!!! Disclaimer: This blog post contains ethnic slurs !!!!
ALM: Thank you for making time interviewing you. Please tell me more about you..
CF: I moved to Düsseldorf to study tourism and eventmanagement and after that went to Cape Town for 10 months to see something of the world and Africa. Currently I am back and working in Munich but I am constantly planning my next trip.
Well, I am 25 years old. It is hard to tell you where I reside, since I really enjoy travelling and do not feel like I found my place in the world yet. But I am currently residing in Bavaria. I was born in Baden-Württemberg and I was raised in Bavaria. My mother’s side of the family is Jamaican. Therefore, I consider myself a Jamaican. Although, other Jamaicans call me German since I was born here. The Germans though always ask me where I am from, therefore in their minds I can’t be German. “How can a black person be German?”
What might also be interesting for you is that I actually spent my first 6 years living in small Bavarian villages and went to a boarding school in Allgäu from age 11 to 14. Therefore, I first got in contact with black people especially African culture when I moved to Augsburg with 14. That also was the time when I made the conscious decision to go find black people and see if I feel more welcome or at home while being with them. Conclusion yes and no. There are certain personal traits that I do share with them and then there are certain things that are just very strange to me and unwelcoming. That is probably also the main reason why I do not consider myself an African either. I am Jamaican and feel most at home while being around Caribbean or Latin people.
ALM: The topic of this interview is racism (especially as a German with a darker skin). Please tell me more about your experiences in Germany regarding racism…
CF: The first thing I have to say is, I do not consider myself a German even though I was born and raised here. I will not deny that I do have German tendencies, I still don’t call myself German.
I also have not experienced too much racism in Germany, I have heard the word „nigga“ once or twice in my life while I was walking past (mainly teenagers or children) but if you get offended by a small child calling you names when you reach a certain level of experience you might have some thinking to do. Why does something a small child get you emotional?
Anyways, as I said, I was raised in small Bavarian villages therefore there where many elderly people saying things like “Oh look at this cute Neger Baby” or “Ah du meinst das Neger Kindle.” (engl.: Ah, you mean this Nigger child). I also know the song “10 kleine Negerlein” all of that was part of me growing up but I also always had a strong mother who wouldn’t let anybody call me “Neger” sometimes she would argue with the people. But most of the time, I remember her just being like “do not say that” most of the time the elders would ask “but why cannot we say that” or “Oh, we did not mean no harm, that’s just how we say it” But my mother would not accept that. She well argue/educate the people why it is wrong or hurtful to say these things. I adapted that and I believe that is one off the reason why, when I think of racism in my life, I do not get upset. I just know that I choose my battles wisely and I will not put myself in harm’s way to prove a point. I will not bend my back to make people think differently. I will always try but as soon as I feel like the person standing in front of me does not want to understand I do not go any further. My time and my energy is too valuable to waste on anything or anybody who refuses to change his/hers point of view.
ALM: What do you do when people judge you because of your skin colour?
CF: It always depends on who it is and how they judge me. When it is in a work environment I just work 100% harder than my “white” colleagues. When it happens during my spare time it also depends on who is in front of me. Usually, I am all about love and education but if I feel like the person I am talking to does not want to learn, is just stuck in his/her believe and does not care about seeing the others persons perspective. I do not argue. I do not educate. I just keep my distance.
ALM: What would you like to advice other people who are facing racism in the German society?
CF: Do not bow down. Do not be afraid to speak up. But be smart and know when to hold your tongue. Also do not get upset right away. There are many very uneducated people in this world. Which just need to understand where they are wrong and I always find switching positions and showing them what it feels like being at the receiving end of racism is always the best way to let them understand. I am not talking about bullying, I mean, speak to each other and keep calm, keep your cool. Also it helps putting yourself in that persons shoe. Imaging not knowing. If you think about what the media says or what the typical stereotypes are you might understand why the person thinks the way s/he is thinking especially if they have never talked to a black person.
ALM: Do you think there is something positive of being offended racially? If yes, what exactly?
CF: No! If there is anything you can take out of it is, you learn how to work harder, how to read people faster and how to keep yourself cool even if you feel like going to war. But not everybody gets out stronger, many people breake and many just become angry.
ALM: What would you like to say to the black community living in Germany?
CF: Love more. Stop being so strict to your own people. Do not project your feelings and experience onto others. Do not envy an others persons success. Find happiness for your black community even if you do not agree with how they find their happiness.
ALM: What would you like to change in the German society if you could? And why?
CF: I would get rid of the envy. Maybe also of self-hatred for some, or let me put it this way, I would emphasize self-love.
ALM: I was searching for someone who faced racism in the German society, why did you volunteer?
CF: Because I felt like many people that volunteer will only focus on how bad they have been treated and on the negative. But I feel like you need to see the light in the dark in order to change anything. Just complaining and pointing the finger does not help anybody. If you want the world to change. You have to be the change in the world you want to see first! I am not blaming the black community nor am I saying it is there fault, racism exists. I mean, we in Germany for the most part are not facing racism nearly as hard as most other parts of the world. So don not focus on the bad things that are happening around you. Focus on the good things that you see and embrace them. Do not let the darkness swallow you. Be the light!
ALM: What can German citizens do regarding racism?
CF: Stop assuming every black person is an asylee, since there are so many in Germany now. Also do not let the first word you say to us be in English, French or any other foreign language when we are in Germany. Also when you are abroad, do not forget that you also do have black people in Germany. I was working for a Hotel in Jamaica for a few months and obviously I was advised to cater to the German guests. Every single one of them was shocked by how good my German was and did not seem to grasp the fact that I was born in Germany. That is very rude! Also maybe be more open minded and do not blindly believe everything you see on TV or what your colleagues tell you after visiting one country in Africa for a few weeks where the main part of the trip they have been in a hotel. Talk to foreigners, you might learn something interesting!
ALM: If you had 3 free wishes, what would they be?
CF: I dont wish for much. I like money 🙂 But regading racism, I only have two wishes: Talk to each other and listen to each other.
Thank you Candy, for speaking up about the issue of racism in the German society and your honesty. Your way of facing racism inspired me very much and I hope some people follow you as an example.