Friday, March 14, 2008

Post Titled:
society, anonymity, invisibility, etc.
Mopey personal-musing opener which I recommend you skip:
I often wonder why I keep-up the TAR ART RAT facade, I mean- MAYBE it has something to do with the fact that -for example- I had a meeting at a fancy resteraunt this morning where I interviewed a woman who- if she was aware of my blog and of my personal/otehr life- might not take me seriously. I mean, I took painstaking efforts to wear glasses, suit, look and act older because I look younger than I am- so interviewing people nearly twice my age is effing tough. They must think "who is this kid they sent to interview me" - to break the ice maybe I should just say "hi, I'm 15." grr. anyhow. Maybe someday I will run naked in the sun with this blog, maybe not.

Moving right along,
here is an interesting and honest quote from German Sociologist Heinz Bude I came across in eurotopics this morning:
"The times when we could rely on a growing middle class that integrates an increasing number of people are over. There will be heightened inequality in our society in future, and more and more people will become marginalised, German sociologist Heinz Bude explains in an interview with Angelika Brauer. "There are certain places in our society where opportunities accumulate, and others where the risks accumulate and people have less and less chance of gaining control of their lives through their own effort. ... The point I'm trying to make is: everyone counts, our society can't afford to lose a single person. The message of neo-liberalism was: 'Some are just unlucky. They're superfluous. We can't do anything about it.' We need to take a look at society as a whole and reflect on why some people get left behind and how we can get the 'excluded' back in." (12/03/2008)
full article in German here...
I mean, there are days that I think "Jesus, Germany faces the same race issues that the US was grappling with in the 1950s... but no, it is different. The German immigrant poplation (mostly middle-eastern) is... well, they reside here and grow up adn grow old here- but there is no meshing going on, like- why aren't any of my co-workers Tükish-German? Out of 100 people there should be at least ONE non-white person statistically, right? Well, there is one South American-German and a Brit of Arab decent, but no German minorities... a bit disturning, and as I have mentioned: every day when I walk around Berlin I only see wwhite guys in suits, only... I have difficulty enough integrating as a caucasian American, but I can't imagine the diffiulty if I were from Lebannon or Nigeria for example...
In a casual conversation my boss said "Well, if you go to a country you should learn the language and customs." Ok, true enough. But what if that weren't enough? What if you were simply shut out from the get-go? What is the reason to attempt to integrate yourself then. NK said: "It is no wonder people give up, they just face too much rejection, then they retreat to their comfort zones within their own neighborhoods, which become their own worlds- bubbles where they speak their native language and do not attempt to integrate themselves..."
Living in Krezbeg on the border of Neukölln this is always apparent- and I blogged about it often when I first moved back here, but I kid of burnt-out on the matter and haven't written about it in awhile... nevertheless it will remain an issue for the Germans to grapple with for decades to come whether they like it or not... they can only overlook/look the other way for so long... hmm, we shall see.
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Anonymous z said...

"every day when I walk around Berlin I only see wwhite guys in suits"

hi there,
i do get the point in what you're saying, but then again... ever watched an episode of german version of "american idol"? (probably not, and probably not... for good reasons) but if you look at the 15 guys who made it to the final round last week, you might find one or two who may pass as the mentioned "white guys in suits" (the other "white" kid being a teenager wearing baggy pants). but there's the girl with the greek father, the guy with an asian mother, one kid being from lebanon, two black guys, one girl who goes by the name "rania", one being of yougoslavian descent, another one of sicilian descent etc. - and the girl presenting the daily news goes by the name "nina moghaddam". to put it short: maybe these kids are not so much into "wearing suits", and rather into making a career in the entertainment industry than in business. but then again... this is only television, not "the real world".

7:57 pm  
Blogger "Post-Google" by TAR ART RAT said...

I assume you mean Deutschland sucht ein superstar- Good point- to clarify, though, Berlin is a fairly diverse city, but not so much in the workplace- I mean there are plenty of Euro-internationals who seem to be doing well, but hardly any 1st, 2nd or third generation German immigrants. I wish I had some statistics so I could do somthing besides just pull all of this out of my ass-

10:54 pm  
Anonymous z said...

so, what exactly do you mean by "1st, 2nd or third generation German immigrants"? in the 19th century lots of polish immigrants came to the ruhr area during industrialization. the first wave of immigrant workers from italy and turkey was in the late 1950s and early 60s, doing jobs that the germans no longer wanted to do back then, refering to them as "gastarbeiter". most politicians didn't consider germany to be an einwanderungsland until the late 90s (big mistake). when there was a lack of skilled workers in IT a couple of years ago, a cdu-ministerpräsident (still in power) came up with the slogan "kinder statt inder" (yeah great, stupid f***!).
you know what, it's about the education system. studies (such as oecd) say that, if you come from a family mit migrationshintergrund or from a not-so-well-doing (german) family chances of getting a higher education are pretty vague in germany. that means hauptschule, and that's the end of the road for those kids. brilliant perspectives considering demographic figures, now that the german mittelstand is sliding away while prices are rising and hartz-4 knocking at your door, talking of "german angst"...

by the way, the "greek father" turned out to be a "romanian father" (plus spanish mother). i was not quite up to date (i'm not into it... really), it's actually 9 out of 10 finalists - the baggy pants kid is the only one left. plus, i was not aware that spiegel-online and tagesspiegel caught on to this as well ("deutschland sucht den supermigranten"). ;)

2:12 am  
Anonymous z said...

i might add, cause this is a little known fact, in the former gdr there were some workers from fellow socialist countries such as vietnam and cuba, called "vertragsarbeiter", but they were sent home when their contract ended and eventually when the gdr ceased to exit. apart from the workplace they had basically no contact with east german citizens except celebrating internationale völkerfreundschaft for propaganda purposes. they were not allowed to bring their families with them and if female workers got pregnant they were sent home immediately.
talking of vietnam, the number of "boat people" who came to west germany in the 70s was, i guess, rather small, but they were considered refugees, not immigrants. same goes for the people from former yugoslavia in the 1990s. the idea that these people, "gastarbeiter", "ausländer", "bürgerkriegsflüchtlinge", and their families and kids are here to stay has not yet been fully realized.

5:19 am  
Blogger "Post-Google" by TAR ART RAT said...

Right- when I say 1st 2nd or 3rd generation I mean - ja, people who have arrived or been born here since the 1950s, the gastarbeiter generations, because it seems like most everyone else who arrived before then has been fairly well integrated- oder? There are certaily many families from eastern Europe who came over in the late 80s who have kids now attending university.
and I would agree that the German school system seems, well, - basically offensive to the human sense of freedom/autonomy/right to influnce one's own destiny--- grrr.
I am writing about this based entirely on empirical experience- what I have seen growing up in Rhineland Pfalz and then later studying and living in Berlin. I know I draw a lot of vast generalizations becasue I usually write before I think, but these issues are nevertheless real and with us to stay- but thanks for all the insightful comments. Hey, do you have a site or a blog?

10:36 am  
Blogger thomaspa said...

slightly on-topic, this is terribly cruel.. but hilarious:
Dumme Schülerin

11:29 am  
Anonymous z said...

well, i guess it's in the nature of things, that blogs/comments rather remain on the surface.

however i doubt that there are too many students with maghreb background that make it to university in france either (unlike the national soccer team for instance), especially when it comes to key positions. as far as i know the future führungskräfte in business, military, science and civil service is/was basically recruiting itself from a rather small circle of elite universities in paris. i remember writing about french sociologist pierre bourdieu, who, coming from a rural part of france and not one of those wealthy parisian families, always felt like an outsider although he made it to the collège de france, the top of the academic system (a role he for sure knew how to embrace). meanwhile there were some efforts to decentralize the academic system in france.

so, thanks to adolf and his gang we at least don't have a system of elite schools in germany (they tried to establish some private ones in recent years though), because the nazis completely ruined the idea of "elite" for a long time. instead the german government run a bildungsoffensive in the 60s and 70s (presumably because of the sputnik crisis) to enable more working-class children to go to university, supporting them financially with bafög etc., which proved quite successful. but that was like 30 years ago and there was not much happening since until recently, rather clueless stuff though, which is a shame since "education is the only natural resource we have in germany", a much-cited phrase - problem is, they don't act according to it.

i'm sorry, i don't have a site or a blog (maybe i should start one ;)), but i could volunteer in further commenting if you don't mind :)

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