There was a full house at yesterday’s (29 April) exclusive preview of the “Schwarz Rot Gold” (black, red and gold) online series held in the Federal Foreign Office's Visitor Centre in cooperation with the association DeutschPlus e.V. 130 guests had come to enjoy a German evening including pretzels and apple juice. Typically German?
In “Schwarz Rot Gold”, filmmaker Jermain Raffington travels through Germany to speak to ten successful black Germans about the past, present and future of identity and racism in Germany. In his series of portraits of strong and humorous personalities with very different life stories he shows that social reality in Germany has long since outgrown the cliché of “the Germans” as a homogeneous group.
Take, for instance, Theodor Wonja Michael, a former officer of the Federal Intelligence Service and actor, or Marie Nejar, a former nurse and singer – both survivors of the Nazi period. Or Patrick Mushatsi-Kareba, manager at a digital music provider, or radio and TV presenter Hadnet Tesfai. They and the other subjects of the series tell their impressive and surprising life stories, give accounts of their experiences, good and bad, in Germany and each draw their personal conclusion: “I am German.”
Self‑confident expression of their German identity
With this positive and self‑confident expression of their German identity they also make a commitment to a society that hasn't always made things easy for them and thus they have undoubtedly set real examples for others to follow. They are role models – not only for black Germans.
This powerful charisma played over into the ensuing discussion with the filmmakers and some of their protagonists. Many of the viewers felt encouraged by the film. It was important not to let oneself be reduced to the role of an “expert on racism”, one of them said. At the same time, they were keen to see greater natural acceptance on the part of the majority population.
This greater natural acceptance of people with obviously different ethnic backgrounds is something the Federal Foreign Office is also striving for. Many staff members have personal experience of these issues. They all know the feeling of being, or being seen as, a stranger and many live in intercultural families. Thus this documentary series is a useful tool to convey how colourful and diverse Germany has become – and that this diversity makes us strong.
Incidentally, the films shown yesterday can be watched online as of today at www.schwarzrotgold.tv ... and a second season is in the making. We are very much looking forward to it!