One in four Berliners are of foreign heritage

25 posts in this topic


... The Turks that were invited as guest workers after the war were the only true people to live and work meaningful lives as Turks. They included doctors, lawyers, accountants, executives etc. as well as people from the same background as my "lowly" humble parents. They came, worked, helped re-build the german infrastructure and economy. Then came their children and their grandchildren. These last two generations have had a hard time trying to adjust and adapt to an ever changing face of Europe as well as maintain their cultural identities and is it this which presents a big problem to some of the people that have migrated in recent years.


Germans want integration but the Turks here see the german integration as complete assimilation and so they are hostile when it comes to learning german / participating in social activies with germans through schooling etc. If I'm not mistaken there has been talk now of teaching students in turkish and arabic in schools and not german. I maintain that too live in any country which is not your own, the first thing to be done is to learn the language and to the best of your ability, act in a manner which justifies your presence as a proud but respectful member of your race/country/creed abroad.


When you walk around some neighborhoods and see young kids both German and Turk alike trying immitate each others speech (with all of the -ish-ish-ishing) and mannerisms while engaging in many repulsive social activities (grafiti, drug use, watching MTV and German Idol everyday as if it were air) you really cant help but feel sorry for the parents and grandparents of these complete leeches and diseases on our society. How you can claim to be a proud Turk or German while you're striving to be the next hottest DJ Babu Turk or DJ Yo-Berlin or Taxi driver is beyond my understanding. Although both respectable lines of work, it's a bit silly when your parents or grandparents were well respected doctors & lawyers in your so called home country or here in Germany as teachers/professors.

Bang2xg, interesting comparising between your parents' immigration to the U.S. and Turkish immigration to Germany, but both aren't really comparable IMO. First, there is the difference between the USA as a classic immigration country and Germany, which despite constant de facto immigration during the last decades only now begins to acknowledge this and actually the need for a certain type of immigrants. So while your parents had to work very hard to advance socially, there was probably more state assistance to cope with integration/becoming a citizen than in Germany at that time.


Secondly, Turkish immigrants were seen as Gastarbeiter who would eventually return to their native country for a long time by the Germans, but overmore, they themselves thought of their stay in Germany as provisional. There is a Turkish word for poor rural migrants to cities in search of work who long to return to their home, gurbetciler, and this expression has been and is equally used for Turks living in Germany, but now more so by "mainland" Turks for those "in exile", while more and more people of Turkish descent feel they have definitely settled in Germany. This floating self image may be one of the roots of the integration versus assimilation debate which become public on the occasion of Prime Minister Erdogan's visit, see "Integriert euch, aber assimiliert euch nicht", FAZ, 12 Feb. 2008


Finally, a large part of the integration failure is due to the fact that, contrary to your belief, the bulk of Turkish immigrants weren't doctors, teachers, lawyers but uneducated workers, typically from Anatolia, who tried to escape poverty. So they belong to tiers of society that don't traditionally value education highly and don't have the means to assist their children. These problems have been neglected for too long by the German state. The lack of social mobility isn't limited to Turkish immigrants – till today, despite reforms by the Social Democrats in the seventies, the social status of the parents largely determines which type of schools their children attend, whether they go to university etc.


The educational problems which begin with poor command of German have been perpetuated by the popular "import" of brides from Turkey to Germany. By law these young women are now required to be of age and have a basic knowledge of German when they arrive. Indirectly, this might improve the schooling rate in Turkey, where a considerable percentage of girls in certain provinces is deprived of education (parents don't want them to be away from their supervision, and they are needed as work force): "Dreihundert Wörter ...", FAZ, 14 July 2008


These difficult conditions for children with migration background and also the fact that many don't have role models – their parents didn't really "arrive" in Germany despite having worked hard (remaining at the level of unskilled/semi-skilled worker) can explain some of the refusal attitude of some youths – they seem to give up before even trying. But there is also – less obvious – successful integration and personal advancement.


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Integration is a political myth.

...but an effective one that leaves "both" groups to defend what they believe to be theirs, as if the cultural heritage of ANY human population is 100% purebred something.


While integration is a political force, the desire to hold on to something supposedly authentic is just as much a myth and just as destructive. "Herd animals" says one. "Sheep" I say. The knee-jerk reactions of these sides do nothing to bring human communities together, to welcome -- in cultural attitudes, clothing, dance or whatever -- what are mere regional differences not genetic coding. And while skin color is a ready marker, it doesn't nullify the other 95% in common that makes us human.


Why wouldn't we want to be in community with each other, learn to speak each other's languages, try each other's foods and live happily with each other? Why is it so important to hold one community up as better than?


And communities all over the world did this. The person who made the smarta** comment about early European settlers on the American continent would love to believe that there was only peace and harmony there. Humans are a brutal lot, and so-called indigenous communities in the Americas (the ones who migrated there from other places just like the rest of us humans) were no different.


So goes the whole story of this little rock in the Universe that we call home.


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