Hello and feel warmly welcomed to my blog
Who am I? I am a Black German in his early 30’s living in Berlin. To be more exact: I am a light skinned queer but until now mostly straight performing feminist cis-man – and I am neurodiverse. Being neurodiverse means, that I am blessed with in my case even two mental dispositions that are unluckily marked as illnesses by society. I am a highly sensitive Asperger autist having an ADHD on the meantime. While both dispositions are not that strongly distinct, their presence in society creates an interesting and challenging intersectional reality I don’t want to exclude from future blog posts. Concerning my exterior: I don’t challenge the Eurocentric beauty ideal by having the privileges of being thin, tall and by trying to work out my body, but I do it by being Black and wearing my natural curly hair, which since winter 2011 has become quite a big kinky (I call it ) crown. By having a face, that rather matches Eurocentric beauty I often got asked in the past whether I have been in the tanner for very long since I have some tan, but people didn’t immediately associate my parents with East Africa, from which one of my two fathers is. But since I have my hair all questions concerning my tan seem to be answered.
Why do I describe myself this meticulously? Because I think every single feature makes a difference in the experiences one makes in (German) society.
I was born and raised in Switzerland in a privileged, complicated but very loving, all white upper middle-class German family; which is probably the main reason, why an actually more or less average (or slightly over the average) intelligent Black man with an ADHD and Aspergers autism is not dead, in jail or homeless but can reflect about racism and about being Black and neurodiverse in Germany.
I also speak as someone coming from a specific group of Black Germans, sharing the circumstance, that many of our fathers are African academics or US GIs, who came to Germany, got together with white German women and often went back to Africa or the US afterwards for various reasons (I can only assume, that visas ran out, they didn’t find a job for racist reasons, couldn’t take the amount of racism in general, some probably didn’t plan to stay anyway and I’m sure some were simply scared from becoming a father). So many of us grew up without any Black parents in all white environments. In later blog posts I will get more detailed about this experience. Though Blacks like me are a significant percentage inside the tiny Black community in Germany I though don’t believe we’re the majority. But I can only guess, since I don’t even know how many of us, Black people in Germany, there are. This is because there are no statistics. Because of Germany’s colonial history Blacks were kept as silent and as invisible as possible for centuries, though some of us have been writing and creating art for centuries and blogging for decades.
As our existence was and partly still is denied so to is the language for our reality. We don’t even have a working word that is used like the English term ‘race’ in German, because the translation of ‘race’ is the same word for ‘breed’ in German. This is one of the reasons why many Black Germans including me reject the term mixed race or race in general: Nobody wants to be associated with a certain ‘breed’. I simply define myself as a Black person and in matters of shade I describe myself as (still) light skinned while recognizing the privileges connected with it. I also mostly speak and exchange with Black people from the US or the UK, so if I try to take a distance from Germany and reflect about things in the German context I will be mostly comparing the situations with the US or the UK, but I’m looking forward to get more especially non western perspectives!
This is roughly who I AM and how I’m positioned in the hierarchies of race, class , gender, disability and body. And what I WANT in this blog is to articulate my Black German reality, share my neurodiverse perspective while being another Black voice breaking the silence inside and outside of Germany. I want to continue the work of my predecessors analyzing racist realities, showing opportunities of empowerment and maybe even generating tiny pieces of knowledge
You’re most invited to join me on this journey!