So yeah, my titles for these posts aren’t exactly clever. They’re more an oversimplification about what I’m writing about. But what I’m writing about isn’t intolerance in itself, it’s more how I’ve come to see German homophobia and jingoist tendencies. And I’m really surprised.
Growing up in the US, Europe is described to you as this new-age, bastion of tolerance and socialized glory. They accept everyone, regardless of sex, creed, or sexual orientation. I get the feeling that we’re meant to feel inferior because so many Americans are such prejudiced pricks, but everyone in Europe is some sort of new-age Messiah, espousing beliefs that somehow transcend the American conception of what it’s okay to be, or not to be.
I’m going to start with how Germans REALLY DO NOT like Turkish people. I’m not going to name any names, even though the possibility of anyone actually meeting anyone I’m talking about is close to none, but still. One of my German friends here accompanied me once to a Donner shop, and we were served by this rather cold, seemingly Turkish, man. I say seemingly, because evidently there is an overabundance of Turkish immigrants in Germany (HEY, WHICH I KNEW BEFORE I CAME HERE BECAUSE OF GERMAN 201. I’M SO WELL VERSED IN THE WAYS OF THE WORLD THANKS TO HERR ROTTER), and because he was dark skinned, and worked at a Donner shop, shops which are predominantly owned and operated by Turkish immigrants and/or people of Turkish blood in Germany.
So we sit down and all of a sudden my friend says, “Damn Turkish people…” To which I was astounded. I mean, I didn’t like the waiter since he was kind of a dick, but the thought to dislike him because of the fact he’s Turkish is just… Well, it’s ridiculous. And so since it was one of the first times I hung out with him/her, I politely laughed, and said, “Haha, what? What’s the problem with Turkish people?” To which my friend explained to me that evidently Turkish people are lazy, and “stealing German jobs” and are so proud of their own culture, that they even refuse to learn German, or even try to acclimate to German culture. I was so surprised, not just because this was a German, a citizen of the EUROPEAN UNION, talking to me about racism against Turkish people, but more so because it was literally as though I was talking to a racist back home about Mexican immigrants in the States. Jingoism… It takes me back to my AP US days learn about the “Know Nothing” party of the US.
But my friend hasn’t been the only German I’ve met here that seems to feel that way. So yeah, evidently racism against Turkish people is a fairly accepted belief in Germany, something that I just did NOT expect at all.
But that’s not it. Homophobia is running amok here. I was at an Irish Pub last night called Dubliner with some friends of mine, and there was some sort of singing contest, I think, The Eurovision Song Contest, or whatever, and everyone FLIPPED A SHIT because a tranvestite/transexual (I can’t really remember exactly what this person was, just that they identified with some sort of sexuality that was outside of Gender Norms) won the contest.
Everyone was so taken aback… They didn’t know what to do. That, plus the fact the guy was Austrian, didn’t really please my German friends all too terribly much. Yeah, I feel like the way Germans feel about Austria is the way Americans feel about Canada. It’s just like… To quote my favorite “How I Met Your Mother” character, Barney Stinson, “Why do we even let them be a country?”
But I digress. We weren’t WATCHING the contest, and undoubtedly, the guy must have had a wonderful voice. But the fact remains, everyone just arbitrarily was OUTRAGED all because someone that didn’t necessarily identify as the gender he/she was born to, won some stupid song singing contest. I mean, Jesus, the fact it’s a horrible thing to hate someone just because of their sexual identity aside, it was A GLORIFIED KARAOKE NIGHT, for Christ’s sake. All they were focusing on was one completely irrelevant about this person’s appearance, that is entirely aside from what the contest was about: singing. The guy sang like a God damn angel, and he/she deserved the recognition for it.
I dunno, I’m just really surprised. I grew up in New Jersey, but my family is from Kansas. And whenever I tell people that, I feel like they always feel like I should be some hick, country bumpkin, Tea Party nutjob. But I’m not. I grew up in a really progressive area of New Jersey, where I can honestly say racism, sexism, and homophobia was only existent in small pockets. So being here in Germany, in EUROPE, the place I’ve always been told oozes culture and tolerance, and finding so much intolerance, really blows my mind.
A gay friend of mine back home in One Note is dating a French guy, and when his boyfriend told me that him and my friend would get their ass kicked for holding hands in the heart of Paris, the city of love, I didn’t believe him. But now, maybe I do.