PapaScott I like big blogs and I cannot lie! 🐘

German has word to describe all things foreign that cannot really be translated directly into English. Ausland. Out of land. Out of space, out of mind, out of time. There, as opposed to here. Someplace else, someplace different.

That makes me, since I'm not German, an Ausländer. Being German is somethi to which you are born and cannot become (as opposed to being American, which you can become if you stay in the US long enough and watch enough televsion), so as long as I am in Germany I will always be an Ausländer.

That's not so bad. You pay the same taxes whether you're German or not, and not being able to vote gives me a right to complain about politicians. Despite what some Germans think about themselves, that Germans have something against Ausländer, I've never felt particularly disadvantaged.

That's not to say that I don't get any strange reactions. Some people regard an American who can speak German with the same awe as they would regard a talking pig. ('Well, what do you think about that. Now I've seen everything.') Others think that because they've seen so many American movies and heard so much American music, that they know all about me and where I come from, even though they really don't have a clue. (I come from Minnesota, so maybe they need to watch 'Fargo' a few times. America is more complicated that it appears. Uff-da!)

Now, of course, my skin is white, I don't live in a ghetto, and I speak German. (And if I try real hard, I can hide my American accent.) That is, at first glance I'm no different than most Germans. Those Ausländer who look and sound different have a lot more problems than I. But that has nothing to do with Germans being particularly anti-Ausländer. That's just plain old ugly racism, something I'm all to familiar with from home. But it's no more or no less ugly in Germany than it is everywhere else. Racism is a human problem and not a particularly German problem.


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