(02/07/2004 4:47 pm)
Three weeks a go, we were travelling with Deutsche Bahn’s WET across Baden-Wuertrtemberg and Bayern. One time an old woman sat just next to our daughter, she is still 2 years old and she wanted to play on her chair. We watched her from her side. The old woman also watched her curiously and sometimes she looked also at us as if she was scared (maybe she thought I was hiding a bomb in my backpack). Suddenly my daughter lost her grip and fell from her chair, and of course cried. But the old woman also cried at us, made us in panic and annoyance.We could not forget it till now. It’s very terrible.
Terrible, eh? Wait a minute. This cruel (German) old woman, is only an example of one of ten persons we’ve meet and having contact with our daughter. The 9 other persons – if we remember correctly – smiled, talked gently, or even gave bonbons to our daughter. I could and should not forget the other 9 samples because of one cruel old woman. It’s really unfair if I said the Germans are rascist only because this occasion. They have been “suffered” because even till now, Hollywood films accusing them to be an “eternal” evil because of what Hitler did in World War II. In fact, most of them never agreed what Hitler did.
In every country, there are always stereotype on the foreigners. Not only in Germany. Please tell me which country doesn’t have even a small tendency against foreigner and foreign descent people? In Australia, there is an anti-Asian party. In India, the BJP had rejected Sonia Gandhi because she is Italian descent. In China, there was Boxer war against everything European. In the US, after 11 September there were mobs against Muslims. In the 1960s there was discrimination against the blacks. In Holland the late Fortuyn’s party won – although not in the first place – because of anti-immigration policy. In Indonesia there was discrimination against Chinese descent Indonesians for years (they should have a special ID card beside a normal one), the government just lifted this up. In Turkey even there was discrimination against the Kurds which has been also lifted up recently. Tell me, which country is free of this?
It’s very natural instinct, a self-defense mechanism. I don’t say it’s OK, what I want to say that sometimes people need some time to learn about how a multicultural society works. One big barrier for understanding each other is what I called “overgeneralization” about a culture group without looking carefully at the main problem. The problem comes if we are failed to build a bridge between the culture and not accepting reality that human is human. Human is not perfect and he reacts according to his experience and knowledge. We’re not perfect, wir sind kein Uebermensch.