Are there African American entrepreneurs
As an African American in Berlin : Multiculturalism is at the core of racism
Brandon Keith Brown, Born 1981 in North Carolina / USA, lives as a conductor in Berlin. He worked with the RSB, the Staatskapelle Weimar and the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Like the American melting pot myth, the German multicultural concept miraculously tries to sweep away everything that is different between us. Multiculturalism promises equality, the ability to act, plurality and an automatic acceptance of feelings, thoughts, experiences, different narratives, languages and ways of acting by all people.
But this is not the Berlin that I know. Multiculturalism denies the experience of everyday racism in this city. White Germans define it, and it maintains white supremacy. White Germans do not talk about it because they either have no black friends or none who are willing to discuss it with them. Because they reject complaints from the outset, unless it is physical violence or they witness clear racist defamation. And maybe also because they are ashamed of the Holocaust and therefore don't want to talk about it.
Racists no longer appear in combat boots and bald. Refusing to serve someone in a pub, paying excessive attention in shops to being stared at or followed by employees, racial profiling, or the refusal to speak English even if you can speak English - all of these are racist .
Everyday racism has increased in recent years
I had to hear sayings like: “This is Germany, speak German” or “You are a guest here!”. These are modifications of “Go back where you came from” - and we know that from somewhere.
I have the impression that everyday racism has increased in recent years. I would like to report on that here. “Get out of here,” a white bar owner in Schöneberg yelled once when he pulled my computer charger out of the socket and sat me on the street. “You're not buying anything, so get out of here!” Waiting three minutes to order was obviously forbidden. All of a sudden, I was a black wifi bandit stealing valuable white resources. I called the police at the time to report this discrimination.
"I've never seen him here before," the bar owner told the officials. And of course the police did not understand to what extent this behavior was racist. Entering the bar alarmed him abruptly. My very existence put him in a state of extreme vigilance. The sight of an unknown black man in his white pub had unsettled him, so he threw me out.
Would a blonde guest have caused the same reaction?
In the United States, where I'm from, refusal to serve black people usually results in companies having to pay compensation. Many German institutions lack such awareness of racism - and a social conscience.
Would a blonde guest have caused the same reaction? Hardly likely! It would have matched the bar's cultural norms and the appearance of its guests. “This is Germany” barked a clerk in a café after hearing me order my coffee in English.
I explained in my best German that Germany is now globalized and not all white people live here. "Out with you or I'll call the police," I heard. I called the police myself. The voice in the switchboard said that Berlin was multicultural and that it had never heard of racism. I replied that it is most likely because the person doesn't know black people. Silence. The voice snapped that I should wait for the police to arrive and hung up.
For black people in Berlin, even grocery shopping can be bad. Once I brought my reusable bag and was labeled a thief by supermarket security. This is racial profiling at its best. After I complained, the security service was fired.
German anti-racism laws are ineffective and insincere
I am not the only one. Facebook groups and organizations like Each One Teach One e.V. report that many black people have similar experiences. On March 26, 2019, the first EU resolution on racism against blacks was passed. For years the black activists fought for this recognition. The mainstream white media barely covered it.
Black people are not whites with sexy skin. We speak, act, move and think differently. And that's good. Deep in the white-German habitus it is assumed that all people have to adapt regardless of their cultural background.
German anti-racism laws are ineffective and insincere. Because although the constitution guarantees equality, prohibits racial discrimination and anchors the inviolability of human dignity, these principles are not implemented. German courts do not recognize complaints from victims of racism as “evidence of first appearance”. Clarity is required of the judges - who are guided by their own racism - although they lack awareness of the black experience they are living in. Secret racists in Germany benefit from data protection laws that protect them from victim incidents being recorded on video.
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Multiculturalism makes being white the norm
White people just don't know what everyday racism is. In my experience, they remain silent in the event of racist attacks. Multiculturalism makes being white the norm and marks the foreign. In this country with its fatal immigration policy, non-whites seem forever strangers. People with a migration background, including those living in the second or third generation in Germany, generally remain “foreigners” in German statistics and in public discourse.
Germany has quickly become a country with increasing heterogeneity. Yet non-white Germans are expected to adopt the dominant white cultural repertoire and adapt. Erasmus awardee and Harvard sociologist Michèle Lamont defines cultural repertoire as knowing who belongs to it and who doesn't. Despite efforts to play by the rules, many are left out. So what is the threshold for German cultural membership?
Do you believe black people!
If you are white and have read this far you may be angry, ashamed, excited, and defensive. Don't worry - this will pass. I feel the same every day. That won't go away. In the book "White Fragility: Why It Is So Hard for Whites to Talk About Racism", Robin DiAngelo writes: "The fight against racism is not about the needs and feelings of whites."
Multiculturalism hides the reality of racism. Multiculturalism is like a drug for the conscience of neoliberal white Germans. Learn to accept, not just tolerate, different cultural narratives! Listen to. Do you believe black people! Multiculturalism is a weapon against the black experience of racism in Berlin. Multiculturalism is the core from which racism grows. The term multicultural is partly to blame for white supremacy. Do you want to keep using it?
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