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Old 13.01.2006, 10:39
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

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One positive aspect of Switzerland is that it at least makes it possible for skilled migration (though without the promise of citizenship, and when it happens it takes far too long and is too expensive, but that is another story).
Mark,

Humble apologies for replying to your comment which has nothing to do with racism... I recently found out that the cost of becoming a Swiss citizen is determined by the Gemeinde (should come as no surprise to you!!!!) and that they use the level of integration in the community as the deciding factor and not the length of time you have been here. Furthermore you only need to have a C permit to apply although until you have 10 years under your belt they can say no to your application without reasons. So if you pay your taxes promptly, do fire service, speak fluent Swiss German and are generally known within the community it is cheap - less than CHF 2K...

Richard
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Old 13.01.2006, 10:50
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

....or be married 5 years to a Swissie, I believe it's about 400 francs
  #23  
Old 13.01.2006, 12:07
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

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....or be married 5 years to a Swissie, I believe it's about 400 francs
It might be cheaper up front to marry a Swissie but you pay in the long run (Slap) to support the Swiss economy by always buying in Swiss shops(Slap)...
  #24  
Old 14.01.2006, 18:51
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

I found an interesting article on Swissinfo today about this topic. I think it raises some interesting points and perhaps gives a few valid points to this discussion. I'm reproducing it here because articles in Swissinfo have a habit of disappearing and being very difficult to find.

The original URL is here:

http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissin...06&sid=6382785

Quote:
UN envoy says racism in Switzerland a reality

swissinfo

January 14, 2006 11:45 AM

The United Nations special rapporteur on racism, Doudou Dične, has observed that Switzerland suffers from racism, discrimination and xenophobia.

After five days of meetings with government ministers, community groups and other parties, Dične said that racism was being "trivialised", especially in political circles.

The UN envoy explained in Bern on Friday that although the Swiss authorities recognised the existence of racism and xenophobia, they did not view the problem as being serious.

However, Dične pointed out that representatives of minority communities said they experienced serious racism and discrimination.

The special rapporteur has reported on racism in ten countries to date and his interim report on Switzerland will be presented to the UN's Human Rights Commission in March.

"My preliminary conclusion is that yes, racism, discrimination and xenophobia are present in Switzerland. I will be in a position to evaluate the depth of that racism when I have reviewed all the documentation I have requested to formulate my final report," Dične said.

Police violence

The UN envoy visited a detention centre in Basel and spoke to detainees. He said that police treatment of non-nationals, particularly people of black African origin, was very worrying.

"I noted the repeated and strong presence of xenophobia in certain institutions, such as the police," he added. "I have gathered information about the high level of racially-motivated physical and verbal violence directed towards certain groups."

Dične also expressed concern about the recent hardening of legislation related to foreigners and asylum, championed by Justice Minister Christoph Blocher.

"The marked tendency to criminalise the question of immigration and asylum and the treatment of this question purely from a security point of view is a troubling indicator," he said.

The special rapporteur characterised his meeting with Blocher as frank and friendly. He said that the minister answered all his questions and that on each point Blocher said his policies were not motivated by racism.

Focus on foreigners

Swiss political and public debate is marked by a strong preoccupation with the issue of foreigners, their treatment and definition, and policies relating to them, Dične observed. He told swissinfo this could be seen as an indicator of xenophobia.

"The absence of national legislation against racism and discrimination is another indicator, leaving victims with no means of complaint or redress," he told swissinfo.

"Although Switzerland has set up institutions and commissions to oversee the questions of foreigners, asylum and racism, these bodies lack the means and authority to act to transform the situation."

Dične said he attempted during his visit to verify whether there was a tendency to trivialise racism and xenophobia in Switzerland.

He observed that the racist and xenophobic platforms that in the past were the territory of extremist parties were gradually and profoundly shaping the democratic political programme.

Racist platforms

"For electoral reasons, racist concepts, the racist political platform and to a certain extent racist violence are being trivialised because the democratic parties are letting their guard down."

Dične told swissinfo that after black Africans, people from the Balkan states were the next group most affected by discrimination.

During his visit to Switzerland, he travelled around the country and met representatives from the African, Balkan, Muslim, Jewish and Asian communities.

His final report, to be published next year, will reflect the contribution of the government ministries, along with the views of the minority communities and specialist bodies.

"This is an extremely complex situation and I will not write my report in the spirit of a judge but with a view to helping countries to find solutions to the serious problems they are faced with," he said.

swissinfo, Clare O'Dea
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Old 16.01.2006, 12:21
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

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I'm new here and reading a relatively insightful (so far so good) book called 'Beyond Chocolate - understanding Swiss culture'

It has already made a few things clearer for me and I'm sure it could serve to douse a few of the fires raging here.

Looks like an interesting read, judging from the snippets I read from a web search. I'll have to head down to Orell Fusseli to see if they have it.

From what I saw I was pretty interested in the way that they put so much emphasis on kids 'looking after themselves' when they are growing up. Might explain a lot of things ranging from the commonplace 'me first' attitudes to the complete lack of concern for safety I see in public places (it's rare to see a lifeguard patrolling at my otherwise excellent local swimming pool, for example).

I can't figure how it tuns out so many conformist people who don't really speak up for themselves, though. Maybe the book will have the answer.



Gav
  #26  
Old 16.01.2006, 13:42
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

The UN considers the Swiss to be racist. Says a lot to me.
  #27  
Old 16.01.2006, 20:49
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

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The UN considers the Swiss to be racist. Says a lot to me.
Well if you look at the picture in that article, this guy is black, so nobody here will probably pay much attention to it anyway :-) Good on swissinfo for running stories like that - I wonder if it was picked up in any of the other papers?

But it is good to know that Blocher's policies are in no way motivated by racism or xenophobia - perish the thought...
  #28  
Old 17.01.2006, 09:19
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

this information was actually verbally passed to my wife from someone visiting from the UN.

I do understand that *sometimes* some people who come up against certain situations try to use their minority in the situation. After all, it's "because I'm foreign/black/tall/short/female/etc that you're saying this, isn't it?"
  #29  
Old 17.01.2006, 11:15
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

Now that you are starting I was once forced to go to an equal rights workshop where inside the first hour I was told that I was racist and a potential rapist because I was white and male. I guess they should try holding these workshops here.

I lasted one hour before they kicked me out for calling the teacher potentially lesbian...
  #30  
Old 17.01.2006, 11:50
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

Ah, positive discrimination where all good things go to one-legged black barren mentally retarded lesbians from broken homes, who, through the years have suffered anorexia and bulemia and have been denied a Coop Supercard?
  #31  
Old 18.01.2006, 14:15
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

Hmmm... what a good discussion.

I don't know if anyone here so far is coloured, so I thought I'd add my thoughts.

I've lived in CH-land for 5 years. 2.5 years in Olten saw a few racist attitudes like when my husband (white) and I would go for a walk, 99% of the time, we get wished like everyone else, but occassionally, we'd see the look from right to left, left to right and finally as we're about to pass, a distinct look away with no greeting. In order to prove our existence, we would normally walk right in front of the person and say Gruetzi very loudly (hopefully within earshot of all other passers-by).

The old man next door hated us but we're not sure if it's just us or everyone else. But we treated him the same way (ie. walk right up to him with a loud Gruetzi). But we had plenty of other old people who would come up and try to speak to us (who hardly spoke any german at that time).

Apart from that, I've worked in Bern and in Zurich and to date, I'm with my 4th company - 3 swiss and one multi-national. I've been told by a recruitment agent that there are three things against me when someone sorts out their received job applications:
1. My name that's hard to remember
2. Not speaking german fluently
3. Being female

I've been living in Zurich for almost 3 years. I've not come across anything at all that I would consider racism. I don't perceive any change of attitude towards me but having said that, I should be fair to point out that I dress westernly - albeit with colours (shock horror!) and have a very open demeanour (I've taken to increase the smile percentage in Zurich). So this is a far cry from a black man sitting on the tram with what looks like a scowl on his face. Chances are the seat next to him will be the last one taken.

But don't we all go through some sort of subconcious choice when we have to pick who to sit with on the tram?

Foreigners are relatively new to this country so it's not surprising that they're way behind when it comes to "how to deal with it".
But changes are slowly taking place in this closed society. Just with food, the numbers of foreign eateries has just kept increasing and generally you will find swiss people in these places. Betty Bossi now has come a long way from what used to be around 5 years ago.

Yes, they're blunt and they're not politically correct and I'm not trying to say that their policies aren't racist, but on a society level in Zurich, I've not personally faced any problems as a coloured person.
  #32  
Old 18.01.2006, 14:50
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

Nanda - if foreigners are new to this country, why are there over 1 million of us?

I can say that my wife's grandfather, an Italian, was treated like a second-class citizen when he sweated blood and tears assisting the build of the Gotthard tunnel.

The issue is, I am sure, greater when your appearance makes you look foreign. In a way, being a white male, you only notice I am foreign as I am smiling

Zurich -vs- The Boonies is another question; the Townies know there's a lot of foreigners here, don't hate them and to be "Swiss", they treat everyone with the same abruptness; in Boonieville, people have more time and courtesy but maybe never met a foreigner in their lives!
  #33  
Old 18.01.2006, 15:20
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

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The issue is, I am sure, greater when your appearance makes you look foreign. In a way, being a white male, you only notice I am foreign as I am smiling
Hey Lob

This was my point. You cannot look at me and fail to know that I'm foreign. Esp not now after 4 weeks in the sun. But I don't think it's an issue for me at all. No more than anywhere else.

If anything, looking different makes me more recognisable and after a year of working in Schwerzenbach (village outside Duebendorf), everyone greeted me warmer when they met me outside shops etc.. Schwerzenbach also has a significant "overseas" population though.

I'm beginning to wonder if this issue is raised more because the swiss aren't being politically correct or that they're "more" racist than things back home - wherever that is?
  #34  
Old 18.01.2006, 15:39
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

bloody Aussies everywhere, I say

you do notice a different from The Little Big City to other places, that's for sure.

When I go to Ticino, people are more friendly now I don't have ZH plates. Maybe it's just the Zurchers then?
  #35  
Old 07.07.2006, 12:44
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

Yesterday I had one of the most shocking experiences in my time here in CH. I am currently looking for Pilates instructors to work in my studio and so, I registered the position with the RAV. Well, yesterday this woman from the RAV called me to inform me that they had someone who was interested in training to be a Pilates instructor and is looking for full time employement in this field.

"Great" I replied expecting to be given the CV or for them to try and arrange an interview. Instead the lady from the RAV responded with

"There's just one problem, she's black."

I was totally speechless! I cannot believe that a potential employer is informed about the race of an applicant as if it somehow mattered! I just cannot get over this blatant racist behaviour from a GOVERNMENT OFFICE!
  #36  
Old 07.07.2006, 13:40
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

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I was totally speechless! I cannot believe that a potential employer is informed about the race of an applicant as if it somehow mattered! I just cannot get over this blatant racist behaviour from a GOVERNMENT OFFICE!
I've always argued that racism is part of official policy in CH. The fact that someone from a government office communicated this so openly to you just demonstrates the fact.

Question is: do such government departments have policies in place to deal with racisim and discrimination, i.e. training courses for their employees, documented ways of dealing with situations etc. My guess is that no such policy or programme exists within the RAF.

If I were you I'd write to the director of the RAF and ask some very hard and direct questions.

In all of the other countries where I have lived (with the exception of Germany) someone would be fired and the possibly taken to court for that, and one of those countries includes South Africa.
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Old 07.07.2006, 14:05
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

Yes, I'll be very interested to hear what course of action is possible for this. Can we complaint to someong?

What has been put in place. This would be very interesting to know.
  #38  
Old 07.07.2006, 14:14
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

Ask any black person you work with about racism in der Schweiz.
Or even South Africans who are caucasian.

A British/Ghanian friend of mine (who left CH) was told "members" only when trying to get into some pubs.. and had to text people already in there to collect him.

SA friends have hate mail.

Look at a busy train - empty seats are often available where the person with dark skin is sitting..
  #39  
Old 07.07.2006, 14:20
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

All this is inacceptable. Sure. But this takes it to a different level. For someone in an unemployment office who should be aware of equal opportunity laws (they do exist don't they?) - they should respect these laws and treat everyone equally. They should be professional about this.
  #40  
Old 07.07.2006, 14:21
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Re: Are the swiss racist?

one friend of mine, half-Swiss half-Nigeria, gets stopped all the time.

"Why", I asked him. "I never get stopped. Does it not annoy you?"
Sadly he seems to accept it as a way of life here

And FWIW some of the hottest chicks I've ever dated weren't white. Let's keep that a secret from the Swiss, huh Oh and my wife
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