In the wake of Germany’s World Cup win yesterday, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been littered with the anti-German musings of “friends” who likely consider themselves to be progressive humanitarians and oh-so-funny.
One such friend, watching the game, continuously referred to the Germans as “Nazis,” just as he’d done to the Dutch a week before.
The sad truth of the matter is this: Among many liberal Americans, it is not only still okay to bash Germans, it’s considered hip and hilarious. Why? Because of Hitler and the holocaust, of course. Because of lingering stereotypes of Germans as evil. Because Hollywood loves to portray the worst of the “bad guys” as Germans, often with eye patches and limps, and most Americans have no idea what contemporary Germany is like at all.
This is not okay, America. This is not funny, progressives.
Many of those bashing the Germans on my social media feeds are prominent Latino comedians and artists. To them, I ask: How can you even begin to hope for social justice for “your own” people when you are guilty of the same dehumanizing stereotyping that impacts all of us, against Germans? Do you not understand that stereotyping is exactly how prejudice and racism flourish?
Yes, Germany has a painful, ugly history that involved fascism and genocide. No country is perhaps more acutely aware of this, and ashamed of it, and working hard to move beyond it, than modern Germany. That so many Americans can sit in judgment of these crimes, when our own nation was founded on the same atrocities, is mind-boggling. All of the colonized nations of the Americas share a similar history – it just happens to have taken place four hundred years ago. All over the world, people have been doing hideous shit to each other. Germany does not have a lock on this.
Today’s Germany has a much better record on human rights, press freedoms, environmentalism, health care and social justice than our own nation. So, enough with the Germany bashing. Enough with the invention of a demonic “other”. Stop with the stereotypes.
Congratulations on your win, Germany.