When Obama held his speech in Berlin this year, a croud of about 200,000 came to listen. About 80 % or so of Germans would have voted for Obama.
Articles came up, American and German one, with the question: “Where is the European Obama”, and that Europe has a long way to go. German newspapers did a ‘soul search ‘ but all these articles missed one important thing. Black American history and that Obama’s success didn’t come out of nowhere.
Many Black people sacrified their lives and without them, without a people marching and demanding – where would America be today?
Some of the white celebration of Obama appears hysterical, conquering. The same way they misquote MLK that he wanted a colorblind society and the new one that now MLK’s dream has been fulfilled – the white occupation of Black struggle and stealing Black success and to try to make it their own. Black becomes ‘us’ when it fits into the mind-set. Whites abuse successful Black people [in terms of Eurocentrism] to work against Black people.
Whites celebrate their own sickness, I have no other word for it. They celebrate, that in a dehumanizing and deadly system the victims still ‘can make it’ and this is for whites justification enough at it seems, that this system isn’t deadly enough to challenge it. They celebrate the strength of Black people who overcome the obstacles of this system and make it a success of themselves and abuse it as an alleged prove that the system of white supremacy is a meritocracy.
The German media celebrates the “new America” without giving credit to all these people who made Obama possible. Black people. Whites just had to cast their vote.
Black people succeed in America, not because of whites but despite them. Black success doesn’t prove that there is no more racism but that racism can’t stop Black people. Whites don’t know as it seems that also the possibility for them to vote for somebody Black is the success of Black people. Black people who have always demanded that America lives their ‘ideals’.
All this doesn’t mean that I say that PoC in Europe first must start CRMs, but the illustration of Obama’s success as one of America’s is again the illusion of a distorted history and how whites would like to see themselves.
Yes, perhaps, nonetheless, Obama’s victory will make Europeans thinking. About ourself, who we are and where we stand in history and most of all, what we are in terms of racism. Why we can embrace somebody Black, when he is far in the distance in America but we wouldn’t be willing to do the same, if he were of our own nations.
White people, and Germans aren’t different there, have a weird way to blame their own problems on somebody else. Some time ago a mob of about 50 white Germans attacked three Indians (from India). It was also blamed on ‘foreigners don’t integrate’.
In addition, racism only happens in East Germany. Racism is right-wing extremism. The West and non-Neo-Nazis are not racist. End of story.
End of story? Would Germany hold up signs with ‘Özdemir for Kanzler’ [German politician of Turkish descent]. How would Germany react if it was forced to face the own institutional racism without the chance to hide? What would white Germans say, seeing the facade of the “friendly to everyone” Germany falling? Forced to know what living in Germany can be for PoC or non-Germans. Forced to know how hostile Germany can be, still, after WWII and a nation which wants to believe that we cannot forget history so that we don’t repeat this history. We may not be able to forget our history, this part we are forced to remember, but we have found our ways to ignore our disturbing present. Most of all the disturbing silence.