Lost Identities: How White Supremacy Maintains itself

As we all know, whiteness is a social construct (because everything is, duh). It is not a concept that has been clear and stable from the dawn of time. Actually, it is even a fairly recent concept as they go, yet it is still one people have naturalised quickly. Naturalising means that people believe that something is not socially constructed but a direct reflection of the natural world, with sex being another prominent one. Because of course you can see the difference between me and Beyoncé, right?

Whiteness as a concept cannot be separated from white supremacy as it is and was tied to it from birth. The only reason to define someone’s “race” via genotype is to establish differences and hierarchies. But since “race” is of course not a natural phenomenon we merely seek to describe, it’s always been in trouble. There is no logic to it, just power, and that power has developed several strategies to maintain itself. One pretty obvious one is including groups that had previously been excluded. You can see that pretty well in how, for example, folks of Irish or Italian descent were included into the “white” category in the USA: give them a stake in white supremacy, use them as a shield against accusations of racism. See, the Irish were discriminated against as well, they overcame it, if black people are still suffering it’s because there’s actually something wrong with black people.

Another way is by folding individual people into the group, erasing their identities and heritage. They can only gain the status of “white” by denying that they were ever anything else.Wait a generation or two and nobody knows anymore that you have indeed ancestors who were not considered white.

My own family history is such an example. I am white, of German heritage, for all purposes of the law and society. My last name, passed down from my paternal grandpa literally means “person from a very boring village 20km from the place I live now”. But my paternal grandma already spoils the picture, as she grew up as a member of the German settlers in the Ukraine. After the war she was considered a “dirty Russian”, my dad had kids bully him, and they did everything to hide that “dirty family secret”. Me? I just noticed that grandma had a different accent than the rest of the family. To me, any part of that heritage and identity has been lost. My cousin’s father in law, who is a hobby genealogist researched grandma’s family and I learned more about them from his essay than from my family. The Russian German families who arrived in the 90s were pretty quickly folded into the “white” category because they are needed to uphold white supremacy against the growing Muslim community and Muslim refugees. Same with Italians. In my childhood, prejudice against Italian immigrants was on par with prejudice against Turkish immigrants, but this has shifted dramatically.

On my mother’s side it becomes even more extreme. Her grandmother’s family used to be Sinti or Roma. I suspect Sinti, because they are more likely to settle and integrate into the community at the price of giving up their identity, but I have no clue. All the family ever knew is that they were G***. They didn’t even have a name for their heritage anymore beyond the slur used by white people around them. All we can trace back is the family name that is of Hindu origin.

None of that makes me not white. I don’t claim membership of the communities. It’s not a quest to seek faux oppression because some of my ancestors had to pay a heavy price for me to be considered white and gaining white privilege (see “my great-great-great-great grandmother was a Cherokee princess, that makes me so spiritual and also you cannot call me racist”). It’s an acknowledgement of their histories. It’s an acknowledgement of how white supremacy works in subtle ways, making sure that people don’t show solidarity with each other, because they’re fighting to be included in the dominant category. It’s an acknowledgement of loss. It’s also an acknowledgement of how these very stories can once again be used to dismiss systemic racism in favour of individual accounts of success and failure.

Hater’s Obsession: I Feel Like a Fucking Celebrity

Not.

In the grand and probably small scheme of things, I’m pretty much a nobody. I have no illusions about being a prolific writer, an inspiring activist or an amazing artist, despite doing all three of these. When everything is said and done I’m a middle aged woman with a nice family, an exhausting job, a couple of interesting hobbies and some really good friends with whom I hang out on a small blog.

Yet, over the years I seem to have picked up some amount of obsessive haters, with an interesting overlap between “gender critical feminists” and plain old slymepit misogynists, all seeming very obsessed about whatever stupid thing I write. Now, I’m the first to admit that I like a good verbal fight and can be 80 grit abrasive bordering on asshole (ok, maybe full asshole), but as a rule I generally don’t follow people I disagree with around. Like follow them on Twitter. Or keep reading their blogs and then comment on whatever they write in my own space. And to be honest, most of them and those arguments will drift from my mind. I will remember whether the interaction was positive or negative, but please don’t ask me who said what in the comments section on some blog or other in 2016.

But apparently I manage to inspire that kind of behaviour in others. After Marcus posted a note “On Trans Issues” on his blog, multi-nymed commenter [apparently not steersman, edited]/steppenwolf/RojBlake/DavidinOz used the occasion to complain loudly about how horrible I’ve been to him (without me having participated in that thread at that point), “kicking him from Affinity for a statement of truth elsewhere” when I don’t even have admin privileges, I did try to refresh my memory on what exactly happened, googled a few things and look and behold: Only the correctly spelled version of Giliell (did they all sleep through their Sindarin classes?) alone yields 9(!) pages of search hits on the apparently defunct slymepit, where people still think that calling me “fat” counts as some sort of argument when I would simply say “yes, I am”.

Yet Butterflies and Wheels isn’t much better (and if anybody needed confirmation that Roj Blake is steppenwolf, he made the almost same comment about me “trashing” Caine’s legacy there under Roj Blake verbatim). And now, since I know you’re reading, let me just say this: get a life. Seriously, you’re all grown people obsessed with whatever a nobody mummy blogger on an obscure blog who is happy about five nice comments on her bird pictures says. Oh, and to answer your question, Acolyte of Sagan: I am a fully licensed teacher for grades 5-13 and what I mostly teach my kids is basic maths, reading comprehension and writing skills, and that “retarded”, “gay”, and “girl” aren’t insults. I hope that satisfies all your questions, because I sure won’t answer any more of them.

Right Wing Terrorism: I’d like to mourn , but I’m too angry

As you may have heard already, there was a right wing terrorist attack in the German city of Hanau. The terrorist killed 9 people, mostly Kurds in two hookah lounges, went home, killed his mother and then himself. His manifesto is the typical mix of racism, incel misogyny and conspiracy theories. This attack only comes a few days after police arrested a right wing terrorist network that had planned attacks on mosques, trying to start a civil war.

It also comes after a couple of weeks into a political crisis started without need by the German liberals and Conservatives in Thuringia who voted together with the far right AfD for a liberal candidate for the Ministerpräsident. The discussions afterwards were endless rehashes of the bullshit horseshoe theory, as if the Left candidate who’d governed Thuringia for the last 5 years was the illegitimate son of Mao and Stalin, when at best he would have passed as a Social Democrat in poor light in the 1980s.

We’ve had the murder of a conservative(!) mayor by Nazis last year, we’ve had an antisemitic terrorist attack in Halle last year, when only a sturdy door prevented a massacre. Yes, right wing terrorism is a growing threat in Germany, yet still our politicians act like it isn’t. Even when talking about the horrible terrorist attack last night, the former leader of the Social Democrats (that’s Labour for the Brits) had this to say on Twitter:

“The enemy of democracy stands on the right [6 words in the original tweet]: It’s undeniable that left wing scatterbrains beat up police officers, set fire to cars and dumpsters and cause lots of monetary damage time after time. All of this is bad and mustn’t be played down [30 words]. #hanau”

That’s 9 words on right wing terrorism that just killed 10 innocent people, 30 words on “left wing terrorism” that causes damage against property. That’s equating burning dumpsters with dead Kurds. That’s zero words of condolence for the survivors, for the friends and family of the victims. That’s zero words towards our fellow citizens, friends, family, neighbours who are afraid to go to a café, a lounge, a Döner take away, a mosque because they have to fear for their lives because racists think they should be dead because of their skin colour, looks, ethnic origin or religion.

That’s contemptible, and Gabriel’s tweet is just the tip of the iceberg.

My heart goes out to the victims and their families, to all racially marginalised people in Germany who again not only have to see how their own get murdered, but also how those in charge play down right wing terrorism and compare them to dumpsters.

Have you been drinking varnish? A continental comment on the transphobic “restroom panic”

As you may have heard already, trans folks got an early Christmas present in the UK: A transphobic woman lost her employment trial, establishing a trans friendly case law and also paying for the privilege of doing so.

In the wake of it J.K. Rowling dropped all pretence of not being a transphobe and the transphobic “persecution” cries are doing a round again. At the centre of their argument is that People who were AMAB pose a threat to women and girls in female only spaces*. They, including the very nice lady who didn’t get her contract renewed (she wasn’t even sacked as people would want to make you believe) believe that this is true regardless of what steps the person has done to transition** , which is part of why the judge ruled against the transphobe as the view was absolutist and “[t]hat belief is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”

This doesn’t keep transphobes from keeping claiming that trans women are a threat to cis women in changing rooms and I think that one reason why they’re particularly successful in Britain is because of their unusual layout of changing rooms. Whether in France, Spain or Germany, wherever you go shopping, the fitting rooms are unisex. Single stalls with a door or a curtain. It wouldn’t be hard to sneak a peak, and occasionally you can’t help seeing something when there’s a curtain that doesn’t close perfectly and a mirror, but you’re supposed to handle it like a grown up. Going to fitting room the first time in the UK was a culture shock there were separate ones for men and women and the women’s was a large open room with a couple of individual stalls that you could use if you tried on swimwear or something. Everybody else stripped and dressed together much like a gym locker. I guess you can see why that would be the image that flashes before UK people’s eyes when they hear “unisex” toilets or fitting rooms. Our communal swimming pool has always had “unisex” changing rooms: individual stalls that you enter on the “street side” of the pool and leave at the pool side. There’s also “family changing rooms”. No fucking body is forced to share space with somebody else while naked (unless you go to the sauna, but then that’s what you pay extra for).

Of course transphobes are not ignorant. The vocal ones are well educated and have for sure travelled to the continent and further away. They know what unisex toilets and changing rooms look like, but they choose not to correct their audience. Much like all other reactionaries who know better but who selectively present “facts” to mislead people who are probably well intentioned but just not as well read or travelled.

 

 

 

 

*Apparently boys are safe in male only spaces. For reasons. Or they don’t count. I don’t know.

**Now, just to make it clear: All trans women are women. I don’t care about the state of your junk or whether you stuff your bras with tissues or tits. None of them are my business. Unless you’re using live tits. That’s animal cruelty.

And the prize for a complete lack of self-awareness goes to…

…this TERF. It was a usual argument about how horrible it is for trans activists and allies to be fed up with Graham Linehan because of frozen peaches, when the following exchange occurred:

Terf: Grand, so, but sure we’ll be pushing them into the sea this year so we won’t have to worry about them much longer but read a load of liberalism because that’s what’s coming next hopefully… (emphasis mine)

Other person in the conversation: i have literally no idea what you’re talking about.

Me: I’m not sure, but it sounds like a threat to me.

I mean, how could I take somebody talking about pushing trans people into the sea so they don’t have to worry about them as a threat, given the rampant violence, be it structural, administrative and literal, against trans people?
Apparently this upset her a lot.
Terf: Always with the drama. Into the sea, it’s a metaphor.

Me: Get lost, it’s an imperative.

Apparently, the fact that “get lost” is an imperative was, no pun intended, lost on her. Anyway, I was done, but she obviously wasn’t.

Terf: No, that would be we MUST push them into the sea.
Terf: ps and anyone who would take a statement like ‘we are going to push them into the sea’ literally must have a very flat sense of language or need their head examined imho. Unless they were German and in the vicinity of Dunkirk in the early 1940s…
Note the not so subtle ableism… She tweeted this at me a full day after I told her to get lost, which shows that apparently she really couldn’t let go. To be honest, I had already forgotte who exactly she was when she tweeted this.
Me: You seem upset.
Terf: What an odd thing to say…

Lady, you keep tweeting at me after a full day…
Me: You come back a day later after I told you to get lost. Maybe upset is the wrong word, obsessed fits better. I repeat, get lost.

Terf: That seems a little extreme – obsessed by what?

One thing, it’s “obsessed with”. Second thing, look at this. Somebody has told you twice to leave them alone and you keep replying, but think that “obsessed” is extreme.
Me: You’re still talking to me after I told you to get lost, twice. Go learn to respect some boundaries.
Yes, I was getting annoyed. Why is she still in my mentions? What is so difficult about leaving somebody alone? We’re strangers on the internet, we do not have to come to any kind of solution, so why not just respect the other person’s boundaries, no matter what you think about their position?
Terf: I’ve been pursuing a fairly common line of reasoning about a form of leftist smear-journalism, providing examples when requested and other reading material – that’s all fairly normal, isn’t it?
No, lady. In the offline world you’re the dude who keeps following me down the street, nagging and nattering and insisting that they’re totally rational while I’m trying to walk away.
Terf: But you accused me of making a threat, I explained that it wasn’t a threat but a metaphor – I’m allowed to defend myself, and obliged to reassure you that it wasn’t a threat, aren’t I? And then you say I’m upset and obsessed – I assure you I am not.
This is my favourite one as it is so fucking entitled that the whiniest white dude could learn something. Note the words. A stranger has told her repeatedly to stop bothering her, but she thinks she’s allowed to keep talking to me, even obliged by I don’t know what to keep talking to me regardless of whether I want to hear her. My wishes, my personal space, my agency to decide to whom I talk and to whom I listen has just been completely negated.m Because she thinks she’s got the right to talk to me. Terfs love to accuse trans women to be “entitled men” who “disregard women’s spaces and boundaries”, but look at this textbook example of not taking no for an answer. I have a feeling that this has something to do with the fact that many Terfs (especially on Twitter) believe that no cis woman could ever agree with trans women and that they speak for all cis women, so therefore I must be trans. I mean, after all I put my pronouns in my bio and I have a tortoise as a picture. This one is an annoying case, but one of the more harmless ones. Anyway:
Me: Get. Lost.
Terf: You accused me of making a threat, which is untrue and unfair and not supported by any evidence. I’d like to give you a chance to apologise…
This is getting rich. Now she’s the wronged party (perpetual victimmobile).
Me: Get lost, this is the textbook definition of harassment.
 
By now I was getting into teacher/mum “I told you no five times already and I’m getting angry” mood.

Terf: Accusing someone of making a threat for no reason could be said to be harassment, and then not allowing them to defend themselves but adding further charges. But lets leave it at that, I think the point about smear tactics is well made and I wish all you all the very best.

Terf: (ps just for completeness – accusing someone of harassment who is trying to defend themselves from a false accusation you yourself have made is itself harassment) atb.
Well, a girl can dream, right? But we leave on the note that I am the real harasser here. In conclusion, there is absolutely no difference between Terfs and their new best friends, the christian right. They will both whine about free speech, by what they mean “being owed a platform and nobody is allowed to talk back”. They will both bother and annoy and harass you. they will not take a no for an answer. They will ignore women’s boundaries and wishes. And then they’ll complain about how they’re the real victims here.
TLDR, Terfs are right wing bigots and assholes, don’t be one.

 

Behind the Iron Curtain part 24 – LGBTQ rights

These are my recollections of a life behind the iron curtain. I do not aim to give perfect and objective evaluation of anything, but to share my personal experiences and memories. It will explain why I just cannot get misty eyed over some ideas on the political left and why I loathe many ideas on the right.


I do not actually remember how much I was informed about these issues as a child before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain, but what I do remember is that my first encounter was not with an actual (known) homosexual person, but with a homophobic slur. The sad reality is, that Czechs were and to great extent still are very homophobic, or at least “I am not a homophobe, but…”, which is a distinction without difference.

However from legal standpoint Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was actually relatively progressive, or at least not less progressive than many western countries. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1962, 5 years before the United Kingdom. And gender reassignment therapy and surgery, although with more than a few bureaucratic hurdles to jump through, were (and are) available and paid for from state health insurance.

Nevertheless, despite gay rights being on the left side of the political spectrum in current USA and most of western world, it was not so behind the Iron Curtain. As avid reader and a very curious child, I have read behind my parents’ back magazines for adults (as opposed to magazines for children), which even in the puritanical culture did contain some information about sex and sexuality. And on one such occasion I came across an article that mentioned a peculiar fact – whilst homosexual acts between consenting adults were decriminalized in ČSSR, this was not the case everywhere in the Eastern Bloc. In USSR, male homosexuality was still illegal and punishable by imprisonment. The rationale mentioned in the article was homophobic, patriarchal and misogynistic all at once, and I remember recognizing it as such even at the time, although of course I did not know those fancy words back then: “A woman’s weakness can be forgiven, but a soldier must control his urges.”

After the fall of the iron curtain this discrepancy between the two countries sadly progressed. Whilst Czech Republic slowly but steadily progresses towards more and more legal rights for LGBTQ people along with public opinion progressing as well, in Russian Federation the trend actually reversed after a brief period of attempted progress.

So to me this, together with before mentioned environmentalism, is another one of the issues that actually is not left or right and it is just a coincidence that it is considered so in current political climate in the west. But lets not forget that political left can be just as adept at finding rationalizations for the homophobia of their power base as political right currently is. Hate of the other can, unfortunately, be quite the unifying issue in all kinds of political context.

This is why I wish for a Succesful war on Christmass

A teacher has told kids that Santa ain’t real and she got fired. And one of the parents bemoans on Facebook:

“Many of us parents have been doing damage control since the kids get home from school,” parent Lisa Simek posted to Facebook on Thursday.

I disrespectfully disagree with this nonsense and consider the parent to be a whiny fuckwit. The damage is not being done by the teacher, but by the parent. Anyway, lying to children about the existence of Santa gives you a guarantee that one day, one place, they will find out that  you have lied to them. What has happened here is that it merely was perhaps a year early.

There are many, many things that I hate about this vapid holiday as it is currently celebrated – the incessant playing of absolutely awful music everywhere, the fact that for two months I cannot order anything over the internet without the delivery being delayed, the overcrowding,  the religious garbage that is associated with it – but what I perhaps hate the most is how the holiday makes a virtue out of lying to children.

Some of my friends do this and I do not go out of my way to debunk Santa (or Jesus child, which is more traditional here) to their children, but I still disagree with them on this issue. I do not think it adds anything valuable to childhood being lied to. I know from personal experience that children can enjoy Christmas trees and presents immensely even when they do not believe in magic and/or religious mumbo-jumbo.

I really wish this nonsense went away. Nobody should be fired for telling children truth. Believing in known and obvious lies should never be encouraged and promulgated, ever.

Slavic Saturday

Slavic people are today mostly seen as “white” to the point that a Polish game developer was in USA criticised for making the computer game Witcher 3 without any people of color that could be recognized as such in modern world. Similarly a few years later a Czech developer was criticised for the same thing in a game Kingdom Come: Deliverance, deliberately set in medieval Bohemia and made as historically accurate as possible.

Whilst I understand all the arguments for the importance of diversity in representation, I think all these critiques were misguided, because they were targeted at the wrong target – they criticised products of one culture from the perspective of another culture with entirely different roots.

Slavs are indeed white when you look at the color of their skin, and by Gob do we have an awful lot of white supremacists and neo-nazis today. However a white nationalist or even a neo-nazi Slav makes about as much sense as white nationalist or neo-nazi (or Trump loving) Jew.  After all, Jews have white skin too. And after all, how many Jew-hating Arabs and Arab-hating Jews know that both Jews and Arabs are in fact semitic tribes? I would venture a guess that many do not, or they do but don’t care. People are perfectly capable of being misguided, misinformed, bigoted and downright willfully ignorant and hold contradictory ideas in one head, so there is that.

Historically Slavs migrated in the Europe from east and north, displacing come celtic and germanic populations. As a result they lived mostly in the woodlands and mountains of north, central and East Europe and they were comparatively poor. They had no written language that we know of, so very little is in fact known about their culture or religion. Some knowledge can be derived from linguistics, some from written reports by neighbouring nations, some from archeology, but Slavs established themselves in Europe during the dark ages and knowledge is therefore scarce.

However it is sometimes alleged that their own name for themselves – Slovan (originating from the word sloviť=to speak) might have been the origin of the word sclavus (Lat), and later on Sklave (Ger) and  slave (En) . Because these poor people were popular sources of cheap slave labor for neighbouring Germanic and Italic tribes through the early history of Europe way over to the Ottoman Empire in Middle East later on.

And even apart from slavery, a lot of the time right from Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages until very recently most Slavic nations were second-class citizens in countries led by people of other nationalities. Only Russians have managed to be oppressors and not oppressed in this period, and ironically they mostly oppressed and sometimes even tried to exterminate other Slavs. Both Czechs and Poles did not have any independency right until the end of WW1, after which they had few short decades to get the taste of self-determination before being swept into the bloody cauldron of WW2.

Under the Third Reich the Slavs were seen as barely people. They were not targeted for outright extermination like Jews and Roma, but the intent was to put them back into their proper place – slavery (that is why I think that a neo-nazi Slav is an ignoramus and a completely daft person – if nazis got their way, he would think scrubbing floors with his own toothbrush is a posh job).

After the WW2 all slavic nations ended up being wrapped behind the Iron Curtain under the not-so subtle hegemony of USSR. This time at least it was not overtly attempted to obliterate local cultures and languages (not here anyway). But whilst the Russian rule did try and manage to instill some sense of Pan-Slavic belonging, they also managed to instill some anti russian sentiments along the way (in Poland on top of the hundreds of years long grudge Poles held against Russians from the time of the Russian Empire). And the sense of always being second class, not being allowed anything truly ours, pervaded.

In this sense, sprouting of some nationalism after the fall of the Iron Curtain was perhaps inevitable, what with the nations trying to finally re-assert themselves for good. I do think white nationalists are going about the business the wrong way, proclaiming your superiority over others is not the right thing to do and it is also demonstrably false. But I also think that Polish game developers who make a PC game packed with people who bear the typical facial features of contemporary Poles, with architecture and ornaments of medieval Slavic kingdoms and based on Slavic mythology, or Czech game developers making a game set in a very distinct and specific area of medieval Kingdom of Bohemia with focus on historical accuracy are doing nothing wrong and are indeed going about it the right way. And even though these works of art have managed to succeed on an international stage, their creators were in no way obliged to fall in step with USA culture and reflect USA racial make-up.

Those who criticised these two games for a lack of representation of POC have failed to realize that they were essentially trying to bully others into giving their own culture away and let the USA to appropriate said culture the way USA likes it. In fact, they should take these games as an opportunity to learn that “white people” are not a monolith and that outside of USA there is a lot more that defines your ancestry and your culture than the color of your skin. This way said critics were – probably unwittingly – perpetuating the USA collonialism ad absurdum, by requiring everyone everywhere to reflect contemporary social ills of USA.

We do not need nor want to do that, thank you very much. We have our own social ills to deal with.

Maybe he should have grabbed her by the pussy instead?

By now you have probably heard of The Incident. Depending on whether you’re a decent human being or a Republican, the actual incident is that the White House tried to forcefully remove the mic of a journalist because they didn’t like what he said and then banned him from the White House, or the real incident is Jim Acosta “laying his hands” on a young intern (who is, by pure coincidence female, white, young and pretty).

Sarah Sanders has tweeted about it several times, stressing the “disrespect” towards the “young woman” and “young women” working in the administration, mimicking feminist language and concerns for the treatment of (young) (professional) women at the hands of older men.

She also shared a clip showing him making a “chopping motion” towards her arm. Only that the video came straight from Infowars (and we all know how much those people care about women) and has a few curious differences to the original:

The intern’s reach for the mic is slowed down, and the “chop” motion is accelerated. Here’s an annotated side by side comparison:

Further analysis: video is absolutely doctored. You can see the edit when the clips are side by side and slowed down to quarter speed. See for yourself:

 The dishonesty of the Trump Administration knows no limits, as shown again, but let me make one thing clear: Even if Acosta had made a “chopping motion” he wouldn’t be the one who’s wrong here. He was talking, she tried to physically remove the mic, very eager to please her betters. She was the one making aggressive moves towards him. And also: fuck you, white women who sell out on basically everybody to lick spittle and get the rewards of being the chill girls of the Trump Administration. You work hard to remove women’s* right to their own bodies. You work double time to disenfranchise black women. You work extra time to rip babies out of their mothers’ arms and lock them in cages. And you all work for a man who is proud of sexually assaulting women. You don’t get to talk about respectful treatment of women.
*and others capable of gestation.

Islamophobia is a made up word !!!!!!!!!!!!!

clipart of woman with a hijab

Source: I-stock

As most of you know, I started a new job a few weeks ago. New school, totally new area, totally new colleagues (who generally rock). One of those, a woman about my age who also freshly started on the job, is a Muslim woman who wears a hijab. This particular woman is ethnic German and converted to Islam via her first husband. She studied English and German and after finishing the second part of the training (we instantly bonded over how horrible that was) went looking for a job.

While I am no fan of hijabs, I am much less a fan of policing women’s bodies. Since her Christian German family would probably be very happy if she ditched her headscarf and she was divorced and a single mum before meeting her second husband, we can be very sure that nobody is forcing her in any way to wear her headscarf so it’s none of my personal business. On a professional basis I’m actually quite happy about teachers like her. She is the best role model our Muslim girls can have, showing them that they can be independent women who go to college and have careers outside of the home and Muslims at the same time. And she’s good for our Muslim boys because she can “teach those little Pashas to respect a woman in a hijab” (her words, not mine). She’s also good for our German kids and their parents, for pretty much the same reasons.

For those of you not intimately acquainted with the German school system: almost all schools are public schools, only very few are private. Almost all hiring of teachers happens on a state level via the ministry of education. Now, with women wearing a hijab, there’s apparently an extra rule: the ministry has to treat them like everybody else, but individual schools can reject them, so when she was looking for a job she was twice rejected by different schools, with some of the most outrageous comments.

At one school she got told that they were an open and tolerant school with many kids from many different backgrounds and with many different religions, and she would disturb the peace. At the other school they told her that “somebody like her couldn’t teach German”, so apparently she changed her ethnicity and origin and complete culture along with her religion.

Those remarks and attacks were made in the name of liberalism, in the name of tolerance. Those attacks on Muslim women (I don’t know, can Muslim men teach German even if they pray five times a day?) come from the middle of society. Their headscarves get seen as a sign of Islamism, the whole discourse is such that a woman with a headscarf is automatically seen as suspect, as having an agenda, a meaning that is imposed on her by actual Islamists and Islamophobes alike. It’s in that same vein that the German women’s organisation Terre des Femmes is asking for a ban on headscarves for girls.*

That they’re only getting support from right wing organisations should tell them something, but I guess it won’t. The further stigmatisation of hijabis isn’t going to do anything for their integration into society, yet should they complain they get told that Islamophobia doesn’t exist anyway and that they’re just hiding behind the word to avoid “legitimate criticism”, in this case the further policing of women’s and girls’ bodies.

*The organisation has been criticised in the past for racist tendencies and sex worker exclusive positions, in short, your run off the mill White Feminist organisation. Their Swiss sister organisation split from them over those issues.