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Indeed DoDo. Great synopsis.

Is a lot of the "being reasonable" about "understandable" xenophobia that the young middle class haven't seen improvement in their lot, and are further told that it is going to be worse vis å vis lower or no benefits since they are paying for their elders and fewer people are paying into the system?

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 06:18:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't seen any statistics suggesting that the young middle class is the most prone to xenophobia -- in fact, I would guess the opposite.

The style of xenophobia propagated by the CDU (and to a lesser part the CSU) is markedly cultural (rather than faux economical) and has a long history. They first denied immigration, and wanted the "guest workers" to please return home onetime. When that became untenable, they insisted on total cultural assimilation. Implicit in that is not only an opposition to multiculturalism as a co-existence of communities with different cultures (as understood in the USA or Bliarite England), but the denial of multiculturalism within a person. Immigrants shouldn't be allowed to add to the culture. (As everywhere, this is also a denial of history; say the cultural input of past waves of immigration to Germany like the Huguenots or the Polish miners in the Ruhr Area.) This opposition to individual multiculturalism became explicit a decade ago when they opposed double citizenship: immigrants are to choose between being 100% German or 100% Other. And here it is again in the Sarrazin wave, in which the main theme is to make speaking German an obligation and stepping stone, rather than an opportunity to provide.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 12:17:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With the coming economic difficulties, I fully expect xenophobia to increase in all social ranks. Scarce resources in "Darwin's & Hobbes' World" will make xenophobia seem more rational. As a recently naturalized citizen, that makes me a little bit nervous. But no fear! Apparently, I don't belong to the "subprime migration" wave of Turks and Arabs [/sarcasm].

Our own experience, as well as that of other countries, demonstrates that merely being rich is no bar to a society's retreat into rigidity and intolerance once enough of its citizens lose the sense that they are getting ahead. [...]

But it would be equally foolish to ignore the effects of two decades of economic stagnation for a majority of the nation's citizens in bringing about these hanges. And it would be complacent not to be concerned now that the economy's prospects are in question once again. The history of each of the large Western democracies --the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany-- is replete with instances of just this kind of turn away from openness and tolerance, [...]

The attitude of people toward themselves, toward their fellow citizens, and toward their society as a whole is different when their living standard is rising from when it is stagnant or falling. It is likewise different when they view their prospects and their children's prospects with confidence as opposed to looking ahead with anxiety or even fear.

Friedman, Benjamin M. The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 08:07:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The style of xenophobia propagated by the CDU (and to a lesser part the CSU) is markedly cultural (rather than faux economical)"

I agree and I suspect this is not only the case of the CDU. This is a tad too often given a racial twist... I don't know about the Poles in Germany, but the spanish or italian immigrant waves decades ago were not exactly met with flowers and red carpets in the south of France. This kind of clash of cultures is intrinsic to international migration.
Recent anti-immigrant reactions could well be fueled by a sentiment of being overwhelmed rather than enriched by the new culture.
Funny enough, there was a report on France 24 the other day about young german-turks returning to Turkey to profit opportunities there and away from a "blocked" Germany.
What's more worrying though IMO is the situation reflected in this article:
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2010/1026/1224282004386.html

"Long-term surveys are more reliable of public opinion and they suggest more stable and moderate views, but it's far from a happy picture.
Two-thirds (69 per cent) of migrants say they feel happy in Germany, according to a survey commissioned earlier this year by the Bertelsmann Foundation.
However, every second migrant says they don't feel accepted by German society, a figure rising to 61 per cent among those with Turkish roots. One in four Turks feels utterly alien in Germany
"

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:24:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed what the current push across Europe with the rallying cry "integration" forcefully overlooks is that integration needs both sides, and the greatest block of integration is the daily confrontation with xenophobes (which can be overbearing even if just every 20th man one meets in daily life is one of them).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:33:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I confess my own opinion on this xenophobic stuff shifted a bit the moment I have understood that one person acting xenophobically was doing so from the shock of my own behaviour which appeared, to her, as I came to see later, very unusual. And when I managed to forget for a moment my own inner conflicts by endless attempts to arbitrate between adjusting to a different way and holding on to my own identity, I actually did come to enjoy those moments of communion in my newly-found community. I still could not answer which way is better: assimilate and enjoy your new life, trying to forget a big part of your former self. Or holding on to most of it, and trying instead to get used to that reflex glint of "odd" in the other's eyes when looking at you. Balancing is a nearly impossible task, and in my experience most non-european, and even many european-origin immigrants find it way too hard to accomplish.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 11:48:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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