How bad is the discrimination in Germany?

153 posts in this topic

Eyerhausen: couple pointers. At the uni where I worked the second in line to graduate was the one who built up that graduation hat for the graduating. Maybe at your university it is the last hired. In any case, you buy the hat and put funny stuff on it. It costs you very little and this is not discrimination, simply a tradition. If you don't like the person who is getting the hat, you can make fun of them through the hat. (If you are creative, you can also make fun of the institute/professor/your pay/etc but it has to be subtle). If they exclude foreigners or expect foreigners to organize separately, then that is racist in my view. They can expect you to adapt, but they should not be allowed to exclude.

 

Regarding learning a machine, find out which person in the group has the most experience and ask that person if you can attend the next session where he or she trains students. If you ask nicely he or she might even schedule a training for you. Professors are not expected to (read: worthless) at organizing day to day things at a uni, so go to the person who knows exactly what you need (and ask nicely). Take notes, pay attention, ask questions.

 

As a grad student, the Germans expect a certain amount of initiative. You have to adapt somewhat if that is not in your nature or you won't be successful. I have worked with/trained foreign a grad student from Sri Lanka in a machine workshop in Germany and the way the Germans treated him was in my view unconscionable. He didn't get that he was expected to do everything by himself when he arrived. It took a bit of time before he figured it out and it was painful (for him and for me to watch as the Germans treated him like shit). The difference was I at least gave him a chance. I don't stand much on ceremony but when the students and project engineers think they can tell off a Phd candidate, something they would not have done to a German, without offering anything in the way of help I see that as extremely unhelpful.

They assume if you don't show initiative you are not capable. You simply have to learn how to deal with this attitude.

 

Everyone comes up with their own strategy.

 

If it racism or discrimination is a different issue.

 

And to counter the previous peevish poster, you can expect a training, but you have to ask nicely for it. Showing initiative together with being polite about will give you a skill the locals lack.

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Getting back to the original point of the thread, I've personally found very little discrimination or malicious racism in Germany. A previous poster suggested racism/discrimination is more present in small villages, especially in the former DDR, but I find that to be a bit unfair and possibly incorrect- I live in a small village in the former DDR, and I, as well as the (small) handful of other Islanders, don't seem to experience any negative attitudes from others due to our races. I actually get the impression us being here makes the "locals" feel a little more cosmopolitan! :P There is probably a little bit of an ingrained racist attitude that lingers from a bygone era here, but  I have a tendency to call people out on it when it pops up, and they kind of check themselves, apologise, and are more mindful after that.

 

Sure, people poke fun at me, but again, not with malicious intent. More from the angle of "I like this person and feel comfortable with them, and therefore feel comfortable having a joke with them". I did once have a friends aunt be so in awe that she was meeting someone from the other side of the world, that she asked if she could touch me. That was weird... One girl in particular has hated on me and bad-mouthed me, trying to turn people against me, since about a year before I moved over here. She used my race and her insistence that a foreigner could never properly integrate into the lifestyle here as her main arguments, but the fact is she is simply a petty little girl who was butt-hurt at the fact that she has been in love with my BF for years, and her repeated attempts to steal him from me all failed, and consequently decided to blame me for that and attempted to ruin me before I got here. The only thing she achieved was losing half her friends.

 

I worked in Göttingen (a "bigger city") for a while, and never experienced discrimination or racism there either.

 

I think overall, if one is friendly and shows an interest in learning/understanding the culture and language, wants to join in, etc, then the vast majority of Germans will treat you much the same as they treat each other. No doubt there are bad apples in every bunch, and some bunches have a greater proportion of bad apples, but I find the majority of Germans so far to be fairly decent. :) 

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8 minutes ago, RachSW said:

Getting back to the original point of the thread, I've personally found very little discrimination or malicious racism in Germany. A previous poster suggested racism/discrimination is more present in small villages, especially in the former DDR, but I find that to be a bit unfair and possibly incorrect- I live in a small village in the former DDR, and I, as well as the (small) handful of other Islanders, don't seem to experience any negative attitudes from others due to our races. I actually get the impression us being here makes the "locals" feel a little more cosmopolitan! :P There is probably a little bit of an ingrained racist attitude that lingers from a bygone era here, but  I have a tendency to call people out on it when it pops up, and they kind of check themselves, apologise, and are more mindful after that.

 

Sure, people poke fun at me, but again, not with malicious intent. More from the angle of "I like this person and feel comfortable with them, and therefore feel comfortable having a joke with them". I did once have a friends aunt be so in awe that she was meeting someone from the other side of the world, that she asked if she could touch me. That was weird... One girl in particular has hated on me and bad-mouthed me, trying to turn people against me, since about a year before I moved over here. She used my race and her insistence that a foreigner could never properly integrate into the lifestyle here as her main arguments, but the fact is she is simply a petty little girl who was butt-hurt at the fact that she has been in love with my BF for years, and her repeated attempts to steal him from me all failed, and consequently decided to blame me for that and attempted to ruin me before I got here. The only thing she achieved was losing half her friends.

 

I worked in Göttingen (a "bigger city") for a while, and never experienced discrimination or racism there either.

 

I think overall, if one is friendly and shows an interest in learning/understanding the culture and language, wants to join in, etc, then the vast majority of Germans will treat you much the same as they treat each other. No doubt there are bad apples in every bunch, and some bunches have a greater proportion of bad apples, but I find the majority of Germans so far to be fairly decent. :) 

 

 

She used your race? LOL!

 

I bet you are of the same race as her. :)

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38 minutes ago, RachSW said:

Getting back to the original point of the thread, I've personally found very little discrimination or malicious racism in Germany. A previous poster suggested racism/discrimination is more present in small villages, especially in the former DDR, but I find that to be a bit unfair and possibly incorrect- I live in a small village in the former DDR, and I, as well as the (small) handful of other Islanders, don't seem to experience any negative attitudes from others due to our races. I actually get the impression us being here makes the "locals" feel a little more cosmopolitan! :P There is probably a little bit of an ingrained racist attitude that lingers from a bygone era here, but  I have a tendency to call people out on it when it pops up, and they kind of check themselves, apologise, and are more mindful after that.

 

Sure, people poke fun at me, but again, not with malicious intent. More from the angle of "I like this person and feel comfortable with them, and therefore feel comfortable having a joke with them". I did once have a friends aunt be so in awe that she was meeting someone from the other side of the world, that she asked if she could touch me. That was weird... One girl in particular has hated on me and bad-mouthed me, trying to turn people against me, since about a year before I moved over here. She used my race and her insistence that a foreigner could never properly integrate into the lifestyle here as her main arguments, but the fact is she is simply a petty little girl who was butt-hurt at the fact that she has been in love with my BF for years, and her repeated attempts to steal him from me all failed, and consequently decided to blame me for that and attempted to ruin me before I got here. The only thing she achieved was losing half her friends.

 

I worked in Göttingen (a "bigger city") for a while, and never experienced discrimination or racism there either.

 

I think overall, if one is friendly and shows an interest in learning/understanding the culture and language, wants to join in, etc, then the vast majority of Germans will treat you much the same as they treat each other. No doubt there are bad apples in every bunch, and some bunches have a greater proportion of bad apples, but I find the majority of Germans so far to be fairly decent. :) 

Says the white girl...

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26 minutes ago, klubbnika said:

 

She used your race? LOL!

 

I bet you are of the same race as her. :)

 

OK, I used the wrong word. A crime of the highest order on the internet, so I should have known to be more careful.

 

She used the fact that I'm foreign and her insistence that a foreigner could never properly integrate into the lifestyle here as her main arguments

 

Is that OK?

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12 minutes ago, rhody said:

Says the white girl...

Yes, says the white girl, giving an account of her personal experiences of the level of discrimination against foreigners in general in Germany, in line with the original purpose of this thread. Is that allowed? Or have I broken some other internet rule again??

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come on, what I have observed as a white girl is that people who get shit are, first and foremost, the ones who aren't German.  The ones who aren't white certainly stick out more, but i don't think race is always the principle issue.

 

I have several non-white German friends and I have observed that initially they might get attitude when we're out and about.  But as soon as they speak without an accent, the attitude drops and that's it.  Everything is cool.

 

I've asked them about this - do they feel discriminated against for not being white? - and they have all said no, it's more the occasional misunderstanding that they are not German that causes problems.

 

Regardless, saying someone can't express an opinion or observation on this topic simply because they're white is bullshit.

 

 

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1 hour ago, RachSW said:

She used the fact that I'm foreign and her insistence that a foreigner could never properly integrate into the lifestyle here as her main arguments

 I can't even count the number of times I've been told disdainfully or even "helpfully" - "but you will NEVER be German" usually followed by a snort of some kind.

 

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32 minutes ago, lisa13 said:

I have observed that initially they might get attitude when we're out and about.  But as soon as they speak without an accent, the attitude drops and that's it.  Everything is cool.

 

 

 

And what about us non-whites who have an accent? Does accent (or anything for that matter) justify treating someone less than human?

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of course not, but the point is that if you want to assume it's only about your racial background, that might not be the full picture.

 

you are free to make it so, of course.

 

ETA: White people do get treated like shit too, you know.

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All those anecdotal evidences notwithstanding, here are some data from Eurostat :
Unemployment rate differential between native and foreigner in different EU countries reveal :
In the year 2012, the differential for Germany is at 5, almost 4 times that of UK at 1.3-
https://d26adhsj11a4c2.cloudfront.net/uiTSD/2/

 

And German Turks have far lower Corporate representation than British Indians or American Chinese (even behind the under-performing British minorities like British Pakistanis)

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I'm a man of colour, and I do get stares from people when I, for example, visit my friends in a village in Mecklenburg Vorpommern. I know that some people there will stare at me like I'm an exotic animal, some might stare at me like I'm unwanted. It's their choice and their right to do so. When I end up communicating with some, they are really friendly people. And they are really happy when I speak to them in German.

I'm protected by law against discrimination at work place, I get treated equally in Restaurants, my Race has nothing to do with travelling. The Amt doesn't treat me based on my Race. At Supermarkt, I buy I pay, I Buzz off. Some little Kids do make comments about my colour, but what do you expect from a kid who has not yet seen the world?

So I'm yet to face this so called "discrimination" here.

 

I totally agree with RachSW here:

3 hours ago, RachSW said:

I think overall, if one is friendly and shows an interest in learning/understanding the culture and language, wants to join in, etc, then the vast majority of Germans will treat you much the same as they treat each other. No doubt there are bad apples in every bunch, and some bunches have a greater proportion of bad apples, but I find the majority of Germans so far to be fairly decent. :) 

 

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@lisa13 
I do not live in Germany anymore. But I completed my Masters in Uni Mannheim and worked there for 5 years. I have University friends circle working in Frankfurt and Munich. And I have several close friends and relatives in USA / UK. When I compare higher education system and labour market of USA / UK / Germany, I get a feel that 
German labour market is lot more subjective and arbitrary than other Western Nations -  photo on CV, non-ranked Universities, 3 tier school system, multi-channel higher education system, absence of centralized University entrance exams or pre-employment test, personal contact based hiring process, sub-department / team level hiring practices. These are perhaps few reasons for Institutional racism.

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@rohit_2543well that's anecdotal as well. 

 

and you use the word "racism" instead of "discrimination", do you also extrapolate that the foreign born unemployed in Germany are overwhelmingly non-white? 

 

my guess is that the disparity between unemployment figures between Germany and the UK has at least something to do with the fact that more people around the world speak passable english than passable german.

 

 

 

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On 23/06/2016, 04:42:04, Eyershausen said:

I feel some discrimination in my uni. I asked one guy to teach me a machine. He said I need introduction from the manufacturer.

I had to work with Wire Bonding,Etching,spin-coating and a couple of other machines as well, all i had to do was to write an e-mail to my professor. He in turn sent an e-mail to a PhD student and a Mitarbeiter to teach me how to work with the machines (later he also offered me a HiWi/Student Job based on this). Instead of crying Discrimination, did you try talking to your Professor?

The only time i experienced discrimination in Germany (but in a nice way) was when my Ex took me along for the Christmas Eve Mass in the Church  (Her family insisted that i come along) at her native place (Rohrbach im Schwarzwald). Everyone in the church turned around, perhaps they had never seen a brown person before or they were surprised to see a stranger (it's a rather small village). But that was it, they all got back to their business and some did try to start a conversation with me but my lack of German skills meant that it went nowhere. 


 

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@mako1

I came before the other german student, so I was not the last one. I said I could make the hat but at least people can chip in the cost. 

 

I think it's just in this department there were some bad apples. I did all my analysis by my own and I was allright with that. That PhD didn't really have interest in my thesis. I talked to the professor directly for discussion because I know he wouldn't give a damn. I talked to the professor directly after I realized that he seemed so uninterested unlike to the german student's work. His PhD work also depended on a few HiWis. It seemed that all the work was done by Hiwis. He just sat and the most he could do was bonding with glue. His works that I knew of was wrong and didn't follow the law of physics.

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2 hours ago, lisa13 said:

@rohit_2543well that's anecdotal as well. 

That's not exactly anecdotal as they are German institutions and their practices and not out of any personal experience.

 

Regarding use of the term discrimination vs racial discrimination : I am sure there are more European unemployed. Europeans from other EU Nations have uncontrolled entry to Germany, whereas Non-EU Nationals typically fill the skill shortage sector - their entry is selective and demand driven. Hence overall unemployment is an unreliable indicator.

Comparing socio-economic attainment of German minorities vs those in Anglo Saxon Nations would be better estimate.

 

Regarding language barrier : I have known many Eastern Europeans who have learnt German from high school days in order to enter German labour market. Those foreigners who attended Studienkolleg and later Bachelor (or Diplom) program speak pretty decent German (at par with first generation high skilled migrants in USA). Using German as a comparative selection criteria is rather unfair (specially for non-managerial jobs in STEM branches)

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Lisa and Rach, I think whites can express their experience of racism or lack thereof, certainly no one is telling you what you can and cannot say. But when a white person extrapolates their experience to a general rule, some might object.

 

Analogy or example: I am male and have never been discriminated against because of my gender. I also have had women colleagues who earned the same as I did (Uni). But I would never say that sexual or gender discrimination does not exist, it does and is quantifiable.

You (as an average woman, no offense, I mean the statistical average here) will earn 80% or so of what a man earns. Maybe you do not earn less than a man in the same position. That would be optimal for you, but it means that some other women earn even less (unless the 80% increases during your lifetime). Clearly not racism (women come in all colors) but discrimination.

 

By the way, this is an example of 'mansplaining', for which I apologize.

 

Discrimination exists in Germany. Sometimes just trivial things that aren't going to get noticed, along the lines of institutional conditions that benefit certain categories of people and disadvantage others. An example is at a public institutions there is an obscure option to hire EU citizens at a slightly higher rate in a 'beamte auf zeit' contract. Non EU folks cannot receive this category (although this was never definitive, it was accepted as the rule). I would argue that this discriminates or at least puts the non EU person at a financial disadvantage. My experience in public institutions in Germany were that locals were given the benefit of the doubt in many cases and foreigners not so. This would generally give the locals a financial advantage. For example, when deciding the pay grade based on work experience, non German work experience would often not be recognized. This meant that if you worked abroad (ie, were a foreigner) you would probably get a lower pay grade and get paid less than someone who had similar work experience and background in Germany.

 

That said, I don't think the German as a whole are racist. There certainly are racists, same as everywhere (Rach, imagine the woman that didn't like you having some say over who gets hired somewhere). But to say that things are equal would be a bit 'blauäugig'.

 

"If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger" - Nietzsche

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@mako1

It is not just about racism, but about sexism as well. There are ample of research and survey results out there that shows Germany has one of the lowest female representation among OECD countries (and women in senior management comprise of a mere 8%). The problem is that German recruitment processes are status-quo-ish : one which values usual-vs-unusual more than good-vs-bad or correct-vs-incorrect.

Racism and sexism are two of the major examples of that. However it is equally likely to discriminate against a German man who is overweight, wears thick glasses or with heavy regional accent. 

German Institutions need to regularize the labour market entry, specially when multi.channel higher education system makes proper meritocracy rather difficult. Kind of surprising how complicit the authority is, when in almost every other aspects of life there are detailed "Ordnung" describing rules and regulations in clinical precision. 

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