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Racism in Germany: Arabella Kiesbauer and me


Jens Lehmann's "Quotenschwarzer" failure reveals a bigger problem: Those who do not look archetypically German are only treated fairly in this country if it is worthwhile for the majority society.

Enlarge image

Arabella Kiesbauer 1994: Idol of my youth

Photo: teutopress / imago images

At the beginning of my "Was mit Medien" degree, I also completed quite a few meaningless "Was mit Medien" jobs at the Was mit Medien "location in Munich.

The good thing was: I was too insignificant to be chased away during confidential conversations, which is why I overheard what "What about media" men were throwing at each other while I was allowed to file paper.

It was the time when Arabella Kiesbauer's Talk was just drawing to a close.

Samira El Ouassil

Photo: Stefan Klüter

Born in Munich in 1984, is an actress and author. In 2016 her book “The 100 most important things” (with Timon Kaleyta and Martin Schlesinger) was published by Hatje Cantz Verlag. In 2009 she was candidate for chancellor of the »party«, which at that time was not allowed to vote in the federal elections. She was recently awarded the Bert Donnepp ​​Prize for media journalism for her media critical column »Wochenschau« (

In one of these conversations, two men were shuffling pictures of new "TV faces" like a football quartet.

It was about castings, externally rumored progressiveness, private broadcaster aesthetics.

But also about being the one who discovers the next talent and makes it great.

And then the taller of the two said: "We had a quota chat on TV with Arabella, but now we can start again." "Quota chat." I had to think of the expression a lot since then.

It sounds like the most embarrassing word in the world to this day, with its Teutonic, cheeky appraisal and that shot of pseudo-casual fun society.

The self-image of an entire (media) apparatus is condensed and preserved in it.

So even if you looked different, you could be loved by the system.

Foolishly, I felt offended on behalf of the presenter because Arabella was my idol in my youth.

As a child of the heyday of the Daily Talks, I generally had a glorified relationship with moderators, whom I read in my naive perception of Germany as foreigners: Minh-Khai Phan-Thi (Hugo!), Mola Adebisi (Viva!) , Nazan Eckes (RTL 2 News!).

I made upward comparisons with them, they were evidence of the possibility of social advancement.

So even if you looked different, you could be loved by the system because it clearly recognized charisma, talent and competence.

A country where Ricky Harris has his own Sat.1 talk show cannot be racist.

Profitability instead of fairness

However, the word "Quotschwatte" suddenly made my naive fairytale perception clear to me.

The non-archetypal German is not embraced out of fairness, but pressed against itself out of profitability.

As long as it sells well and is not threatening.

But of course that's only half the story and I'm falling into the racist trap myself: Arabella Kiesbauer was of course a competent moderator who conducted interviews not only in German, but also in Spanish, so impressive that as a child I was first and foremost did not want to be a moderator, but a Spaniard.

In 2021, words like "Quotschwatte" will apparently still be in some vocabulary.

For example, in the former national goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, who sent a message to exactly the person due to a Freudian consignor,


wanted to speak he actually and not


, the former player and Sky football experts Dennis Aogo.

In this it says: "Is Dennis actually your quota black?"

One of the stupidest excuses of the last time followed via Twitter: »In a private message from my cell phone to Dennis Aogo, an impression was created for which I apologized in conversation with Dennis.

As a former national player, he is very knowledgeable and has a great presence and brings a quota to Sky. "

What a rhetorical parade!

Already a classic of the

non-apology apologies

, a world-class non-apology, with which Lehmann did not ask for forgiveness for what he had written, but only for the impression that was - of course wrongly - made on the other person.

Speaking of apology: Lehmann explains that he apologized in the conversation, but obviously doesn't think it necessary to repeat it publicly, he just informs the public about his offline speech act.

Accordingly, the tweet in and of itself is not an excuse.

And then comes the part that sounds like he's been beaten with perfumed shoelaces.

He praises the competence and presence of the offended by him and with his last word sinks the own goal with a backflip in the net.

With the twisting of his original statement that Aogo would bring the station quota, he not only tries to reinforce his claim that he meant the "quota blacker" differently - in order to prove himself right - he also contradicts his apology, which is none was.

more on the subject

Racist statement by ex-national goalkeeper Jens Lehmann: Unsustainable by Jan Göbel and Jörn Meyn

And let's just assume, for fun, that Lehmann's reading of his own foul would be correct, that is, that he did not mean the "quota black" in the sense of a quota, but a black person who gives quota on television - well, even that would be a creepy narrative as it exoticizes Aogo;

it is reduced to the black body who procures the ratings for the broadcaster.

An assertion that this is meant positively speaks of the same jovial post-colonial patronage as the two "What about the media" men at the beginning of the text.

Racism is often thought of as a weakness of character, as an attitude that some have and others do not, as an emotion of rejection.

But racism is a social practice, an active act.

The sociologists Karen Fields and Barbara Fields explain in their book "Racecraft" that racism is an act and a reason for acting in one. And it is precisely this at the same time that is used as a mental abbreviation for self-relief: it transforms racism, i.e. something that the discriminator


, into skin color, i.e. something that the discriminated person


. With the second spin, the sentence "The person was devalued because of their skin color" makes sense, but it is wrong: the person was devalued because of racism.

If you understand this, it may become even clearer how humiliating the word "quota blacker" is.

Since the entire biography and social existence of a three-dimensional person is wiped away, he is reduced to a marginalization.

In one fell swoop, it denies a person everything they have achieved and every qualification, making their right to be where they are now the gracious act of a majority society.

What do you think?

Can I only write this column here because SPIEGEL needed a quota Samira from the external columnists?

In this case, I should perhaps consider doing further training to become a Spanish woman.

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2021-05-07

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