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  #41  
Old 30.03.2012, 00:09
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

Do you honestly believe there is another way but bringing your own culture?

Luckily I know a few Brits who would just cringe when reading this...
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  #42  
Old 30.03.2012, 01:14
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I understand the term very well. Politically speaking, Switzerland's stance on racism is very lax, thus for instance the ample posters depicting visible foreigners negatively and that IMO is not ok and should be abolished.
Agreed. Finland is FAR more xenophobic (a nice way to say they really hate the furriners) with only 2% of the population not being natives, but never did I see a poster like I did this summer when returning from holiday with the Nazi-style foreign menace stomping all over the flag. It was, at that precise moment, I turned to my husband and said, "We're leaving, with or without you."

On one hand, you can say the overtness is a sort of honesty, but at the same time, when your government has allowed the foreign population to swell as much as it has, one has to wonder WTF? Finland, with its rather rabid anti-immigration policies, has never been so shameless in it's policies. Switzerland is a bit of a tease.

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I came here speaking a Swiss language (French), but I've never livied in the French speaking part.

The only Swiss language I've studied here is Rumantsch.

I've never used English to get by, rather French (both in Zurich in Ticino) until I learned the local lingo.

Now that I have an Italian-only speaking wife, I was quite surprised to see that so many Swiss up north can speak Italian (but alas, the non-Swiss worker NOT! ), and the same has been noted by my co-workers on northern visits.

So, to cut it short, if I go up north, I expect people to understand Swiss German and/or Italian, those who speak only hoch-deutsch don't cut it!
Actually, it's interesting that you say that as an Italian couple who had lived in the US for many years, had children, then moved back to Italy thinking that Europe would be better for their kids...then moved north due to the reality of Rome these days, often complained at how little Italian the Zurchers had command of. That and the Swiss french-speaker who wept at me speaking French to him since he didn't know English or German...and apparently had few friends around these parts. I suspect the idea that folks around the Zurich area speaking more than German is a bit over-exaggerated.

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  #43  
Old 30.03.2012, 05:24
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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I believe the issue here is, that it is a systematic racism ingrained in the culture because this counrty has not been exposed to "real" immigration issues like others and was always shielded by its international insignificance. For instance, I read an article yesterday evening about the "funny" train conductor. It stated that the whole train was laughing except 2 Indians, because they probably didn't understand German. Why would the Indians not be able to understand the language? It could be, that they're actually Swiss but didn't find the jokes funny IMO. This for instance, is not being overly politically correct, but is rather a fine example of racism in connection with culturals attitudes. Again, my sentiments are, that Switzerland is stuck in the 70s because of its lack of international relevance possibly supported by its banking secrecy.
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the "culture" is not the problem as it is the same culture as the one in Bavaria, Baden-Wärttemberg, Alsace, Vorarlberg, Lombardia, Piemonte, Burgundy. The problems are A) that the direct democracy allows people like the Blocherites to push ahead discriminatory law proposals and use racist propaganda in that process. This indeed should be curtailed by insitutional restrictions. B) that the Swiss "right of speech" also after the fairly new anti-racism law still allows far too much of the stuff. Many people argue that simply to keep it legally "under the carpet as in B-W and Bayern does not solve anything, but some improvements are indeed to be hoped for. I on intent speak about Germany. West Germany in 1949, for obvious reasons, had to put some anti-racism and anti-discrimination stuff into its constitution, in order to prevent Neo-Nazism from getting up

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I understand the term very well. Politically speaking, Switzerland's stance on racism is very lax, thus for instance the ample posters depicting visible foreigners negatively and that IMO is not ok and should be abolished.
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As said above, the anti-racism law IS "mild" but when getting into restrictions every single paragraph has to be checked in order not to create some negative "law-monsters" who then would curtail democratic rights.

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Certainly, but why openly publish something like that in the first place? The fact that the author didn't think it was discriminating certainly underlines my aforemention point on culture.
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I suggest you study remarks of Mr Stoiber of the past 30 years. YES, a leading Bavarian IS relevant here. SVP, CSU and right-wing-sections of the CDU in fact are in permanent and very close contact. And you can hardly do much in the legal way as the pack moves well withing the law limits !

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Yes, one of my favorite decades!
Tom
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The 70ies was a progressive decade. When looking back, the 90ies and 00s were rather reactionary by comparison

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I somewhat agree with your point but there is something detrimental to distinguish. Having a country which is multicultural and multilingual vs. facilitating and incorporating people from different backgrounds and corners of the world into society and everyday life. Switzerland might have done a better job in terms of involving all 4 different parts of this country into unity but completely lack behind immigration driven differences. This is clearly displayed in the politically motivated public relations and intitutions. The culture also is not used to the "huge" influx of newcomers and thus, has not evolved accordingly as yet IMO.
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HUGE influx ? The arrival of Gastarbeiter (mainly Italians, but also numerous Spaniards, Portuguese and Turks) in the 1950ies and 60ies was far more "huge" than the arrival of the relatively few newcomers of the recent past, who mostly are well educated and rather rich. Imagine that the office of Turkish Airlines up from 1968 (first flight to ZRH) and the late 1990 picked up arriving immigrants and gave them a crash-course about such vital things as how to use a western toilets and not to put your finger into the electrical connection (the man mostly involved, from Istanbul and brought up in a modern world, felt most frustrated -- he still lives in Zürich)
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You may have felt shocked by things like the Minaret-ban or the Ausschaffungs-Initiative, BUT if you compare this stuff with the Schwarzenbach-Initiative which wanted to deport have of all the Italians in here. And if looked very dangerous for quite a while untill it became clear that Mr Schwarzenbach could not succeed. But in the 60ies, far more important was the defacto xenophobism in everyday life. Standing in a line to listen to a record in Jelmoli and hearing one of the customers upfront declaring loudly "Tschingee hinne astaa" and out of a sudden findng yourself at the end, together with a Sicily origin mate, was not a world affair and not a matter for the U.N., but really really embarassing (unforgettable, quite in contrast to the idea of those times). Result 30 years later ? While having been shopping in Jelmoli, not once again in the CD/DVD-etc section. --- Imagine that such things happened only too often in those times

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as a foreigner, it would certainly be nice to see a more institutionalized approach to integration, including access to language training, etc. the current "system" does little else other than turn "integration" and "assimilation" into a cottage industry, which can be lucrative for those on the service-provider side of the equation but less than ideal for actually introducing foreigners into a culture.

I don't think that Switzerland has any obligation, moral or otherwise, to accept immigrants in the first place. but if the country voluntarily chooses to do so, it may have to pursue a different approach then the one it is currently using. perhaps part of the problem here is that the country also has a reasonably long history of permitting silo'ed foreign and expat communities, which are interestingly juxtaposed against a very proud and deep Swiss culture and heritage.
You have to realise that the union makes the guidelines about the "immigration" but that the "integration" is a Cantonal affair.

The EU man apparently knows all this fairly well. His report is nicely balanced, but correctly asked for necessary improvements and changes. He obviously is in the law business and know sufficiently well that such changes are not easy, not easy to be achieved and not easy to be implemented

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I came here speaking a Swiss language (French), but I've never livied in the French speaking part.

The only Swiss language I've studied here is Rumantsch.

I've never used English to get by, rather French (both in Zurich in Ticino) until I learned the local lingo.

Now that I have an Italian-only speaking wife, I was quite surprised to see that so many Swiss up north can speak Italian (but alas, the non-Swiss worker NOT! ), and the same has been noted by my co-workers on northern visits.

So, to cut it short, if I go up north, I expect people to understand Swiss German and/or Italian, those who speak only hoch-deutsch don't cut it!

Tom
"can speak Italian" means that people are able to express themselves in basic terms, order a meal, get a room in the hotel, ask for the way to the rail-station BUT it does not mean that many people from Zürich can discuss politics with you in Italian. "Zurigo" has a heavy history going back to the 1890ies/1920ies period. Hoch-Deutsch not only is understood but also spoke by most here, but there are (a small minority) those who are too dull to speak it and (a sizeable minority) who are anti-Germany-emotionalized, who do not WANT to speak Standard-German. And realize that things are not as seen by many. I recently got to our shop and our salesman and a customer were talking about this and that. I then looked at the big bag of the customer and asked innocently "and where is ..... ? " and expected to hear "20kms east of Olten" but the reply was "20km south of Stuttgart" but we all three spoke dialect .... I mentioned the what I call the "Taunus-Liniie" and our customer reflected and then said "Taunus-Line, än interessanti Idee" .................

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Actually, it's interesting that you say that as an Italian couple who had lived in the US for many years, had children, then moved back to Italy thinking that Europe would be better for their kids...then moved north due to the reality of Rome these days, often complained at how little Italian the Zurchers had command of. That and the Swiss french-speaker who wept at me speaking French to him since he didn't know English or German...and apparently had few friends around these parts. I suspect the idea that folks around the Zurich area speaking more than German is a bit over-exaggerated.
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> the Italian average Zürcher speak of course is limited to a minimum and not suited for discussions
> the habit of most (50ies) / many (60ies/70ies) / too many (later) Romands to refuse to speak any kind of German anywhere was accepted by the WWII generation in the 1950ies/60ies/70ies/80ies but no longer is by the POSTwar generation who grew up with the doctrine "you speak French west of the languageborder" but refuses to speak French east of that line. The result at times is ugly and regrettable.
> no, the idea that folks around Zch is NOT exaggerated, but folks possibly are not up in the language YOU desire. People who went to school after 1965 generally have some command of English (within limits please ! ), some (particularily in the construction industry) have some basic command of Italian
> everybody has some, rather rheoretical, command of French ---- but here a warning to the Romands, exactly well educated teachers are Paris educated, which means that their students do not understand the Patois of Fribourg, Jura (region), etc
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Old 30.03.2012, 07:25
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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The problems are A) that the direct democracy allows people like the Blocherites to push ahead discriminatory law proposals and use racist propaganda in that process.
Direct democracy is not the problem. France, Italy and Austria have no or rather limited direct democracy yet they have or had people like Le Pen, Bossi or Haider with their respective and quite popular parties.

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This indeed should be curtailed by insitutional restrictions. B) that the Swiss "right of speech" also after the fairly new anti-racism law still allows far too much of the stuff.
Free speech is one of the most important rights in a democracy. Once you start restricting it, you get on a very dangerous and slippery slope.

Laws on racism should outlaw actual race-based discrimination (e.g. dark-skinned people not being allowed in a club, someone getting fired for being Asian, etc.) but they should never restrict free speech. BTW, the same goes for that blasphemy article that's still on the books in Switzerland.
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Old 30.03.2012, 08:36
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

What is free speech without responsibility? So yes, I agree that free speech should not be restricted but there can be no free speech without responsibility. Is it ok when under the guise of free speech one incites another to defame, hate, commit violence etc. One has to ask if under the guise of 'free speech' I violate anothers right is that ok?
(an in ideal world) This is where the government should step in and guide us.

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Free speech is one of the most important rights in a democracy. Once you start restricting it, you get on a very dangerous and slippery slope.
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Old 30.03.2012, 08:55
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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Immigrants come to our country to improve their lives and add to the economy, in the same way you are in Germany doing the same thing.

I am a citizen of the world not hampered by small-minded parochial attitudes, and I choose to live where I please.
Improve their lives? Definitely. Add to the economy? Occasionally.

As a citizen of the world, I suggest you spend a few years in Sub-Saharan Africa in an effort to fully appreciate how idealistic your viewpoint is. Hopefully, it will become tempered with some experience and practicality.
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  #47  
Old 30.03.2012, 09:28
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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Agreed. Finland is FAR more xenophobic (a nice way to say they really hate the furriners) with only 2% of the population not being natives, but never did I see a poster like I did this summer when returning from holiday with the Nazi-style foreign menace stomping all over the flag.
eh yes, maybe because of Finland's history, they don't like to be reminded whose side they were on?
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Old 30.03.2012, 09:38
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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West Germany in 1949, for obvious reasons, had to put some anti-racism and anti-discrimination stuff into its constitution, in order to prevent Neo-Nazism from getting up
And it eventually spiralled into a maniac fear of brown monsters hiding under the bed. You could say it had some success as Germany is just about the only European country without a far right or right-populist party of some size (the NPD and friends are just a joke) but it seems to me the sanity is just on the surface. I've heard some pretty racist discussions in German pubs and know a lot of people are fed up with all the political correctness. I believe all it would take is somebody who can formulate those sentiments eloquently while finding ways around all the laws and he's be a huge electoral success.
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Old 30.03.2012, 09:57
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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eh yes, maybe because of Finland's history, they don't like to be reminded whose side they were on?
Well, the posters in question were here in Switzerland...

But Finland is at least consistent in its immigration policies and the general un-welcome of foreigners, though in much more subtle forms.

Switzerland, on the other hand, has roughly 20%(?) non-Swiss population and yet sports posters frequently depicting the dark menace that is the immigrant population. It's a bit like eating a whole cake every day for a month and then blaming the cake that your ass is too wide for a pencil skirt.
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Old 30.03.2012, 10:11
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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Well, the posters in question were here in Switzerland...

But Finland is at least consistent in its immigration policies and the general un-welcome of foreigners, though in much more subtle forms.

Switzerland, on the other hand, has roughly 20%(?) non-Swiss population and yet sports posters frequently depicting the dark menace that is the immigrant population. It's a bit like eating a whole cake every day for a month and then blaming the cake that your ass is too wide for a pencil skirt.

So it is better if the whole country is consistently racist than to have just a faction/party of the whole society that is racist?
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Old 30.03.2012, 10:51
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

Just to be clear. Switzerland and the Swiss are not racist. They hate all Auslaenders equally.

Followed closely behind by those from Aargau
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Old 30.03.2012, 10:54
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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Followed closely behind by those from Aargau
...and that's because they can't drive for shyte.
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Old 30.03.2012, 10:56
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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Just to be clear. Switzerland and the Swiss are not racist. They hate all Auslaenders equally.
We like the Tamils. They work hard and are quiet.
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Old 30.03.2012, 10:59
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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Please reconsider your expectations as an immigrant. Local citizens can be discriminated by their fellow citizens too, so this shouldn't affect your integration efforts, as only through integration and perhaps naturalization can you effectively be part of a positive change in your new society.

Secondly it's not incumbent on any local to welcome you. It's nice if they do, but it's not required of them and shouldn't be expected. How many immigrants did you "welcome" when you were living in your own country?

If you want to discuss the difficulties of integration in Switzerland that's fine. And some communities commit more resources to this than others. But that can apply to services available to local citizens too. Unfortunately "more money for the foreigners" presents political difficulties in most societies.

I don't mean that governments need to provide free language classes, housing, jobs, etc for immigrants to help them integrate; but it is exactly like poptart said - the reputation of Switzerland abroad is that it is a very civilized, wealthy, democratic, international country. Then you come here and certain things, like the SVP posters even being allowed to exist fly in the face of that reputation. So does the treatment received by some immigrants here from some locals. It's just extremely surprising and many people moving here did not expect that it would be quite so hard to penetrate and integrate in this society, not because they don't have money thrown at them from the government, but because of the societal aspects.


Switzerland is not unique in this by any means, but it is absolutely ''a bit of a tease''...

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On one hand, you can say the overtness is a sort of honesty, but at the same time, when your government has allowed the foreign population to swell as much as it has, one has to wonder WTF? Finland, with its rather rabid anti-immigration policies, has never been so shameless in it's policies. Switzerland is a bit of a tease.
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Old 30.03.2012, 11:16
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

Hmmm, I am experiencing something like this from a chap in our building. My husband is half Greek and the gentleman noticed his name in the lift. He believes he also has Greek name (he doesn't, he's an Italian). He came to our apartment (before I moved here) and began to befriend my husband. He made distasteful comments about 'immigrants' and a local hotel 'full of blacks, you can catch a disease' so we became aware that he had some horrible attitudes.

Fast forward to now, I walked past him and said a cheery 'buongiorno', he ignored me. I thought maybe he hadn't heard and repeated, same response. Okayyy.

On Tuesday he was stood waiting for the lift, I also needed it but thought I would walk instead. He was with his dog which gave me a little sniff, I said 'hello!' and stroked it. He grabbed it away from me, turning his body from me, and mumbled something. A lady came out of the lift and he made a big deal of greeting her. Okayyy. I carried on up the stairs, he got out at his level and gave me a horrible glare and stomped into his apartment.

What is this about? I have never spoken to this guy, never been introduced, I am not even sure if he knows I am married to his 'Greek friend'. Why does it matter or not anyway.


Very unsettling and odd behaviour anyway.

ETA: I am White, British, early 30's, completely non-descript looks wise.

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Old 30.03.2012, 11:54
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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Direct democracy is not the problem. France, Italy and Austria have no or rather limited direct democracy yet they have or had people like Le Pen, Bossi or Haider with their respective and quite popular parties.


Free speech is one of the most important rights in a democracy. Once you start restricting it, you get on a very dangerous and slippery slope.

Laws on racism should outlaw actual race-based discrimination (e.g. dark-skinned people not being allowed in a club, someone getting fired for being Asian, etc.) but they should never restrict free speech. BTW, the same goes for that blasphemy article that's still on the books in Switzerland.
A) What that EU man meant was that Swiss laws still allows initiatives to be placed which are discriminatory. Neither Haider nor LePen could launch such initiatives
B) anti-racism laws should of course under no circumstances limit free speech, but of course might restrict the right to insult others on racist grounds
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Old 30.03.2012, 12:54
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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B) anti-racism laws should of course under no circumstances limit free speech [...]
But they do. I know a university professor who says he is not allowed to publicly say that about 90 % of all tooth decay in primary school pupils occurs in kids from families with a so called migration background. It's a simple statistical fact, but he risks being sued when mentioning it.
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Old 30.03.2012, 13:01
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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I just wanted to point out that many people underestimate just how much (a lot) of immigrants want to integrate and how much effort they put into it, while also underestimating how many barriers to integration there are within their own countries.

I was referring exactly to those who ''actually worked hard toward integrating'', as you say, but who were met with many obstacles and racism; those people are the ones who become bitter, resentful and unfriendly, not the ones who never wanted to integrate in the first place.

I don't want to belittle your experience, but saying that ''the ones who arnt integrated/ing are the same people who want something for nothing'' has absolutely not been my experience. (At least the majority of the time)

I can understand how difficult it could be.

But I think this whole notion of "integrating" is 95% a personal psychological issue. Nobody wears a badge that says "Integrated". They just walk it and talk it.

Assuming you know how to practice consideration and are able to reason, you should get a long fine here. As for the Swiss accepting you, I think you got that all wrong. The Swiss do not have to accept you. YOU have to accept the Swiss. The fact that you are not in jail, or on a list to be deported already indicates that they accept your presence here, or at least tolerate it.

The integration that needs to happen has less to do with Swiss society, and more to do with your own head. I suspect one root cause of this "Alienated Auslander in Switzerland Experience" is self-confidence. The alienated auslander is simply having lots of trouble and discomfort in being themselves, so they blame the Swiss.

The other 5% of the problem is a social issue. But I believe this is also brought about by the alien's lack of self-confidence. Self-confidence exudes and affects how you are perceived, and how people perceive you. It opens doors, as well as people. Try practicing it, and you might find that your experience in Switzerland can change, as well as your outlook.
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Old 30.03.2012, 13:11
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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A) What that EU man meant was that Swiss laws still allows initiatives to be placed which are discriminatory.
Why should anyone want to ban all initiatives that are discriminatory?

Is not every law discriminatory to those who (for whatever reason) want to break it?

Environmental laws discriminate against polluting industries (and destroy jobs). Safety regulations discrimate aginst those who want to make a quick buck by selling sub-standard gear. Nevertheless, most of us believe the advantages outweight the disadvantages and wouldn't want to see this discrimination abolished.

So certain types of discrimination are acceptable if not desired. Other are wrong.

So who should decide which discrimination is okay and which not?

A gremium of unelected semi-senile old guys in Brussels and in the UNO?

Or "the people"?
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Old 30.03.2012, 13:13
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Re: Racism rife in Switzerland: human rights chief

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But they do. I know a university professor who says he is not allowed to publicly say that about 90 % of all tooth decay in primary school pupils occurs in kids from families with a so called migration background. It's a simple statistical fact, ...
...
Can't imagine that.

German teeth normally are much better than Swiss ones,

as German tooth control and treatment is/was for free and included in basic health insurance.

And as Germans are one of the biggest immigrants group in CH, your professor is lying or an idiot.
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