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Attitudes toward German citizenship changing

The Local · 3 Aug 2011, 12:28

Published: 03 Aug 2011 12:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Aug 2011 12:28 GMT+02:00

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For its findings published this week, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) explored whether people view immigrants as being really German once they naturalize and gain citizenship.

“The criterion of German ancestry in recent years have become less important, while other criteria such as mastering the German language and adapting to the German lifestyle have won weight nationwide,” said the study.

The study, which looked at opinions in eastern and western Germany in 1996 and 2006, showed a marked change in people's perceptions of what it means to be a German.

For example, in 1996, 12 percent of westerners and 17 percent of easterners, considered ethnic criteria decisive in defining whether someone was really German. By 2006, those figures had dropped to four and three percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, citizens now see adapting to the country’s lifestyle as now being an important factor in deciding whether immigrants can be considered German or not.

About 57 percent of those surveyed in western Germany and 54 percent in eastern Germany said this was important in 2006, which is about three times as high as ten years before. Roughly 80 percent of Germans believed that Germany was a land open to immigrants in 2006.

And although xenophobia declined during the same period, the researchers said this was not linked to changing attitudes about what made a person German.

“In contradiction to what one might expect, the supporters of civil-cultural citizenship criteria are almost as frequently strongly xenophobic as the supporters of the traditional citizenship criteria,” said Ingrid Tucci, one of the study’s authors.

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But despite stereotypes to the contrary, most Germans aren’t as worried about immigrants as commonly thought. Data from 2009 show only a quarter of Germans are “very worried” about immigration issues and the people who are most concerned are in simple or routine jobs, according to the researchers.

The study suggested that government policies, which made it easier for foreigners to gain German citizenship, have helped moderate the populace’s attitudes toward immigrants over the years.

The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:30 August 3, 2011 by lunchbreak
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
12:40 August 3, 2011 by Talonx
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12:56 August 3, 2011 by HistoryProffessor
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14:01 August 3, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ HistoryProffessor

Apparently you do not have much in common with history, less what you choose as username. You are clearly Islamophob and try to spread false information.

"Has not every conflict in the last 20 years some how stem from Islam?" - The clear answer is no. Example: the Troubles (the conflict in Northern Ireland).

"where islam grows technology and standard of living actually declines." - Another clear no. Example: Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, has an economy that grew by an average of over 7% between 1989 and 1997. More than 30 million cell phones are sold in Indonesia each year, and 27 percent of them are local brands.

Coming back to the subject of the article, my opinion is that knowledge of the language and a good professional track in the country are the most important criteria for German citizenship.
14:09 August 3, 2011 by harcourt

I think your last para. goes for any country.
14:13 August 3, 2011 by oldWine
I am a new immigrant in Germany. Everyday life I face many discriminations specially by the pople with less education.

Like yesterday I went to Real Market to buy some groceries, the lady in the counter was giving chocolates to every body. I noticed that while standing in the queue. But after paying my bills she did not even ask if I would like to have that chocolate or not.

I wish I could have asked is the chocolate ( the comapny was giving for free as and Advertisement/publicity) only for white Germans. As me coming from India so am brown. This is just an example where some people have mean mindness in Germany.

I have no clue how to wipe out this racist beahavior and negative behavior towards new immigrants. I choosed this country my home, but some people do force me to feel like an alien. But sad thing is I am paying alot of taxes with that some number of Arbeitlosen can survive. :(...thinking of migranting to another country and leave this mean minded country.
14:33 August 3, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ oldWine

So why did you not ask? It is not a difficult question so I am sure language was not a barrier. You not getting the chocolate might have to do with something else then your skin colour or your citizenship.

It would be great if all immigrants would be discriminated only by not getting a free chocolate. I am pretty sure there are some serious cases, but I heard of none related to getting the German citizenship.
14:33 August 3, 2011 by ATM
Hi OldWine:

As a Black American: I have had the same experience several times while living in Germany. Of course that changes sometimes when they find out who I am or when one of the other workers great me or when the restaurant owner welcomes me. It should not be that way but it happens. On the other hand in some situations I have been treated well. Sometimes you must just engage the people. In your case you might have just said can I have a sample please. Just a suggestion
14:44 August 3, 2011 by Asgarli
@ATM, oldWine probably expects US-style friendliness, which you will just not get here. When I came myself to this country, I was expecting it to be pretty welcoming and friendly society, closer to american one, and later found out that this is simply not the case. Not even close.

I just don't get what is the issue with the German language? I mean if I can find a high-skill work, pay taxes and live here speaking English, why should that hinder me getting German citizenship? That is just ridiculous... Like does US try to teach English to all of its Spanish-speaking population?
14:48 August 3, 2011 by storymann
Chris Rea,, I was in the process of writing pretty much the same.

@ oldWine I am sure there are cases of discrimination in Berlin but I do not believe it to be a serious problem ,at least in my 25 years here I have not seen it more as the exception rather than the rule.

You should not be judgmental over not being asked if you want a chocolate.
14:57 August 3, 2011 by marimay
Um, I think it is pretty obvious the store had the cashier hand them out to people without them having to ask. I see it happening pretty often at Real stores. Why should OldWine have to ask?
15:07 August 3, 2011 by oldWine
@ ChrisRea : this happens every now and then ( say 90 percent of time) so you expect to ask for this and that for evrything? If she can give three guys free chocolates why she did not ask me offering one? And you are telling me to ask for this and that.

Asking them and looking like poor auslander make feel sh*t. So I did not.

Actually I can add something more why I went to the Real Market is because to make a passport size photograph of me which I will be using to apply for a immigration to another English speaking country.

But before going to the Automat. I went to the local fotostudio where an old lady seats. I called her in the morning and took appointment to make photographs in the evening after office. Believe me or not I was really pissed off, walking there ( as I don't have a car) for 30 minutes after office when I reached there. She seemed to be shocked, and said the camera just got broken. It could be the camera is really broken but still hard to believe the camera that was working in the morning, did it really got broken in the evening? How strange is not it. I am in my mid 30s..I don't want my child to be grown up as a German with a treatment as if he is second categorized (2nd class citizen).

Many Germans say that Foreigners are not integrating. I will ask them if they look on the mirror and ask if they ever tried to understand the pain of a foreigner living in this country.

I wished I have never come to this country.Really make me upset.
15:22 August 3, 2011 by venkyfra
@oldwine, yes its true things are not looking friendly.

May be the person distributing choc thought if u wud be offended by taking the choclate. Many choc have concentrated animal fat(which is not butter) which is sort of no-go to many Indians(atleast Vegetarians).

On many occasion I spoke to those distributing and they told me that they just arent sure if someone is allowed to eat it. They dont want to offend you in any ways. Well in my case it was alcohol. She was thinking that I'm probably a muslim & my religion is prohibiting me from drinking alcohol.

I'm not suggesting that everyone is sweet & has noble thoughts. But there is a room for it. So try to chill..

Dont compare one country to other. It cant be same, cant even remotely be.

Just take it cool & have fun..
15:31 August 3, 2011 by harcourt
Marimay #11

I was just about to say the same. If Germans have to be reminded to be fair and impartial then st*ff them !!
15:41 August 3, 2011 by catjones
If I were an educated professional (regardless of color/religion) willing to work and immigrate anywhere in the world, Germany would not be high on my list. Why put up with the attitudes?

Consequently, those who do immigrate to DL are generally (generally) less educated, less skilled and less likely to integrate. Germany contributes to its own immigrant problems.
15:48 August 3, 2011 by freechoice
yeah we are different because we spoke different languages. we are different because we look different or have different culture.

fundamentally, we are the same. take for example our blood.

we have flormarkt here, thousands miles away there is similar flea market happening too.

we watch TV here, thousands miles away there are people watching TV too.

so if you look closely. there is not much different between one culture from another. except teeny weeny stuffs like language of course.
16:09 August 3, 2011 by LancashireLad
Hello Oldwine,

I am sorry to hear of your experiences. I am an immigrant myself but being English my "foreign" status is less immediately obvious. However, some of what you are experiencing is not necessarily due to your colour or descent, more just what Germans do. Example: You hold a door open for someone so it doesn't slam in their face. Said person just walks through, doesn't even look at you, let alone say anything, and also does not attempt to take the door from you. They are not reacting to your colour - they are just doing what they would do to anybody.

Sadly what must be difficult for you is to filter out general German "one for me and all for me" behaviour, and real racism.

However, I hope wherever you do settle you will be happy.
16:22 August 3, 2011 by Eric D
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16:42 August 3, 2011 by TheCrownPrince
Times when you had to be blond and blue-eyed or present an ancestry dating back to the 15Th century to be considered a real German are obviously over, but one certainly should not expect to think that by gaining German citizenship you ¦quot;magically¦quot; adapt to German society. One can¦#39;t deny that every culture has some basic traits, and the German culture is no exception there; take for example a tendency for bluntness, directness, harshness and aloofness in social interaction which is certainly something most non-Germans are not used to. It takes centuries to form a society, its ¦quot;common ground¦quot; and how the people in this society interact, so don¦#39;t go anywhere - Germany or Tonga ­ and expect it to be ¦quot;like home¦quot; there. So if foreigners want to gain German citizenship most Germans expect them to behave (and think) like educated (western) Europeans do in general and to bring some affinity for the way things are done in Germany in particular. If that is not the case, why would somebody like to gain German citizenship in the first place?
16:48 August 3, 2011 by Gretl
@oldWine - I come from the Pacific NW. If you are OK with cooler weather, there is a large Indian community in British Columbia, Canada. In general, the west coast of the United States (and I assume Canada) have very little discrimination and you would feel more at home. Good luck in your journey!
16:57 August 3, 2011 by michael4096
I'm with LancashireLad

Germans are German. Don't expect them to suddenly become whatever you feel is normal in your environment. Integrate - thats the buzz word, isn't it.

If you come from a 'service oriented' culture - customer is king and therefore we expect bowing, scraping, long tongues and plastic smiles - think again, you'll be disappointed and apt to blame it on racism, xenophobia or just bad temper.

Here is a suggestion - forget all you learned about customers and kings and try approaching people with a smile, a sense of equality and a true desire to work together as equals to solve a problem and I'll bet all your colour, race and other problems disappear. It certainly works for all the people close to me that should, but do not, suffer the problems as described.
18:07 August 3, 2011 by Talonx
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:33 August 3, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
Germany actually has a very hospitalble and understanding attitude - I have never had a bad experience with people here, and don't know what some of you are talking about when you say it's "not a friendly society".

I had almost no money when I got my flat in Berlin, and the neighbors gave me a fridge (they saw me putting my milk on the window sill during winter), they helped me fill out my job applications, and brought me samples of their home-cooked meals. Without that generosity from my neighbors, I would have had a hard time integrating.

I think Germany is one of the best countries in the world to live in, all things considered. They treat everyone with respect, immigrant or not (unless you act like a fool).
19:01 August 3, 2011 by timo99
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19:14 August 3, 2011 by Lachner
I am a foreigner temporarily living in Germany and I must say that I am extremely pleased to be here and will be extremely sad when I have to return back home. The cultural differences between my home country in Latin America and Germany are extreme, but in the end the Germans are extremely kind, friendly, hospitable and understanding. At first it was very tough for me to integrate to Germany, since I spoke no German, the Germans are very conservative and closed with regards to their private lives, they are not very open to strangers, the weather is harsh and they take everything very seriously. Nonetheless, I made the effort to learn the language, I learned the local customs and social etiquette and now I feel at home and have lots of really good German friends. I have never been discriminated or been felt undeserving to be here. Granted, I have gotten a few weird looks while in Germany, but I'm 6'2, 220 lbs, dark skinned and have brown eyes and hair, so I obviously look foreign and stand out among a crowd. Nonetheless, I pay no attention to them since they could be for a bunch of other reasons besides racism, and honestly, I could care less. I think of myself highly and I don't need anyone's approval. I think the exact same thing would happen if a German entered a bar in Nigeria or an American enters a Mosque in Saudi Arabia. People would stare at them just because he stands out among the crowd and not because they think he is scum or racially inferior. That is just how humans are.

Getting to know Germans and becoming friends is tough, but once you are there, you have made friends for life. Plus, life in Germany is extremely safe, calm, quiet and a perfect place to study and work. If you don't like it, find a place that suits your needs, but don't come here to tell the locals how they should be doing things. Clearly, they are doing things right since they are the 5th most powerful economy in the World, the economic powerhouse and leader of Europe and a Global leader in terms of technology, science, medicine, IT and innovation.

Vielen Dank Deutschland!!! Ich liebe dich!!!
19:35 August 3, 2011 by Asgarli
@Lachner, they are not doing certain things right, since they complain so much about "integration problem".

@TheCrownPrince, you would want German citizenship because first of all, it gives you many rights that other 3rd world countries don't give you. The rights which would be useful not only in Germany, but all around the world (EU at most). Not everyone is born in a developed country. Now when the question comes whether you deserve it - maybe more attention should be paid to things like education and income, rather than German language and "German values", whatever they are. Maybe people that come here from 3rd world counties that study and then work deserve citizenship more than fake asylum seekers and Hartz IVs?
20:33 August 3, 2011 by farmon
@ lachner & Jack Kerouac

It sure is good to see a couple of mature comments. I can't believe all the whining from the immigrants. Take some lessons from lachner & Jack and be happy that you are allowed in the greatest country in the world. I'm sure your homelands would never treat Germans as nice as you are treated here.
20:46 August 3, 2011 by marimay
@ farmon

I want what you're smokin'.
20:52 August 3, 2011 by harcourt
LancashireLad #17

Your example of the door "problem" is something that annoys me intensely. Apart from being totally oblivious of their fellow mankind and from our British culture Bl**dy rude, it is also very dangerous when a heavy door of say a department store is allowed to swing back on perhaps an elderly lady. Of course Germans will say "that's the way we are" and they have done so in these columns many times. Unfortunately for Germans, many cultures don't like the way you are. We suffered "the way you are" twice in the last century and had to show you how much we didn't like it !!
21:12 August 3, 2011 by Lachner
@Asgaril - Agreed, but they seem to be doing things a lot better than the United States of America that are on the verge of bankruptcy.
21:31 August 3, 2011 by DinhoPilot

If US go bankrupt how much time you think Germany will last, or for that matter any other country that trades with USA?
21:45 August 3, 2011 by AyaMatsuura
If you don't like the Germans, then leave. I really think it's stupid to go to another country and then complain about the natives. The Germans don't owe you anything and you aren't doing them any favors by moving to Germany.

Being German is very much a racial thing. Sorry, but someone who is Turkish or African or anything else can never really be German.
21:58 August 3, 2011 by GolfAlphaYankee
my experience with Germans is somehow mix :

at work or when I was still an exchange student people were very kind, friendly and open minded. but on the streets and in stores the situation is not that great:

- in the doctor office I noticed that all patients are referred to using HER or FRAU except me. the nurse or the staff call me by my first name and use the DU.

-in supermarket I had cashiers pointing to some expensive items and telling me how much did it cost and if I was sure I want to buy it .

-in one store were I was planing to spend 4000 euro in furnitures for my first flat in Berlin. no one was willing to help and instead lectured me about how I MUST learn German IF I want to stay.

-receptionists and secretaries are specially rude: I get one of two reactions: either they shrug, tell me that they don't speak English and act as if I was begin for money. or they become very agitated there faces turn red, they rush to the phone to ask for someone how speaks English : I tray to say that I am not there to robe you I just need some information but .....
22:28 August 3, 2011 by Asgarli
@Lachner, dont judge US by what you read in the news, better ask numbers from the people that live there.

@AyaMatsuura, @farmon, what did you guys smoke? Is it something legal, cause I wanna try it too :D
23:32 August 3, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, I've been to Germany twice now. And from my own experiences, the majority of the people that you will meet in public, in Germany, are quite similar to most other people in most other countries. There are both unfriendly and kind people in every nation.
23:45 August 3, 2011 by farmon
@ HistoryProffessor & lunchbreak

What are you saying to get your comments kicked off?
00:05 August 4, 2011 by Khalidhameed
@history professor

so called history professor correct ur records its not the islam thats causing the downfall of Muslims its their acts of negligence on part of getting Higher education. The first seven hundred years of Muslim caliphate thousands of Muslims scientist invented things n made theories which was further developed by west. Library of Baghdad was renowned for its unique books and literature once but that was burnt at the time of invasion. You better blame Muslim's negligence not the Islam. Islam asks or u can say commands to learn education
00:13 August 4, 2011 by Lachner
@Asgarli - You want to talk numbers? Here's the only thing you need to know about the US Debt: $14.5 Trillion in Debt. The US Government is desperately trying to pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling in order to avoid default and a downgrade of their AAA Credit Rating. According to financial experts, the United States needs to cut their debt by $4 Trillion in the next 2 years. This reduction is more than the entire debt of Germany which currently stands at $3 Trillion. One does not need to be in the United States to analyze the situation and that things are looking bad over there for the Government and its people. Obviously this crisis would bring serious repercussions to the entire planet, as most financial markets and economies are intertwined in the Global Economy. Therefore, my comment was not geared to wish the worst to the US and its people, but merely to emphasize that the economy and government in Germany has done a very good job in controlling spending and economic expansion. Sure, they have their share of problems with regards to the EU members such as Greece, Ireland and Portugal, but Germany seems to be doing things right with regards to their domestic policies.

I think that in the next 5 - 10 years we will see a shift in power from the United States to China, which actually owns most of the United States' assets. Times are changing!
00:15 August 4, 2011 by Khalidhameed
@history professor

Some people just want to frown without knowing what they are saying..they just always have something to say about every topic and above all they also called themselves professors

About Life and acceptance in Germany I think it all depends on ur thinking ..You negative style of thinking can make u feel odd even in good conditions. Exceptions are there , n u cant eradicate them n u can generalise by counting these exceptions. Just speak german n ppl will treat you as normal person. I second Lachner point that people at times stare not because of the racism but due to different appearance and its natural
02:16 August 4, 2011 by frenky
I m studying here as an international student. As in my course, i have experienced that some German professors(not all) give bad marks or note to international students as compared to german students(not based on intelligence or hardwork )...being German they desire more or what is the reason . i cant figure it out .

I hear this word "integration" and immigrants have problems to integrate with German society.

but are Germans ready for integration..?
02:44 August 4, 2011 by Berber
@ oldWine

I think you did a big mistake you didn t asked the girl who work in real ( the lady in the counter ) because here in germany gilt Meinungsfreiheit which also means that you are free to ask her What Are the Reasons for not being able to have the chocolates or just ask her if she did the Standards with you like she will ask u if you have a payback card and ect bla bla bla ....

well I was too last week in real and I got also some thing for free in the counter and my brother he didn t he was just behind me we were curious why he didn t get any thing like me then we just noticed display a sign gift just if your invoice is more than 20 euro and mine it was over than 20 euros my brother wasn t just for your information I am also a new immigrant in Germany a moroccan african my advice to you don t take every act from a germans or no germans in germany as discrimination actions untill you are sure it s an discrimination then you could just ask about your rights by using a legal methodes otherwise it will be hard for you to live here or some where in europe .
08:47 August 4, 2011 by zeGerman2012
Well I can relate to Oldwine's experience. I totally know how you feel. I have had that "chocolate" experience in various forms already.It is either the lady at the counter greeting and smiling at everyone but you, or somebody handing out flyers in the streets but avoiding you when you walk by. Not that you actually care about these stuff, but you just have to wonder why you were left out. It just makes one feel insecure and excluded.

In my experience, Germans tend to react adversely to race (to some extent ). Race is always a big deal here. It is the first and sometimes the only thing they will consider about a different looking person. Germany would have never let so many immigrants in if it hadn't lost WW2, been occupied, needed labour force for reconstruction. The ethnic German population had to accept immigrants "wider Willen"; that is against will. So they are tolerated but not genuinely accepted as Germans.

Moreover, and this may schock, one should not underestimate the legacy of the National Socialist era. Although racism is rejected by practically all Germany today, the belief in the hierarchy of cultures is still subtly embedded in the German mindset. Also, the way Germans define themselves as an ethnic nation was inherited from this period and still persists. I doubt they will ever accept the idea of a multiethnic German nationality as France, Britain, Canada or the US. And quite frankly I don't think they have to.

Now what is virtue should be praised and vice should always be condemned. Don't ask immigrants from poor countries to be happy with intolerance here because they are running away from poverty war or oppression. It is unethical by all standards. I have come to realize that there is a basic lack of humanity in such intolerant behavior. In many other countries I have been to they stare at foreigners but occasionaly smile at them, show interest and curiosity when they realize you come from far away. I worked in the US last year for a big company, and I was surprised to see top level execs speaking english with a heavy foreign accent (among them Germans) and it just didn't matter. You will never see that here.

I am a black African and I have been living in Germany for 10 years. I speak a perfect German and I have earned my engineering degrees with distinctions from two of the bests TUs in this country. I make much more money than the average German. I have made two good German friends (which was not easy by the way), my girlfriend is German and my little daughter too. This probably makes me "integrated" I guess. I have nonetheless decided not to take the German citizenship despite all the benefits it would entail.
09:16 August 4, 2011 by freedom1776
All religions want to increase their membership they do it by: Converting others, by speech, or by birthrate; afterall if one has control over an infant they are psychologically plastic and vulnerable. They can be trained to follow any religion or ideology; therefore have as many children as possible, multiple wives increases the number of "captive converts". All aspects of the members' lives must be controlled. All adults who stray or have other values must be suppressed. The change/transformation comes slowly. One day there is but one way of behavior is accepted, no free press, no free speech, no free travel, no free study. Every aspect of life is controlled. A theocratic dictatorship is established. All members who follow and enforce the rules will be rewarded in the afterlife. Females will be required to wear bee-keeper uniforms and not be permitted to vote or drive a car. They must ask their husbands, fathers, brothers, cousins etc. for permission to go out in public. If public policy in Germany is not changed soon, then all citizens will be forced to live by the values I have stated.
09:21 August 4, 2011 by Bigfoot76
I am immigrating from the US to Germany. I have read the article but of course it is based off of sample groups and may not reflect the actual percentages.

I would like to ask a question for those who are German. If I put aside my former culture for the German culture, I learn the language and use it as my primary language, I work, I take part in cultural events, would you accept me as being German despite being born somewhere else?

I said "If" in my question but the fact is I soon will be taking part in integration courses, I do already take part in events with my German friends, I am learning the history and the language and once I have permission to work, I will have a job. I am even putting together a collection of trachten. I guess that might give away where I am living.

I hope that through my eagerness and work to one day be considered a regular member of society and not draw attention to myself in my deeds, appearance or words.
09:26 August 4, 2011 by HistoryProffessor
Farmon- I made some pretty biast comments against Muslims, which is why I should prolli not type on here when i am irritated at work.

Khalidhameed- I understand its not Islam that truely causes the problems in the world, and its not even necessarily the Muslims. My bone is with "Radical Islam". I know and understand that Islam is by design a peaceful religion which encourges strict what I would call "good behavior"

It is extremely hard to me, to look past this shadow that has been cast by "radical islam" I have been exposed to it in ways the average person has not. I truely believe it is a problem, as is any religion in radical form. In Afghanistan I have met great Muslim men and women in my work over the years. Its just so unfortunate that a few highly educated and well respected people can twist the Koran's words to get who would otherwise be great people to do horrible things. So I apologize if I offended you, believe it or not I am pretty well educated but like any other human I have my bias.
09:45 August 4, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ Bigfoot76

The conditions you have to meet to get German citizenship are:

1) 8 years legal residence in Germany

2) possession of a residence permit or entitlement to residence

3) express commitment to the German Constitution

4) no activities hostile to the Constitution

5) as a rule, ability to support oneself and one’s family without social security or unemployment benefit

6) no serious criminal convictions, minor offences excepted

7) adequate command of the German language

8) give up your US citizenship

If you complete an integration course, you save a year out of those 8. If you stay married to a German for 2 years, then the total number of years needed to reside in Germany is only 3.

If your question was not related to the legal status, but the subjective opinion of Germans, then the article says that roughly 5 out of 6 will consider you German, even if you were not born in Germany and you do not have German parents.
09:55 August 4, 2011 by freedom1776
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:00 August 4, 2011 by Bigfoot76
@ChrisRea. Thank you for the response. The question is related to the subjective opinion of the Germans who are reading this article and not what the article says itself. The numbers from the study may or may not actually reflect what the readers thoughts are on the matter. For instance some readers may have more or even less requirements to consider a foreigner as being German.
10:11 August 4, 2011 by HistoryProffessor
Freedom1776- Thats actually a pretty good analogy. And completely true in theory, assuming that the immigrants are sleeper cells with the desire to rule the world. I mean in the old days governments toppled over and were completely taken over by the methods in which you described.

I think the Eurpeans need to be ever vigilent. Religion can be easily twisted to fuel hatred and violence. France is making a pretty decent move in that direction
10:46 August 4, 2011 by LecteurX
Excuse me @freedom1776 (grrrrrreat moniker, huh?), what exactly did you smoke? What does Norway have to do with the topic? That some fanatic racist murdered 77 people, including almost 70 teenagers (white Norwegians and immigrants' children among them) is the fault of immigration now, I see? My impression is that your views overlap those of this murderous fanatic quite a lot... Are you aware that people with your views murdered 149 men, women and kids in Germany only in the last 20 years? Here's the link: http://www.amadeu-antonio-stiftung.de/eng/the-cura-victims-support-fund/149-murder-victims-of-hate-crimes/

We don't need nor want the "insights" from Fox News dimwits like you who seem to blame every bomb or murder in the world on "Shira" (sic) law, thanks. Leave us alone and go back to have your daily Glenn Beck brainwash, go listen to that idiot who insulted the memory of innocent murdered Norwegian teenagers by calling them "Hitler youth".

@AyaMatsuura, thanks for your disarming honesty. Luckily your outdated views are clearly less and less widespread. I mean, it's just 3-4% of Germans sharing your views now (as of 2006), so really, unless you're going to state some facts backing your claim that "being German is a racial thing", you just deserve to be ignored.

@ChrisRea - I must say I really like your comments on most articles... keep them coming!

@oldWine, Lachner and others - Me too I pretty much "stand out" in a German crowd, with my brown skin, dark curly hair and stuff. However, I can't remember experiencing anything unmistakably "racist" or "xenophobic" after 3 years in Berlin. I think it's also a personality trait of mine - I tend to see the best in people, and if I disapprove of the way someone treats me, usually I think it was just an *rsehole or a jerk, not someone racist. Sometimes I do think, long after the incident happened "oh, maybe that was a case of racism", but it's never clear and my experiences with Germans are overwhelmingly good. I must say I really notice how my French accent never fails to bring the smiles and friendliness I probably wouldn't get otherwise, and it's nice... I agree with Lachner - when you stand out, you get unwanted attention, that's just the way all over the world.
11:08 August 4, 2011 by marimay
It is quite apparent freedom 1776 doesn't know the meaning of the word. Probably one of those poor brainwashed children he spoke of... ;)
12:03 August 4, 2011 by Talonx

I breached none of your terms.

I asked someone if they believed race to be genetic and if they thought it was a bad idea to have immigrants in Germany to "dilute the German population" as that poster had stated.

I then said that if they answered 'yes' to either of those questions they were guilty of racism in the context of their comments.

I finally said they should think about rephrasing what they had said if they did not mean it in a racist fashion but simply accidently used negatively pre-defined words.

Importantly, I said it all just as politely as that.
12:03 August 4, 2011 by LecteurX
Oh thanks for giving me a chance to post a second comment, Marimay. I had missed the 1st one from freedom1776 (#43). The poor guy seems to have slept through the 1st half of 2011, and missed out on the Arab spring I guess. Seems to be unaware of the fact that just ONE muslim country in the world bans driving or voting for women (US-friendly Saudi Arabia), therefore makes it some sort of "general rule" for all muslim countries. Does not seem to be aware that polygamy is not even legal in all muslim countries (it has been banned in Tunisia and Turkey for decades), and the recent trend is to drastically restrict it in many other Islamic nations, like Morocco where it became all but impossible in 2008, Indonesia where civil servants or the military were denied polygamy by a 2007 law, Iragi Kurdistan, etc, and many others... of course, all this amounts to nothing. Let's go for fact-free nonsense à la Glenn Beck.

@ History Proffessor "completely true in theory, assuming that the immigrants are sleeper cells with the desire to rule the world"... how about assuming that immigrants are just plain normal people in search of a better life and opportunities to study or work they lack at home? Many of them actually fled all those horrible "theocracies" to enjoy freedom in Europe... I see you refer to experience in Afghanistan and say you speak from experience, but your "assumptions" are way over the top I'm afraid. Then, of course I agree with you that islam (and other religions) is too often twisted to propagate hatred and crime.
12:07 August 4, 2011 by szukalski
As an "auslander" here for 8 months now (but destined to stay) I have found Germany very welcoming for foreigners.

I have had no trouble finding employment (English speaking) and the only bad experience I have experienced was when I called a "sh***** Amerikaner" whilst walking down the Hauptstr. in Heidelberg with my wife (a German) and some Czech work colleagues. Even that was amusing since I am a New Zealander without an American accent, however to low-IQ "natives" I guess all English speakers in HD are "Amerikaner".

The key is to integrate, try and fail, keep trying until you succeed. Don't let the minority get you down.

It may be easier for me since I look German until I open my mouth (or perform some basic courtesy in a city such as holding a door open for someone) but I'm sure I would get some discrimination if I moved to India or China. The key would still be the same, integrate, stop whining, and integrate.
17:44 August 4, 2011 by harcourt
The day that an article on race, religion, or citizenship in The Local gets a big yawn like the recent stories about impure water or the increase in insects. Thats the day one will realise that Germany has rejoined the human race.
18:34 August 4, 2011 by michael4096
"Germany has rejoined the human race"

Bit unfair given that Germans are not doing the posting
20:34 August 4, 2011 by farmon
Freedom 1776 & HistoryProffessor #47$#49

These are comments that all Europeans have got to heed. You cannot let your great nations become a thing of the past.
21:14 August 4, 2011 by harcourt
michael4096 #56

You can't be 100% sure that Germans aren't doing the postings. Fair enough there are many non-Germans posting on the subjects I quoted, but very often it is to rebut the Xenophobic and extremist etc. postings which might just possibly come from Germans. You only have to look at the phraseology.
23:09 August 4, 2011 by LiberalGuy
harcourt. I'm going to go with michael on this one. According to the local's own advertising package they release for businesses, only 7% of the visitors to this site are German. That's not to say some aren't posting aren't German, but chances are no. I think the issue with xenophobia on here is due to a 'few' individuals who seem to congregate around here and keep coming back under new user names. When you read this site long enough, you see the same tendancies of language propping up in different users. One day a user name 'X' will be off on another rant aboutMuslims and immigrants, then he will disappear only to have user 'Y' turn up with the exact narrative and lexicon. The local does ban a lot of users for being inappropriate, but that doesn't stop the user simply coming up with a new user name and jumping right back in. I can name a few right now that are in to their third or forth incarnation.
00:24 August 5, 2011 by mr brown
well guys , i am a non muslim brown guy frm asia, lived in holland for more than 4 years and have been living in germany now one year . for the racism topic , through my personal experiences what i can say is, germany is far better than other european countries such as holland, for example as being a european student u get the same facilities as the other european students get here in germany , such as working hours, the university fees, travelling discounts and so on, which cant be more than yr day-dream in other countries like in netherlands ,uk , irelands etc. lets take an example from holland, where now a european student pays roughly 1700 euros university fees where as the non eu students pay roughly 6000 above fees a year, if a eu student works for 8 hrs a week u get free travelling ov card in holland , where as other non eu get not even a penny discount for the same .

now lets talk of other factors of germany, its true that most of the germans keep distance with any stranger or any foreigner , they are way too behind than the dutch for technology, policy making and updating their system and more burocrates and more paper works etc, which make sometimes really frustrating . moreover the germans themselves dont like their own country as a result thousands of educated germans are running away frm their own country each year.

in conclusion , u cant just expect any country of having no racism and or prejudicism. they exist everywhere even in yr own country . for example scottisch dont like english , australians are not liked by newzealands, east germans are generally not liked by west germans, bihari in india not liked by other indians , latino- americans are not liked by north americans etc.

so being as a foreigner if u wanna live in germany just adopt their culture and learn language which are very imp. otherwise less discrminatory country than germany u can hardly find.
06:36 August 5, 2011 by harcourt
LiberalGuy #59

Thanks for that bit of information I must admit that I hadn't thought of that one. OK I am a bit naive and wouldn't have thought that readers of The lOCAL could be so devious. Thanks again.
08:52 August 5, 2011 by Talonx

I would like it retracted that I breached your terms as I clearly did not.
09:21 August 5, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ harcourt

"Thats the day one will realise that Germany has rejoined the human race." - That's the most racist comment I have seen lately. And you blame Germans for xenophobic and extremist comments that might not even come from them?
09:23 August 5, 2011 by harcourt
LiberalGuy #59

I've just had an afterthought, you say The Local says that 7% of its VISITORS are German. But who is to say what percentage of postings come from that 7%, that's something more difficult to assess. Especially as they might be reactions to anti-german sentiment which is quite prevalent in these columns as I'm sure you've noticed.
10:29 August 5, 2011 by LiberalGuy
harcourt. True.

here is the link http://www.thelocal.de/advertise/mediakit-english.pdf

It's hard for me to judge the racial tolerance of this country as I live in a town in Brandenburg where it seems every other male has a shaved head and an attitude. But I get to Berlin and Potsdam very frquently and they are the complete opposite. Friendly, tolerant, great to be around. Maybe I should pack up and move.

As fot the Xenophobes on here, it's fun to banter with them, as they rarely budge, even when presented with facts. But in the end it's the local. You aren't going to change anything in the world by ranting on here.
11:27 August 5, 2011 by yourholiness
LiberalGuy: I think your comment about xenophobes is much more applicable to the politically correct liberals like yourself.
11:37 August 5, 2011 by LiberalGuy

It's good to see you back on the local
11:40 August 5, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ LiberalGuy

It is good to see that yourholiness finds it enjoyable to banter with you. You should also take a look at the tons of facts he brought at the table.
17:19 August 5, 2011 by Matt in Florida
I was born in the usa, my grandparents left Germany long ago. However when I visit Germany people speak to me in German? They assume I am German, I figure this is a complement. I speak only a few words of German really. I consider myself an American, however. With German roots of course!
17:38 August 5, 2011 by yourholiness
@ LiberalGuy

Nice to see someone like yourself paying the proper respect by addressing me correctly. I notice there is no good answer to my comment # 66. Be that as it may, as an officially accredited representative of the common sense committee I intend to inject the proper pithy comment from time to time to uncloak the self induced blindness, folly and disingenuousness of the habitually politically correct.

Be guided by my recommendation and benediction and I will lead you out of the valley of political confusion on to the broader plains of enlightenment. You yourself can depend on me but for others here unfortunately there seems very little hope for redemption. Re: ChrisRea Is he or she capable of posting anything other than nonsense? One would like to believe that there is hope for everyone but in this case...
18:22 August 5, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
@ harcourt (#29) - "We suffered "the way you are" twice in the last century and had to show you how much we didn't like it !! "

Oh, when did you suffer? What did you do to Germans to show you didn't like how they were/are?

Since you are eager to take ownership of things from the past, why not take responsibility for Dunkirk? Or how about the USA saving Britain from total destruction?

The past should not follow Germans around, making them feel ashamed and guilty. New generations of Germans are entirely different, and I think they deserve some credit for changing their country around! Instead, every single German is being ruthlessly reminded of something their grandparents did! It isn't their fault, and shouldn't be their baggage.
18:28 August 5, 2011 by Paralegal123
This article is very interesting; I am half German by ancestry; my father was German and a Lawyer by profession. I was born in the United States, and I am

proud of my ancestry, which is German and Irish.

I agree that fluency of the German lanugage is a big plus as is fluency in any foreign language. The majority of the American citizenry unlike Europeans are not bilingual or even multilingual; however, immigrants from other countries who come to America choose to speak the language of their mother country and also learn and master the English language eventually attaining American citizenship.

In conclusion, I think this article is well written and enlightening.
18:40 August 5, 2011 by LiberalGuy
yourholiness. Sorry i didn't realise comment #66 needed a response, as like my previous comment said, no matter what facts are presented you won't budge. After all, as Stephen Colbert says "facts have a well known liberal bias'. But if you want to engage in a game of 'he said, she said' then go right ahead.
18:59 August 5, 2011 by harcourt
Jack Kerouac #71

Gosh it took you a long time to work that one out !!
00:24 August 6, 2011 by MichMash115
I am an immigrant to Germany, married to a German, with German children, and German friends, and I don´t always find it that easy to `assimilate´. As individuals I have found most Germans to be open minded and interested in the world, though there are still people (like some of the older members of my husband´s family) who will always consider me an Auslander(in) . I am a double Masters qualified teacher, bu my qualifications are not recognised as being as valuable as those of `real´ Germans, and I would not be paid the same as my German colleages should I choose to work within the German school system. I cannot become a citizen without surrendering my ties to the country of my birth, so I cannot vote although I pay taxes (and lots of them). I speak and write fluent German, have studied German history (and not just the bad bits), but I have to jump through more hoops than an Olympic gymnast to get recognition of my pre-Germany years in order to get a decent pension when I retire after years of working and paying taxes here. I am discriminated against by the system, if not by individuals. I am also a white, educated, Catholic woman - and I can only imagine what it must be like for those who don´t blend in as easily as I do. Those of you who think Germany is an easy place for immigrants to make a life in - think again. It really isn´t. I´m not here to work the system, get a leg-up, whatever. I´m here because I fell in love with a German. I am proud to be Australian, and am sorry that it would take me giving up who I am to prove that I am an integrated and valuable part of German society. I can´t leave, my life is here, and I am happy, but it doesn´t stop me from recognising that it´s not perfect, and that when living in Germany as a foreigner (even an educated, German speaking, Christian, white foreigner) one faces plenty of challenges, frustrations and things that make one really, really p´d off.
03:20 August 6, 2011 by yourholiness
@ LiberalGuy

Your right, from your perspective there is no good response. I advise you to disregard Steven Colbert by the way, slogans have mostly little to do with reality.Especially that one.
17:36 August 6, 2011 by harcourt
ChrisRea #63

Sorry, that was a bit strong I admit. I suppose I thought, why not give them back a little in return for all the prejudice and xenophobia we see daily in these columns. I always think that it is the sign of a bully that they can dish it out but can't take it. However you are right, one shouldn't descend down to their level.
05:15 August 7, 2011 by blauaugen63
Being German DOES mean you are German by blood. This is NOT the USA

If a white man is born in Japan it doesn't make him Japanese.

I am tired of the media pushing this multi cultural non cultural crap.

The terrorists that have been causing problems in Germany are not Germans, they are from Turkey or the middle east.

It is antiquated to be German by blood? Germany is not the USA. An African born in Ireland is not Irish, and a Russian born in Mexico isn't Mexican.

Please stop trying to unite the world by diminishing and extinguishing our history and people.
07:41 August 7, 2011 by harcourt

But don't you realise that the whole world WILL become like the US and other multi-cultural countries eventually. Some countries will take longer than others admittedly, but you are fighting history if you think that any one country can prevent it happening! It's the natural evolution and spread of homo sapiens.
08:59 August 7, 2011 by marimay
Well, if all Germans adopt his attitude they will just die out anyway from inbred genetic diseases. Getting pretty close by the looks of things..
14:49 August 7, 2011 by yourholiness
I think the battle is already lost, multiculturalism is the future here. It needn't have been but the german national behavior in the last century + business' greed to make as much money possible + leftest propaganda make the death of a german homeland preordained. As tragic as the situation is we'd better all get used to it.
16:09 August 7, 2011 by harcourt

That's so true!
19:54 August 7, 2011 by HamburgerWithCheese
@oldWine and everyone else ;)

Germans are a bit stoic by nature, though under the skin, they really are friendly, nice and actually very unprejudiced toward other cultures/people. This is generalizing but as a person from Los Angeles, with German parents, and just coming back from Germany last night having traveled all over and talked to many friends and families over these subjects (it's a hot topic right now), my conclusion is that they are no more irrationally prejudiced than those here in Los Angeles.

You WILL find some Germans with prejudicial attitudes, just like you'll find them right here in Los Angeles, but I think that most of the time these situations such as the one you describe, oldWine, occur due to a combination of the natural stand-offish personality of the people, self-consciousness caused by not being used to people from other parts of the world and natural human instinct betraying who they want to be.

I won¦#39;t deny that much of this behavior is caused by prejudicial attitudes. Being prejudice is an instinctive survival trait that ALL people share. Nobody is immune, you constantly pre-judge the persons walking around you on the street in milliseconds without consciousness. Is that person a threat?

So may I suggest 99%- if not more- of the times these awkward things happen, they happened because of an uncontrollable instinctive reaction, that, once realized consciously, causes the person such embarrassment, they just don¦#39;t know how to ¦quot;fix¦quot; the faux pas and the situation just instantly gets worse?

So in the end, asking if you could have a taste of the chocolate is a way that you can help ease the situation. It would actually be a gracious act of kindness because you would be giving the ¦quot;offender¦quot; the opportunity to ¦quot;save face¦quot;. You would be giving them a second opportunity to show you who they really are….inside! Even in the big cities, the general population is still strikingly ¦quot;white¦quot; in Germany. These people, regardless of day and age, are still getting used to the rainbow of colors of the world. They think they¦#39;re not prejudice, but then their ¦quot;gut¦quot; reactions betray them. I believe it causes them as much pain as it causes you :)

This is my belief based on my own awkwardness as a young person. I think we all have failed to live up to the person we would like to have come across as in our lives. Even a tender 12 years old has experienced this. Learning to Find that common thread of humanity, and learning to find a way to mend awkward situations, leaving them on a positive note, will leave both sides feeling better toward each other and hopefully smooth out future interactions.

Just a thought! I hope you give yourself a little more time there. You may find more to love about those grumpy Germans than you ever thought possible! :)
11:49 August 8, 2011 by harcourt
HamburgerWithCheese #83

May I commend you on a splendid, and well thought-out, piece of literature. The German Govt. ought to employ you as their P.R. agent. After 20 yrs living in Germany I now see the the "grumpy old Germans" in a totally new light !!
13:33 August 8, 2011 by sella
to oldwine,am also an immigration living in germany with 2 kids,every shop or market i go they always give to me a smile on their face.i´ve been living in italy for 17 years,now am here in germany and am much happer than before,so it depends also on u,the kind off person u are,anyway am from the caribbean and much darker than u are,so i think it`s not because off the skin colour.
03:49 August 10, 2011 by FriskyFilly
@ Asgarli

yes in fact being able to speak basic english is a requirement at the interviews and testing for U.S. citizenship. cheers
10:09 August 12, 2011 by ger-man
I´m German. I travelled around the world and met lots of different people from different countries and cultures. All around the world speaking english was the door-opener...and not the german language :-) and all all around the world I found myself invited by open minded people ore mistreated buy ugly dump people. Often I was a victim of anti-german-racism (even in europe) but most of the times people welcomed me. Germany today is not more a racist country than other countries in the world. Thinking about moving to another country I guess my first part of getting integrated should be the learning the local language and be open to the culture there.
19:28 September 19, 2012 by gwenness
There is one reason why English is not *required* in the US and why all government forms, tests, and courts are available in multiple languages or with translators: The USA has no "official" language and is therefore required, in many cases, to provide all resident services in multiple languages. Only 80% of US Americans speak English (yes, I had to look up that statistic, and it's current). Germany, like most other countries, has an official language, so only needs to provide documents in the country's official language. I had many co-workers in California who took the US Citizen's test with only an elementary-school level of English required. Unfortunately, this is also one of the reasons the US is deeply in debt. The cost of multiple-language printing of government documents and providing translators in courts, police departments, etc, is huge. Then again, the USA is known for being a "melting pot," which is cited as the main reason for not implementing an official language in the country.
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