“How do you like Germany so far? I mean, you’re Black”: On [Anti-]Racism and Food Erotica

Breeze Harper, 2012 New Years Eve at a club in München. Failed afro attempt. Ended looking like a ‘poodle.’ The Afro just wouldn’t stay up. LOL.

On December 30, 2012, I went to one of the few cafes open on Sunday in Germany. The manager tried to speak to me in German, but I failed big time and answered in Spanish. I do this weird thing that when I’m spoken to in German,  I respond in Spanish 50% of the time. Weird, no? Talk to me in Spanish and I will respond in English 50% of the time. Anyway, I digress…

…The manager ended up speaking to me in Spanish and English. After a few minutes of chatting about where I learned Spanish and what I am doing in Germany, he bluntly said, “How do you like Germany so far? I mean, [because] you’re Black.” I replied that I get stared at all the time, but I’m still enjoying myself. He folded his arms and shook his head, “Germany is full of Nazis once you leave the metropolitan [München] area. They are racists.” He shook his head, “I don’t really like it [here in Germany]. I don’t have a problem with anybody, black, white, whatever, but they do.” I have to admit that this is the first time I have encountered someone living in München, during my trip, who  offered to share this particular interpretation of Germany with me. I couldn’t agree with him about Germany being ‘full of Nazis’, as I have only spent most of my time in the metropolitan area. I was wondering how he was even defining the word ‘Nazi’, or was that his way of explaining that he encountered a significant number of white Germans who are ‘xenophobic’?

I told him that I get stared at in the USA all the time, once I leave most cities and enter mostly white areas, so my Germany experience is not a surprise for me. I was unable to read his ethnicity, but he  did not ‘pass’ as white– or, rather, how I have come to define ‘whiteness’, which is in the USA socio-historical context. He had an olive complexion and black hair.

The other day, someone commented on my post about my Tollwood experience, wishing that my in-laws move somewhere in which I would feel ‘at home’ versus a ‘racialized other.’ I appreciated their concern about me not feeling as comfortable or ‘at home’ as I should be in predominantly white spaces, but in my opinion, my in-laws shouldn’t have to move anywhere for me (or anyone else who doesn’t look like the ‘tribe’ of a particular region) to feel ‘at home.’ I would like to see that my in laws ‘stay’ and that Germany’s white collective consciousness continue to ‘move’ more forward, towards a creation of an unconditional love for all people who exist in these [socially constructed] borders of the German nation. Let’s remember: Germany has come a long way since the era of nationalized and institutionalized white supremacist Nazism. The mere fact that I can travel to here, get around the city, and be alive at the end of the day is an indication of a ‘move’ of national consciousness. But I am still really thinking about the cafe manager’s brief conversation with me and his strong use– maybe even inflammatory (?)– of the phrase, “Germany is full of Nazis….” Actually, in tandem with this, I think this about my own homeland: “USA is full of white supremacists who have no problem publicly displaying their enragement about the POTUS being non-white.” Fresh in my mind is the Facebook page that depicts Obama being lynched, with the caption “Rope”, instead of “Hope”with the sentence, “Hang the bastard.”

But, I am hopeful. The other day, while waiting for the S Bahn (subway train) at Rosenheimer platz , I saw an advertisement on one of the many widescreen monitors they have on the subway walls. Portrayed was a ‘brown’ man accidently bumping into someone at a biergarten. He trips and accidently touches the shoulder of a white woman sitting down. The white man across from her becomes very angry and violent that this ‘brown’ man touched her. He grabs the brown man and is about to beat him up. The image freezes and then pans out to show that all of Germany is watching and will NOT tolerate such racialized and violent responses/behaviors to this ‘brown’ man’s sincere mistake. I didn’t know this was going on until the captions were translated for me. Has anyone else seen these ads? I have been trying to search for them on the Internet all morning.

Food Erotica!!!!!

On New Year’s Eve, I visited a shopping center dedicated to edible yumminess. My end goal was the new vegan shoppe called Boonian. Not all the photos below are from Boonian. The first ones are from Boonian. I spoke with the founder and he is from South Dakota, USA. I ended up eating a seitan sandwich and broccoli salad for lunch.

Sandwich: Seitan yumminess from Boonian.




And array of vegan wines offered by Boonian….

And wishing these were vegan……






6 thoughts on ““How do you like Germany so far? I mean, you’re Black”: On [Anti-]Racism and Food Erotica

  1. I have just recently discovered your work. I am also moving toward writing but still am not “ready” or healed, if you will, enough to be productive. I find you very inspiring and i thank you. I think you might also be stared at by commoners wherever you are because you are beautiful and have star quality. I am aware of how much racism still exists but there is also a tendency among the common public to openly stare at women, in particular, that are beautiful or give off an aura of intelligence and curiosity… something i have uncomfortably experienced all my life. Now, my children have expressed as much to me since they have become older. It still happens to me though not as much as when i was young. Anyway… i really enjoyed this piece on Germany and hope to continue to be in contact with you as your journey continues. Godspeed.

  2. There was a time when Germans embraced black people-literally. How else does one explain the plethora of blacks in German (and other European) coats-of-arms? You can see reproductions of those coats-of-arms in J.A. Rogers’ NATURE KNOWS NO COLOR LINE as well as in THE IMAGE OF THE BLACK IN WESTERN ART (Google Images also shows the coats-of arms though Google doesn’t identify them.) Some blacks are depicted wearing royal crowns or brandishing weapons. The coats-of-arms belong to families bearing a variation of the name for ‘Moor’, like the German names ‘Mohr’ and ‘Moritz’. J.A. Rogers surmises that during European medieval times, the Moor was a symbol of power, probably conquering power from Moorish Spain. Just some little-known factoids for those who are interested.

  3. this article was not found…and it wasn’t listed in your recent articles…could you repost it? thanks!

    On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 5:00 AM, The Sistah Vegan Project wrote:

    > ** > Breeze Harper posted: “[caption id="attachment_2349" > align="aligncenter" width="538"] Breeze Harper, 2012 New Years Eve at a > club in München. Failed afro attempt. Ended looking like a ‘poodle.’ The > Afro just wouldn’t stay up. LOL.[/caption] On December 30, 2012, I went to > o”

  4. Hi there! I followed a link from a Facebook vegan group, and I really have enjoyed your writing. I was thinking about your comments on “not fitting into the tribe.” I have blonde hair and blue eyes, and have just moved into a Pa German area. This is an insulated community where many families have lived in the same area for 300 years, and many DO NOT care for change. The people here are close to the Amish culture. My problem has been that I DO look like the predominate culture, even though I have not come from here. I have found myself saying,”I’m not from here!” in as many conversations as possible. I feel like people have me summed up because I look German, even though I really have a different religious, moral and political outlook than most people here. My neighbor almost fainted when I told her about my tattoos. 🙂 Weird, right? To be a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

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