After being asked about what it’s like to be a woman of colour in Frankfurt, specifically a black woman, and if I have experienced any racism, I’ve decided to share my experiences with you.
I always start by saying that I don’t work in a strictly German environment, in fact, due to the nature of my work, international backgrounds are highly appreciated. However, I am also very well integrated into the German culture, which of course helps.
On a whole, I have of course experienced micro aggressions. “Nothing that you wouldn’t have experienced in London,” I told another woman of colour who will soon be moving to Frankfurt. You know, the “can I touch your hair,” (or actually, just touching, not even asking) or “your hair is so wild” rubbish that people say to you as if you are a dog on display in a pet shop.
On a whole, as a POC, I am very happy in Frankfurt. Coming from London, I am used to being surrounded by a lot of people of Caribbean origin, however Frankfurt seems to be home to a lot of people of Ethiopian decent. It is also home to Germany’s largest Sri Lankan Tamil community and has the second highest Korean community in Germany.
One thing that does bother me, is that when in public, 9 time out of 10, German people will speak to me in English, assuming that I don’t speak German. While it annoys me as an expat who can speak German, what annoys me even more is that there’s every chance that I could actually come from Germany and I know I would be approached in German if I was white. This otherism makes me feel that if I was actually born in Frankfurt, I would not have a complete sense of belonging. I guess it is similar to the “Where are you actually from?” question discussed in my ‘Why have people stopped questioning my dark skin?’ post.
I’ll wrap this up by saying that on a whole, as a POC, I am very happy in Frankfurt. And as for micro aggressions, I’ve learnt how to deal with them over the course of my 27 years, predominantly spent in London.