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Old 11.01.2009, 11:11
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Am I the only African American around Zurich???

I know there are plenty of Africans here and especially over in Geneva, but I'm just wondering if there are any other African Americans on this
side of Switzerland.
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Old 11.01.2009, 11:37
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

I've meet a few African-Americans (covering North, Central and South America) over the years living here in Switzerland, myself I'm a Californian of European decent.
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Old 11.01.2009, 18:08
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

Don't know if this might be of interest, but you might take
a look at Mark Morrison-Reed's recently published book, called:

'In Between: Memoir of an Integration Baby' (Skinner House
Books, 2008)

He comes from the South Side of Chicago, and became a
Unitarian minister - but there is some material in his memoir
about his experiences as an African-American going to school
here in Switzerland (on the Hasliberg), back in the 1960s. I
went to school with him there/then, and I still remember him talking
about having kids (I think this was in Germany, but it could just
as well have been here in Switzerland in those days) walk up to
him and want to rub his arm to see if the color would come off...

The country has changed since then, but Joseph Schumpeter
wasn't entirely wrong when he wrote that ôsocial structures,
types and attitudes are coinsthat do not readily melt..."
Send me a private message if you want to talk more about
these matters! The Swiss soul is a complicated thing...


J.
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Old 12.01.2009, 18:46
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

Thanks for the suggestion. It was really a light hearted question.
My fiance told me to post and see if there are any more around. So far ..no.
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Old 12.01.2009, 20:16
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

Now that you mention it, I realize I've only met one or two during all my years in Switzerland actually....
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:03
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

I know it's 2yrs after your post, but I'm African-American and live near Bern/Fribourg. I'm married to a Swiss and have one child. I am from NY and have an Ivy-league/MBA background. I gave up my career to raise my child (first, in London and now here in CH). It is the biggest challenge I have ever undertaken. Learning the languages and how to get through the cultural abyss is hard enough (the Swiss have never known African Americans-- only Africans. Proud, educated, strong people like us are both threatening and something they can't understand). But, the hardest thing is having a mixed race child who isn't growing up with the love and support of her African-American family or any knowledge of the history and struggle of our people. Unfortunately, for financial reasons and perhaps a little fear and narrow-mindedness, our family have never visited us here in CH. So they have no idea of the real cultural divide and the challenges we face. If there are any African-American families out there who want to get in touch with others in CH, drop me a note. We can catch up.
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:12
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

Welcome to the forum, nice intro!
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:17
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

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I know it's 2yrs after your post, but I'm African-American and live near Bern/Fribourg. I'm married to a Swiss and have one child. I am from NY and have an Ivy-league/MBA background. I gave up my career to raise my child (first, in London and now here in CH). It is the biggest challenge I have ever undertaken. Learning the languages and how to get through the cultural abyss is hard enough (the Swiss have never known African Americans-- only Africans. Proud, educated, strong people like us are both threatening and something they can't understand). But, the hardest thing is having a mixed race child who isn't growing up with the love and support of her African-American family or any knowledge of the history and struggle of our people. Unfortunately, for financial reasons and perhaps a little fear and narrow-mindedness, our family have never visited us here in CH. So they have no idea of the real cultural divide and the challenges we face. If there are any African-American families out there who want to get in touch with others in CH, drop me a note. We can catch up.
i might be missing something here but do you think this will solve the cultural divide you speak of? Why not extend it to anyone who is keen to meet up and share stories / experiences?
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:31
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

Can all those people who take these matters lightly and want to make jokes simply go away? I already meet people like you everyday....
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:32
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

Loved your intro KNM hope you found some nice people.
Most of us are foreign, some are not. Add ethnicity or religions into the mix and it can be an interesting challenge indeed.

I do believe though that it depends where you live.
For instance Geneva is very international and it's quite easy to meet others.

Hope you are well, welcome to EF
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:34
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Can all those people who take these matters lightly and want to make jokes simply go away? I already meet people like you everyday....
Who did that?
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:36
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

Sandgrounder.... if you want to meet me BECAUSE your background is like mine, fine. Otherwise, I am sick and tired of babysitting others who want to 'get to know my race'.
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:39
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

Sky, thanks for the welcome.
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:39
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

Grumpygrapefruit, thank for the welcome.
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:39
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

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Can all those people who take these matters lightly and want to make jokes simply go away? I already meet people like you everyday....
I don't think any expats on this forum takes moving to Switzerland lightly. Many of us have been here for years and have had many experiences, good and bad, over our time settling in.

Fencing yourself in and only meeting with a certain set or group of people (Brits, Americans, Greeks, Tamils, Aussies, whatever) doesn't help with easing you into a new life in this land.

You have to make a great effort to open yourself up to a new culture, language, set of values, traditions, etc.

I know several African-Americans in Zurich and all of them have settled pretty well, work in a variety of professions in a whole range of positions.

Yes there are people here that are narrow-minded and can make a few tasteless comments but EVERY country has them and Switzerland is no different.

Embrace your move and get stuck in with everyone.
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:40
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Sandgrounder.... if you want to meet me BECAUSE your background is like mine, fine. Otherwise, I am sick and tired of babysitting others who want to 'get to know my race'.
I very much doubt she'll want to get to know you with an attitude like that.

Why the anger? We're all foreigners here, you know.

Well, except the Swiss, of course...
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:40
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Sandgrounder.... if you want to meet me BECAUSE your background is like mine, fine. Otherwise, I am sick and tired of babysitting others who want to 'get to know my race'.
Blimey, that told me - only trying to help, missus...
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:42
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Re: Am I the only African American around Zurich???

Sandgrounder.... i'll put you in touch with my swiss husband. You two can chat about liberal ideals and sharing for the sake of sharing. We have been married 16yrs and he still can't quite understand what an African-American is.
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:43
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liberal ideals and sharing for the sake of sharing.
Presumptuous, much?
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Old 04.04.2011, 21:45
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Sandgrounder.... i'll put you in touch with my swiss husband. You two can chat about liberal ideals and sharing for the sake of sharing. We have been married 16yrs and he still can't quite understand what an African-American is.
Well, I'm beginning to get a bloody good idea.

Mods: This thread is going to end up a car crash. Early warning to get the padlocks out...
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