've done is distorted the nature of the question and try to make me seem like some instigator. You've only somewhat given advice to soon after insult the question. And seeing as how I'm not in control of how people answer and interpret my question, all the comments that you seem to be "groundless gossip" are the opinions of people who want to tell their stories. I don't think it's gossip. If you dislike the thread so much, kindly remove yourself from the discussion. Unbelievable.
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Old Apr 12th, 2015, 03:21 PM
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"So, Fussgaenger, how did you get the impression that I was ignorant of the German language when no one asked me if I was...?"

As you did above with B...Caicos, once again, you fail to understand - and you take offense at a poster who meant you none. My statement:

"OK, but if you're thinking of labeling entire cities or regions "racist" then you'd better have some truly relevant information about the racism you face there as a visitor - the real dangers - not just the "feelings" of some random traveler who stopped in Germany for a week and despite his ignorance of the German language, culture and people was able to decide that he was a victim of racism because of his feelings."

Let me restate this for you. YOU (or anyone else) should not rely on anecdotes (like the one from sandralist) as you judge whether Germans (or Dresdeners or Europeans or whoever the H she was talking about!) are racists. Casual tourists (like half her family, whatever that means) who are ignorant of the language, etc. may "FEEL" that they've been mistreated and may "FEEL" that it happened because of their skin color... but they are most likely cultural and linguistic outsiders who are very likely to misunderstand and misinterpret intercultural interactions. Tourists don't wander into Country A and just understand what's going on all the time. Understand?

These comments were NOT about you (except to tell you that it's absurd to value an anecdote like sandralists!) It's not about YOU. I don't know anything about YOU except what you write here. I have learned that you misread and/or misunderstand things and are constantly finding yourself offended by something that wasn't even said! I have also learned that you attribute statements to others that were never uttered at all (like that bit about the non-existence of racism which no one ever said.) You may speak German, and you may be intelligent, but I said nothing about those topics. All that's clear to me is that you either have trouble communicating or are attempting to misunderstand and misquote others.

"...all the comments that you seem to be "groundless gossip" are the opinions of people who want to tell their stories."

Anyone who views sandralist's anecdote as evidence for racism in Europe, rather than the casual gossip it is, or who uses it to decide where to travel, including you, should have their intelligence questioned.

BTW, Sandralist is the only poster with a story to tell in this thread of 58 posts. Can you find another post where there's even one story of racism? I can't.

And sandralist couldn't even tell her story. We have no idea what really happened. It's complete GOSSIP without the details that would make it believable. You see, it matters when someone calls others "racists." IT NEEDS TO BE TRUE. And the clear implication of sandralist's "half-my-family-were-mistreated-by-European-racists" story is that her family dealt with racists.
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