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Being a Know-It-All, Wisenheimer, Globenheimer

The excellent German blog  Antibuerokratieteam asks: Who does not know that the moon rotates around the Earth? The stereotypically stupid and obese Americans or the graduates of a highschool in a tough district of Berlin or the French?
Answer is to be found in the first video
here. It gets funnier when the quiz show moderator asks the studio audience. The second video is not for softies.

Stupidity is universal. Fascination with conspiracy theories is as well.

Endnote: I don't know what "Globenheimer" means, but a "German" character in this Simpsons' clip mentioned it and it sounded like an insult. Do you know what it means? "Wisenheimer" means "Besserwisser" in German.

Black History Month in Germany

Every February, millions of Americans and Canadians celebrate Black History Month, sometimes referred to as African-American History Month or African Heritage Month. While the month-long series of events discusses oppression and prejudices against people of color, the main aim is to recognize the rich history and culture and significant contributions to society made by people with African heritage.
The United Kingdom has a Black History Month in October of every year. The Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote in February 2006 that the Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland ("Black People in Germany Initiative") has been organizing a Black History Month in Germany since 1990 but I have not found much information on their homepage.  In order to shed more light on the history and contributions of black people in Germany, the Atlantic Review has teamed up with Jewels in the Jungle blogger Bill, an African-American who has been living in Germany for years, as well as two Afro-German friends of his: Patrick and Patricia.

"Black Germans? Are you serious?"
Answer: Definitely! guide Hyde Flippo, a retired teacher of German language, history, and literature in the U.S.A. provides some statistics and some history:
Black Germans? Non-Germans may be understandably surprised to learn that there are Afro-Germans (Afrodeutsche), but many Germans themselves are unaware of the concept of a German who is also black (ein Schwarzer). While compared to other minorities, such as the 2 million Turks living in Germany, blacks are definitely a tiny minority among Germany's 82 million people. While EU countries do not keep track of ethnicity, there are an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 Blacks living in Germany today.
The history of black people in Germany goes back much further than most people think. One of the first Africans known to have lived in Germany was Anton Wilhelm Amo (1703-1759). Born in what is today's Ghana, Amo came under the protection of the Duke (Herzog) of Wolfenbüttel in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) and grew up in the duke's castle. He was both the first African known to attend a German university (Halle) and the first to obtain a doctorate degree (in 1729). As a professor, under his preferred name of Antonius Guilelmus Amo Afer, he taught at two German universities and published several scholarly works, including a Latin treatise entitled De Arte Sobrie et Accurate Philosophandi (1736, "On the Art of Philosophizing Soberly and Accurately"). Knowing the level of his achievements, it is all the more surprising to learn that Amo returned to Africa in 1747. Most accounts claim the reason for his return to his native Africa was the racial discrimination he encountered in Germany.
Mr. Flippo provides a lot more information about African Americans in Germany and lists some famous Afro-Germans which includes well-known entertainers like Roberto Blanco (very popular with older Germans) and singer Xavier Naidoo (a big star with younger Germans), as well as two members of the German National Soccer Team (Gerald Asamoah, David Odonkor), and ZDF-TV network morning news anchor Cherno Jobatey.

While Germany does not have a series of big events labeled "Black History Month," there are nevertheless quite a few projects that highlight Afro-Germans. 

Below the jump, this Atlantic Review post presents some quotes from articles about various Afro-German artists and their views on life in Germany, followed by a few thoughts on the concept of Black History Month:
Continue reading "Black History Month in Germany"

Some US Comedians Still Associate Germany with Nazi Past

Jon Stewart, Conan O'Brien and an American blogger make jokes expressing concern for German troops going "on tour again" and suggesting that today's Germans could turn into Nazis anytime.
US News and World Report quoted NBC's Conan O'Brien in its Late Night Comedians round up on November 29, 2006:
The Pentagon is, of course, making some decisions on Iraq. The Pentagon is trying to convince Germany to send more troops to the war in Iraq. Yeah. This marks the first time anyone has asked the Germans to send more troops.
Does US News and World Report find this joke funny? Such jokes are a good excuse for Germany not to send troops anywhere. I could use this joke to argue that many Americans still associate Germany primarily with our Nazi past (see poll at the end of this post) and don't want us to participate in military missions abroad: "Sorry, Germany is not going to support America, because we don't want anybody to think of us as Nazis." 
Conan O'Brien's joke is not even accurate: The phrase "to send more troops" suggests that Germany already has some troops in Iraq. Thus, anybody who finds this joke funny lacks some information.

Another example: Jon Stewart interviewed Natalie Portman about filming Vendetta in Berlin in March 2006:  Continue reading "Some US Comedians Still Associate Germany with Nazi Past"