A project about migration in Dortmund/Germany and Boston/USA

Samstag, 23. Juni 2012

"It's difficult to say what is non-American"

Dylan Goldblatt is guest lecturer at TU Dortmund University and originally comes from Virginia. He first came to Germany in 2002 on an exchange, when he lived with a Turkish-German host family for a year. He took time for our project to answer questions on…
Noah Goldblatt, guest lecturer at Dortmund University.
…integration in Germany: 
“In Germany, you see relatively few black people. Compared to Massachusetts, that is strange, as Massachusetts is really diverse. Here, if a black person walks down the street, everybody is staring at him or her. It’s like a stigma. People can’t help but stare. I am still caught off-guard when I hear people refer to marshmallow candy as Negerküsse. Using such language in jest would be rare in the US today, although it was probably common 40 years ago. Compared to the African community in Dortmund, I find that Turkish people are much more integrated. Most people here have Turkish friends and enjoy the Turkish cuisine. I think there has been a lot of progress in Germany since the days of Fassbinder’s Ali Angst essen Seele auf. There is a strong social integration for Turkish people. People are very tolerant here, but they still have a fascination with non-German cultures.”

…integration in the USA:
“The Hispanic community is analogous to the Turkish community in Germany. But still, it is different: Students in the US learn Spanish in school, love the cuisine of Spanish speaking countries or take trips to the Spanish speaking world. And on the political level, the Latino/Latina community has a lot of power. However, some of the debate about keeping so-called illegal immigrants out of the country involves an unfortunate, racist element. It is also very short-sighted: many US citizens benefit from the work performed by illegal immigrants, because they work below the legally-mandated minimum wage, but few are willing to grant them the same rights that American workers enjoy.”

“Multiculturalism is a term that seems to be used less and less frequently in the United States. The hot word in the USA now is diversity, meaning multiculturalism plus tolerance for people of all walks of life. Beyond the in inclusion of various ethnicities, races, and nationalities, the notion of comprehensive diversity accounts for the various intersections of these groups with other demographics, including persons with disabilities, members of the LGBT community, and devoutly religious persons as well as atheists. When I am in the US, I never give much thought to who is of what ethnicity. If you go shopping in a mall, you will get a fair mix of all cultures and ethnicities. Multiculturalism in the USA is about giving respect to diverse backgrounds, but it is also about assimilation. The pressure to integrate oneself is so high that it is very difficult to say what is non-American.”

…multiculturalism in Boston:
“Relatively few immigrants from Mexico make it up to Boston. On the other hand, increasing numbers of immigrants from the Caribbean populate the city. It is a vibrant city, but not nearly as densely populated as places like New York City. People from Boston have a very local pride. There is a large Irish community, so the Irish aspect is associated with Boston very strongly. But when it comes to overall diversity, I feel that Massachusetts is leading the game in the USA. That is a state where you will find people from all walks of life in positions of authority. There’s a very tolerant atmosphere there that makes me feel at home.”

…multiculturalism in Dortmund:
“When I think of Dortmund and multiculturalism, I think of blue-collar workers and Turkish people who grew up here. Personally, I feel that only the taxi drivers do not belong to one of those two groups, they are mostly from other backgrounds. What I enjoy is that the U. It is a culture hub. When I first arrived in Dortmund, there was a wonderful Japanese anime exhibition, for example. That shows that the residents of this city are intrigued by other cultures and eager to engage in multicultural awareness.”

Interview by Marie Denecke

1 Kommentar:

  1. A very nice interview. Through this post, we get to know the American point of view on your topic. Well done!