German Court allows Racial Profiling

Germany is one of the so-called Schengen countries, which means there are no more border controls. You can enter the country without being stopped, without showing a passport and if you travel by train, car or on foot often even without noticing that you have entered Germany.

No more border checkpoints. That’s one part of the story.

However, the German Federal Police have the right to ask passengers on public transport for their identification (§ 22 Ia German Federal Police Act) in order to combat illegal immigration.

I’ve been on many trains in Germany and have experienced these identity checks a few times. Well, not myself actually, but I could observe my fellow passengers being checked. It’s always the same routine: two police officers walking through the moving train, asking some of the passengers for their ID or passport. Whom do they ask? Preferably dark people, more solo travellers than families, never anyone in a suit (that’s why I was always spared). Sometimes when a dark-skinned person sitting opposite of me was checked, I though to myself “why don’t you officers at least have the decency to ask me for my ID as well, to make it appear less racist?”

“Great court ruling! We don’t even need to pretend to be non-discriminating anymore.”

Now I know why: because racial profiling is legal in Germany. That’s what the Administrative Court in Koblenz ruled today (case no. 5 K 1026/11.KO). A train passenger had sued the police after he was arrested in the course of such a random check. During the court proceeding, one of the police officers stated that they were mainly looking for illegal immigrants and admitted  that one feature by which they pick the objects of their checks is the skin colour of the passengers. The court stated that the police may use the “exterior appearance” to determine whom to subject to a random check.

Neither the police nor the court can explain why somebody’s skin colour makes him or her more likely to be an illegal immigrant. No word about the possibility that black people may be Europeans or, oh shock, even Germans. No word about the possibility that white people can actually be immigrants, too. I don’t see the connection between skin colour and somebody’s citizenship, and even less between somebody’s skin colour and the question whether they have a valid visa or not.

So here is what you need to do if you don’t want to be picked up by the German police. These 10 rules are based on my own experience.

  1. Don’t be black. (If you are, even the following rules won’t help.)
  2. Don’t look like the caricature Muslim. You know, beard, headscarf and so on.
  3. Don’t travel alone. Always travel as a standard family of one husband, one wife and two children.
  4. Don’t sleep. Police love to wake up people.
  5. Don’t have too much luggage.
  6. Don’t be an attractive woman.
  7. Wear a suit.
  8. Read a newspaper. In German!
  9. Carry a large German flag with you as if it was the Football World Cup.
  10. Dress like a nun or a priest.

Good luck and enjoy Germany!

UPDATE:

As expected, the Appeals Court has overturned that decision and has declared racial profiling to be unconstitutional. We will see whether this will lead to any changes in how police behave.

About Andreas Moser

You will most likely find me in the forest, next to the lake, reading a book. Just follow the cigar smoke!
This entry was posted in German Law, Germany, Law, Politics, Travel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to German Court allows Racial Profiling

  1. Shay M says:

    Interesting. I know a few years ago, they mentioned that they would stop trying to impose cultural interchange (basically stating that they are no longer open to other cultures customs).

    • JustAnotherBlackGerman says:

      @German black guy: You see, my brother, all that most white Germans are telling us is that of course they can be racist and you have to take it because they have been for such a long time. And that for them it is not a big deal, rather a “mountain out of a molehill”. So they won’t waste a single second trying to imagine how “we” feel about this. I gave up convincing any white German of anything connected to this topic and left Germany a while ago. I have less problems being treated as a foreigner in country in which I actually am a foreigner.

      • Where did you move to?
        Even as a white guy, I can’t stand the racism in Germany. It’s not directed against me of course, but I can witness it in Germans’ actions and words and it hurts. (Not to say that other countries don’t have racism as well.)

  2. Realist says:

    Hey Andreas,

    if it is the state police’s task to determine illegal immigrants could you please tell me how people should be picked for id control if not by phenotype, language or suspicious behaviour? In my opinion it would not make sense to perform sort of an “equal treatment” method as only foreigners from non-schengen states can commit visa offenses and people with an interest in illegal immigration mostly do have a phenotype that vastly differs from the standard Schengen-phenotype. As the police is asked to control foreigners I would as a police officer also focus on people that look totally different from the schengen mixture.

    • German black guy says:

      @Realist:
      “people with an interest in illegal immigration mostly do have a phenotype that vastly differs from the standard Schengen-phenotype.”
      What is that “standard Schengen-phenotype”? How do you define that?
      And how do you justify your definition in the light of the German constitution, section about basic rights => Article 3 (3):
      “No one may be prejudiced or favored because of his sex, his parentage, his race, his language, his homeland and origin, his faith or his religious or political opinions.”
      http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Basic_Law_for_the_Federal_Republic_of_Germany#I._BASIC_RIGHTS

      How many black Germans are there? Around 300000 people. That is as many as the inhabitants of a major city. Augsburg has roughly 300000 inhabitants. Imagine the following: People from Augsburg are subject to police controls because they seem different from other Germans concerning their strange language.
      Should the Augsburgers challenge that? Or should they just say: “Alright, it is true, our dialect is similar to Austrian, we are second-class German citizens, we deserve to be discriminated.”
      Skin colour is a random criterion, just as language. Listen to David Alaba, the football player. I can’t understand shit when he talks because of his strong Viennese accent. Should he be controlled by the police because of that? Or rather because of his skin colour? Language or skin colour… or both?
      You see where this is leading to. I am a proper German. I even served my country. I am paying taxes. I elect the government. My skin is dark. I have never done anything illegal.
      Tell me, realist, do I (yes, I, talk to me personally) – do I deserve to be discriminated because of my skin colour?

      Now let’s get real, you realist:
      “As the police is asked to control foreigners I would as a police officer also focus on people that look totally different from the schengen mixture.”
      Trying to define your so called “Schengen-mixture” is not possible without breaching the most important law of the country, the Basic law. Thus, the idea in itself is racist. Also, I have shown that it is not possible to find that mixture as there are so many people who live in the Schengen countries with Schengen-country-passports that are absolutely not illegal immigrants but look different from your alleged “Schengen-mixture”. What about French-Algerians? What about French-Senegalese and Belgian-Kongolese? What about 2 million Turkish-Germans? Are they part of your “Schengen-mixture”? You’re lucky that the UK is not part of Schengen, otherwise I could also give you the Commonwealth-of-nations-inhabitants who have so many different outer apperances and phenotypes…
      Now let us get back to your claim:
      “people with an interest in illegal immigration mostly do have a phenotype that vastly differs from the standard Schengen-phenotype.”
      Erm… and they travel on regional trains close to the border of Germany?! Yeah, really, realist?
      If you were trying to illigally immigrate into Germany – would you really get on board of a fucking RB train from say Trier to Saarbrücken? Or maybe from Kleve to Krefeld? That is precisely where those police checks happen. I wonder if they ever found anyone trying to immigrate into Germany that way.
      I was once asked for my ID at Kaiserslautern central station. Ever heard of the army base in Ramstein/Kaiserslautern? How stupid is that? Asking a black guy for ID at Kaiserslautern central station. What kind of illegally immigrating person would that be? An U.S.-American deserter who ran away from his army base? That is ridiculous. In my opinion these checks do not serve a function and are a nuisance for everybody involved (police and dark skin people that is).

      • Lillian Smith says:

        In my opinion this is a mountain out of a molehill. You are in Germany where the phenotype is Nordic, so if the Police are looking for illegal immigrants, it stands to reason that they would pick on people that are not part of that phenotype. I imagine that people of a dark complexion or Mediterranean or Middle Eastern looking are picked up as well but you just do not know or hear about them. I know it is not nice to have to live through that but I am sure that ones they see that your papers are in order that you are not detained or harassed in any way. Remember, you are in a country that in the past exterminated those which were considered to be of inferior race, such a Slavs and the Jews – who as far as is know are White.

        But If you think that this is bad in Germany, then you have should go to the US. Recently I came across a death certificate from one of the US states and under one heading of ‘race’, there were many boxes to be ticked, the first box was for “White’ and the rest where, Black, Black with Chinese, Polynesian and Black, Chinese, Samoan with a hint of Black, Latino, Puerto Rican, White with a hint of Chinese, etc, etc, it went on ad nauseum (you get the general idea). And all of this for a corpse! A person that does not exist, that is no more. I did not know whether I should laugh or cry.

        I think that this race thing in the US is still a great obsession and preoccupation. This is very bad when one considers that the Blacks in the US were there before many of the White European descendents.

        Getting back to your situation in Germany, I can understand your frustration but you should look at the bigger picture, after all the Police cannot read minds and know right away that you are German bred and born. (I imagine that the IDF have to likewise use profiling in their search for probable terrorist who have a nasty habit of blowing themselves up were there are lots of civilians about). Profiling is a useful Police tool and rightly or wrongly, the Courts decided that the merits far outweight other considerations. I would not take it personally if I were you.

      • Realist says:

        As your reply is very elaborate I will try to answer in an equal way:

        At first we should have a look at the quoted fundamental rights defined by the first sections of the German constitution. Except for Sec. 1 Para. 1 of the constitution (human dignity) pretty much every other fundamental right may be encroached under well-defined circumstances. Some of the fundamental rights define the circumstances under which they may be limited, e.g.: “Article 8 (Freedom of assembly),
        (2) With regard to open-air meetings this right may be restricted by or pursuant to a law.” or “Article 13 (Inviolability of the home), (1) The home is inviolable. (2) Searches may be ordered only by a judge or, in the event of danger in delay, by other organs as provided by law and may be carried out only in the form prescribed by law.” Otherwise it would be pretty hard to justify putting someone into jail as the constitution guarantees everyone’s personal freedom. With regard to Article 3 an unfair or unequal treatment of a person based on sex, his parentage, his race, his language, his homeland and origin, his faith or his religious or political opinions such an unfair treatment is justified if there is a valid legal reason for such a treatment. This means quoting Article 3 and referring to unfair/unequal treatment is only half of the story as we have to determine whether the unfair treatment was justified under the respective circumstances. (I will get back later to this question)

        For example: Imagine a lethal, highly-contagious virus that almost exclusively attacks blue eyed persons and is mostly spread by them. If the health authorities now forces all blue eyed people to health checks, if required by force of the police, this would definitely be an encroachement of Article 3 (“eye color”) but would be justified by reasons of public health and safety.

        Now let’s get back to your Augsburg dialect example. This would, of course be an illegal infringement of fundamental rights as there is no justifying reason for such a treatment as there is no danger for public safety or other fundamental rights caused by their dialect (…).

        Concerning the ID controls we have to analyze the facts:

        1. Visa offenses in Germany can only be committed by foreigners from Non-Schengen countries.

        2. As various Schengen-states are traditional immigration-countries we do have a multi-cultural society and there is a certain probability for every person you see, no matter what phenotype he or she is, to possess a Schengen residence entitlement or to be a Schengen-native.

        3. However the probability to be a Schengen-Native or to possess a valid Schengen residence permit for e.g. someone with a south-east asian phenotype is much lower than for someone looking like the average nordic phenotype. That’s not racism, that is statistics. You can ask a child for that and it will come to the same conclusion just by simple experience and logic.

        4. This means that there are phenotypes that have a higher probability to be NO Schengen-Native or to have NO valid residence permit/visa.

        5. The state police has a certain task on that train: Find illegal immigrants. They are working in a small time frame as they only have one stop to perform their control. So what would be the most efficient way to perform such a control? Correct: Base your search criteria on a) Non-average, non-standard Schengen phenotypes, b) language, c) behaviour. Any other method would be ineffective and irrational. It’s statistics and pragmatism – not racism.

        Getting back to the question whether this treatment of Non-standard-Schengen phenotypes is an unfavourable treatment the answer is: yes! But it is justified BY LAW as it is the only method to effectively perform such a control under the given circumstances and to guarantee public order ans safety.

        Personally, when I am sitting in such a train and witness such a control I always feel ashamed when they only pick the obvious foreigners. I am always telling myself: “Come on, be nice, ask the German guy over there for his ID too…” Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But feeling ashamed does not mean that a treatment is illegal. It is just a question of etiquette…

        And finally: Imagine this setup: 200 persons in a room, 5 of them do not have a Schengen residence permit. 20 % do have a non-standard Schengen phenotype, half of these 20% has a dark skin, half of them are asian and other phenotypes. Your goal is to find the ones without a valid Schnengen residence permit. You have 5 minutes. How would you proceed? Honest answer prefered

      • Realist says:

        One more thing to mention: Not every foreigner is illegal. But every illegal is a foreigner (Non-Schengen) – per definition. Therefore the state police has to focus their border controls on foreigners. I do not see any other way to achieve an effective control than guessing by phenotype or language who is non-schengen by highest probability.

        It’s the same when I travel to africa or south east asia: People are always adressing me in ENGLISH language. Should I feel upset because they cannot imagine me being a native asian/african or having the respective citizenship? Should I start shouting: “You are racists! It is racism to judge my language capabilities by my phenotype!” ? Anytime I am passing borders in south east asia the Visa procedures take much longer for me and other western phenotypes than it does for asians. Is it racism? Should I complain? Should I call the shop keeper in Bangkok racist because he tries to charge me at least twice of the Thai-price? Should I call the indian beggars sourrounding me in jaipur in bunches of hundreds racists because they judge my wealth by my phenotype? It’s not racism – it’s pragmatism, experience and, in case of the police border controls – the only effective way to perform such a control as, said above, every illegal is a foreigner (Non-Schengen) – per definition.

      • Realist says:

        And this one just simple nonsense:

        “Trying to define your so called “Schengen-mixture” is not possible without breaching the most important law of the country, the Basic law. Thus, the idea in itself is racist.”

        By this (non-)logic I would not be allowed to determine who is male and who is female by outer appearance as Article 3 does also mention gender…Next time someone tries to hinder me from entering the women’s room I will tell them it’s against the law to judge my gender by my outer appearance…Think about it or perhaps study the systematics of our fundamental rights before posting such…well…nonsense (to put it politely).

        And french-algerians and any other ethnicity mentioned by you will have a higher probability of being controlled for visa offenses by the simple laws of statistics and the need for effective police work. Simple as that. Sad but true.

    • akingham says:

      Realist, I think it’s time to get real. The phrase “standard Schengen phenotypes” doesn’t mean anything in English. This is not a legal term, nor an EU term, and has nothing to do with the Schengen countries, or its inhabitants.
      Your “child proof probability test” to establish whether someone is a “Schengen native” and then passing that off as statistical is totally absurd. You can’t just invent words to hide the racial element in words and then claim that it is statistics, you didn’t provide any statistics, which makes your points (3) and (4) invalid.
      EU Law, which is now German National law as well clearly dismisses racial discrimination. When law enforcement officials use race as a deciding factor when checking IDs, this is illegal, full stop. It doesn’t matter whether you call it a non –Schengen phenotype, race, colour, black white or Asian, none of it is allowed! Police are subject to fines if this has proved to be the case. [http://www.antidiskriminierungsstelle.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/EN/publikationen/agg_wegweiser_engl_guide_to_the_general_equal_treatment_act.pdf?__blob=publicationFile ]
      Your 5th point is wrong, and also a poor policing strategy (the main issue here) to go through trains on illegal immigrant hunting missions. Your criteria for what defines a German (a)colour (b) language (c) behaviour, is also disingenuous, the fact that you pass this for statistical and pragmatic is embarrassing, but maybe not as embarrassing thinking that “German etiquette” consists of interrogating a few white guys while you’re on your immigrant hunting missions.
      I’m really sorry for the discrimination that you face in Asia and Africa, it must be tragic. It’s really important to not compare apples to pears. Asia and Africa did not invade other countries in the aim of creating an Empire. Germany did. Asia and Africa didn’t invite cheap immigrant labour to help them achieve their economic miracle. Germany did. In the historical context of immigration and colonisation, and the fact that immigrants were invited into Germany makes it puzzling as to why these groups have suffered and continue to suffer systematic discrimination, and preventing from being considered ‘German’.
      Furthermore, Germany is a democratic country with a constitution and supra-national EU law that clearly bans any form of racial targeting. Asia and African countries don’t, in fact many of these countries have racial discrimination embedded in their constitutions. You don’t go to Asia and Africa to experience the rule of law, sorry if this wrecks your shopping plans.
      In the end you come up with the odd conclusion that the idea of a “Schengen mix” is illegal, because it draws upon a racial element. No “Realist”, again you go off into your strange train of thoughts, it’s not identifying a different race that is illegal, it’s discriminating against them which is against the law.
      Realist, to avoid future embarrassment, maybe avoid posting in the future, wasn’t really convinced by your “laws of statistics”, without statistics, and your strange invented English words.

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  4. Lillian Smith says:

    Well who do you think they should pick up then, little old ladies speaking in German. By the way, that is what they do in some countries not to appear biased, they pick out some old white guy or woman going through passport control and take them through the paces. An utter waste of time and money in my opinion.

    Also, profiling is done all the time by Marketing companies to target their sales campaigns for specific groups within society.

  5. Martin says:

    @Realist & Lillian Smith:
    There is just not a nonracist way to perform the racist practice of searching for “illegals”. This has to stop.

    • Lillian Smith says:

      Fine let it stop then.

      It is kind of naive though because if you are looking for terrorists or malefeasnts, you would still need to profile and police where I live do it all the time. There are sections of society that happen to be Black that are into drug selling and gun running and the police will stop a Black man in a car before a White one. They do that for a very good reason and not because they are racist – the compiled statistical evidence points to the fact that these types of crimes are committed by Blacks, in the same way that what is called white-collar crimes are committed by White people with degrees. What is wrong with acting on facts? If they did not want to be profiled, then they should not be involved in this sort of crime. Just to give you an example, a few years back on Boxing Day (December 26), these Black gangs decided to take their rivalry into the street in a busy shopping area full of shoppers out for the Boxing Day sales. They started shooting indiscriminately at each other and they wounded a lot of innocent bystanders and killed a beautiful 15 year old girl who was out shopping with her mother.

      Profiling is done all the time and not just to prevent crime or catch illegal immigrants – it is useful tool in Market research to sell products that appeal to certain ethinic groups. For example, KFC the food chain have opened up a branch called Popeye’s Chicken and these are opened in primarily Black neighbourhoods, why, becaue Popeye ‘s Chicken has hot sauce in its batter and hot sauce is something that Blacks love to eat. This is done with different sectors in society by companies to sell their products.

      How more important is profiling then when it is used to prevent crime.

      • German black guy says:

        @Lillian Smith: The way you talk about “black people” shows how racist your thinking is.
        I am black. I am German by nationality. I was born that way, I never held any other passport and I was born in Germany.
        Police officers on trains ask me for my passport all the time. I feel like a criminal when they do that. In fact I feel discriminated.
        “If they did not want to be profiled, then they should not be involved in this sort of crime.”
        I have never been involved in any sort of crime, neither the street crimes that “black people” do nor white collar crimes. I have an MSc. degree in computer science. What type of crime do you think should I get involved in? Racial profiling is racist and the German constitution is supposed to protect any person (not only German citizens) from that. Your example about street gangs has nothing to do with the topic. Any type of violent street gang (think of the Italian or maybe Russian mafia) could’ve killed innocent bypassers. In fact – they do. That has nothing to do with skin colour.

        About your hot sauce chicken example:
        Even that has nothing to do with skin colour but with culture. There is no genetic difference between white and black people in that respect. Yet, if you train your taste buds to enjoy spicy food, at some point you’ll start to like spicy food. That is a cultural question not a genetic one. Taste buds have nothing to do with skin colour.

        As the police is asked to control foreigners I would as a police officer also focus on people that look totally different from the schengen mixture.

      • German black guy says:

        Please ignore the last paragraph of my comment. That was a copy-paste error. “As the police is asked to control foreigners I would as a police officer also focus on people that look totally different from the schengen mixture.”
        I wish I could delete it but it seems impossible.

      • Lillian Smith says:

        Dear German Black Guy,

        Then I very much sympathise with you for feeling discriminated.

        I am not racist in the sense that you understand, haveing suffered beatings and spittings by other Whites for not being of the right ethnic group myslef, so I know how devastating it is. And funnily enough, when I say this to Black people, they stay with their mouths open because I am White and they do not think that Whites even discriminate against Whites, but they do for I have the emotional scars to prove it (and so do all of my siblings). Hopefully, you are at least protected against beatings and name-calling, and being spat upon but us being White, the anti-discrimation laws did not protect us as although we were White, we were not dark enough to deserve to protection and not White enought to deserve equality. And about getting a job – you can just forget about that too.

        But you should not take this against the German police because the way the world is today, unfortunately, some people have spoiled it for everyone else. But data is data and when it is collated, it does give a profile and unfortunately some good people are caught up in the description. For example, serial killers too are profiled and tend to be solidary White males. You cannot therefore expect the Police to expend all their energies and resources stop mothers with children when they are looking for a serial killer. It simply would not make sense.

        My chicken example is to show that a type of profiling goes on all the time with marketing companies – that is how they target sales and solicit your custom through phone and flyers and commercial advertising. And of course taste is cultural or acquired, I like spicy
        hot chicken too.

      • Aminata says:

        @GermanBlack : Even.if I agree with you for the sauce and habits , I disagree when you say Born that way , a nationality is not the fact you cried first on that or that land but many things . You can be born in a country and grow somewhere else and then get that culture and a non-German one in fact , so it is easy now people use the fact where they were born , if what i wrote above is true for you , do not be surprised if some do not see you as German .

  6. Realist says:

    Why is searching for people who breach immigration law racism? I do not really see a connection between both phenomenons.

    • The problem described here isn’t the search but the biased search and the fact that people are already suspected of a crime based on their appearance. This might me ok when they’re covered in blood but not based on something they can’t change. By germany’s constitution, nobody must be put at a disadvantage based on features they can’t change. But this is what’s happening here. A black person traveling with the train a lot will be “randomly picked” like 100 times a year while the mentioned white guy with he suit can continue reading or working. This results in a loss or productivity for the back person.

      • Realist says:

        I am very familiar with the legal systematics of the german constitution and especaially fundamental rights. An unfavourable treatment is not per se illegal – it can be justified. Based on the given facts I would assume the police officer’s selection method for id control as justified. And “loss of productivity” is no reason to claim being unlawfully suspected. You are mixing up things here.

        Imagine this setup: 200 persons in a room, 5 of them do not have a Schengen residence permit. 20 % do have a non-standard Schengen phenotype, half of these 20% has a dark skin, half of them are asian and other phenotypes. Your goal is to find the ones without a valid Schnengen residence permit. You have 5 minutes. How would you proceed? Honest answer prefered. It’s all pragmatism and statistics, not racism.

        And please, please do not only focus on black people – the state police will also pick russian and asian phenotypes. I really cannot stand this black/white thing…

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  8. Those 10 rules are funny, and sad. The reactions of people who say it’s normal to check black or brown people more than white passengers reminded me of this TedX talk of Belgian journalist and reseacher Olivia U. Rutazibwa where she talks about ‘decolonising our minds’: “it’s the mindset that make types of discimination and racism not only possible but also acceptable to many people, but also invisible. Because if you’re honest,… isn’t it a bit logic that police searches young Moroccan men more often than others just to make shure?.. in the past we were wrong about many of these things and we might be wrong today as well.” Around 7m57s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0b6wfDGseU

  9. Neither the police nor the court can explain why somebody’s skin colour makes him or her more likely to be an illegal immigrant.

    It amazes me that no one seems to talk about hard facts here. I mean I did some research on this via Google, but there’s nearly no free German data about illegal immigration at all. Not even the most common countries of origin are mentioned. I guess collecting and presenting this data would already be racist by German standards. At least there’s plenty of data about asylum seekers though. Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iran, Syria and Nigeria are the most common countries of origin right now. And you wonder why they don’t ask you for your ID?!

    That’s also an important part of the work of the Bundesgrenzschutz by the way. Finding lost asylum seekers. Asylum seekers are evenly distributed within Europe, Germany and so on. They are not allowed to leave their district without talking to the authorities first. In a lot of cases they don’t really care so the Bundesgrenzschutz needs to pick them again. Quite simple actually.

    It’s hard to understand why anyone would argue with that. I wrote my own article about this topic. I like your blog a lot, but this article is just wrong. Too many people and countries in these days are ruled by political correctness. I’m glad that at least the Israeli authorities understand this. What’s your opinion about that? Judging from your pictures you’ve been in there, too.

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  11. George SMADU says:

    The matter is that Bundespolizei doesn’t ask you for your passport only! This is the saddest thing! If you are o foreigner they ask you about your destination and a lot of other idiotic questions which are totally against the law. ( In Germany there is not the right to remain silent!!!???) If you do not want to answer their questions, you automatically become a suspect. It happened to me on Frankfurt am Main airport in 2000. I came from Australia with Australian passport heading towards Bukarest Romania. The time difference between the planes was more than 12 hours and I wanted to sleep in a hotel in Frankfurt. I went to the border police and I showed my Australian passport. A Helga , blue -eyed and blond-haired policewoman asked on an arrogant tone: ‘Was machen Sie in mein Deutschland?” . I answered in German stressing on “Ihr” “Ich moechte eine Nacht in einem Hotel in Ihr Deutschland verbringen, mein Flugzeug wird morgen ausfliegen, aber ist es ein Problem? Ich bin Australischer Buerger” What do you think she answered!!?? Something unbelievable! “Aber nicht original”!!! In other terms you could be Australian citizen but you do not look like an Anglo-Saxon, you look like a Latin person. I said to her: “Es gibt nur eine Klasse von Australische Buerger, warum schreien Sie nicht Heil Hitler”!? I took my passport back and I slept a night on a bench inside the international terminal. In Australia , Helga would have lost her job , no doubt about that. In Australia the Police do not even have the right to stop and search you without the probable cause, obviously if you don’t break the law. To ask for ID the dark skin people only it is unconceivable in Australia

    I spent two years in Germany and I was a Schwarzarbeiter! Guess what?!! The Police knew exactly that some German employers illegally employed foreigners. Do you think they applied the law against them???!!! I have a big respect for German culture and products, I learned German alone but Germans still have a heavy nationalistic instinct when it is about the foreigners. I can’t imagine Italian , Romanian , Spanish or Portuguese Police harrassing the Nordic type of European just for the fact of looking differently.

    • claudio says:

      It is like how it was in the US deep-south prior to the civil rights movement. When the law differs to that which is in the hearts ad minds of the majority of the population the people will, broadly, be selective about when they obey the law and when they ignore it. As they know full well that their local eco-system stands behind them.

  12. Tino says:

    @ George

    ” but Germans still have a heavy nationalistic instinct when it is about the foreigners”

    The Problem is: No one of the german poltician asked the german folk, if they want foreingers in their land. The german politician do what they want without consent.

  13. Tino says:

    ” @George

    I”f you are o foreigner they ask you about your destination and a lot of other idiotic questions which are totally against the law”

    No, its a normal practise in the most countrys. When in went to Egypt last year, im also must show my passport, they Egypt Airport_Policemen asked my:

    How long you stay in this country, what is the reason for your yourny, what is your destination…

  14. Tino says:

    @ George SMADU

    In Germany this woman you discribe will lost her job to!!! But you needs witness and you must this situation reportet to the real Police. In Frankfurt are many Policemen former “foreingers”.

    Sorry my english isnt well

  15. garfield says:

    @ george
    sure you have the right to remain silent, but there’s no law ordering police to tell you.
    You dont have to tell anything but your ID, so if you talk to them, its your own fault basically…

    By the way, me, german, not blonde but quite pale skinned, get searched quite often, too… maybe it’s just my “nose”.
    I dont like it, but i show my id, get personal searched maybe, and when nothings wrong thats it… not only foreigners or dark-skinned people have to experencie this.

    Police officers have to do some profiling, to pick whom to control, by nature…
    when thy’re looking for a male robber, should they search females, for gender equality? When a criminal is on the run in a red volvo, should they search black minivans?

    When looking for drug addicts or smugglers, they lookin for face expression & outfit – nonetheless they get to pick innocent ones, too. So this is discrimination of face and taste?
    Bundespolizei is the agency responsible for illegal immigration, among others – why the hell they shouldn’t look for color of skin, when looking for aliens – as 90% of them happen to be _not_ white? While i’m sure this aint the only ctriterion – a black man with bag and jogging dress sure would rather be searched than one in suit.

    Sorry, but this is just hilarious.

    • claudio says:

      So a, let’s say 100 EUR, suit magically confers probity and integrity? Yet you have the gall to label other comments as hilarious..
      Hilarious!!

  16. I was just in Berlin 2 days ago (Sep 24, 2012). I arrived on an intercity train that came in from Prague (but stopped at many stations along the way in Germany). I was the only Indian getting off the train, pretty much the only non-white person. The way the Berlin railway station (Berlin HBF) is setup, you have to climb up a few levels to catch the local trains. I am an Indian national, permanent resident (green card) of the USA.
    When I came up to the middle level on the escalator, three cops stopped me and asked for ‘identification’ in German. I speak some ‘German’ , but I responded in English. He then spoke in English, his exact words were “Excuse me, we are German Federal Police, can we see some ID, do you have a passport”. I said “sure” and handed over the passport. He flipped through the pages, looked at an old Brazilian visa, read my last name out loud , and then asked me ” are you tourist in Berlin?” . I said yes, he said ok, “thank you”.
    I thanked him and asked him where the nearest McDonalds was.
    It was an annoying experience, but not something I would rant about unless it happened regularly. But, I knew I was picked out from a crowd. The cop wasn’t too smart and looked and spoke more like a male stripper. I did not particularly care for the whole incident, but it did annoy me. I did have a valid stamp and visa to be in Germany.
    So coming from a person who has experienced profiling in Europe, but never in America (been there for 9 years), I can tell you it is not something I would want on a regular basis. After all, I am that same money spending tourist in Berlin as the next white guy, why should I be treated differently? If you want to check visas, do it for everyone or maybe have some system where you check it for non-schengen people, or something.
    Just my 2 cents

    • Thanks a lot for sharing your experience!

      You also highlight another problem (not unique to Germany probably), which is that some of the cops are not exactly the brightest of the brightest, and they know it. But the uniform and a badge and a gun give them power and unfortunately it seems a normal human reaction to wish to exercise this power from time to time.

      My wife is Iranian and we came into a random stop close to the German-Czech border (like you, we also visited Prague) on our last visit to Germany and they were acceptably friendly, which I attribute to my father and me as Germans having been there.

      Another thing I hate is when I notice German police switch to oversimplified, grammatically incorrect German when speaking to foreigners.

      • claudio says:

        If time in the constraint here and the reason for their resorting to profiling then the solution is obvious. Waste their time.
        The principle holds whenever one if confronted with a control (or manner of control) in Germany that you do not agree to.
        In the broad statistical aggregate the more time they spend with you the less time they have to “accomplish their task”.
        If asked for your passport – conveniently not being able to find it, until you get to the station, works wonders as a passive protest that is effective in disrupting the system.
        The discriminated have the power to change things.
        They just don’t use it.

  17. Josh says:

    well to be honest…Europeans can travel freely within Europe, most other white countries like Australia, America, New Zealand, don’t need visas to visit Germany. So maybe 15% of illegal immigrants might be white but 85% other are not white. Germans just being practical…

    • claudio says:

      And at which point does being “practical” start to impinge on an individuals basic rights?

      • Aminata says:

        Accept how countries are !
        Not any different to be called the Asian , the White in Africa .

  18. Pingback: Racial Views: Poll Shows Majority Harbor Prejudice Against Blacks - Page 31 - Christian Forums

  19. Pingback: Rassismus bei der Bundespolizei | Mosereien

  20. UK Border Agency says:

    Forget about Germany. What about the UK Border Agency? On returning to the UK from holiday via Brussels Eurostar with my eleven year old son last month, I was asked by UK passport control in Brussels to provide proof that my son was mine! We were gobsmacked, as we were both born and bred in the UK, have British passports and accents and were returning home to our country of origin. Apparently, our passports and shared history of travel were not enough proof of identity. And, yes, we are both mixed race and have Asian surnames, whereas the female who stopped us was black and hostile. Now, it definitely isn’t good for a child of that age to hear his mother practically being accused of being a child trafficker. He was really shaken up afterwards, as was I. When subsequently I wrote a letter of complaint, the response from the UK Border Agency was that I should carry his birth certificate from now on! How many white British mothers do they say that to?

    • Aminata says:

      Once you decide not to give a 100% diversity of a line , races are more history , centuries from,than the fact you are from UK , because if you have an Asian family member , 1 century ago in Europe , there were barely any Asians there .

  21. akingham says:

    Realist, I think it’s time to get real –>The phrase “standard Schengen phenotypes” doesn’t mean anything in English. This is not a legal term, nor an EU term, and has nothing to do with the Schengen countries, or its inhabitants.

    Your “child proof probability test” to establish whether someone is a “Schengen native” and then passing that off as statistical is totally absurd. You can’t just invent words to hide the racial element in words and then claim that it is statistics, you didn’t provide any statistics, which makes your points (3) and (4) invalid.

    EU Law, which is now German National law as well clearly dismisses racial discrimination. When law enforcement officials use race as a deciding factor when checking IDs, this is illegal, full stop. It doesn’t matter whether you call it a non –Schengen phenotype, race, colour, black white or Asian, none of it is allowed! Police are subject to fines if this has proved to be the case. [http://www.antidiskriminierungsstelle.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/EN/publikationen/agg_wegweiser_engl_guide_to_the_general_equal_treatment_act.pdf?__blob=publicationFile ]

    Your 5th point is wrong, and also a poor policing strategy (the main issue here) to go through trains on illegal immigrant hunting missions. Your criteria for what defines a German (a)colour (b) language (c) behaviour, is also disingenuous, the fact that you pass this for statistical and pragmatic is embarrassing, but maybe not as embarrassing thinking that “German etiquette” consists of interrogating a few white guys while you’re on your immigrant hunting missions.

    I’m really sorry for the nasty racial discrimination that you face in Asia and Africa, it must be tragic. It’s really important to not compare apples to pears. Asia and Africa did not invade other countries in the aim of creating an Empire. Germany did. Asia and Africa didn’t invite cheap immigrant labour to help them achieve their economic miracle. Germany did. In the historical context of immigration and colonisation, and the fact that immigrants were invited into Germany makes it puzzling as to why these groups have suffered and continue to suffer systematic discrimination, and preventing from being considered ‘German’.

    Furthermore, Germany is a democratic country with a constitution and supra-national EU law that clearly bans any form of racial targeting. Asia and African countries don’t, in fact many of these countries have racial discrimination embedded in their constitutions. You don’t go to Asia and Africa to experience the rule of law, sorry if this wrecks your shopping plans.
    In the end you come up with the odd conclusion that the idea of a “Schengen mix” is illegal, because it draws upon a racial element. No “Realist”, again you go off into your strange train of thoughts, it’s not identifying a different race that is illegal, it’s discriminating against them which is against the law.

    Realist –> to avoid future embarrassment, maybe avoid posting in the future, wasn’t really convinced by your “laws of statistics”, without statistics, and your strange invented English words.

    • Aminata says:

      1) Doesn’t mean anything in English ? Because you think English is the only language which matters ?
      2) Not a EU term ? A EU term , what is that exactly ? Most words are not EU words then , what do we do for all those different EU ‘s languages ..
      Skin color matters everywhere believe it or not .

  22. claudio says:

    Statistics.. statistics..
    Let’s see..
    The vast majority of rapists are men.
    In most EU countries they are more likely to be “white”.
    Rapes, in public zones, are more likely to happen at night.
    Would this justify white males being targeted when out alone in public at night (as a pre-emptive measure)?
    Ditto child pornography on the Internet.. Should whites males be subject to extra controls – all in the name of the greater good?
    The quid-pro-quo of (intrusive) extra controls for some is additional relative freedom for the not-controlled.
    It is easy to justify pre-emptive restriction of freedom when you are not the one being targeted.
    Civilised is, as civilised does – as they say…

    • Aminata says:

      Most are white in Europe for everything you want …. As well , most are black in Africa for whatever you want …
      Rapes are worldwide !

  23. Matt says:

    Like many countries in the EU, I was told if you don’t like the laws/rules set out by the country, then simply leave. I’m a proud German and follow German law. When I am in former Eastern bloc countries, I was told to learn the local laws and I carry my proper cards/passport and no issues. Germany allowed many to work/live and are perhaps trying to make sure this doesn’t turn into safety issues for long term German resident citizens that have helped rebuild and in my mind are the ones we should show the most respect to despite what their thoughts are on immigration or color of skin. Let’s face it, this happens in many countries aside from Germany.

  24. Father of realist says:

    Although I have a brown skin but never felt being discriminated here. But let me be clear the guy above named REALIST is a real sucker. YES realist I am talking to you. You sucks big time and definitely born out of a wedlock from pg and bitch. Now use your POWER to search me.

  25. Jon says:

    Why waste time, Black Africans generally will be breaking the law in one way or another when compared to any other race on the planet … . it is not racial it is factual.

    • You must be very disappointed then that not all millions of black Africans are in prison then? And you surely wouldn’t have released Nelson Mandela, would you?

      • claudio says:

        He is probably just shocked..
        Result of leaving school prematurely

      • Aminata says:

        It is the only famous black person you know ? Nice try , R.I.P to him , he was not in prison for the reason Jon said , if we take around London’s , Paris’ , Brussels’ jails , not to mention other towns , to be quite true but one moment jails are full , black or white but you do not change those who are already inside .

  26. Aminata says:

    Rrr , do you know the percentages , that how many chances a black person in Germany , is actually coming from outside Germany and even Europe ? These controls occur in many europeans countries with or without a black population inside . Policians will not practice 200 id controls while they can practice few with black and white and it is not because most can be with Black Asian persons that it is racism , you will not change your ancestries .
    You nourrish fake controversies because now people have to practice politically correct . There are even more chances you will be called by your skin color in Africa if you are not black or from Arabic’s origin , and it is true for black who go to North Africa as well .
    If something happens to you , just be sure people pinpointed because of your skin color . Something can happen to you even if it has been years you are there because you are still different .

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