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Old 31.07.2011, 14:57
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)


So cute!

I've had that very same experience when I was told once, your colleagues name is xxx, very typical first and last Swiss name and someone walked in, whom I've met for the first time,
who in no way at all looked Swiss. We had a good laugh!!! She was used to it too.


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Among other things.

I have a Swiss last name and my first name could very easily be Swiss. There's just a certain look I get when I am nowhere near the mental model they had created based on my name and telephone conversations. I think it's happened to me at every single job interview I've ever had .
  #42  
Old 31.07.2011, 15:14
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

Maybe I got ahead of myself with my initial response, but it was actually with good intentions. Like Jetset or someone mentioned, I never had to defend my "blackness" as much as I have since I've lived in Switzerland. Never had my dignity questioned like it has, since moving here.

About three months after moving here, I went into Otto's to purchase some laundry detergent. While going in, the security thiny beeped, the customer service person asked me if I was wearing something , that had a tag from a certain store, that was indeed the case. She said it happens all the time to other people. She said she'll remember when I was leaving.

After I paid for my stuff (had my 4 yr old with me) and was leaving, beeped again. At this point there was another lady who worked there, along with the first lady, the first lady told her I had beeped on the way in, but the second lady insisted that I be searched. I was pulled to the side, by the front of the store, and stripped searched. I had to take off all my jewellery, emptied my purse, turned pockets inside out, they even made me take my shoes off. (I was six months pregnant).

My son started crying hysterically, and at this point all the other people in the store(all white) were looking on and made sure they stayed there.

I was finally made to go, after my son and I could not contain ourselves crying. I felt so humiliated, and demeaned. I had never had anything like that happen to me before, in all the years in the US.

I was sure I'd never spend another day in this Country, my Husband couldn't tell me anything, because my thoughts were how could he understand when he doesn't look like me, and this isn't something we were used to back home.

I used that incident (per my Husband's suggestion) to be more open to other people, if that's what it takes for other's to get to know me for who I am, and not what my skin color looks like. It has worked, as I have established friendships, since I took that wall down, that I built, after that incident.

Of course there will always be preconceived notions, and stereo types, that won't change, but just live with no grudge. So that was where I was coming from with my initial response, even though in hindsight, the OP question was innocent and seperate from my issue.

@Jetset, I had the same problem, like you do, I didn't know where to go to get my hair done, I found a lady, she does it all relaxers, extensions, braids, whatever. She will even come to your home, she comes to mine. She does a great job and is really inexpensive. Let me know if you need her contact information.

Regards.
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Old 31.07.2011, 15:44
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

Sorry about that shop incident. I'm surprised you have put that behind you so well. I would really be furious if anyone humiliated me that way and I would be unwilling to go along with it. I know that having your child crying and so on doesn't help you to be rebelious but in my own country I would have them call the police, to humiliate them in turn and prove myself innocent. But I suppose it doesn't work that way in Switzerland. I've been hounded by assistants myself a lot, especially when I wear non brand clothing and mumble German instead of holding my head up and speaking in a confident tone in English.
Racism comes in lots of colours and sizes.
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Old 31.07.2011, 15:47
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

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Maybe I got ahead of myself with my initial response, but it was actually with good intentions. Like Jetset or someone mentioned, I never had to defend my "blackness" as much as I have since I've lived in Switzerland. Never had my dignity questioned like it has, since moving here.

About three months after moving here, I went into Otto's to purchase some laundry detergent. While going in, the security thiny beeped, the customer service person asked me if I was wearing something , that had a tag from a certain store, that was indeed the case. She said it happens all the time to other people. She said she'll remember when I was leaving.

After I paid for my stuff (had my 4 yr old with me) and was leaving, beeped again. At this point there was another lady who worked there, along with the first lady, the first lady told her I had beeped on the way in, but the second lady insisted that I be searched. I was pulled to the side, by the front of the store, and stripped searched. I had to take off all my jewellery, emptied my purse, turned pockets inside out, they even made me take my shoes off. (I was six months pregnant).

My son started crying hysterically, and at this point all the other people in the store(all white) were looking on and made sure they stayed there.

I was finally made to go, after my son and I could not contain ourselves crying. I felt so humiliated, and demeaned. I had never had anything like that happen to me before, in all the years in the US.

I was sure I'd never spend another day in this Country, my Husband couldn't tell me anything, because my thoughts were how could he understand when he doesn't look like me, and this isn't something we were used to back home.

I used that incident (per my Husband's suggestion) to be more open to other people, if that's what it takes for other's to get to know me for who I am, and not what my skin color looks like. It has worked, as I have established friendships, since I took that wall down, that I built, after that incident.

Of course there will always be preconceived notions, and stereo types, that won't change, but just live with no grudge. So that was where I was coming from with my initial response, even though in hindsight, the OP question was innocent and seperate from my issue.

@Jetset, I had the same problem, like you do, I didn't know where to go to get my hair done, I found a lady, she does it all relaxers, extensions, braids, whatever. She will even come to your home, she comes to mine. She does a great job and is really inexpensive. Let me know if you need her contact information.

Regards.
It's great that you finally adjusted and came out of the situation with an open mind. But you must also remember that it was more of your "sensitivity" that caused your disillusion than any type of racism. What happened to you, happens to White people too...The Swiss can be prejudice, but racist no. If that were the case no ethnic people would be in Switzerland at all. Switzerland has the highest ratio of foreigners than any European country. Anyways...good that you're ok now...or nearly ok.
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Old 31.07.2011, 18:12
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

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It's great that you finally adjusted and came out of the situation with an open mind. But you must also remember that it was more of your "sensitivity" that caused your disillusion than any type of racism. What happened to you, happens to White people too...
I agree with this part of what ProsperityJoy said. I'm sorry for what happened to you, Mitziem (and kudos to you for moving on instead of dwelling on negativity). However, sometimes when you're a foreigner and something negative happens, it is very easy to feel you're being the target of racism, even if racism per se is not the real cause of the negative incident. And this "feeling" of being the victim of racism only makes the incident even more traumatic for you.

If it helps put things into perspective, a similar incident happened to me too (being strip-searched in a shop without having done anything wrong and all) - but I am as Swiss-looking (whatever that means ) as can be, speak perfectly the local lingo, etc. In other words, they weren't being sadistic against me for racist reasons; some people just happen to be more anal than others, that's all.

(I grew up being subject to my fair share of racist remarks, but living abroad in a country where I easily pass for a local has helped me discriminate (no pun intended!) between incidents motivated by actual racism and the majority of them, which are not.)
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Old 31.07.2011, 20:08
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

I could be wrong here but perhaps one of the reasons that Switzerland has a high percentage of "foreigners" is because their children and grandchildren are usually not Swiss whereas in many other European countries the next generation have the nationality of the new country automatically, so disappear from the statistics?
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Old 31.07.2011, 20:25
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

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Maybe I got ahead of myself with my initial response, but it was actually with good intentions. Like Jetset or someone mentioned, I never had to defend my "blackness" as much as I have since I've lived in Switzerland. Never had my dignity questioned like it has, since moving here.

About three months after moving here, I went into Otto's to purchase some laundry detergent. While going in, the security thiny beeped, the customer service person asked me if I was wearing something , that had a tag from a certain store, that was indeed the case. She said it happens all the time to other people. She said she'll remember when I was leaving.

After I paid for my stuff (had my 4 yr old with me) and was leaving, beeped again. At this point there was another lady who worked there, along with the first lady, the first lady told her I had beeped on the way in, but the second lady insisted that I be searched. I was pulled to the side, by the front of the store, and stripped searched. I had to take off all my jewellery, emptied my purse, turned pockets inside out, they even made me take my shoes off. (I was six months pregnant).

My son started crying hysterically, and at this point all the other people in the store(all white) were looking on and made sure they stayed there.

I was finally made to go, after my son and I could not contain ourselves crying. I felt so humiliated, and demeaned. I had never had anything like that happen to me before, in all the years in the US.

I was sure I'd never spend another day in this Country, my Husband couldn't tell me anything, because my thoughts were how could he understand when he doesn't look like me, and this isn't something we were used to back home.

I used that incident (per my Husband's suggestion) to be more open to other people, if that's what it takes for other's to get to know me for who I am, and not what my skin color looks like. It has worked, as I have established friendships, since I took that wall down, that I built, after that incident.

Of course there will always be preconceived notions, and stereo types, that won't change, but just live with no grudge. So that was where I was coming from with my initial response, even though in hindsight, the OP question was innocent and seperate from my issue.

@Jetset, I had the same problem, like you do, I didn't know where to go to get my hair done, I found a lady, she does it all relaxers, extensions, braids, whatever. She will even come to your home, she comes to mine. She does a great job and is really inexpensive. Let me know if you need her contact information.

Regards.
What you report here makes a bad impression of the organisation at "Otto". Not that you were searched but HOW and in what way and style they did it.
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Old 31.07.2011, 20:35
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

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I could be wrong here but perhaps one of the reasons that Switzerland has a high percentage of "foreigners" is because their children and grandchildren are usually not Swiss whereas in many other European countries the next generation have the nationality of the new country automatically, so disappear from the statistics?
Don't think that it works that way in most countries.

Tom
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:30
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

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How can you be almost racist? Try to explain that... ...because I think you are or are not. In the OP's case there may be many reasons why he asked in that way, maybe he wants to look for music venues, start a business, etc. So why be so dramatic?
I think people have certain stereotypes about people regardless of race
without being prejudice. It is human nature. If I have a stereotype
about an ethnic group, it does not mean that I am racist.

The thread on Texas stereotyped us that we all carry guns, go to church every Sunday, and are all racists. I do not fit any of these three categories.
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:36
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

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It isn't so black and white as you think, no pun intended. Prima facie, the question is to me racist, but not being in full possession of the nature or intent of the Op, I cannot quite come to that conclusion. "Almost" meaning borderline/debatable.

Also, my question was quite simple... Nothing dramatic (except the interpretations).

Hope that helps.

Stop being so pompous ...
If you hadn't noticed, the swiss approach to some more modern values is sort of archaic ....
There is an assumption that every Thai or black woman is a hooker for start
And that every Serb or Somali is a thief and rapist
If I was a black guy from a racially integrated town, and new to Zurich, I may be asking the same questions, just to make sure I had a grip on reality.
It's not more "racist" that some one asking if they know where a christian church is, a synagogue is, or a thai temple

Get over yourself ....
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:37
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

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I could be wrong here but perhaps one of the reasons that Switzerland has a high percentage of "foreigners" is because their children and grandchildren are usually not Swiss whereas in many other European countries the next generation have the nationality of the new country automatically, so disappear from the statistics?
You not only could but ARE wrong. As only countries with the old British Imperial laws (UK, USA, Australia, NZ, Canada) have such a rule, while most countries with Napoleonic Law (most of Continental Europe, most of Latin America and much of Africa) do NOT have this automatism.

At the other hand, Switzerland and many other countries in Continental Europe (or "Mainland-Europe" to use the US-American expression ) encourage the Secondos to get the nationality of the "new" home country, not least with laws making the process of getting the new nationality easier. And Switzerland is about those countries who allow double or triple citizenship without any problem, while Germany demands of all foreigners who want to obtain German citizenship to DROP their previous citizenship. Italy was a special case. Italians in Switzerland could obtain the CH citizenship while retaining their Italia-citizenship and the CH authorities never reported them, BUT they had to keep their CH citizenship secret towards Italian officialdom as they otherwise would have lost the Italian citizenship. The "liberalized" German law now gives teenagers of foreign origin an interim time but they then have to decide which way to go. A German who worked in our company even believed that only Switzerland allowed multiple citizenship and had to give up that notion in order to get closer to the EU
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:40
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

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while Germany demands of all foreigners who want to obtain German citizenship to DROP their previous citizenship.
The "liberalized" German law now gives teenagers of foreign origin an interim time but they then have to decide which way to go. A German who worked in our company even believed that only Switzerland allowed multiple citizenship and had to give up that notion in order to get closer to the EU
It's hasn't required this for about 6 or so years - you can be dual nationality and german.
It wasn't the case in the past
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:42
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

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Stop being so pompous ...
If you hadn't noticed, the swiss approach to some more modern values is sort of archaic ....
There is an assumption that every Thai or black woman is a hooker for start
And that every Serb or Somali is a thief and rapist
If I was a black guy from a racially integrated town, and new to Zurich, I may be asking the same questions, just to make sure I had a grip on reality.
It's not more "racist" that some one asking if they know where a christian church is, a synagogue is, or a thai temple

Get over yourself ....
Get over yourself please and stop uttering rubbish
- there is no assumption here that every Thai or Black woman is a hooker
- there is no assumption that every Serb or Somali is a thief or rapist
>>> not even the SVPlers have this assumption
If your post above was done in "humour", alright, but then it was in bad humour. It more sounds like a prejudicial assumption of YOU


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It's hasn't required this for about 6 or so years - you can be dual nationality and german.
It wasn't the case in the past
It indeed would be nice if Mr T.... was wrong and I was right when telling him that Germany should come round. But all reports I have seen since then (2003) gave me the impression that I was in error. So, are you really sure that Germany REALLY has changed this ????
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:52
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

Yet another thread hijacked into a racism discussion.



How many dozens of pages have been spent on the subject in the last 6 months?
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:55
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

Wolli - I have no prejudices that I know of

You no nothing about me, so keep you assumptions about my views until we meet

Just let the OP network with like minded people

If someone had posted about meeting gays, vegans, potheads, bikers or salsa lovers this would have passed without any issue

Lets move on - nothing to be seen here ...
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:55
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

Hi OP,

There is a book called "Ticking Along with the Swiss" which contains a series of articles by expats who came to live in Switzerland.

One of the articles is from a young black American man who came as a child with his parents in (I think) the mid 1950s and ended up attending college here at around the time the civil rights movement was kicking off in the US.

His experiences were on the whole positive but he still had to endure dumb comments. One of the more negative episodes he recounts was when he had a date with the daughter of a senior US diplomat (probably in Bern - I'll have to re-read it now), and the father ended up telling her not to see this boy again - because of his colour.

Anyway, if you spot the book it is worth a read if only for this particular article.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 01.08.2011, 00:00
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

It's a good book to read ...
It;s up to us ausslanders to adapt
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Old 01.08.2011, 00:04
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

Hi,

Sorry, your post doesn't make any sense.

Sure, as a foreigner you try to fit in with wherever you happen to live. But I think it is a two-way process - i.e. why shouldn't the host country learn some of the ways of the migrants?

It is by taking on board new ideas that you advance as a society.

Cheers,
Nick

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It;s up to us ausslanders to adapted
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Old 01.08.2011, 00:09
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

yeah, you are right , really crap grammar ....
Now corrected

If you live in a country , you have to go with the majority. Not expect them to adapt to you. "we" have to learn to be more Swiss, not the Swiss learn to be more American, Brit , Australian, Brazilian, Serbian , whatever.
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Old 01.08.2011, 00:10
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Re: Black people in Switzerland (Zürich)

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You not only could but ARE wrong. As only countries with the old British Imperial laws (UK, USA, Australia, NZ, Canada) have such a rule, while most countries with Napoleonic Law (most of Continental Europe, most of Latin America and much of Africa) do NOT have this automatism.

At the other hand, Switzerland and many other countries in Continental Europe (or "Mainland-Europe" to use the US-American expression ) encourage the Secondos to get the nationality of the "new" home country, not least with laws making the process of getting the new nationality easier.
But if it takes 10 years of residence in Switzerland before you can become a citizen, compared with 3 years for the UK, 5 years for the US and 3 years for Canada, doesn't it mean immigrants remain foreigners for longer in Switzerland? Data from Wikipedia.
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