Montag, 25. November 2013

Contempt towards Americans—the political correct form of racism in Germany?

Racist comments and disturbing stereotypes about Americans are very widespread in Germany. Given that the society has few limitations and little sensitivity toward diversity and racism, these prejudices are expressed quite freely. Even freer than racist comments toward other groups such as the “Turks” or other minorities.  

Common stereotypes of Americans

According to some stereotypes, Americans are “stupid”, “uneducated”, have “no culture”, have “no history”, are “uncivilized”, and are “superficial”. Such stereotypes are usually followed by critique of the US health care system and the lack of social and economic safety nets.
Sarah Palin, George W. Bush and the Tea Party are very popular in illustrating many “points made” in this context.

Who are the people in Germany who make racist comments against Americans?
Racist comments against Americans are made by people all across the board, without any indications of a far right or far left leaning. People who make such comments are not uneducated either. In the contrary, these prejudices are often expressed by “well-educated” people who enjoy demonstrating their superiority comparing themselves to “stupid Americans”. Generally, people who make such comments don’t even consider themselves anti-American. Such comments are very common among people who are in very close relationships with Americans, who may even be married to one, or have children together.

What are the real causes of anti-American sentiments in Germany?
Given what happened in Germany not so long ago, it takes a certain level of “overestimating oneself” to complain about other peoples’ lack of civility and history. It also takes a certain level of “overestimation” not to notice the contradiction in such statements which lack any respect toward human dignity.

This overestimation however, is self-explanatory, considering the “recent” history of the country. The perception of German and European supremacy was established over centuries with the spread of racism, hitting its climax during the Third Reich. One could assume that the disregard toward Americans was caused by the USA getting involved in World War II, causing Germans to lose the war. However, anti-American sentiments, similar to other forms of racism, do not usually follow a rationale. Therefore, even people who may be glad about the US involvement in the Second World War may not be fond of Americans in general and may have similar prejudices as their counterparts. Plus, the negative feelings toward Americans are difficult to explain as they range from hate, anger, disrespect, to look-down, to a combination of those.
The loss of the war does play a significant psychological role in the way Germans perceive Americans, however. Another reason for anti-American sentiment is the mere fact of US dominance in the world. USA, after all, is overshadowing the country that is supposed to be the superior one. Even worse, the USA is so dominant, that it is influencing the way of life in Germany; an influence that is desired on the one hand, but also looked down on, and “naturally” rejected, for not being German/superior, on the other.  

Last but not least, Germany is suffering from a severe inferiority complex caused by the horrors of what happened in the country not long ago. Given that the history of the Third Reich was never dealt with honestly and effectively, this “phenomenon” is understandable. The complex of inferiority, and the feeling of helplessness, require the degrading and disrespecting of the “enemy”, outright.


1 Kommentar:

  1. Don't know in which "Germany" you life, but it's not the country between Denmark, Austria, France and Poland where I life.
    Few might have that bad picture of Americans and America, but most doesn't. They're surprised and afraid of what happend after 9/11 and hope that the US once will become a free country again without "homeland security" and other things we'ld expect from non-democratic countries.