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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, 14:37
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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....


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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, 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 06.04.2011, 09:27
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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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.
So let's try to move your discussion further-

What's next? They make their own party made of people with immigration background, who would vote for them if "Swiss voters" are discriminating based on names?
So it will be people with an immigration background who would vote for them then?
So basically such sensitive politicians positions will be given to people from an immigration background by people from an immigration background... Is that not some positive discrimination?

How about we do the same to extend those "anti discrimination" actions to other professions?
I mean there's no need to show figures and statistics to prove the disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland (as anywhere else in the world, developed countries such as UK, France, included).

So people with foreign names should help people with foreign name to get a job, a flat to rent, etc...

Looks like an ideal integration model to me
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Old 06.04.2011, 09:55
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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So let's try to move your discussion further-

What's next? They make their own party made of people with immigration background, who would vote for them if "Swiss voters" are discriminating based on names?
So it will be people with an immigration background who would vote for them then?
So basically such sensitive politicians positions will be given to people from an immigration background by people from an immigration background... Is that not some positive discrimination?

How about we do the same to extend those "anti discrimination" actions to other professions?
I mean there's no need to show figures and statistics to prove the disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland (as anywhere else in the world, developed countries such as UK, France, included).

So people with foreign names should help people with foreign name to get a job, a flat to rent, etc...

Looks like an ideal integration model to me
Creating a specific political party for foreigners won't resolve the problem. The population need more education, only this will make things change.
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Old 06.04.2011, 10:56
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

I do have my doubts that the Tages-Anzeiger article has proved something is exceptionally wrong with the Swiss. This problem can be found everywhere.

It is true that currently very few Swiss whose heritage is from outside Europe become politicians. In Europe, the UK are the leaders in bringing Africans and Asians into politics. Maybe France next. Germany has produced those two great examples, but really even Germany is still far behind the UK. And the UK itself also knows there is a lot more work to do.

Switzerland won't be bad for too much longer. The signs of the times are seen when Biel elected Lumengo. We will see more second-generation politicians as nationality restrictions are eased and the older racist generation die off.
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Old 06.04.2011, 11:21
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

so just swallow your pride and get your name changed.

If your name is Mirovic, change it to Mirovinberger.
If your name is Mbutu change it to Mabutuzinger.
If your name is Cheng change it to Aschenglitzer.
If your name is Jones change it to Joneschert.

Simple
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Old 06.04.2011, 11:21
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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...the older racist generation die off.
So now old are racists...

How about we recognize culture, their tradition, etc...?

They have been less influenced by migration let's at least respect that prior to call them "racist".

And instead of calling them "racist" we could start by admiring how they have been protecting their country, cultures and values.

As opposed to some neighboring countries which prostituted themselves in the sake of economy and which are now officially regretting:
-David Cameron "But there must be limits to immigration levels because of the impact on public services, the environment and on "community cohesion", he said."
- Sarkozy: i'm a stupid parasite. oops sorry wrong quote:
Changing the law to protect against abuses by immigrants
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Old 06.04.2011, 11:25
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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I do have my doubts that the Tages-Anzeiger article has proved something is exceptionally wrong with the Swiss. This problem can be found everywhere.
Well, no. There sure is xenophobia everywhere in the world, but voters actively crossing out foreign sounding names from party lists is new to me. Do you have any source that this is happening elsewhere?


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It is true that currently very few Swiss whose heritage is from outside Europe become politicians. In Europe, the UK are the leaders in bringing Africans and Asians into politics. Maybe France next. Germany has produced those two great examples, but really even Germany is still far behind the UK. And the UK itself also knows there is a lot more work to do.
Any source?

I posted the results of a fairly extensive research that is repreated every few years: CH is below EU standards. The UK and Germany are on the same level.
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In the meantime: Switzerland slides down the list when it comes to the international "integration index": http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/schweiz/standard/Studie-Auslaender-haben-es-schwer-in-der-Schweiz/story/22405899

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Switzerland won't be bad for too much longer. The signs of the times are seen when Biel elected Lumengo. We will see more second-generation politicians as nationality restrictions are eased and the older racist generation die off.
I live here for six years and in that time was my feeling the opposite: the country is not improving, but getting worse for immigrants. It's not only some grumpy old people voting for the strong arguments of the SVP - the opposite actually.
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Old 06.04.2011, 11:34
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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I live here for six years and in that time was my feeling the opposite: the country is not improving, but getting worse for immigrants. It's not only some grumpy old people voting for the strong arguments of the SVP - the opposite actually.
I've been here for almost 20 years and I wouldn't say things have got worse, but I would say that things have got more polarised with more people shifting to extreme positions but the average staying the same.
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Old 06.04.2011, 11:37
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Re: The proven disadvantage of a foreign name in Switzerland...

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Well, no. There sure is xenophobia everywhere in the world, but voters actively crossing out foreign sounding names from party lists is new to me. Do you have any source that this is happening elsewhere?
To panaché (aka cross names, add others) the voting list has always been done here. I would not put a name down that I never heard of and voting along party lines (in this context, the whole list as it is) would be just as stupid...
Why should I not remove the names of the politicians (so called) that I never heard of or read about?
Just because anybody has a foreign sounding name, does not mean they are the better politicians.

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I live here for six years and in that time was my feeling the opposite: the country is not improving, but getting worse for immigrants. It's not only some grumpy old people voting for the strong arguments of the SVP - the opposite actually.
Yes, but if you actually put your experience in context, you'd also note that immigration of the foreign workforce has picked up speed, especially in the last five years again, no? I know, it's no honours roll for us Swiss, but reality is not a pony farm and this kind of backlash is not quite unexpected if you know anything about "the Swiss".
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