Sunday, July 13, 2008

Racism Alive and Well in Modern Germany

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Germany's Prime Minister and the head of another "Christian" party there have come out against letting Barack Obama make a speech at the Brandenburg Gate, Fortunately many other groups are welcoming him, including the City Fathers of Berlin.

When I was 11 years old, in the winter of 1955, I attended German schools as the son of a Fullbright (sp?) Exchange professor. When Christmas rolled around, it was time for the Christmas play. My teacher, a kindly man, (amazing, I haven't thought about him in 40 years, but I can see his face now, can't quite get the name yet) asked me, somewhat gingerly, if I would play the part of the "Schwartziger Koenig" (sp?) or the black king or wise man. I agreed, saw nothing unusual in the request, but did note that many of the other children were quite relieved and laughing about the situation. Came the night of the play, we were all dressed up and I was made up in blackface for the part. Again much tittering, and "Er ist die Schwarziger Koenig" (He is the black king)

In thinking back later on, I realized that this was my introduction to the world of racism. I'm proud to have been the Black King, and I've always chosen black when playing chess. As a partially deaf person, I've experienced plenty of discrimination first hand, even though I am white, except on the days when I am AmerIndian. (Keachie, K'itsai tribe in Lousiana, related to Pawnee)

In this case I have no doubt that racism is present, and I wonder if the new Germany will beat out the old Germany I knew... Would they have complained about McCain? I doubt it. Thin excuse about him not bringing down the wall, he was hardly old enough to be involved. If they want to make it off limits to one of freedom's most precious process, electioneering, on the grounds that it is vulgar, they might as well go back to a dictatorship. You know who was a class "A" racist, but died in his bunker not far from the Gate (Tor). I know. I went to both places as a child (special permission to cross to East Berlin for the bunker, then a non-descript pile of rubble and cobbles).


bambizzoozled said...

So you wore blackface, huh? And you are currently proud to have done so. Well, I don't blame you.

Al Jolson was not a racist. He wouldn't eat at a restaurant that would not serve Blacks.

Some folks would call you racist for saying you are proud to have worn blackface.

Anyway, here is a little something that may ease your mind:


Anonymous said...

you totally missed the point of his speech bambizzoozled