"My, but you speak excellent German - flawless grammar, perfect accent. Keep up the good work!"
I just heard a great piece on BBC Radio's The Strand about the dynamic young Afro-German theater troupe Label Noir Berlin that is presenting their unique view of racism in German. The piece resonated with me while filling me with an old familiar feeling of dread. Amongst the few other black people I know here in Slovenia, all of them (including me) are very concerned about having children in this country where people are so ingnorant, insensitive, and totally unsophisticated especially when it comes to matters of race. So to hear that young native-born Afro-Germans are still struggling through people approaching them and assuming they are foreign (and thus stupid) really worries me. I look to Germany to get a sense of what Slovenia might be able to achieve in the decades to come with regards to social change and integration, and while some of what I see is promising some is just cause for dismay. Despite my hand-wringing, I must say that I am inspired by these young actors's hopefulness, humor, and perseverance considering the low level hostility from ignorant Germans and the high level terror in the face of very real threat of racist violence from white supremacists -- all remnants of vehemently racist institutional policy. While I'm still not sold on having children here, at least if I do, I can point them in the direction of Label Noir Berlin as inspiration to push the conversation about race, space and belonging even further.
"We wanted to address certain issues of identity and 'Heimat' [the German word has more gravity than 'homeland'] without any self-pity," said Lara-Sophie Milagro, artistic director of the theater production company Label Noir Berlin and a member of the cast. The disturbing encounters portrayed on stage "are things that happen to us, but they don't define our lives 24 hours a day," she said. "We're not victims."
"Theater ensemble serves up snapshots of German racism" (via Deutsche Welle online)