Are Germany’s best intentions becoming its fatal flaw?

By | April 11, 2012

Elizabeth Grant at Open Democracy:

 … so long as the narrative of a tolerant Germany is more important than the experience of those who are testing that dream, the country will be condemned to repeating these traumas and disgraces. Racism has much to do with accepting what you don’t understand, and, as such, the fight against it takes a lot of lateral thinking. The fact that Germany does not bear the shame of a history of minstrel shows doesn’t make it into a sort of cultural isolation chamber where blackface can be used independent of its connotations elsewhere in the world. The fact that you like eating Turkish food doesn’t make döner kebab a good symbol to use in referring to a tragedy that involved several Turkish Germans. Productive discussions of prejudice necessarily have to allow space for that which is beyond one’s own experience. Tolerance is an endless negotiation: no country has mastered it completely. But to reach the next level Germans must start to contemplate its ‘unknown unknowns’ and have a little faith in someone else’s narrative.


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