Review: “Schwarz gemacht” and the White Audience

One attends a play about an Afro-German living in the years of Nazism and Jim Crow not because of the dramaturgy. One buys the ticket because of the topic's near absence in the German discourse. This is not a review of the play, but rather a continuation of the discussion with the cast that followed. As one of the cast-members remarked, it all comes down to audience: "Black folks probably wouldn't go to the theater to see this play in the U.S., let alone have enough money for the ticket. And here, we have a white audience. So, who are we really talking to here? Who is seeing this play?"... [Read More!]

Rave: Why Remembering the Holocaust is Good for Immigrants

In 2005, Germany officially became an immigration country with the establishment of its federal office for migration. The question - who are the Germans anyway? - has become increasingly important in deciding what to impart to these newcomers set to stay. Expats are good at constructing Germanness for the Germans themselves, often leaving out the Holocaust in such a description of 'German identity', however. Today's Germany - an immigration country - is a republic built on tragic events like the Holocaust, just as France is a country built on colonialism. Everything has a context, and it is this context that immigrants to Germany should learn to understand for the sake of a more complete country - a civic society which respects differences and celebrates them... [Read More!]

The N-Word

When I posted the Who's/Whose Normal? article a few weeks ago, I expected the "N-word" of interest to be Neger, a term that falls somewhere between "negro" and "nigger" on the translation and offensiveness spectrum. Instead, the strongest reactions came in response to another N-Word: Nazi... [Read More!]

Prejudice with Condiments: understanding Schwabenhass

The ketchup- or cheese-smeared faces of Swabian and Berliner icons are just one small part of a culture war between imagined identities and exaggerated actors, i.e. the alternative Berliner vs. the fancy-schmancy Swabian. The worst part in this so-called Spätzlekrieg or 'Spätzel war'  is the escalation from humorous prodding to line-crossing slogans. Parallels between Nazi persecution of the Jews, particularly in the insignia of Kristallnacht, can be found across the city. Berlin is a city rife with history; is its memory this short? [Read More!]