Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

“How do you like Germany so far? I mean, you’re Black”: On [Anti-]Racism and Food Erotica January 2, 2013

Filed under: vegan — Dr. A. Breeze Harper @ 8:22 am
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Breeze Harper, 2012 New Years Eve at a club in München. Failed afro attempt. Ended looking like a ‘poodle.’ The Afro just wouldn’t stay up. LOL.

On December 30, 2012, I went to one of the few cafes open on Sunday in Germany. The manager tried to speak to me in German, but I failed big time and answered in Spanish. I do this weird thing that when I’m spoken to in German,  I respond in Spanish 50% of the time. Weird, no? Talk to me in Spanish and I will respond in English 50% of the time. Anyway, I digress…

…The manager ended up speaking to me in Spanish and English. After a few minutes of chatting about where I learned Spanish and what I am doing in Germany, he bluntly said, “How do you like Germany so far? I mean, [because] you’re Black.” I replied that I get stared at all the time, but I’m still enjoying myself. He folded his arms and shook his head, “Germany is full of Nazis once you leave the metropolitan [München] area. They are racists.” He shook his head, “I don’t really like it [here in Germany]. I don’t have a problem with anybody, black, white, whatever, but they do.” I have to admit that this is the first time I have encountered someone living in München, during my trip, who  offered to share this particular interpretation of Germany with me. I couldn’t agree or disagree with him about Germany being ‘full of Nazis’, as I have only spent most of my time in the metropolitan area. I told him that I get stared at in the USA all the time, once I leave most cities and enter mostly white areas, so my Germany experience is not a surprise for me. I was unable to read his ethnicity, but he  did not ‘pass’ as white– or, rather, how I have come to define ‘whiteness’, which is in the USA socio-historical context. He had an olive complexion and black hair.

Yesterday, someone commented on my post about my Tollwood experience, wishing that my in-laws move somewhere in which I would feel ‘at home’ versus a ‘racialized other.’ I appreciated their concern about me not feeling as comfortable or ‘at home’ as I should be in predominantly white spaces, but in my opinion, my in-laws shouldn’t have to move anywhere for me (or anyone else who doesn’t look like the ‘tribe’ of a particular region) to feel ‘at home.’ I would like to see that my in laws ‘stay’ and that Germany’s white collective consciousness continue to ‘move’ more forward, towards a creation of an unconditional love for all people who exist in these [socially constructed] borders of the German nation. Let’s remember: Germany has come a long way since the era of nationalized and institutionalized white supremacist Nazism. The mere fact that I can travel to here, get around the city, and be alive at the end of the day is an indication of a ‘move’ of national consciousness. But I am still really thinking about the cafe manager’s brief conversation with me and his strong use– maybe even inflammatory (?)– of the phrase, “Germany is full of Nazis….” Actually, in tandem with this, I think this about my own homeland: “USA is full of white supremacists who have no problem publicly displaying their enragement about the POTUS being non-white.” Fresh in my mind is the Facebook page that depicts Obama being lynched, with the caption “Rope”, instead of “Hope”with the sentence, “Hang the bastard.”

But, I am hopeful. The other day, while waiting for the S Bahn (subway train) at Rosenheimer platz , I saw an advertisement on one of the many widescreen monitors they have on the subway walls. Portrayed was a ‘brown’ man accidently bumping into someone at a biergarten. He trips and accidently touches the shoulder of a white woman sitting down. The white man across from her becomes very angry and violent that this ‘brown’ man touched her. He grabs the brown man and is about to beat him up. The image freezes and then pans out to show that all of Germany is watching and will NOT tolerate such racialized and violent responses/behaviors to this ‘brown’ man’s sincere mistake. I didn’t know this was going on until the captions were translated for me. Has anyone else seen these ads? I have been trying to search for them on the Internet all morning.

Food Erotica!!!!!

On New Year’s Eve, I visited a shopping center dedicated to edible yumminess. My end goal was the new vegan shoppe called Boonian. Not all the photos below are from Boonian. The first ones are from Boonian. I spoke with the founder and he is from South Dakota, USA. I ended up eating a seitan sandwich and broccoli salad for lunch.

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Sandwich: Seitan yumminess from Boonian.

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And array of vegan wines offered by Boonian….

And wishing these were vegan……

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About these ads
 

6 Responses to ““How do you like Germany so far? I mean, you’re Black”: On [Anti-]Racism and Food Erotica”

  1. dapperdolly Says:

    It’s very true – any country that has predominantly one or a few races will be racist or at least xenophobic outside of the major cities.

    Those food pics look delicious! Were the wraps grape leaves or seaweed over rice? I love either!

  2. Xiomara Says:

    Im loving all your post because theyre super informative. Thanks for sharing

  3. Hello! I’ve tried to find that S-Bahn campaign video too now, but also could not find it online. What I’ve come across as I was googling is perhaps another campaign against homophobia in munich: http://www.laut-gegen-brauntoene.de/. And googling the words “Deutschland” “angestarrt” (“germany” “gazed at”) I saw various entries that seem to reflect the unfriendly habit of Germans to gaze at people http://bit.ly/134ZCB1

    I think there exist some social patterns in Germany (probably everywhere) where the group makes the individual insecure, and one either “manages” to become part of the group or one is continuously “excluded”.

    The case of racism yet again has it’s own political (I assume) dimensions. However some group behavior seems to be a fundamental pattern, that can be “refined” and find their apex with politically discriminatory facets.

    I must say I believe racism builds itself up on political reasons (the oppression of another culture / other cultures) more than on biologisms. Whereby biologism in racism marks the cloak to hide a politcally “racist” agenda.

  4. Reader Says:

    “…I was unable to read his ethnicity, but he did not ‘pass’ as white– or, rather, how I have come to define ‘whiteness’, which is in the USA socio-historical context. He had an olive complexion and black hair…”

    Maybe he’s Turkish-German? A whole bunch of Germans have ancestors who migrated from Turkey to West Germany after WWII as “guest workers” (see http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/turkish-immigration-to-germany-a-sorry-history-of-self-deception-and-wasted-opportunities-a-716067.html – and it’s not about Turkish immigrants deceiving themselves and wasting opportunities…).

  5. Reader Says:

    You might find Showing Our Colors interesting. Here’s a review: http://cynicsunlimited.com/2008/02/29/book-review-showing-our-colors/

    “…Showing Our Colors is edited by three women: May Opitz, an Afro-German speech therapist and poet; Katharina Oguntoye, a feminist historian of German and Nigerian background, and Dagmar Schultz, a white woman and publishing house editor. Translated from the German Farbe bekennen, the book contains a history of German imperialism in Africa and of blacks (and mixed-race people) in Germany as well as their portrayal by white society. The English version includes a foreword by the late poet Audre Lorde, who met a number of Afro-German women during a stay in Berlin. The book’s principal attraction, however, lies in the first-hand accounts by fourteen women of mixed black and German descent…”

  6. Elei Says:

    Hello Dr. Breez Harper,
    kindly excuse for my bad english, bud i´m actualie from germany ( i´m lifing in the north between the danish border and hamburg (outside the big citys)), and I thout I´m have to say a few words from my perspective.
    It´s true that the racisem is more dominate in the east and in the more south areas ( bavaria, and munich is the capitol from it, is ultraconservative), in the west and the north the people more open to other people from other countrys. I think not that you can matching the problem with the black – withe problem in the U.S.A., when I read about it, I will thinking that we have it very cousie her in germany.I´m not visiting the U.S.A. actualy bud what i read, up to today, it that you live in a everyday “ware” between black and withe and withe and lationo and eveangelical (and the most are withe) and everything, thats what maks my heard bleed! From my europen perspective I can´t understand it that they will never learn from they bloody historie (slavery, you know all the bad stuff).
    What do you telling about your Maneger makes me very sad. I wish he had a better start and experimence.
    The problem in Germany is not a bias for the colore of the hair or the skin. Some people fear that they lost ther jobs (there a topical many anemployend), they fear to lost they belives (not only the religion), it´s abaout incertitude and foreigness. The NPD (a racisem and nacisem political partie) using the fear of the people ( most in the east area) for it goal and become in the region more and more infloence.The other people (they are not influnence or racisem) see this and try to ripping the problem on the rood. The most people I know, love the individuell of all humen and fight racisem, bud yes it´s true, I heard from some aliens that there had in the past or some times in the presend problems with stupid people. Germany is very multiculurall and please see the other side from the racisem, the people with open haerd and hand. They are so much more then the people with the racisem background, bud that will be allways forgeting in the discussion.
    By the way, the people won´t not staring at you, becose you are black bud because that´s not so commen here in a witheskin dominate region. They staring at everything thats uncommen my you having a Mohawkhaircut or you a ill, that´s live.
    I hope anyway you enjoy your trip.

    By the way, I enjoy your blog very muche, nice to meet you the first time on this place.

    Elei


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