This post was originally written about two months ago (End of August 2015)
To whom it may concern,
Today was one of the hardest days of my European life.
You see, I’ve been tucked away in a cocoon these last few months, learning about life post-metamorphosis and preparing for the day I’d break free. I believed that in my transformation, those around me would also say goodbye to the days squirming around on the ground too, and join me in the quest for justice.
But now as a *woke* person, I am sad to report that actually, virtually no one from my previous life has chosen to come with me on this journey.
I am… alone.
While I have made so many good friends, friends who I hope to now know and grow with for years and years to come, those who I’ve grown up with, family who I love deeply, my boyfriend of almost 4 years…. are all on another planet. Not Venus. Not Mars. But The Invisible Orb of White Supremacy.
Yes, physically, we are all on the Invisible Orb of White Supremacy. But for many of us, the invisible effects can be felt and measured everyday. We’ve learned why these phenomena occur (the result of global colonization and imperialism by white Europeans through the establishment of white supremacist patriarchy.. that has only mutated into other grotesque, and just as harmful structures, cough, capitalism).
Many of us metamorphosed to a state where we can recognize these social quivers. And for those who experience these effects without realizing it, well, it’s only because they’re still squirming on the ground. We can only hope that one day they desire to feel metamorphism and join us.
So my problem is not experiencing white supremacy, although of course that is a serious problem. My real problem right now is experiencing it and having no one in my life, who knows me — really knows me — who can also understand what it feels like to have the world tell you you’re less-than.
My white mother?
My white sister?
My white ‘best friends’?
My white grandmother?
My white boyfriend?
Even a question as small as “How was your day?” can be one of the most triggering experiences because I cannot express it to those closest to me in a way that they can understand. And it’s not my fault. It’s theirs. It’s their apathy. It’s their lack of curiosity to empathize with my story. With my reality. With my life.
My white boyfriend asked me how my day was. I said good. Because I couldn’t say this:
Today I had to go to the visa office — also known as the Ausländerbehörde. On a slight tangent — The translation would be Foreigner Office, but German is a colonizer language, and so even more literally, Ausländer means “Out of this land” but in noun form. Like, this Land is the norm, and if you’re not from here, you’re an Out-of-this-Land-er… because that’s how alien we are to white *civilized* Germany. What was that thing with Aryan race or whatever? (Tangent over).
The Ausländerbehörde is like a control center for all of the people from abroad to come in and prove themselves to the German government (usually by having a job or studying). You have to have a reason to live here. On one hand, it makes “sense”, but if you ever end up in a place like this, you will clearly see that, just like the name, it’s one of the most fucked up places ever.
You see, many of the people in the Ausländerbehörde come from countries where the systems are devastated, which Germany loves to emphasize when hating them, but doesn’t want to connect to European colonization and imperialism. UGHHH can I even write right now. Fuck……
So anyway, the saddest part about this place is that most of the people who are here to prove themselves worthy of German milk and honey come in in their best clothes. They have all their papers in nice little folders. They’re punctual. They’re eager. They’re hopeful.
And the white people working there treat them like shit. The white people outside of there treat them like shit. They don’t see AT ALL how many of us are doing everything we can to “assimilate” and be seen as worthy of a place here by White Germany. And today was the first day I fully understood why: We are always and forever Ausländers.
It doesn’t matter how good your German is, what clothes you wear, what job you have, or where you study… I have been here 4 years, and the truth must be admitted. Germany is just as racist as 75 years ago, and perhaps because of their history and the taboo racism has taken on because of it, White Germany may be even more racist. Which is scary af.
My appointment was at 11am. I left work around 10:30 to my boss complaining and pressuring me to be back as soon as possible. I told her 12. Usually when you have an appointment, you go there, wait for your name to be called, show your papers, get the stamp, boom. 10 minutes.
There were three people in front of me. Last time I came (about 2 weeks ago to set up the appointment), there was only one person working there. So I thought perhaps that was why the line was backed up.
And waited. And waited. And waited.
After more than an hour, they called another person who was not me. Now past 12pm, I was anxious about getting back to work. So I just opened the door and walked in.
Now this wasn’t just any door. This was a door with a giant DO NOT ENTER sign. This was a door that went on to tell you that THIS DOOR IS ONLY FOR PEOPLE WITH AN APPOINTMENT. This door makes sure that you — fucking Ausländer, you — SHOULD NOT OPEN THE DOOR UNTIL YOUR NAME IS CALLED BY AN OFFICIAL.
So when I walked in anyway, I was greeted by two panicked faces.
“Entschuldigung? Ich hatte einen Termin um 11 Uhr?”
Excuse me? I had an appointment at 11am?
Two women looked at me. The first calmed and smiled and said, “Oh, echt? Was ist ihr Name?”
Really? What’s your name?
I told her my name.
The second woman cringed. I mean CRINGED! She repeated my name. “Hmmm naja, warum kommst du JETZT wenn dein Termin um 11 Uhr war? HA?”
Then why are you coming now when your appointment was at 11?? HUH?
“Wie bitte? Ich war um 11 Uhr hier. Ich habe schon eine Stunde gewartet!”
Excuse me? I was here at 11 o’clock… I’ve already waited an hour!
“Ich habe deinen Name gerufen! Wenn du puenktlich waerest…”
I called your name… If you had [actually] been punctual…
“Ich war genau um 11Uhr hier und habe eine Stunde gerade gew—”
I was here at exactly 11 o’clock and for one hour I wai–
“KEIN GESPRÄCH! KEIN GESPRÄCH! Geben Sie mir ihre Unterlagen”
NO DISCUSSION! NO DISCUSSION! Give me your documents.
My heart pounded. I couldn’t believe the level of hostility I was experiencing. Beyond her words, it was her face. All squinched up in a grimace. So much impatience and disgust toward me. No understanding. No “Oh ok.. that’s weird, I called you! (lol)”, but from the get-go, ready to fight. Ready to hate.
I gave her my papers and explained my situation: My visa doesn’t expire until the end of September, but I’m going on a trip so I need to extend my next visa appointment until I get back.
Long story short, she gave me shit the whole time and left me in tears. I went out of the office to wait for my extension to print, and came out to 40 eyes on me. I looked back at them and that’s when I saw everything — their sharp clothes, their hands holding neat folders where all their papers were carefully placed inside, mothers holding their babies, families, brown faces, people deemed and damned as Ausländer. They all looked at me with sympathy. And I felt so much pain, not only for myself, but for all of us deemed and damned as Ausländer because of our brown. All I could say is “Ich hasse Deutsche”. I hate Germans.
No one agreed or disagreed, but everyone had sympathy for me. Two men began discussing racism in Germany. They were from Syria, both now working here in Germany, and telling me the racism they experience everyday.
Because it doesn’t matter how good you are, you are brown, and physical whiteness is still so much apart of the “German” identity. Even if you’ve been here for 6 generations, even if you descend from one of the Africans these perverted white Germans once kidnapped hundreds of years ago in order to dress up and place in their castles as “decorations”, white people in Germany will forever label you AUSLÄNDER.
That’s why racism is a white-people problem. That’s why it really is not on me, or the Syrians, or the Afrogermans, or anyone else trying to make it here to do anything for White Germany.
I used to try so hard. I used to speak perfect Hoch-Deutsch (the “cleanest” form of German) and try so hard to connect to White Germany.. You know what they did? Grimaced. Literally grimaced. At the grocery store. At the restaurant. At the movie theater. At the bank. And then I’d come home to my white boyfriend and we’d spend time with his family where they (especially his sister) always made it a point to say some shit like, “Now remember everyone! We must speak in GEEEERMAN so the *Ausländerin* can improve her GERMAN” *they never called me an Ausländerin to my face. But what is the flipside to a statement like that? That only when I improve my German will I be a good little Ausländerin worthy of white German approval at my assimilation-success story. Even though I’m still an Ausländerin? The only difference is now I’ve spent so much time and energy trying to get into whiteness that I feel better than the other Ausländers. What kinda fucked up white supremacist shit is that?
Now I speak English. And you know what I’ve found? People are actually much more open to me here. White Germany is curious, not hostile. Until I tell them I’ve been here for 4 years. Then the questions come “What are you doing here?” I live here. “How long are you staying?” I don’t know.
And I smile, because my existence needs no justification.
White Germans, like white Americans, like white British people, like white people in GENERAL, will never know the suffocating feeling of having all of society constantly interrogating them on why they exist. But the only way for them to exist in that realm is by letting everyone else know that that realm is exclusive. That realm is whiteness. The Invisible Orb of White Supremacy.
Let’s crush it.
I went back into the office and the woman gave me my extension. I looked at her and said, “Ich verstehe nicht warum Sie so unhöfflich waren. Das war komplett unnötig. Schönen Tag noch.”
I don’t understand why you were so impolite. It was completely unnecessary. Good day.
Extension in hand. Flight 2 days away. My only business now is to go to Thailand and find the Black. Find the Brown. And get down.
Update: Since I wrote this post almost two months ago, I have become much more open with the white people in my life about my troubles and have found that many of them retreat into white fragility, but some of them — like my white grandma — are really open to understanding my experience and doing their part to create change.
Two months ago, I hated my familial love for white people, because I felt that it tricked me when I went into situations with white strangers feeling love and positivity only for them to treat me like shit and make me feel sub-human. It was heartbreaking every time.
Now I’m happy to report that experiences like the one above have helped me to understand whiteness so much better, and I feel much stronger when interacting with white people now. The balance took heartbreak to find, but I am also much more sure of where my love is. In Blackness.