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«A Comparative Case Study of North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) and Ireland by Melanie Liese B.A. School of Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies ...»

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5.2.7 The „Other‟ in Need

Another frequent presentation of the ethnic and cultural „other‟ is as an individual in need. The „other‟ here is portrayed as either being economically poor and living in poor conditions or as a victim of abuse and hostility. Because the „other‟ as a victim of hostility has been referred to above, only those who are shown as receiving help and those living in poor living conditions will be mentioned here. Reference to the ethnic and cultural „other‟ being in need is made in nine texts.

The Turkish residents, who move into Aunt Wilma‟s house in the text “Tante Wilma riecht nach Knoblauch” [Aunt Wilma smells of Garlic] (Überall ist Lesezeit 4, pp.58-60, see book) are presented as in need of donations when Aunt Wilma buys “ein halbes Dutzend Kinderpudelmützen” [half a dozen childrens‟ bobble hats] and organises an old pushchair for them (ibid, p.59) Furthermore, she helps the Turkish children with their homework and will give Mustafa piano lessons. (ibid, p.60).

In “Faschingshexe Nina” [Carnival-Witch Nina] (Lollipop Lesebuch 3, pp.114-115, Appendix B, p.XVII) the character Tea arrives in class crying because she does not have a costume for the school carnival. The reasons for Tea not having a costume are described in the text as follows: “Sie lebt im Asylantenheim und die Eltern haben kein Geld.” [She lives in an asylum seekers‟ home and the parents do not have money] (ibid, p.114). Although Tea is not the only child in the story who does not have a costume, she is the only one where the absence of a costume is related to her parents‟ origin and status. Because her parents are asylum seekers in Germany, they are shown not to be able to afford a costume for their daughter. However, a girl named Nina empathises with Tea and organises a princess costume for her. With regard to the use of the pejorative word “Asylantenheim”21 [asylum seekers‟ home], there is no comprehension section following the text and therefore the term remains unchallenged.

Living conditions as an expression for poverty are described in the text “Wo Anna wohnt” [Where Anna lives] (Das Auer Lesebuch 4, pp.34-36, Appendix B, pp.XIAsylant” is a pejorative term and therefore generally not used (DWDS). A more appropriate term for „asylum seeker‟ would be “Asylbewerber”.

XIII). Here Ben asks Anna, who is originally from Poland, where she lives. When Anna answers, Ben stumbles:“Aber -. Ben sprach nicht weiter. Anna brachte den Satz, den er nicht aussprechen wollte, zu Ende: Da sind die Barackenwohnungen.

Da wohnen wir nicht mehr lang. Papa hat schon einen Antrag gestellt. Und er verdient bald wieder.” [But -. Ben did not continue to speak. Anna finished the sentence, which he did not want to pronounce: They are the barracks flats. We will not live there for long. Dad has already made an application. And he will earn soon again.] (ibid, p.35). Additionally, the text mentions that the barracks, which “sah schrecklich alt aus” [looked terribly old] (ibid, p.35), housed at least five children22 who sleep in one room and their parents, who sleep in the kitchen (ibid, p.35).

Presumably Anna‟s father has filed an application to be re-housed. Her father‟s unemployment, which Anna touches upon indirectly, is also an aspect shown to be contributing to the family‟s overall situation.

Aischa, in “Neben mir ist noch Platz” [There is a place next to me] (Das Auer Lesebuch 3, pp.100-101, Appendix B, p.VI), is living in a similar situation to Tea.

However, the words describing her home in this text are carefully selected: “Sie lebt in dem alten Haus, das früher ein Gasthof war und in dem jetzt die Leute wohnen, die aus dem Ausland kommen wie Aischa.” [She lives in the old house, which was a guesthouse before, and where the people like Aischa from foreign countries now live] (ibid, p.100). Apart from the reference to the old house where Aischa lives, no comment is made with regard to her economic status.

The ethnic and cultural „other‟ in “Maria kommt aus Rumänien” [Maria is from Romania] (Lesereise 3, p.124, see book) is also described as living “im ersten Stock eines alten Hauses” [in the first floor of an old house] (ibid, p.124). Although this does not necessarily give the reader any information about Maria‟s financial situation, the reference has been included in this part of the analysis because the ethnic and cultural „other‟ is often associated with living in an old house.

Furthermore, the house of the Egyptian girl, Laila, in the text “Coco und Laila” (Das

Lesebuch 4, pp.24-27, see book) is described in the following rather negative way:

The text mentions that Anna has six siblings, but two of them attend a boarding school where they learn German (Das Auer Lesebuch 4, p.36).

“Coco holt erst einmal tief Luft, ehe sie die Stufen zur Eingangstür erklimmt. Im Treppenhaus ist es eng, dunkel und muffig.” [Coco first takes a deep breath before she climbs up the stairs to the entrance door. It is cramped, dark and musty] (ibid, p.24).

In “Warum kommen die Ausländer zu uns?” [Why do the foreigners come to us?] (Tipi Lesebuch 4, pp.90-91, see book) the teacher, Mrs Kimmig, refers to some reasons, why migrants might come to Germany for help: “Ich glaube, weil ihre Länder ganz arm sind und die Menschen nicht genug zu essen haben oder weil dort Krieg ist.” [I believe because their countries are very poor and the people don‟t have enough to eat or because there is a war there] (ibid, p.90). Her answer is balanced as she also portrays Germany as being in need of workers due to a shortage of labour in the 1950s and 1960s: “Vor ungefähr 50 Jahren fehlten in Deutschland viele Arbeitskräfte. Damals holte man Männer aus Italien, Griechenland, Spanien, Portugal, Jugoslawien und der Türkei. Diese Männer nannte man Gastarbeiter.” [About 50 years ago Germany was in need of labour. At that time men from Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Yugoslavia were recruited. These men were called „guest workers‟.] (ibid). The teacher‟s answer furthermore shows an awareness of migrant terminology as she refers to the term „guest worker‟ in the past tense.





Reasons for migrants seeking assistance in Germany are also given in “Spaziergänge mit Papa” [Walks with Dad] (Das Lesebuch 3, pp.30-34, see book) where father and daughter discuss the concept of being „fremd‟ [foreign]. Here the father addresses the topic of political asylum seekers and refugees in Germany and says that many people try and help them: “Sie werden in ihrer Heimat verfolgt, nur weil sie mit der Politik in ihrem Land nicht einverstanden sind oder weil sie einer anderen Religion angehören. Oder weil dort Krieg ist.” [They are persecuted in their country, just because they do not agree with the politics in their country or because they are members of another religion. Or because there is a war.] (ibid, p.32).

As mentioned in the Sub-category „Hostility‟, Vimala, in “Vimala gehört zu uns” [Vimala is one of us] (Papiertiger 4, pp.184-187, Appendix B, p.XXI-XXII)23, is one In the textbook Tintenklecks 3 pp.6-7, where this text also appears, the text only mentions that the class is making a plan to help Vimala. However, it does not mention the details of the plan.

of the migrant victims, who experiences abuse from those who see her as enemy because of her ethnic and cultural origins. When she is harassed by Lea and her friends, as they threw her jacket into the air and said: “Hol sie dir doch, du Neger!” [Get it, you nigger!] (ibid, p.185), Vimala is afraid to go to school. However, her classmates make a plan to help her. And so everyday some of the students from the fourth grade accompany and protect Vimala on her way to school. While the empathetic behaviour of her fellow class mates is favourable, Vimala‟s role in the text is that of someone weak needing protection. The actual problem of hostility towards the ethnic and cultural „other‟ however, remains unchallenged and unresolved.

5.2.8 Stereotypes

For this category the study has drawn on common definitions of stereotype. As described in Chapter 4, a stereotype is “a preconceived and oversimplified idea of the characteristics which typify a person, situation, etc.; [and] an attitude based on such a preconception” (Oxford English Dictionary 1989). One of the functions of stereotypes is the “Erzeugung des “Eigenen” in Abgrenzung zum “Fremden”” [production of the “self” in separation from the “foreign” (“other”)] (Markom and Weinhäupl 2007, p.8). “Eine Aufwertung des “Wir” über eine Abwertung “Der Anderen”” [An enhancement of the “we” over a degrading of “the others”] (ibid, p.8) is frequently associated with the use of stereotypes. Therefore, under this subcategory the ethnic and cultural „other‟ is presented in association with stereotypes in texts and illustrations. Seven texts have been analysed under this sub-category.

Stereotypes of Turkish people are reflected in “Tante Wilma riecht nach Knoblauch” [Aunt Wilma smells of Garlic] (Überall ist Lesezeit 4, pp.58-60, see book). When Aunt Wilma complaints about a Turkish family moving into her block of flats she says: “Es handelt sich um Türken! Eine Familie mit sechs oder sieben Kindern und das ganze Treppenhaus riecht schon nach Knoblauch. Wie soll ich mir denn die Flöhe vom Leib halten? Und es sind nicht einmal Christen.” [It is about Turks! About real Turks! A family with six or seven children and the whole corridor smells of garlic already. How should I keep the fleas at arm‟s length? And they are not even Christians!] (ibid, pp.58-59). Here the text associates four stereotypes with the Turkish community. According to Aunt Wilma, Turkish people have many children, smell of garlic, are dirty and are not Christians. Furthermore, Aunt Wilma refers to them as “primitive Nachbarn” [primitive neighbours] (ibid, p.59).

However, the stereotypes mentioned by Aunt Wilma at the beginning of the text are challenged later on, when she gets to know the Turkish family. When asked about her initial prejudice she replies: “Die Leute sind sehr sauber.” [The people are very clean] and “Mancher, der sich einbildet ein Christ zu sein, könnte von denen noch eine Menge lernen. Immer diese dummen Vorurteile!” [Someone, who fancies himself as Christian, could still learn a lot from them. Always these stupid prejudices!] (ibid, p.60). Although the stereotypes mentioned are challenged in the story, there is no comprehension section following the text discussing these.

The ethnic and cultural „other‟ is often stereotypically portrayed as having large families. In “Wo Anna wohnt” [Where Anna lives] (Das Auer Lesebuch 4, pp.34-36, Appendix B, pp.XI-XIII) Anna‟s Polish family is also presented as large when Ben asks: “Wie viel Geschwister hast Du?” [How many siblings do you have?] (ibid, p.36). Anna replies that she has six siblings, four of whom live at home and two are attending a boarding school to learn German (ibid, p.36).

Aischa‟s family size is also commented on by Steffi in “Picknick bei Aischa” [Picknick with Aischa] (Lollipop Lesebuch 3, pp.148-149, see book) when she compares Aischa‟s family to her own much smaller one: “Seid ihr aber viele!” [You are indeed many!] (ibid, p.148). Apart from the issue of family size, this story includes a number of other stereotypes in relation to the ethnic and cultural other.

When the family and Steffi are having their picnic, Steffi “darf sich von allem als erste nehmen” [is allowed to be the first to take some food] (ibid, p.149) because she is a guest. “Dann werden die Männer bedient, zuletzt kommen die Mädchen an die Reihe. Steffi kriegt als einzige Orangensaft eingeschenkt, die anderen Mädchen trinken Wasser.” [Then the men are served, lastly it is the girls‟ turn. Steffi is the only one to get orange juice, the other girls drink water.] (ibid, p.149). Through the ritual of eating, the author suggests that the Lebanese/Arab women are inferior to the Lebanese/ Arab men of the family. He points out that the men are served, while Steffi and presumably the other girls take their food themselves. Furthermore, a certain hierarchy is emphasised here through the adverbs „first‟ and „lastly‟. The guest receives her food first, then the men of the family and lastly the women.



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