Challenges of being a Black student in an All German School

mixed classroom

Being a foreigner in Germany can be quite trying but as an adult you let it slip as you’ve already learnt that not everyone will accept you anyway. We already know we are discriminated even while back home. But when someone is still a kid, it becomes harder to understand “why” you are different or why you receive different treatment from your classmates which to you are “equal” to you. For young migrants it can be a rude wake up call as some teachers go out of their way to show these kids how different they really are.

Sometime last year, a teacher in Berlin went out to start calling one of the students a Neger. Apparently, it was during a biology class when this little child couldn’t understand the difference between protozoans and bacteria. The teacher tried to explain that all bacteria are protozoans but not all protozoans are bacteria; but this phenomenon remind difficult to understand for this little child and the teacher decided to “bring it closer to home”. So in come the silly analogy, “All Negers are human but not all humans are Negers”. The children taken aback by the use of the word by their teacher (who was only sitting in for the real teacher), protested but the teacher wouldn’t have it and decided to turn it into a discussion.

He wrote the words Neger and Nigger on the blackboard and tried to explain the difference between the two words. He argued that although the younger generation has issues with the use of the word, his generation had no qualms about it.

The student later sued the teacher for insult but the court ruled against the student citing that there was no evidence of a premeditated motive. The same teacher had earlier (2007) been suspended from the same school for making racist remarks regarding the holocaust and had just returned to teaching but as a  Substitute teacher. The teacher is bitter with the media, politicians and activists who are against him going back to class based on his past. Whether he will return to class has not been revealed by the officials, further punishment has also not been revealed.

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