Thursday, June 18, 2020

Deepest Kleinbasel

Here's a translation of a message a friend shared with me from someone who said there's no racism in Switzerland: "I know NOBODY who was anything against Blacks... Except when they rape and attack women in deepest Kleinbasel..." The use of "except" makes this a version of "I am not a racist, but ...", and what follows fulfills the resulting expectations, with the stereotypical racist association of Blacks with rapists. Then there's a local twist: the phrase "deepest Kleinbasel" relies on racist interpretations of the demographics of Basel. Nobody would say "deepest Bruderholz", just as one might talk about "deepest Harlem" in New York City but never about "deepest Staten Island". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 18 June)

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