Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Down with racism!

So, today I taught a class on racism. I have to say that it was the funniest class I've had so far.

I told them a bit about race issues in America, then we got to the fun part: a roleplay! Each group had a racist person and a minority of some sort and so forth and they were given situations to write a dialogue for (for example, someone starts working at an all-white company and his one coworker is a racist pig, etc.). It was very amusing. Some of them got...extremely into it.

See, Germans have this one problem with English. They don't seem to understand the concept of swear words, or offensive words. I suppose it's because the strongest word they've got in German is verdammt, and everyone uses that, from little kids to grandmothers to priests. They just don't really have any "bad" words. As a result, they don't seem to understand that profanity really isn't acceptable in most social circumstances in English. That can be quite entertaining at times.

During the time they worked on their roleplays, Enrico and I walked around the room helping them with things. It was funny listening to him on the other side of the room say "No, no, you should be louder. Call him lazy and stupid! You should use n***** if you want to be a good racist." And the group critiques of the roleplays were also entertaining - "You were not a very convincing racist, Felix. That wasn't discrimination at all!" "Georg, you make a much better racist." Etc.

The result? Well, suffice it to say that there's very little funnier than listening to a pair of thick German accents going "Get the f*** out of my country, you ass-n*****!" and "You are a piece of s*** racist f***er who should go to jail!"

I gave them all Mark 1 (A+) for enthusiasm.

PS - Lest you think my job is teaching Germans how to be good racists, rest assured that there were anti-racists in each group too. Tolerance just isn't funny, though, so I didn't write about it.

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