6 Jun 2008

Somebody who speaks German, please tell me that there's some sort of clever irony in the headline that is funny and non rascist in German even if it appears otherwise to the rest of us.

Friday, 06 June 2008 14:34:09 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Hi Garry,
There has been some irritation about this headline in Germany, too, but I guess because of different reasons than the ones you are referring to. Knowing that the TAZ (die tageszeitung) is one of Germany's most progressive and a rather left wing orientated newspaper (and one for a more or less ;-) intellectual readerhip, I may add non-judgemental ) should help to negate any assumptions of racism here. Actually, every Thursday there is a supplement called "Perşembe" for Turkish readers. So non-understanding your German neighbours won't influence your vote any longer, I hope.
The German discussion re this headline, by the way, was a typical example of the well-known depths and severity of approaching these things in Germany. Where I am sure the editors were simply referring to the very long span of time between abolishment of slavery and the first afro-american (not completely precise here, I know) possible president, some discussions went furhter. Interpreting "Uncle Tom's" character one could assume that he was a rather assimilated black, adapted to the adverse circumstances of his life, and that's what brought him as far as even getting the privilege of an hut. But this probably goes now beyond the concerns of your blog.

Regards, Eva.
Friday, 06 June 2008 16:23:36 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Thanks, Eva, for the explanation. I must confess, I was being a little bit facetious in posting this item, knowing that there was probably no insult or sleight intended.

On the other hand, I am curious to know if the impact that Beecher Stowe’s novel had on the course of American history (some say it caused the war) is appreciated in Germany. Also, within the African American community, the Uncle Tom character presents enormous difficulties. No matter how sensitively his predicament is portrayed in the book or by subsequent commentators, his motivation causes the most vigorous reaction from African Americans in every demographic: young or old, wealthy or poor, educated or otherwise. To suggest that an African American displays Tomlike tendencies is the most injurious of insults.

Obama may have very broad appeal. A lot of that appeal stems from the fact that he (so far) appears true unto his own character and has surefootedly avoided slipping into the kind of assimilationism that doesn't play in America generally, and is detested by the black community.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008 20:23:57 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Garry, I totally agree. And by the way, It's been a while since I read this book. So this were only some further thoughts I happened to hear. Also an average German wouldnt be so deep in the matter of American history or literature, so I'd say going down this road would be to much of an interpretation. Just let's hope for the best - in Europe and US.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008 21:52:16 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Eva, I really appreciate your contribution. Yes, the headline is unfortunate. And yes, my use of it is self serving. But, at the end of the day, good people want a petter United States and a better Europe.

Keep in touch with me.
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