«A Comparative Case Study of North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) and Ireland by Melanie Liese B.A. School of Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies ...»
Hostility by Germans towards Turkish people is assumed to apply to the landlord in “Tante Wilma riecht nach Knoblauch” [Aunt Wilma smells of Garlic] (Überall ist Lesezeit, pp.58-60, see book), when he asks Turkish people to move into the building of flats in order to scare Aunt Wilma out of the house. Being Turkish in this context has negative associations, which are confirmed by Aunt Wilma who at first rejects the idea and reacts with resentment implying that they have too many children, smell of garlic and have fleas (ibid, p.59). Throughout the story Aunt Wilma‟s opinion changes considerably in a positive way as she gets to know the family.
Negative associations with Romanian origins also arise in the story “Maria kommt aus Rumänien” [Maria comes from Romania] (Lesereise 3, p.124, see book). When Maria watches some children play in the yard in front of her new house, she is approached by one of them who asks: “Was will die Rumänin?” [What does the Romanian want?] (ibid, p.124). When Maria replied that she was not a Romanian, the boy said: “Aber du kommst doch von dort, gib‟s zu!” [But you come from there, admit it!”], whereupon Maria answered “yes” (ibid, p.124). When the children laughed, Maria retreated to her flat.
Like Maria, “Soham und Issa” [Soham and Issa] (Das Lesebuch 3, p.29, see book) also encounter hostility from Jule and Markus in the local playground. After Markus tells Jule about his father‟s opinion, that “wir schon genug Ausländer hier haben” [we already have enough foreigners here] (ibid, p.29), he angrily turns to Soham and Issa: “Geh runter von der Schaukel! Das ist unser Spielplatz! Ihr habt hier nichts zu suchen!” [Get off the swing! This is our playground! You have no business here!] (ibid, p.29). Although Soham understands what Markus says, she does not understand why she is not allowed to play there. Markus, thinking that Soham does not understand, asks in mocking manner: “Du können nix sprechen unsere Sprache?” and “Du mich nicht verstehen? Du blöd?” [You not can speaking our language? You not understanding me? You stupid?] (ibid, p.29). Although Markus‟s ridicule is contested by Soham, who asks him why he speaks in a strange way and whether he cannot speak proper German (ibid, p.29), the behaviour towards Soham and Issa is not addressed as no comprehension accompanies the text.
As mentioned before, in the text “Ben liebt Anna” [Ben loves Anna] (BAUSTEINE Lesebuch 4, pp.44-45, Appendix B, p.III), Anna receives a negative reception,
especially from Katja, because of her Polish origins:
Katja fand Anna ekelhaft. “Die stinkt”, meinte sie, “und richtig schreiben kann sie auch nicht. Mit zehn kann die nicht einmal richtig schreiben.” Bernhard sagte: “Die kann vielleicht polnisch schreiben.” “Die ist überhaupt eine Polin und keine Deutsche”, sagte Katja. “Wahrscheinlich hat die in Polen nicht bleiben dürfen”, meinte Bernhard. “Wegen Dauerstinken”, sagte Katja (ibid, p.44).
[Katja found Anna disgusting. “She stinks”, she said, “and she also can‟t write properly. She can‟t even write properly at the age of ten.” Bernhard said: “Maybe she can write Polish.” “Anyway she is a Pole and not a German”, said Katja. “She probably wasn‟t allowed to stay in Poland”, declared Bernhard. “Because of stinking all the time”, said Katja.] Ben defends Anna by telling Katja that she stinks herself (ibid, p.44). Although the class teacher in the story also reminds the children not to be mean to Anna (ibid, p.44) the negative language used against her remains unchallenged as no comprehension questions are posed to discuss this further.
When Ben and Anna talk about the living situation of Anna‟s family in Germany in a different text entitled “Wo Anna wohnt” [Where Anna lives] (Das Auer Lesebuch 4, pp.34-36, Appendix B, pp.XI-XIII), Anna tells Ben that her father will earn money soon again so that they can afford to live in a better place. Furthermore, she says that he was not able to get work in Poland because the family intended to move to Germany. She then adds that in Germany he cannot get work “weil wir aus Polen gekommen sind” [because we came from Poland] (ibid, p.35), implying hostility from German employers towards the ethnic and cultural „other‟.
In “Olgas Geschichte” [Olga‟s Story] (Das Lesebuch 4, pp.32-33, see book), Olga‟s father describes his experience of hostility as an ethnic German in Siberia and Germany: “In Siberien waren wir immer die Fremden, die Feinde. Aber auch hier in Deutschland gibt es Leute, die uns Angst machen wollen. Für die sind wir die Russen.” [In Siberia we were always the foreigners, the enemies. But there are also people here in Germany, who want to scare us. For them we are the Russians.] (ibid, p.33).
The texts under this sub-category highlight some of the hostility that ethnic and cultural „others‟ can face in Germany. This raises awareness and opens up grounds for critical discussion. However, the texts shown above are rarely challenged by didactical questions in the textbooks. Therefore, for example, negative language is not denounced.
5.2.6 Questions of Identity
Under this sub-category the ethnic and cultural „other‟s‟ identity is directly or indirectly questioned in some texts, where biculturality is presented as inconceivable by members of the German majority. A lack of acceptance and acknowledgement of people growing up with more than one culture (Fritzsche 2006) is reflected, especially in the case where the „other‟ looks different from members of the majority of society. “Durch ihr anderes Aussehen werden sie von ihrer Umgebung als nichtdeutsch kategorisiert und entsprechend behandelt.” [Because of their different appearance they are categorised as non-German by their environment and treated accordingly] (Wenzler-Creme 2005, p.26). This has in part been seen in the subcategories above, in particular where the ethnic and cultural „other‟ is portrayed as having a different skin colour or religion in a text and/ or an image. Questions of identity arise in seven texts.
In “Olgas Geschichte” [Olga‟s Story] (Das Lesebuch 4, pp.32-33, see book), even though Olga‟s family had lived in Siberia for decades, they always thought of themselves as ethnic Germans but had to hide this fact: “Und wenn man dort sagt, dass man Deutscher ist, wird man überall angefeindet. Wir haben es immer verheimlicht.” [And if you say there that you are German you receive a hostile reception. We never mentioned this.] (ibid, p.33). However, in Germany many people do not recognise them as part of German society and instead see them as Russians: “In Siberien waren wir immer die Fremden, die Feinde. Aber auch hier in Deutschland gibt es Leute, die uns Angst machen woollen. Für die sind wir die Russen.” [In Siberia we were always the foreigners, the enemies. But there are also people here in Germany, who want to scare us. For them we are the Russians.] (ibid, p.33). Olga‟s family is therefore seen to be faced with complex questions of identity.
Because Aussiedler [ethnic Germans] have been living outside of Germany for generations, many “haben nur wenig Bindung zur deutschen Sprache und Kultur” [have only a loose bond to the German language and culture] (Schneider 2005).
Therefore, while they are fully recognised as Germans by the German government, they are often not accepted as such by members of the German majority.
When the teacher in “Warum kommen die Ausländer zu uns?” [Why do the foreigners come to us?] (Tipi Lesebuch 4, pp.90-91, see book) explains how migrant workers from Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Yugoslavia and Turkey were joined by their families in Germany, a student named Stefan says that his father was born in Greece but he was born Germany. The teacher answers: “Trotzdem bist du Grieche, also ein Ausländer” [Nevertheless you are Greek, thus a foreigner] (ibid, p.91). Here the teacher‟s insistence seems to rule out any possibility that Stefan might also consider himself German, i.e., to be bi-cultural and have two identities, since his family has been living in Germany for quite a long time, he speaks German and was born in Germany.
In “Lippels Traum” [Lippel‟s Dream] (Das Auer Lesebuch 4, pp.176-179, Appendix B, p.XIV-XVI) the teacher, Mrs Klobe, makes a similar statement. When Hamide
and Arslan are introduced to the class as two new students to the class, Elvira asks:
“Frau Klobe, sind das Ausländer?” [Mrs Klobe, are they foreigners?] whereupon the teacher replies: “Sie sind Türken. Arslan ist in der Türkei zur Welt gekommen.
Hamide ist hier geboren, wie ihr auch” [They are Turks. Arslan was born in Turkey.
Hamide was born here, like yourselves] (ibid, p.177). While it might well be the case that they are Turkish, they might also have acquired German nationality or consider themselves to be German or to have two identities, especially since Hamide was born here. However, the teacher excludes this possibility quite quickly when she states that they are Turks.
A reluctance to accept the „other‟ as part of German society is displayed in the poem “Dialog” [Dialogue] (BAUSTEINE Lesebuch 4, p.42, Appendix B, p.II). Even though Character B speaks good German and was born in Hamburg just like her father, she is “keine Deutsche” [not a German] according to Character A, because she does not look like one, as she is “so schwarzhaarig und dunkel” [so black-haired and dark], and because her mother comes from Iran (ibid, p.42). Here, Character B hesitates in accepting Character A as German on the basis of her physical features.
B.: That you are not German!] The presumption that someone with a darker skin colour cannot be a German is further presented in the text “Wer ist der Täter?” [Who is the culprit?] (Überall ist Lesezeit 4, pp.83-85, see book). As mentioned before, the text describes people, who are stuck in a shopping centre lift, because one of them allegedly stole a diamond brooch from an elderly lady. One of the people is described as “ein ungefähr zwanzigjähriges Mädchen mit dunkler Hautfarbe – offensichtlich eine Ausländerin” [a girl, aged about twenty, with dark skin colour – obviously a foreigner] (ibid, p.83).
The addition of „obviously a foreigner‟ eliminates the possibility that someone with dark skin colour could be a member of the German majority and conveys to readers the message that people with dark skin colour are not Germans.
In “Jan kommt aus Deutschland” [Jan comes from Germany] (Jo-Jo 4, pp.68-71, see book) Jan‟s friend Paul is described as being from Kenya, as being born in Germany and as speaking German as well as the other children (ibid, p.71). Furthermore Paul is said to be “mehr wie ein Deutscher” [more like a German] (ibid). Although he is like a German, presumably because he is at home in Germany, he is not accepted by the German majority and experiences harassment because of his dark skin: “Einmal hat ein älterer Mann Paul auf dem Schulweg wegen seiner dunklen Haut angemacht.” [Once an older man harassed Paul on the way to school because of his dark skin] (ibid).
When Vimala, in “Vimala gehört zu uns” [Vimala is one of us] (Tintenklecks 3, pp.6-7, Appendix B, p.XXVI-XXVII), comes new into class she causes some amazement amongst her fellow students: “Zuerst waren wir ganz schön verblüfft.
Die “Neue” sah einfach anders aus, als wir es gewöhnt waren. Sie hatte sehr dunkle Haut.” [At first we were quite baffled. The “new” girl just looked so different to what we were used to. She had very dark skin] (ibid, p.6)20. The students then find out that she speaks German and was born in Germany, but her parents are from India. Vimala‟s official status is not mentioned. However, Lea and her friends are calling Vimala a foreigner as part of their hostility towards her, which is not challenged in the text. Again, although Vimala was born in Germany, speaks The amazement towards Vimala on part of the students quoted here does not appear in “Vimala gehört zu uns” [Vimala is one of us] in the textbook Papiertiger 4. However, both texts in Papiertiger 4 (p.184) and Tintenklecks 3 (p.6) mention that students marvelled at Vimala.
German and most likely is at home in Germany, she is met with amazement on one side and hostility on the other side, because her skin colour does not „fit in‟ with the general definition of what it seems to be German or part of German society.