are there black people in germany? and other questions you were afraid to ask

black-people-in-germany-2

 

 

Guten Tag, y'all!

 

Ever had a question you felt silly asking? I have! Especially before moving here. I wanted to know about Germany, specifically from a black person's perspective. Let's face it--there are certain concerns that many black people, especially black Americans, tend to have when traveling or moving to another country. Luckily, I have family who've lived here before, so they were able to answer some questions. For other concerns, I turned to the good ol' Internet to read the experiences of black people who live and have lived in Germany. Now that I've lived here for a few years, I feel like I can add a little to the conversation. So, here are a few questions that people often ask me privately!

 

1. Are there black people in Germany?

Yes! Even though the images we see of Europe in films and magazines present it as a totally white place, that's just not the case. Black people do live in Germany, and have had a presence here for quite some time. The black people I've met here are Afro Germans, black Americans, black people from Africa and black people from other countries in Europe.

2. So is Germany safe for black people?

Yes. Although I have to admit that there are places in eastern Germany (for me, that means too far past Berlin or Potsdam) that I don't want to visit (but there are places that I wouldn't visit in Mississippi and hell, in my home state of Alabama), because of extreme right wing views.  That said, there are probably black people who live and work very contentedly there.

3. Have you experienced racism there?

Yes, but no more than I experienced in America.  There was a guy who yelled at me that I should go back to Africa, but it wasn't any worse than the guy who yelled out "N*gger" as my cousin and I walked along the Las Vegas strip. Actually, despite coming across gross, archaic images of black folks, I'd say Germany feels, overall, decidedly less racist than America. Folks don't stare at my interracial family like they did in Alabama.

4.  Speaking of staring: people in Germany stare at me a lot. Is it because I'm black?

Nah. People in Germany stare at everybody.

4. Good to know. Let's talk about something else. What's a black girl to do about her hair while in Germany?

Girl...this is a tough one. If you live in a smaller town like I do, you'll definitely find yourself with fewer options when it comes to products and services that cater to black hair. Ladies in bigger cities will have more luck, though the quality of options vary greatly. If you're lucky enough to live near Kaiserslautern and you have natural hair, then I absolutely recommend going to the Honeycomb salon in Kaiserslautern for products and maintenence.

5. Speaking of girl concerns...do German men find black women attractive?

Clearly, I can't speak for every German man in the world. But I do happen to have a German man handy to answer this question. The Man says:  It depends on the man's taste. But in general, if a man thinks a woman is pretty, then race doesn't matter. Tat adds: I've seen a lot of couples composed of black women and German men. Just be confident.

6. What's it like to be married to a German man?

Again, I can only speak to my situation, but I LOVE being married to my German guy. Sure, we have our culture clashes sometimes, like when CPT (colored people time) runs in to DPT (Deutsch people time, which is the opposite of CPT), but we love our life. I have noticed that German guys seem to be a bit more egalitarian than American men (I see WAY more dads pushing strollers and doing daycare pickups here than I did in America). They're also good dressers. Actually, I think this topic merits its own post! Look for it down the road.

7. What's it like to raise a child in Germany?

In some ways, it's very different from in America. For example, childcare is more affordable but less abundant. There's also a weaker focus on pre-K education, but a stronger emphasis on foreign language learning.  Healthcare is definitely more accessible. There are playgrounds everwhere and lots of green spaces for running around. Plus, even though Germans work hard, they also take plenty of time to enjoy life, which can translate to more time with your family.

 

So that's what I've got! Do you have a question I didn't answer? Some information to add? Do you disagree with something I've said? By all means, leave a comment! UPDATE: And if you're a black, Arabic, Asian, or ANY minority who grew up in Germany, PLEASE leave a comment! I understand that your experience will be quite different from mine, and I think it is very important to hear your voices in this discussion!

 

23 thoughts on “are there black people in germany? and other questions you were afraid to ask

      1. Cassandra

        Dear Tatiana,
        I so love this photo and would like to use it for a presentation that I am doing on this subject in Berlin. May I have your permission to use it for my presentation and will definitely include you as the holder of the rights to this photo.
        Would that be ok?

        Thanks!!

        Reply
  1. ahhhh! thank you so much for this post! ! i just moved to hannover and my dad has been very worried. he asked that very question of 'are there any black people IN german?' and 'what about the racism?' (because racism doesn't exist in north america...?) but now i shall send him this and hopefully ease his mind!

    (so happy to have stumbled across your blog! i am enjoying immensely!)

    Reply
    1. Post author

      Yay! Yes, tell your dad that you'll be just fine. You're just down the road from me (I'm from the American South, so anything nearby is "down the road."), and I've found things to be pretty good. I'm so glad you're enjoying my blog. I just spent a good 10 min nodding along and laughing at your grocery store post (so. much. sausage!). The next store you should try out is Real. I've found real vanilla extract there, as well as Arm and Hammer baking soda (but no proper baking powder). I get my "it'll do" syrup from Edeka. :) Hope you're settling in well!

      Reply
      1. gah! how i did i miss your reply?! oh, faulty internet. i will blame you...

        thanks for the tip about vanilla extract. haha i definitely have some of the edeka "it'll do" syrup at hand, too! settling in... it's getting there. i think once i'm not so shy with speaking german it will be a lot better. schritt für schritt! really though, other than the language thing, i'm enjoying germany quite well so far, thanks!

        and congrats on making the best english blog on the local! hoorah!

        Reply
  2. Well put together girl. I witnessed some racism here in Hamburg myself. I was walking down the street and some little kids yelled nigga at me....they must have been 8 - 10yrs old. from their tone, u could hear that they were serious and i sincerely believe they got that from an adult cos they were just too young to be racist. but i simply didnt respond to them.

    but overall i must say Germany is not racist. I dont get stared at here in Hamburg. Main issue for me here is that the people dont talk to you unless its the weekend and they are drunk. mostly the women.

    We have alot of afro shops/saloons/barber shops here in hamburg, so alot of you ladies wont have any problem finding on. u can check out http://www.nanakay.com he is a hair salon here in hamburg. dont have soul food restaurants here in hamburg but alot of african restaurants tho. check out http://tropicalpoint.de/ food is delicious...lol...

    please checkout http://www.topafric.com. it is a website i designed and we try to cater to africans/african americans as best we can.... thanks and hope to hear from u. btw i saw your blog listed on thelocal.de. good job.

    Reply
    1. Post author

      Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your experiences! I think your website is great and I'll be adding it to my feed reader.

      I visited Hamburg in 2012 and loved it. There is a street there with a lot of afro shops, but by the time we got there (late Saturday afternoon) most of them were closed. I was so disappointed! But I did notice that there were lots of people from different cultures there, and lots of black folks! I can't wait to go back. Maybe then we can meet up!

      Reply
      1. Oh thank you so much for responding to my comment. Its not easy to get the author of a blog to respond cos I know how busy they are...I feel so special. so sorry to hear that the afro shops were closed by the time u got here. but next time simply visit chez-charly afro shop @ wandsbekker chausse 20 (www.chez-charly.de It is currently under construction but should be up in 2weeks) he is normally open till 9pm daily. Yeah whenever u come to hamburg, u can come to our radio station (Topafric Radio) and i will make sure someone interviews that day on air....lol... Topafric radio is located @ Wandsbeker Chaussee 15
        22098 Hamburg, Germany
        and yes we next door to chez-charly.....lol.....
        There are lots of different cultures here in Hamburg. Ghanaians are the majority when it comes to afro commuity. but there are ivorians, jamaicans, Democratic republic of Congo, Nigerians, Togolesse, S.africans, Kenyans, Tanzanians, Liberians,...do u really want me to mention all of them?...hahahahaha.....thanks for responding and i look forward to reading more of your blogs

        Reply
  3. Hi Tatiana,

    Found your blog from thelocal.de and it looks great. Interesting perspective and beautiful photos. When I saw the "Guten Tag, y’all!" I had to comment. I have been in Germany for about 4 years coming from growing up in Atlanta all my life. =D

    Wanted to say two things about the article.

    1) I studied and still live on the Eastern Side of Germany. When I studied in Leipzig I had an very outgoing friend/classmate from Tanzania. Everything was always fine in the day but she felt very uncomfortable leaving the library after midnight when we had late study sessions. (I would not like to walk home in Atlanta after midnight either haha) Maybe it is different on the western side of Germany but I think there are a bunch of jerks here that will mess with anyone they can and a young black woman walking alone at night might make an appealing target.

    2) I totally understand about the child care (Kindergarten) being more affordable but less abundant. We started looking for a Kindergarten while my wife was still pregnant (Daughter is now 5 months) and have not found anything closer than something on the other side of the city. If we want a spot in some of the closer schools we can be put on a list for 2-0-1-7!

    Anyways, glad I saw your blog and will bookmark it to check out in the future.

    Roland

    Reply
    1. Post author

      Well hi my I-85 neighbor! It's so nice to meet Southerners here. :)

      Thank you so much for sharing your perspective! I haven't spent as much time in East Germany, so I'm very happy that my readers can hear from someone who has lived there. I'm also happy to hear that Leipzig is safe in the daytime; I'm a literature nerd, so I'd really like to see Leipzig one day.

      And childcare...sigh. 2017? Bless your heart! Our Kindergarten is also on the other side of town, because the one's close to us are full. Lucky for me that's only a 10-min drive. :) I'll definitely be bookmarking your site as well! The news junkie in me refuses to go away. Thank you again for stopping by!

      Reply
  4. Hello ma'am! Great post! Your post triggered something. I've been wondering on and off again about Black Germans in the late 30's and early 40's. Were there any? If so, have you come across any information/documents/books on them in the time of the Holocaust? Anywho...

    Reply
  5. I found your blog today after participating in the #WOCTT chat and I'm SO glad that I found this post. I'm a New Yorker currently planning to just pack it up & move. I was definitely considering staying in Berlin for a while and some of the questions you answered were definitely ones I was concerned about.

    I've also heard Germans are huge hip hop fans, can you confirm or deny this?

    Reply
    1. Post author

      YAY for #WOCTT! I've connected with some of the coolest people through it. I say go for it. Nicole (NicoleistheNewBlack.com) has great Berlin-specific info on her blog, so that can help you even more. The majority of Germans in my neck of the woods seem to be more into pop and house-y/techno music, but I CAN say that I was surprised by my husband's huge collection of gangsta rap. :)

      Reply
  6. cristal

    I am so glad I found this blog. I am going to Bonn, Germany in may for one month, but I have no clue what to expect. My hair is natural and I didn't know if I should bring majority of my products or find a shop there. I am not sure how the weather will be or what to pack. I am also afraid that my host family will not be very welcoming because I'm black. I'm just so worried.

    Reply
    1. I must say,happy to see a blog especially for blacks in Germany.my husband is German and I am African.still grasping the language and communication is difficult.we live half the time in Africa and other half in Germany,close to Bremen.looking forward to reading about all your experiences.

      Reply

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