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Old 02.12.2018, 11:29
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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Background information, attitudes and political issues... it all forms what we see when we don't grow up with the local traditions.

Being here for so long, I forget how some of the traditions may appear to friends visiting abroad. We had an enlightening conversation but in the end, they still saw Schmutzli as white person painted black. And to be fair, that's what they look like in the dark and quite often, in light as well.

If I had a solution to this, I would suggest that all Schmutzlis should refrain from painting their whole face black in the future so as it give the impression they are just dirty, and not black.

Racism is a tricky subject and can be trickier when it comes to local customs. I truly see a time when the Schwingerkönig is dark-skinned. I certainly hope we'll have a dark-skinned in my lifetime. However, I wonder how comfortable a dark-skinned person would be dressed up as Schmutzli, simply because Schmutzli is not only "black with soot" but also scary as hell.
Do you think it is an efficient way to beat racism - by imposing the rule on not dirty one's face? Letting everyone know that people must have done it with ill intent, to mock a different race? By that you are making a statement on other people's only assumed ill intents without giving them the benefit of the doubt that they are not racist and you are just exaggerating. I mean you friend. This opinion-forcing is not making the US society less racist nor smarter. Group think just doesn't.

My tradition - scary is the hell part, not the dark part. The fur, horns, tail, etc.
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Old 02.12.2018, 11:30
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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Background information, attitudes and political issues... it all forms what we see when we don't grow up with the local traditions.

Being here for so long, I forget how some of the traditions may appear to friends visiting abroad. We had an enlightening conversation but in the end, they still saw Schmutzli as white person painted black. And to be fair, that's what they look like in the dark and quite often, in light as well.

If I had a solution to this, I would suggest that all Schmutzlis should refrain from painting their whole face black in the future so as it give the impression they are just dirty, and not black.

Racism is a tricky subject and can be trickier when it comes to local customs. I truly see a time when the Schwingerkönig is dark-skinned. I certainly hope we'll have a dark-skinned in my lifetime. However, I wonder how comfortable a dark-skinned person would be dressed up as Schmutzli, simply because Schmutzli is not only "black with soot" but also scary as hell.
Where did you see this Schmutzli, though? We had the gemeinde Samichlaus and Schmutzli visit us for probably 4 or so consecutive years, each time a different bloke but was almost always mostly wild, unkempt beard, huge eyebrows and a draping hood. The skin that you could see was just smeared with blotchy marks to look like general muck.

The Samichlaus / Schmutzli events you can visit in the woods have a similar outfit and make-up.

Never seen one "blacked up" for want of a better expression. They look more like a poor man's Hagrid than a Black and White Minstrel.
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Old 02.12.2018, 11:37
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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Do you think it is an efficient way to beat racism - by imposing the rule on not dirty one's face? Letting everyone know that people must have done it with ill intent, to mock a different race? By that you are making a statement on other people's only assumed ill intents without giving them the benefit of the doubt that they are not racist and you are just exaggerating. I mean you friend. This opinion-forcing is not making the US society less racist.

My tradition - scary is the hell part, not the dark part. The fur, horns, tail, etc.
I am not imposing anything. Healthy discussions bring us forward; emotional discussions full of accusations stop us in our tracks.

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Where did you see this Schmutzli, though? We had the gemeinde Samichlaus and Schmutzli visit us for probably 4 or so consecutive years, each time a different bloke but was almost always mostly wild, unkempt beard, huge eyebrows and a draping hood. The skin that you could see was just smeared with blotchy marks to look like general muck.

The Samichlaus / Schmutzli events you can visit in the woods have a similar outfit and make-up.

Never seen one "blacked up" for want of a better expression. They look more like a poor man's Hagrid than a Black and White Minstrel.
Drive through Central Switzerland's villages during the evening at this time of year and you'll see what I mean.
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Old 02.12.2018, 11:49
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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I am not imposing anything. Healthy discussions bring us forward; emotional discussions full of accusations stop us in our tracks.
You offered a suggestion to stop people from dirtying their face. How?

In my humble 25 years of psy work, such suggestions will have the exact opposite effect. It will say dirt=dark skin tone=don't do it=bad. Which is a shame, there's no race aspect in it.

Mythology suggests that people tend to impersonate aspects they are drawn to...that they find interesting, fascinating, essential.
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Old 02.12.2018, 11:54
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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You offered a suggestion to stop people from dirtying their face. How?

In my humble 25 years of psy work, such suggestions will have the exact opposite effect. It will say dirt=dark skin tone=don't do it=bad. Which is a shame, there's no race aspect in it.

Mythology suggests that people tend to impersonate aspects they are drawn to...that they find interesting, fascinating, essential.
You are twisting my words. I said "don't paint your whole face black" which is a far cry from asking people to refrain from dirtying their face.
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Old 02.12.2018, 12:00
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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You are twisting my words. I said "don't paint your whole face black" which is a far cry from asking people to refrain from dirtying their face.
Are you suggesting there is a shade in you mind that splits the folks' intentions between racist and supporting traditions?

These kids want so bad to be black. Bold. Is that racist or the opposite?
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Old 02.12.2018, 12:02
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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Are you suggesting there is a shade in you mind that splits the folks' intentions between racist and supporting traditions?

These kids want so bad to be black. Bold. Is that racist or the opposite?
Question 1: I never mentioned a shade.
Question 2: Ask the kids. I don't know.
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Old 02.12.2018, 12:06
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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You are twisting my words. I said "don't paint your whole face black" which is a far cry from asking people to refrain from dirtying their face.
Even if a Schmutzli has his whole face painted black I never, ever had made the connection between the Schmutzli and dark skinned people in general or in particular. Hell, it is in the name why he has a black in his face.

It is unfortunate that in other cultures the term "black face" has a different meaning and was used in a disrespecting way toward people with darker skin color. But when you see a Swastika in India, or at the Carlsberg Brewery you do not think they are there to celebrate Hitler and the Nazis . O.k. may be you do, but once you inform yourself you hopefully realize that they are from different cultural backgrounds and do not represent the same thing in a long shot.

It is a cultural ignorance to think that the same action in a foreign country must have the same meaning, background, intend, or specially representation as back home.
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Old 02.12.2018, 12:12
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

Kids want traditions.

Why assume that when something seems out of ordinary or nonstandard to kids, it must be automatically negative.

It is the grown ups who impose their way of thinking or cultural norms, that are foreign to kids. While the kids are busy admiring something and being bad asses.

When I was a kid, St. Nicolas made even less sense, a devil or an angel in an atheist country? The Christians didn't seem to take offence...traditions and rituals still win. St. Nick was red like the commie flags, russkies let the traditions live.

I do get, btw, how weird it must have seemed to your yank friend, but maybe there is something more valuable for the communities here than policing, overinterpreting, virtue signalling..Halloweeen in the US is weird with all these rules now. It's a grown up thing now, not kid's world. Well, minus the ott candy.
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Old 02.12.2018, 12:23
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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Even if a Schmutzli has his whole face painted black I never, ever had made the connection between the Schmutzli and dark skinned people in general or in particular. Hell, it is in the name why he has a black in his face.

It is unfortunate that in other cultures the term "black face" has a different meaning and was used in a disrespecting way toward people with darker skin color. But when you see a Swastika in India, or at the Carlsberg Brewery you do not think they are there to celebrate Hitler and the Nazis . O.k. may be you do, but once you inform yourself you hopefully realize that they are from different cultural backgrounds and do not represent the same thing in a long shot.

It is a cultural ignorance to think that the same action in a foreign country must have the same meaning, background, intend, or specially representation as back home.
Glad you always assumed Schmutzli was just dirty. That's the kind of feedback I was hoping for.

I'll leave the idea of wearing Swastikas at certain celebrations for another thread.

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Kids want traditions.

Why assume that when something seems out of ordinary or standard to kids, it must be automatically negative.

.
I asked a question. I didn't make an assumption.

Sämi Chlaus and his Schmutzlis came into my house many years as part of the Swiss tradition. My kids were always a bit scared of both figures since Sämi Chlaus could also be quite intimidating. Schmutzli, of course, doesn't say anything except make a few noises and shake his bag when Sämi Chlaus reads something "naughty" that the child did during the year. So please don't assume I don't the tradition or understand its background. I do.
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Old 02.12.2018, 12:28
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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Why assume that when something seems out of ordinary or standard to kids, it must be automatically negative.

It is the grown ups who impose their way of thinking or cultural norms, that are foreign to kids. While the kids are busy admiring something and being bad asses.
This reminds me of when my son was about 4 we were on the tram and a guy got on and sat opposite us. He had a very deep black skin tone which was obviously something new to my son who then piped up in his usual loud none self-conscious voice "Mummy, that man is REALLY black!"

As an adult you are are naturally mortified because you don't just say stuff like that to people

The bloke just belly-laughed and mumbled a "don't worry", but I think the belly laugh was more at my "OMG!!!" face than at my son's observation.

I would never have got into a "race" discussion with my son because he wouldn't have had a clue what I was on about. Instead we just discussed that it's not really nice to comment on people and their appearance because it might make them feel a bit uncomfortable. That was all it took.
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Old 02.12.2018, 12:33
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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Glad you always assumed Schmutzli was just dirty. That's the kind of feedback I was hoping for.

I'll leave the idea of wearing Swastikas at certain celebrations for another thread.



I asked a question. I didn't make an assumption.

Sämi Chlaus and his Schmutzlis came into my house many years as part of the Swiss tradition. My kids were always a bit scared of both figures since Sämi Chlaus could also be quite intimidating. Schmutzli, of course, doesn't say anything except make a few noises and shake his bag when Sämi Chlaus reads something "naughty" that the child did during the year. So please don't assume I don't the tradition or understand its background. I do.
I don't. I said kids need their traditions. And if grown ups start shaming them, the damage will actually be the worst for those who these grown ups try to protect. Almost the laws of physics.

Our devils would pick up naughty kids, put them in their schmutzig giant potato bags and walk away (to hell). It is a bit tame here, debating over how to represent something without being offensive.

There is a gentle idea - and nobody disagrees. But implementing it is completely counterproductive.

Traditions are supposed to look wrong. Traditions are evil, if you ask me. In my boonies chicks still get chased and spanked with willow whips at Easter.
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Old 02.12.2018, 12:46
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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This reminds me of when my son was about 4 we were on the tram and a guy got on and sat opposite us. He had a very deep black skin tone which was obviously something new to my son who then piped up in his usual loud none self-conscious voice "Mummy, that man is REALLY black!"

As an adult you are are naturally mortified because you don't just say stuff like that to people

The bloke just belly-laughed and mumbled a "don't worry", but I think the belly laugh was more at my "OMG!!!" face than at my son's observation.

I would never have got into a "race" discussion with my son because he wouldn't have had a clue what I was on about. Instead we just discussed that it's not really nice to comment on people and their appearance because it might make them feel a bit uncomfortable. That was all it took.
My kid when small once saw a 2.10m tall man on a tram here and made a comment in CZ "wow, mom, he is giaaaaaaant" to have him turn to her and say in CZ "you know, people are tall in the Czech Rep". I was red, the worst is how off guard I was caught to apologize fast. Kids also seem to notice unusual traits that run in families when they people watch. Discretion is a grown up invention, I think.

Traditions are supposed to use caricatures - I don't know where this will all head, tbh. Snowflake parallel worlds? Not sure what a "healthy" tradition defines.
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Old 02.12.2018, 13:13
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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Just came back from a fun evening of wine and Schmutzlis. My friends from America insisted the Schmutzli was racist. I had to much wine to agree or disagree.... I knew I'd need a clear head for this topic.

What do you think?
Another dumb tradition to scare the children. Of course he's black. You would be too if you had to clean out chimneys all day.
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Old 02.12.2018, 13:44
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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This reminds me of when my son was about 4 we were on the tram and a guy got on and sat opposite us. He had a very deep black skin tone which was obviously something new to my son who then piped up in his usual loud none self-conscious voice "Mummy, that man is REALLY black!"

As an adult you are are naturally mortified because you don't just say stuff like that to people

The bloke just belly-laughed and mumbled a "don't worry", but I think the belly laugh was more at my "OMG!!!" face than at my son's observation.

I would never have got into a "race" discussion with my son because he wouldn't have had a clue what I was on about. Instead we just discussed that it's not really nice to comment on people and their appearance because it might make them feel a bit uncomfortable. That was all it took.

...and there's the point. Intent is everything and I don't think, when we are talking about these traditions, that there is a racist intent. Are we allowed to mention the movie 'White Chicks' where two black actors 'white up' to play roles of stereotypical 'dumb blondes'...mustn't be offended by that though...
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Old 02.12.2018, 14:06
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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Just came back from a fun evening of wine and Schmutzlis. My friends from America insisted the Schmutzli was racist. I had to much wine to agree or disagree.... I knew I'd need a clear head for this topic.

What do you think?
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Old 02.12.2018, 14:52
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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...and there's the point. Intent is everything and I don't think, when we are talking about these traditions, that there is a racist intent. Are we allowed to mention the movie 'White Chicks' where two black actors 'white up' to play roles of stereotypical 'dumb blondes'...mustn't be offended by that though...
That was a great movie, however!

Tom
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Old 02.12.2018, 15:06
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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Sounds like a heavy metal band.
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Old 02.12.2018, 15:08
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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That was a great movie, however!

Tom
I'm waiting for the "White Males" sequel though. I bet I'm gonna have even more fun!
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Old 02.12.2018, 15:19
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Re: Schmutzli: Racist or not?

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Sounds like your off the shelf chimney sweep is going to be the next big racist thing over there? Back in my days in Switzerland, seeing a chimney sweep was meant to bring good luck!

The word "Schmutzli" alone should clear things up, unless you really look for pc trouble and find nothing better
Still means good luck. Love seeing them. They look too darn clean these days though, you always have to look twice before being sure it's your lucky day

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I love it how Americans, coming from the land where they all but wiped out the natives and where racism is more than rife still, come here and claim European traditions are racist!

Black coffee will be next, we'll have to call it an 'Americana without cream'. Black Forest Gateau will be 'The gateau from the forest in southern Germany' etc etc.

EDIT - I guess this post is racist too...
And it's not the black Americans (or where ever from) who keep venting about the subject.
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