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Old 05.04.2011, 10:55
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The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

I worked with a very Swiss Serbian before who told me how hard it is to find a job if your name ends with "-ic" here. I believed him, but found this article still quite surprising:
http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/zuerich/...story/29657249

For those who do not know the Swiss voting system: You get long lists with the candidates of each party. You can simply make a cross at the top of the list to vote for one party. But you can also cumulate votes - ginving a candidate two votes - or strike through a name you do not like to not give him a vote. I counted votes in Germany in a very similar system before and I can tell you that it is a pain to count the votes of somebody who really wants to use all the possibilities he has... anyhow: In the Zurich cantonal elections of last weekend, all candidates with a foreign sounding name lost significantly. If enough people strike through your name you will get less votes than the ones below you on the list. At the end, every candidate gets his votes counted and if a party gets x seats in the parliament, the top x candidates by votes will get the seat. People with an immigration background were explicitedly "downvoted" from the lists while the parties apparently believed them to be competent enough to give them good starting positions. This would of course not surprise in the case of the SVP, but it was the case for every single party in Switzerland!

The frustrations of some who recognized that they have zero chance to make any political career here are so high that they consider to start a own party for people with an immigration background. They claim that the parties cash in on the votes of their minorities, but through the down voting do not need to give anything back to them...
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Old 05.04.2011, 11:00
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

Crude translation of that article into EN is here.
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Old 05.04.2011, 11:09
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

So the conclusion is (according of what I understood) that beside the SVP supporters, it seems that it is a general opinion that foreigners aren't welcome in decision making and especially not having power to make some change in the country.

If this is the results for every party, it is sad indeed!
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Old 05.04.2011, 13:56
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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So the conclusion is (according of what I understood) that beside the SVP supporters, it seems that it is a general opinion that foreigners aren't welcome in decision making and especially not having power to make some change in the country.

If this is the results for every party, it is sad indeed!
That was my first thought- that's sad- what a waste of talent, but really it's so much more than that.
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Old 05.04.2011, 14:08
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

It's truely is sad.

But there's also the otherside. When you are a visible minority with a very Swiss last name, and make all sorts of plans over the phone and in email with an organization or persons with such archaic thinking, the look on their faces when they actually meet you, but have already committed to whatever, is priceless!
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Old 05.04.2011, 14:12
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

I know foreigners who have changed their names, when they got citizenship. I think that you can do the same in the US.
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Old 05.04.2011, 14:17
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

The worst part is reading the comments following the article on the Tagesanzeiger website.

There is one "special" member of the swiss parliament Mr Lumengo. He was accused of cheating during some election and found guilty. The problem is that many other swiss politicians were accused in the past of cheating (one of them being Ch. Blocher) but the parliament did protect them by preserving the immunity. A coincidence?
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Old 05.04.2011, 14:30
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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The worst part is reading the comments following the article on the Tagesanzeiger website.

There is one "special" member of the swiss parliament Mr Lumengo. He was accused of cheating during some election and found guilty. The problem is that many other swiss politicians were accused in the past of cheating (one of them being Ch. Blocher) but the parliament did protect them by preserving the immunity. A coincidence?
That article is a bit simplistic.

1. Lumengo did break the law. He claims that he only wanted to "help" others to fill out their election forms, but I cannot believe him that a democratic politician did not have the slightest clue that this might be wrong...

2. Blocher aparently tried to vote twice in a Parliamentary vote, that's something a bit less drastic than filling out many voting forms.

3. Other politicians who did the same as Lumengo got a similar punishment.

4. Lumengo is a SP candidate. Social democrats value certain democratic rules a bit higher than other parties do - so yes, I find it completely ok that the party asked him to either step down or leave the party. That he decided to leave the party says a lot about his values...
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Old 05.04.2011, 14:33
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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So the conclusion is (according of what I understood) that beside the SVP supporters, it seems that it is a general opinion that foreigners aren't welcome in decision making and especially not having power to make some change in the country.

If this is the results for every party, it is sad indeed!
Yes, that's exactly the point. Even on the left and extreme left the situation was the same! People who claim to be open and tolerant are systematically less so in a secret vote.

In the meantime: Switzerland slides down the list when it comes to the international "integration index": http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/schweiz/...story/22405899
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Old 05.04.2011, 14:37
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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That article is a bit simplistic.

1. Lumengo did break the law. He claims that he only wanted to "help" others to fill out their election forms, but I cannot believe him that a democratic politician did not have the slightest clue that this might be wrong...

2. Blocher aparently tried to vote twice in a Parliamentary vote, that's something a bit less drastic than filling out many voting forms.

3. Other politicians who did the same as Lumengo got a similar punishment.

4. Lumengo is a SP candidate. Social democrats value certain democratic rules a bit higher than other parties do - so yes, I find it completely ok that the party asked him to either step down or leave the party. That he decided to leave the party says a lot about his values...
In the case of Blocher it was not voting twice (technically impossible by design) but he was pushing the button of his absent neighbour.
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Old 05.04.2011, 14:37
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

To be fair - I am trying to think of a country where this wouldn't be the case. Minorities, and particularly recent-immigrant minorities, are famously underrepresented in politics.

Perhaps this really is more pronounced in Switzerland, or perhaps the Swiss voting system just makes it more apparent....


Quote:
They claim that the parties cash in on the votes of their minorities, but through the down voting do not need to give anything back to them...
Ugh. Identity politics. If a party wants to "give something back" to me, I'll thank them to do so by upholding the views and positions that influenced me to vote for them - not by putting someone who looks/sounds a little like me in power and calling that good enough.
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Old 05.04.2011, 14:43
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

"The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland"
The guy who proved that probably invented the wheel. Such a genius, such a singular observation!!

...


That thread should be renamed:

"The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in anywhere in the world".

Prove the contrary.
Because the whites in French DOM TOM territories have same advantages than locals?
Because the one with foreign names in UK have the same advantage?
Because the non arabic names in Arabic countries have the same advantages?
Because the non asian names in Asia have the same advantages?
etc...


I hope they did not use public money to finance any research that "prove" that...
Those who proved that should be named head of CSI elite research team.
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Old 05.04.2011, 14:58
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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Perhaps this really is more pronounced in Switzerland, or perhaps the Swiss voting system just makes it more apparent....
To be fair: It is not at all the voting system or the parties! The voting system is perfectly fair and the parties are trying to integrate minorities in their lists - It is the VOTERS, the Swiss, that were discriminating. Yes, discriminating the most objective sence of the word. That's the deal - it is always easy to blame "the system", but it is really is the public opinion from left to right that people with foreign names make bad politicians... that's the worrying part of the news.
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Old 05.04.2011, 15:03
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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Prove the contrary.
The German health minister, most likely the next FDP party leader in Germany: Adopted as a baby from a third world country.



Or Mr. Özdemir, currently one of the presidents of the German green party:


Honestly: I just linked an article with the 2011 results of a recurring integration study all over Europe and North America. Switzerland is scoring lower than a couple of years ago.
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Old 05.04.2011, 15:25
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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The German health minister, most likely the next FDP party leader in Germany: Adopted as a baby from a third world country.



Or Mr. Özdemir, currently one of the presidents of the German green party:


Honestly: I just linked an article with the 2011 results of a recurring integration study all over Europe and North America. Switzerland is scoring lower than a couple of years ago.
2 persons to prove that there are no disadvantages of a foreign name in germany (as per your example).

Let me see that makes 2/82,400,000 as per 2011 figures: about 2.42718447 × 10-8 which should be something like:
0.000000000...002427...

Congratulations you have proven your point!
You should be elected "Head of the scientific research department" of the PSI (Proving Scene Investigation).
Your proofs are the most original finding in the last century and greatly contribute to the general knowledge of the human beings...

Well done once again.
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Old 05.04.2011, 15:29
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

I guess this one's last name (and even more so his middle name) constitute pretty good proof:



But to be fair, it took many, many generations for this to happen in the US (not only accepting his unusual name, but simply being black). So I suspect it will take at least a few decades before we can stamp out this kind of discrimination. There has been a setback with Lumengo which is really too bad. But one day there will be foreign-named Swiss in the Federal Council.
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Old 05.04.2011, 15:32
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

Thank you Treverus for the informative article. What struck me from the article was not that politicians with a -ic or -gur ending in their last name have a hard time getting elected, but that students and apprentice applicants with those names have a hard time getting hired. Often, in Switzerland the discussion on integration has focused on how hard foreigners make it to integrate themselves into Swiss society because they are "lazy", "untrained" or display criminal behavior. However, how are such stigma's ever going to be overturned if such applicants cannot compete on a level playing field when it comes to job applications? In a way the integration problem is stuck in a catch 22: Employers do not want to hire people of particular foreign origin given their reputation and such applicants cannot overturn the given reputation because no one is willing to give them any employment prospects. In this case some sort of government initiative to spurn integration should be considered. Although the notion of discrimination is nothing new in Switzerland, the Tagesanzeiger deserves praise for shedding some light on the problem and starting some discourse on the topic.
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Old 05.04.2011, 15:33
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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I guess this one's last name (and even more so his middle name) constitute pretty good proof:



But to be fair, it took many, many generations for this to happen in the US (not only accepting his unusual name, but simply being black). So I suspect it will take at least a few decades before we can stamp out this kind of discrimination. There has been a setback with Lumengo which is really too bad. But one day there will be foreign-named Swiss in the Federal Council.

Another genius!
1/311,103,000= 3.21436952 × 10-9
Something like 0.00000000..xxx00000003214

Yes pretty good proof that there is no proven disadvantage of a foreign name in the USA....


Humanity is saved!

How about you both team up to create a super elite research team to solve definitely racism and discrimination problems in the planet earth. No wait, maybe the whole galaxy?
...
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Old 05.04.2011, 15:34
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

As an interesting sidenote/anecdote; one of the local SP politicians in our commune is a Portuguese-Swiss and has been on the local council for some years now. C-permit holders have been allowed to vote on a local level for the last 5 or 6 years. Notably, our commune is very cosmopolitan.
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Old 05.04.2011, 15:48
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

Thanks for that link, very interesting, and sadly and stupidly, not surprising. Mind you several people with very foreign names have been elected here- either because they are local doctors or sons/daughters of, 2nd generation immigrants, who have proven their worth. The US is full of immigrants from all over the world, including lots of my cousins whose grand-parents or parents left Switzerland in the 30s - who changed their names pretty promptly after getting there. Italians mainly just lost the 'i' at the end, so Palmieris became Palmers, and so on.
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