Edited by Azizi Powell
This is Part I of a two part pancocojams series about being Black* in Germany. A few comments about being Black in certain other European nations are also included in these posts.
Part I documents selected comments from three YouTube videos' (vlogs') discussion threads. These comments focus on growing up as a Black person in Germany or in certain other European nations.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/11/youtube-comments-about-being-black-in_5.html for Part II of this series. Part II presents selected comments from the same three YouTube videos' discussion threads about being a Black adult in Germany or in certain other European nations.
All of the quotes in Part I of this pancocojams series are "first person" comments from Black people who were born and raised in Germany, Black people who visited/ are visiting Germany, and Black people or Black family members of those who work[ed] of are or have been stationed in the United States military in Germany.
All of these comments are from 2017. These comments for each videos are numbered for referencing purposes only.
These are only a few of the YouTube videos that are titled "Being Black In Germany". These videos were selected for this post simply because I happened upon them before the other similar videos (vlogs).
I've used a modified spelling for what is commonly called the "n" word in part to better ensure that this post would be acceptable in American public schools where the full spelling of derogatory terms and profanity could automatically disqualify supplemental material. Words that are modified are indicated by an asterisk.
*The definition for "Black" that I'm using includes people who are mixed race (people who have Black/non-Black birth parents).
These compilations don't include comments that only refer to people in Germany or other nations outside of the United States touching Black people's hair. I plan to publish a separate pancocojams post with examples of those comments. When that post is published, I'll add its link here.
The content of this post is presented for socio-cultural purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos and all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the producers and publishers of these videos.
SHOWCASE VIDEO #1: Afro.Germany – Being black and German | DW Documentary
DW Documentary, Published on Mar 29, 2017
Black and German: news anchor Jana Pareigis has spent her entire life being asked about her skin color. What is it like to be black in Germany? What needs to change?
“Where are you from?” Afro-German journalist Jana Pareigis has heard that question since her early childhood. And she’s not alone. Black people have been living in Germany for around 400 years, and today there are an estimated one million Germans with dark skin. But they still get asked the latently racist question, "Where are you from?”
Jana Pareigis is familiar with the undercurrents of racism in the western world. When she was a child, the Afro-German TV presenter also thought her skin color was a disadvantage. "When I was young, I wanted to be white,” she says.
Parageis takes us on a trip through Germany from its colonial past up to the present day, visiting other dark-skinned Germans to talk about their experiences. They include rapper Samy Deluxe, pro footballer Gerald Asamoah and Theodor Michael, who lived as a black man in the Third Reich. They talk about what it’s like to be black in Germany.
Here's some comments from this video's discussion thread:
1. yugyeoms hype man
"My father is Black and Native American, born in America. My mother is white, born in Germany, ive lived back and forth USA and Germany all my life, the truth is Germans are racist, they love to say ni&&er*, ni&&a*, digga etc, ive experienced more racism in Germany then USA, and im from the south of usa imao"
2. Xs Xs
"Try being half Polish, halfblack. You think it was bad in Germany? Try Poland."
3. yugyeoms hype man
"Xs Xs gosh i feel so bad for u :("
"the word digga isnt racist, it comes from dicker which means fatty. its hamburg slang word"
"Xs Xs Somebody is triggered lol. Denying her experience doesn't make it non existent."
6. Bunchie Reichenbrcher
"I'm a German from my dad side and an african (black) from my mom's side but looked more white than black and I been around black people and wanted to be black growing up..Now I'm beginning to accept myself as being mixed. It's not easy at times being around black people and you're white or thin, you get being called all sort of names and get teased."
7. Annmarie busu
"Bunchie Reichenbrcher be yourself and don't try to be black. This is often the reason mixed child will get rejected by blacks they don't know how to act. They come off fake and it leads to mistrust."
"Racism in Germany DOES and will ALWAYS exist. I lived in Germany half my life until I moved to London, and I can tell you that German people never ever accepted me. First grade I was called a 'Ni&&er'* by another student. Imagine being called that when your literally a baby? All I know is that leaving in the U.K. and living in Germany showed me the difference in people. British people are more accepting than German people, and you rarely encounter racism whereas in German it's a part of daily life."
9. Charles Hazelton III
"Considering that i was born in Wiesbaden... I found this to be Very interesting! Took me Years to "master" American English but also lost the 1st language i was taught. I will say, i never wanted to be white. But also, i came to the U.S. around the time school starts for Americans... Plus my hair isn't straight enough to come close to having the issues that producer faced😄"
The first man who was interviewed in this documentary shared that when he was growing up he didn't fit White people's image of Black people because his hair is straight, but he fit White people's categorization of Black people because his skin is brown.
10. Mitchell White
"Just imagine a documentary about bi racial kids who grow up perhaps embracing the white side more...still after adulthood.
its still very difficult to be black or bi racially black.
it can be very lonely at times especially if you don't embrace the stereotypes of what a young black is supposed to be..sports..hip hop..hyper masculinity etc.
you end up still isolated not accepted by either side especially when gay and then don't even identify with gay stereotypes. loneliness is my old friend like paul simon sang.ive come to talk to you again..again..and again."
11. Linda Curry
"I totally relate to your childhood desire just to not stand out. The white kids all loved me for my difference and always wanted to be too close and touchy. Now I make no excuse for my naturally beautiful rich melanined skin, unique hair and extreme inner and external strength.
12. tye burnham
"i'm German, English,Irish, half Jap. brought up learning German is bad and evil, but i'm so glad to know the truth and i'm so proud to be quarter German blood."
13. Phillipe Steele
"I had a boy in Spain ask me why my mother was white? I replied why is your mother white?. this was in 1978."
14. Priscilla Oneluv
"Black people have the same experiences in other nations as well. When I was younger I wanted to fit in, now I want to identify as African than anything else. I don't care for white washing and I no longer like straight hair, I'm determined to have rock curls or wavy hair. Sadly, we live in a white narcissistic society and our experiences with racism is often silenced. In 2017, we're still reminded that we're different from the general. When we walk into a store we are followed or stand out in a predominantly Caucasian area, we oftentimes starred at."
15. Carmen Morton
"I too was called names like Ni&&ar* puppa, and was ostracized by neiborhood kinde"
SHOWCASE VIDEO #2: BEING BLACK IN GERMANY
Kera Ariyel, Published on Jul 20, 2017
Hallo! I always get questions about my life here in Germany so I decided to start making videos sharing my experiences. Here's the first! Guys, I'm completely in love with this country. There is so much history and places to explore. I think I love Europe more than America sometimes haha. I hope you guys enjoy this video. Let me know what other topics you want me to talk about too!
***I also want to clarify that I personally have never experienced racism here, life here has been pretty positive for the most part!
MY REASON FOR POSTING THIS IS TO INFORM NOT TO DISRESPECT OR OFFEND ANYONE! Rude or hurtful comments won't be tolerated.. we ain't got time for all that sis...
My opinions are based off my personal experiences living here. I love Germany in many shapes and forms but everywhere you go has their pros and cons. I hope this video was helpful to some viewers and there will be many more to come about my life here. I will keep it as real as possible on my channel at all times so just stay tuned for more guys!
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
1. Kitty LissieGirl
"I used to hate being black when I was a child, too. I just went through an old diary of mine. When I was 12, I hated my hair because it was so hard to comb and I hated sitting in the shop to get it straight. Going to the shop was considered "normal" when I was a child. Natural hair was not yet accepted in the black community. I used to hate it so much I would wish I was white or Asian so that my hair would be easy to do. My mother would often get mad at me for messing up my hairstyles (because she spent so much money to tame my hair), and I couldn't sleep comfortably. I used to cry.
I hated my fellow black community because I always attended all-black schools. I was bullied for being different by most of the people in my class. I used to like rock music, anime, and didn't care about the latest fashion, a taboo in the black community. It caused me to hate my own people as a youth.
It wasn't until I got older that I began to understand that the problem wasn't me being black or with blackness in general, but with greater ideas integrated into society that caused me to hate myself."
"I'm half black and half white and grow up in Germany nobody is staring at me 😂😂
If you are living in Germany and you are black you automatically belong to the cool kids 😎"
3. Ferehiwot Tewolde
"I'm black (from ethiopia) but i was born in germany and i live here and go to school and so on😁 i live in frankfurt which is a very international city i think here are perhaps 30% germans and 70% people foreigners.
And yeah i notice that for example in the train..😂 they lookin at me because i'm black, tall and have big curly hair👀😂😏but i live here for my whole life so i get used to this😉 I know your strugle...they aaaalways want to touch our hair😂😂 i mean my classmates want always to touch my hair...they love it😂 and i also get used to this😏
I think the german youth really admire black culture because of all the black famous stars in america so they really like black americans😁
But new for me is that they don't know that they could not say the n word😅 nobody said to me ni&&er* and if they sing to a song and my friends say accidentally the n word they apologize to me😂😂 so they are all really nice and really don't think bad about us i think🙂
I could write soo much more but then it's too long😂 and yeah i hope you can read it and if you have questions about black in german school you can ask me more about it😂😊
I like your hair you are soo pretty😍😉"
3. Sayren Nani
"I grew up being basically the third half black kid (I have two siblings, dad is from America) in my village. All the kids constantly made fun of me, laughed at me because my hair is different, my skin color is different. They touched my hair, they pulled at it etc etc etc to a point where I hated my hair so damn much, that I relaxed them for 11 years straight. Bet you can imagine how messed up it is (but I'm going back to natural and I'm loving it)... But I'm at a point now where people actually "positively stare" at me. But I have to say, it depends on where you go, there are heck of a lot of "us" in Hessen. And you do find shops for your hair! The thing... You just gotta dig more, that's the sad part. If you ever happen to come to Fulda, let me know, my hairdresser is African and she only does hair. Extensions, weaves, products from America etc. Hahaha. Girl, you're beautiful!"
4. CheDi Richardson
"I live in Germany too, in Berlin and I've expierenced all these things too eventhough my complexion is lighter (mixed black & white). 😂😂
Since you live in Stuttgart you do get treated differently than here in Berlin, Berlin is unfortunately a bit racist and harsh. 😯 My daughter, brother, husband and I have been through some ish, it's un-believe-able!!! 😣
Yep, we get stared at, we've been attacked with racial slurs, altercations (with and without physical fights), girl some CRAZY ish! 😐😮
The funny part is my daughter, brother and I are half german and half afro-american, my husband is black and from Ghana, grew up here and is just like a german. 😂
Maybe it's just the city, don't know, but it's different here. 😊"
SHOWCASE VIDEO: Being Black In Germany
Unique Love, Published on Jul 19, 2017
What's Up UFABS,
This video is to just give you guys a little one on one information about my time in Germany and how I felt. By no means am I bashing Germany or German people,this is just a short explanation on my time. I am however happy and grateful to have a supportive boyfriend but we are okay with doing long distance.
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
1. It's Me
"I was born and raised in Germany and lived there all my life till the age of 21. I can tell you one thing: as a Black person who speaks the language fluently I always encountered difficulties. All my life. I've never been around black people besides my family. So I had no comparison how life could be. I wouldn't say that Germans are racist.. I'm technically German myself, however I think many Germans are not used to "different".. If you know what I mean. I always had the feeling of being "different" in a bad way.. I never liked my curly-kinky hair, always straightened it to look like my friends.. I was always shy, kept a low-profile, hated any attention. As the only black girl in a high school of 850 students life was not easy. I had friends, a social life but looking back I wasn't in a happy place. I have to say that I grew up in a small town with no foreigners around which consequently did not make things easier.
The best decision I've ever made in life was moving to London three years ago. This city and its diversity truly changed my life in a positive way. I've never felt this comfortable in my skin being around people who are truly open-minded.
I have so many African friends and met people from all over the world who exposed me to so many things.
I love my that I'm black now, I love my African heritage, I love being different.
I feel accepted. I've never had these feeling for 21 years. Now I can say that I finally arrived home.
So, long story short: I feel you girl. You made the right decision.
Put yourself first and look after yourself.
Germany is not a racist country but it is not for everyone. You're absolutely right.
Germany is perfect for Germans but not necessarily for everyone. I can say that now."
This concludes Part I of this two part series.
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