Multicultural Germany How We Experience Racism

By SPIEGEL Staff

Part 15: Sandrine Micossé-Aikins


  Sandrine Micossé-Aikins , 33, art scholar and curator, Berlin
Bernhard Riedmann/ DER SPIEGEL

Sandrine Micossé-Aikins, 33, art scholar and curator, Berlin

"My husband and I were both born in Berlin, and we were looking for a new apartment here. It was more difficult than we expected. We're Afro-German. People don't hear that over the telephone, and landlords often think my name is French. We both earn good salaries, and we always got an apartment viewing appointment. But then when we got there, the atmosphere would be noticeably cooler. We looked for several months, with no luck. So my husband and I decided he wouldn't come along to the viewings anymore. When it was just me, apparently I seemed less threatening than a black man. One time, a real estate agent was very taken with us on the phone. I was one of just a few candidates who viewed the apartment, and I liked it, so I asked the agent for the forms to fill out. He asked if I was planning to apply for the apartment and when I said yes, he replied that it was a pity, since it wasn't going to work out. When I asked why, his reply was evasive -- there were already so many people interested, he said. Then he asked my husband's first name. When I told him, he said it would be very difficult for us. When I got home, my husband and I called the city senate's anti-discrimination office. The employee we talked to there said it was a clear case of racism and advised us to perform a comparison. So my mother called the agent. He was eager to talk her into coming for a viewing and didn't connect her with me. We had enough evidence at that point to take the case to court, but in the end we decided not to do it. It could have ended up being simply our word against his."

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danm 09/19/2013
1. optional
Given Germany's profound sense of guilt and contrition for past events, it is especially sensitive to charges of racism. I understand that. In fact, I think it is admirable that the German people wish to do better. That instinct is not in everyone and you should be proud of it. That being said, you do not have to drop into a fetal position and utterly submit anytime someone accuses you of racism. It is not racists to ask officers of the court to conform to a dress code. It is not racist to limit the number of immigrants whose social wellfare costs will excede their tax contributions. It is not racists to have pride in German herritage and German history. Do not let yourselves become patsies for every con man who calls you a bigot because they want you to give them something and they believe this is the easiest way to get it.
peskyvera 09/19/2013
2. optional
The Western Christian 'culture' striking again.
spon-facebook-571009536 09/19/2013
3. Racism has no Place in our Planet and Human Kind need to fight without no mercy
Racism in a Multicultural Germany and Austria is a real problem and a cover-up problem in a way that racial discrimination of foreign or foreign descent are not world wide known in these Nation. Foreign or foreign descent (moreover Black African ) are totally discriminated in all form of Economic point or sector: like in job point of view and even in the Justice System whereby your lawyer can work against you in a case. Children of foreign descent can be taking away from their father and given to a white mother or so-called care-taking family, who careless of the Mix kid future. It is time the UNO, check these matter of Multicultural Racism and many court ruling in relation to some of these countries cases involving foreign or foreign descent (moreover Black African ) before things goes out of control. And there are many case of all kinds, whereby foreign or foreign descent are so discriminated and misusing of children foreign or foreign descent due to failed courts ruling are causing metal and useless livelihood to these Multicultural foreign or foreign descent Kids so many Nation around the world and moreover in Nation like Austria and Germany as SPIEGEL International reviews. "Racism has no Place in our Planet and it is an invisible War that Human Kind need to fight without no mercy" (by Mag Gospel THE TRUTH NEWS")
spon-facebook-554518947 09/19/2013
4. optional
I agree that Germany has still a very long way to go til it will become a tolerant and open minded country. But this story with the fingerprints is not right. Me as human with german passport had to give also the fingerprint for getting a new passport and a new identity card. I has only the option, if I like to have it shown in the card or not.
blackntexas 09/19/2013
5. How can such a smart society be so dumb on racism
As a black American I first visited Germany in the early 80's as a US Airman returned again in the early 90's and still later as the spouse of a Bavarian frau I met in the US in 2003. So Almost 25 years and still not much had changed? What so caught my eye, for a society as educated as Germany, and so blessed with with technical engineering skill when it comes to interaction between non germans Germany fails on a large scale! I experienced comments myself from some Germans it was as if I'd stepped back into the US of the 1960's! Some intentionally racist, most unintentionally racist because Germans, like Anglo Americans "always seem afraid" or seem to think someone has come to this beautiful country...and it is beautiful...to take something away! Benefits, wurst, snatch a purse, take your lederhosen beer...could this be? Lighten up, that dark or brown skinned person may have more on their bank account than you, not that it matters. Your country has a great opportunity now that Ms. Merkel had the strength to say NO and have Germany stop being the "Bank to the World" based on OLD guilt to come full circle and bury all the ghost of Germany's past...Gotta work on the racism thing or want to hear something really frightening? Germans run the danger of becoming like the Ami...yikes!
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