Sunday, April 15, 2007

German military under scrutiny for racism

What an interesting article on MSN today. The gist of it is that a German boot camp instructor was teaching machine gun use by urging the cadets to imagine they're shooting at African Americans in the Bronx. Or, as the article quotes:

The clip shows an instructor and a soldier in camouflage uniforms in a forest.
The instructor tells the soldier, “You are in the Bronx. A black van is stopping
in front of you. Three African-Americans are getting out and they are insulting
your mother in the worst ways. ... Act.”
The soldier fires his machine gun
several times and yells an obscenity several times in English. The instructor
then tells the soldier to curse even louder.


Now if you've been to Germany recently you know (and if you haven't let me save you the trouble of investigating) that there is a lot of racism there, some of which is below the surface. I can certainly see this kind of thing occurring, although I think that the links with the soldiers posing with skulls in Afghanistan and some abuses in training facilites is a bit of a stretch. Honestly... soldiering often dehumanizes people, especially in testy situations, and most especially in conscript armies such as the Bundeswier.

But the curious part of this article is the internationality of it. There are people from the Bronx wanting a formal apology from the German military. Al Sharpton has even hopped on the issue saying that the German military is "depicting blacks as target practice" and therefore "I think this is an incredibly racist kind of insult to African-Americans and it speaks to the kind of institutional racism that people think we are hallucinating about."

Now of course, this is a stretch on REv. Sharpton's part. Most people don't talk about racism in Germany on any regular basis. People who think Sharpton is making things up are those who are addressing primarily his thought that there is massive institutional racism in the US, which is a view that I also do not hold. I seriously doubt that this kind of thing is happening at Fort Bragg. Besides, giving American army recruits an order to shoot at black people from the Bronx is libel to cause a 50/50 gun battle among the boot camp trainees and instructors. My guess is that African-Americans from the Bronx are well represented in our armed forces, likely out of proportion to their numbers.

2 Comments:

Blogger Yara said...

You have to wonder how much Hollywood movies are having an effect on these German military... I mean, if he had said kill the Turk or the Arab... I would understand in view of the high number of Turks and Arabs over there that he can identify with... and in view of the extreme racism towards these immigrant communities...

But Black van, black guys from the Bronx, cursing you MOTHER????

Hmmm.... I wonder where he got that scenario.....

Anyhow, glad you found me here:) Didn't know you were keeping an online journal hon'!

Kisses from the politically correct city!

4:50 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Hey Ray!

I do remember you- I hope everything's going well. And thanks for your thoughts and your axios! Mike is taking to his new deacon role quite naturally and enjoyably, which is just very ironic. But I am so glad and not all that surprised.

I like your thoughts about the Don Imus thing- I hadn't thought about that double standard, but it is pretty obvious. Have you heard Chris Rock's standup where he talks about the misogyny in rap lyrics? Hilarious. Crude, of course, but hilarious.

Well, that will be great if you're at Fordham too next year! It seems like a great school. Are you in the NY area? We'll have to all get together sometime. Take care- I'll add a link to your blog on my site and make sure to check it!

12:43 PM  

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