My husband and I will be traveling to Germany in March. Am a little worried for our safety because we are black. Am worried about the hate groups. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone!!!
The hate groups are a tiny minority of youth gangs, mostly located in the north and east. And their targets are Turkish immigrants, not American tourists. If you even run into any, they'll know you're a tourist and they won't give you a second look. Now, don't expect people to be immediately friendly and welcoming, because Germans generally are pretty reserved around strangers. But random hostility (like the type I regularly experience from strangers when I return to visit family in the Philadelphia region) is rare.
Because the area where I live hosted US military communities for over 60 years, the region has a sizable community of military and government retirees, of all races. Even now that the bases have closed, this is still their home, and most that I have met have no plans to ever move back to the US. I can't imagine they would continue to live in a community where they felt unsafe.
Im not black but i play one on tv. Just joking. but im non white and i wont say i know whats it like to walk in your moccasins for a mile either.
ive been to several european countries in the last 3 years and so far, all ive got have been looks and its usually in unexpected areas. I just exercise common sense and hope i dont screw up.
I feel more safe outside of the USA than i do in the USA which is a sad statement and im sure there are exceptions.
about the biggest thing you have to worry about are the scammers and pickpockets that are more prevalent overthere than in the USA.
The world gets smaller every day with American television, CNN and the internet available everywhere.
Traveling in Europe has gotten so much easier over the years, with the Euro as a currency and the ease of crossing borders.
Just plan your trip and don't worry about anything. You'll do just fine.
Just to add another note of encouragement - - any negativity you might experience is more likely to be because you're an American than because you're black. We were in Germany for two weeks in October, and I was amazed at how friendly people were. Of course, we were mostly in Berlin, the most cosmopolitan section. We (white folks) had one incident. An old, very drunk, very disheveled man in a train station began giving the Nazi salute and yelling that Hitler was right. I'm not even sure it was directed at us, as he mostly seemed to be addressing the air. Anyway, Turks and Roma seem to be the current favorite targets for the neo-Nazis.
Its surprising you were welcomed so warmly.
I was chatting with a Berliner in Oslo and she told me the opposite. i guess everyone will have a different experience.
no matter though since i will go anyway.
I asked that question to someone who lives in Germany, and his reply mirrored my own impressions. To put it succinctly, you shouldn't have any problems, as Germany has somewhat of a multi-cultural society. However there's always a slight possibility that one could encounter some hotheads. The bottom line is that you should go to Germany as you'll probably have a nice holiday.
"all ive got have been looks"
Allow me to comment on "the look" or as some call it, "the German stare". As much as I enjoy living in Germany and most of the culture, "the staring frown" is one of those German habits that... well, let's just say it doesn't help them shed their stereotype of being icy and unfriendly. It's mostly a habit of the older generations. The intention isn't hostile and it isn't necessarily racially based (I'm white, and I sometimes find myself on the receiving end). It's simply because you're someone they don't know or recognize and they want to observe your intentions. Or, it could be that you're speaking too loud in a public space (yes, Americans sometimes forget to turn down the volume). Almost never does it mean "I disapprove of who you are, get out of my country!" Particularly for someone they probably know at first glance is a tourist.
A black Army civilian I knew in Heidelberg called Germany "black man's paradise." To be honest he meant that it was a lot easier for black guys to date white women in Germany than in the U.S. Just sayin', I never heard of the black folks in the military community facing any kind of prejudice from Germans.
Germany is safe. Also, around here, we greet total strangers with a genuine smile, wave and "howdy." Such friendliness doesn't occur naturally in Germany in my experiences, so don't take non-responses personally. Once the ice is fully broken, they are very welcoming. Surely, you'll have a wonderful time.
Any problems you may have will be the result of your own attitude and not of your skin color. Enjoy yourself, realize that you aren't in the good ole US, and have a great trip!