Berlin: Thousands of Germans from ethnic minority backgrounds have shared their experiences of discrimination on social media, after football player Mesut Ozil quit the national team saying he faced “racism and disrespect” because of his Turkish roots.
Many greeted Ozil’s claims of racism with scepticism, prompting thousands of others to come forward with their own experiences, attempting to highlight a problem that people from majority communities rarely experience.
In a twist on the #MeToo hashtag used in the campaign against sexual harassment, #metwo became Twitter’s top trending label in Berlin on Thursday as thousands of second-generation immigrants shared experiences of discrimination they suffered in daily life because of their ethnicity.
It happened in my daughter’s kindergarten - one of the kids was throwing a birthday party and only children with “german” surname were invited (my daughter was not, of course) #metwo
— Renata Falcão (@rfalcaovaz) July 27, 2018
In line at a nightclub in Cologne with my football team. 15 of us are let in, last guy is black. Bouncer stops him and tells him 'club is full'. We all left. Black kid is born in rural Bavaria, his German is better than mine. Still: happens all.the.time. #metwo
— David Barnwell (@davidbarnwell) July 27, 2018
#MeTwo I hate to have to do this but I've had enough. I've been living in Germany, Cologne for 5 years now and no matter what I do I'm always the outcast. No friends no girlfriend. Always feared, and I still don't know why. Once they see I'm black its over! I can't stand it!
— stefano (@okalambala) July 27, 2018
I often get asked when I'm Germany: "Where are you from?" - "Germany." - "I mean, where are you really from?" - "Germany." - "But where are your parents from?" #MeTwo
— Caroline Hambloch (@CaroHambloch) July 27, 2018
— Dimitra Dermitzaki (@Dimaa_1993) July 27, 2018
“Why ‘two’? Because I am more than one identity,” said Ali Can, a Turkish-German writer and activist, in a Facebook video that launched the campaign.
“I didn’t think it would be that many,” Can, 24, told Reuters, after the #metwo posts exploded on German Twitter, adding that it had needed a big event like Ozil’s departure to spark a long-overdue debate on integration in Germany.
“It’s an opportunity to talk about integration, and what it actually means to be German,” he added.
While America is a “melting pot”, he said: “Here, it’s like a salad bowl: everyone is somehow mixed but next to each other. We hope that we’ll be a bit more like America.”
More than 22 percent of Germany’s population have a foreign background but many migrants share Ozil’s sentiment of being treated as “German when we win, immigrant when we lose,” and that feeling has become stronger since the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, Can said.
The AfD has risen in popularity due to concerns about the influx of 1.6 million migrants since mid-2014.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the #metwo tweets showed racism was a problem.
“It is impressive and painful how many people are speaking out here,” Maas tweeted.
“We have to realize that it is the flippant talk at work or the despicable gesture in the train that can sometimes be more painful than the blatant slogans of half-naked people with bald heads,” he said.
With inputs from Reuters
Updated Date: Jul 28, 2018 13:31 PM