What’s wrong with the Germans?

This summer, two private German TV channels offer their audience the experience of visiting exotic Africa from the comfort of their homes: RTL started in July the reality TV show ‘Wild Girls – Auf High Heels durch Afrika’ (Wild Girls – Across Africa on High Heels) in which highly stylized, white women, propped up with plenty of collagen, botox, and silicon — some are starlets and low-brow, local ‘one day’ celebrities — compete for fame, monetary compensation, and the trophy called ‘the Golden High Heel’. Not wanting to be left behind, the rival channel ProSieben is scheduled to launch in August ‘Reality Queens auf Safari’ (Reality Queens on Safari). 

The two channels are not the first to entertain with a show in which an exotic location features as backdrop: in 2011, a Dutch station aired a season of ‘Queens in the Jungle’, offering a similar spectacle. And the same production company, Eyeworks, produced the Dutch/Belgian reality show ‘Groeten uit de Rimboe’ (Greetings from the Jungle), starting in 2005, of which the Belgian ‘Toast Kannibaal’ (Toast Cannibal) is another version. Both, despite the latter’s rather dim title, seem to be a little more sophisticated than its German counterpart. The ancestor of the genre is the long-running (since 2002) British reality show ‘I am a celebrity – Get me out of here’. As in the first Dutch shows, the exoticism of the British show is confined to the “Australian” jungle in which low-brow celebrity contestants compete in a staged wilderness. Also, the British show, in comparison with its German counterparts, features both men and women.

RTL’s show, however, is pushing the genre to new lows. All the contestants are recycled starlets from earlier German reality TV shows, most are blonde and the show does its utmost to expose their physical assests. One contestant is a male travesty ‘artist’ from Austria. The audience is then invited to laugh at the women, clearly marked as ‘bimbos’, and their ridiculous behavior in the African desert. In departing from the other shows, the African desert landscape and African ‘tribesmen and women’, Namibia’s Himba, feature prominently in the show.

Scantily clad women on high heels are the staple of European TV entertainment — especially Silvio Berlusconi’s channels come to mind — and despite their blatant sexism and denigration of women, this genre hardly seems to raise eyebrows on a continent adrift; however, the prominent role of the ‘primitive’ Himba ‘tribe’ adds quite another vertiginous dimension to the spectacle of sexy yet farcical white women.

According to the news magazine Spiegel Online, the German Green Party wrote to RTL and asked why they had chosen to film in Namibia, the former German colony where troops committed genocide against the indigenous Herero people in 1904. (For some analysts, this was a precursor of what was to come during WWII.) The letter suggested that the Germans had a moral responsibility towards the former colony and its people, and could not just use the indigenous people and landscape without taking cognizance of a difficult past. They further asked how the channel would address the precariousness of the Himba, a marginal and pastoral people whose lifestyle is under pressure. The channel replied that such historical and political issues were not of concern, theirs was a mission to entertain, and, as final proof of the correctness of the show, RTL emphasized how the Namibia Tourism Board welcomed their filming amongst the Himba.

The Himba have morphed into the tourism draw card for Namibia’s primary tourism advertisement, according to Michael Bollig and Heike Heinemann. They note that most Namibian tourism marketing, locally and overseas, features ‘primitive’ and picturesque Himba women in a desert landscape, a visual representation that goes back to colonial times and apartheid rule. Namibian tourism authorities seem to have little qualms in their efforts to promote the country. Hollywood star Angelina Jolie filmed ‘Beyond Borders’ there in 2003, gave birth to her daughter Shiloh in the coastal town of Swakopmund in 2006, and ever since, the country is rolling out the red carpet whenever she decides to sojourn there. Malawi has Madonna, Namibia has Angelina Jolie.

In their illuminating analysis of Himba visual historiography, Bollig and Heinemann document the sustained presence of Himba representations in Namibian and European culture as the exotic ‘Other’ per excellence, free from the burden of civilization, natural and beautiful in their simple, pastoral lifestyle. This imagery, still so apparently more alive today than ever before, originated in the colonial period and continues to be sustained by ‘Othering’ discourses, be they of commercial interest, as in tourism, or in ethnographic descriptions. Robert J. Gordon, an ethnographer who was born in Namibia, writes in the latter context about the “Himbanization” of Namibian anthropology – “the Himba have “conquered” visual spaces which before the 1990s were still unexplored or covered more equally by the different ethnic groups of Namibia”, according to Bollig and Heinemann. For an example, see here. And here is a critical analysis of a Discovery Channel ‘documentary’ (the anthropologist Christofer Wärnlöf was consulting this production and his observations, quoted below, seem to be based on his rather sobering experience).

Images of the Himba, especially of bare-breasted Himba women, that emphasize their eroticism, are plenty in European popular culture –- a quick internet search produces an abundance of Himba imagery with a subtext of an erotic/natural idyllic. The crassest example perhaps is a feature article in the now defunct German Marie Claire magazine of September 1998 which celebrated Himba women for their free love making and seductive prowess in seducing men. In the same year, the Himba were featured in a “soft-pornographic programme” on German TV.

Christofer Wärnlöf argues powerfully that ethnographic film was and is instrumental in perpetuating the image of the ‘primitive Other’. After all, old-school ethnographic film created the fiction of representing reality with (European) filmmakers and indigenous protagonists staging timeless authenticity. With this mix of fiction and reality, and with the popularity of (ethnographic) nature documentaries in Europe, ethnographers laid the ground for reality TV: does reality TV as a genre not share the same mix of fact and fiction? Do reality TV producers not equally claim to bring different cultures closer to each other?

With the above history of Himba representation in European culture, RTL’s choice to use them as props, just like the Nambian desert as an attractive background appears then as a rather logical, albeit cynical step to attract and entertain German TV audiences.

While the bad taste of the German reality show is obvious, discussions of the show in German news media really makes one wonder about popular gender and race stereotypes. Reports in the popular Spiegel Online magazine and Focus Online add to the denigration of women through their commentaries that mock the women-female contestants. Furthermore, they offer readings that seek exoneration from accusations of neo-colonial stereotyping and thereby exhibit so little understanding of the wider world beyond Fortress Europe; of the global politics of race; and of the politics of socio-economic development.

Spiegel Online argues that the colonial gaze is now being returned –- the ones that are being stared at are the white women on display. The viewer is invited to make fun of the women, with their botox lips and artificial breasts. The display of the women’s silliness with Africans playing background props is, according to the article’s author Christian Buss, not “Eurocentric arrogance” but “rather indifference against the human beings [the Himba] and the environment”. In his reading then, to relegate Africa and its people to the status of an entertaining backdrop is very normal and acceptable for Europeans. For him, the real primitives are the European (women) and not the Africans. Spiegel Online and Focus Online suggest that in contrast to the human circus that displayed real African people like animals, commonplace throughout Europe in the 19th century, the humans on display here are the show contestants, and not the indigenous African people. The article in Focus Online enumerates the exotic animals one encounters in the Namibian desert: ‘dangerous predators’, as well as “leopards, jackals, crocodiles, rhino, ostrich” and the author does not tire to point to the picturesque, if not primitive life style of the Himbas, who maintain ‘social contacts through community dances and ‘feasts’. In another article in Focus Online, the headline reads: ‘Zicken Alarm in Namibia: Die Wilden sind die Weissen’ (Bimbo Alarm in Namibia: The Savages are the Whites). The author first points to racist popular German culture which belittled black people… only then to claim that now colonialism turns on itself (“als entwickelte unsere Gesellschaft ein koloniales Verhältnis zu sich selbst”) by sending white women to Africa; hence, as Spiegel Online did, Focus claims that now the whites are stared at in a zoo-like exhibition while the blacks are supposedly the ones who shake their heads at the grotesque display that is in front of them. This kind of representation intends to construct equivalence between black and white, between today and the colonial period, between marginal Himba people on the one side and German TV starlets and audiences on the other.

Perhaps there is something to this argument that in our globalised and ultra-capitalist world, we all share now the same visual, imaginary space. But does it mean that we are all equally equipped with the power to earn a good living and decide about representations of our image? As if colonial legacies could be easily dissolved through such representations in mass media and through making fun out of white women in Africa.



Thomas M Blaser

Thomas M Blaser (born in Switzerland) is a political scientist of South Africa.

  1. unfortunately this is just another show of many in Germany in the past years. there was one with “difficult youths” who are send to remote place by “the most horrible parents in the world” (the title was similar to that). and also “Wie die Wilden – Deutsche im Busch” (Like savages- germans in the bush!!) – if i am not mistaken all of them had to be withdrawn due to public outrage (and low audience share)

    1. Wie die Wilden = Like Savages?

      What a terrible translation! OMG, haha. Classic. Better yet would have been “Germans in the Bush – like a primitive sub-human non Aryan beast of the wilderness” or something… that’s what your twisted misleading translation implies

    2. Correction: None of them had to be withdrawn due to ‘public outrage’. Unfortunately, Germany isn’t quite there yet.

  2. Can’t believe Wimsa agreed to that stuff… (The Tourism board is not the only entity that has a say…) But yet again Namibian government (where Hereros and Namas are a tiny minority if not almost non-existent) would rather rake in and accept everything from Germany – from hypocritical international aid to offensive TV shows. Never has Germany accepted to apologize, 100 years after the genocide, fearing they might have to give out financial reparations. Never the Namibian Government put any pressure on Germany to take responsibility for wiping out 80% of the Hereros and 50% of the Namas.

    A documentary about the Herero and Nama genocide carried out by Germans between 1904 and 1908 for those who’d rather watch something instructive than this garbage TV show… (In French sorry…)


      1. What Markus want to say: RTL or ProSieben are not “the Germans”. It comes all from U.S., (but the Germans like it. Uncle Sam’s gifts are cooool!)

        1. Well, RTL, ProSieben etc. are getting American more and more. And German TV, frankly, is a good mirror of us Germans. One big pile of… mental and emotional poverty, innocently.

          1. Naaaaaah, you’re getting it all wrong. Even though there might be something true about this cliché of bad U.S.-tv, the biggest tv shit wasn’t invented in the U.S. Super youth culture sell out channel MTV may have contributed to that by spreading some of the climaxes of horrible tv worldwide. But it all began in the Netherlands. The Dutch have always invented the stupidest TV shows. And they are too blame. As a nation. Each and everyone of them! … They all should be forced to watch all the episodes of “Lindenstraße”, again and again, till the end of their lives.
            After clearing the facts, I now may lean back to watch some more Brazilian telenovelas. Ay, beleza.

        2. I absolutely don’t like that show. RTL and Pro7 represent most of the german, let’s say, not so well educated people. (No offense meant) There are TV shows on the private broadcasters that make me cringe with embarrassment. Not only that one. Luckily we still have a few TV channels like ARD, ZDF, 3Sat and even WDR (even if their program is more for the elderly) that produce funny little shows like “Bitte nicht nachmachen”, “Sendung mit der Maus” or “Wissen macht Ah!” Ah and by the way, since the Prism scandal, we don’t like “uncle Sam’s gifts” so much here.

        3. I’m pretty sure Markus wants to say that you shouldn’t colour every German with the same brush. Doesn’t matter if the show’s coming from the U.S. or from Germany. Nevertheless I feel ashamed for my tasteless countrymen.

  3. Not to worry! The newly esconsed Moslems in Europe will change the character of European TV – in no time flat.

      1. the confusion surely stems from the fact that “Bimbo” in German language is a racial slur comparable to the n-word, whereas in English it is an insult for a certain type of women. “Zicke” literally means “female goat” and you can indeed translate it with “bitch” as well as with “bimbo”, but given the German use of the latter, Germans would probably tend to say “bitch” if they mean “Zicke”

        1. Article is in English, why would you even think of the German “Bimbo” slur? ….

          1. It might be as “Bimbo” is the most well known and most rude “N-word” in germany and he is german, I think. I had to follow that link, too to see what this means in english, cause I expeted the same.

        2. Of course most words in the German language are racial slurs.

          Racism is the essence of German culture and it’s people. When a German sneezes it is most likely another form of the “N-word”. Coughing contains subtle anti-semitic notions and dare a German make any hand gestures. Greetings and good byes in Germany have declined radically as the hidden Nazi codes in these gestures was all to evident.

          1. Sorry. Never read something that stupid. Of course racism exists in germany, but not as much as in the US for example where the best chance to get beaten by police is being black.

            Nazi simbols are forbidden and denying the holocaust is a crime here that can send you to jail.

            As I said before: There are rascists in germany, as in any other country, too, but yelling “they are all damn nazis” makes you – if not a rascist – someone who does not know much about what happened the last 70 years.

  4. white people are evil…you can not get around it..everywhere they go the mess up everything nobody likes them..

    1. bla bla bla white people this, black people this,,, this is an idiotic approach and about mix people, half white and half black shall we call them beige? I can’t hep it I’m being sarcastic here. Please do not generalise.

    2. Blaming “white people” for the world’s problem is wrong because 1. it is a gross simplification of a deeper, bigger, more elusive and more sinister problem of universal power, subjugation, and inequity; and 2. it gives them way too much credit, and is just the flip side of, and ultimately reinforces, the “master race” narrative: “only they can fuck everything up in such epic style”.

      Industrialization/Modernization did not “come from the West to the Rest”; and both advantageous and disastrous consequences of these events need to be attributed to not just white Europeans, but understood as resulting from a global process. (For instance industrialization started in Manchester with cotton factories, but both the cotton itself as well as the knowledge of how to work with it came from India). Thus no one ethnic group or culture owns Modernity and everything it entails, from technology to fashion to global warming – these things all belong to the entire world, and is everyone’s problem.

      Similarly the dynamic of Colonialism/Slavery is much more complex than merely “White” vs. “Black/Brown/Yellow”: “the first victims of the British Empire were the English” (thanks Keith Jones for both quote and link below); and the much forgotten history of the Irish slave trade is an important part in a more nuanced understanding — “majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white… Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade” ———— http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-irish-slave-trade-the-forgotten-white-slaves/31076

    3. Yeah, women getting stoned to death for looking at another man or reporting having being raped without having 4 male witnesses to back her up. Children getting limbs cut off for stealing food just to survive another day. Constant public floggings for saying the “wrong” words and all the beheading and occasional cannibalism. White culture eh.

  5. My first message seems to have been the victim of invisible censorship….mmm?? what are the implications of such an act to the ‘country of Africa’?…..anyway undaunted I make another attempt to contribute to a pluralistic inclusive and yet bounded by our small shared Planet humanity in microcosm here:

    Nothing much more than any other Nationality…but among body of their Reality Media executives…the same hollow scramble for personal aggrandisement, celebrity and profit that we find overwhelming spiritually alienated persons of every Nationality. In my view it would be better to rehabilitate our use of language and try to steer the Media away from its addiction to divisive language designed to provoke instinctual xenophobia and historic prejudice.

  6. please disregard my opening paragraph….below. the failure to post was entirely my own. My sincere apologies.

  7. First off, as good as your point and article is, you are guilty of the same – “the Germans”. I’m German, I do not watch that trash and I believe most of my friends do not watch this or would even consider watching this. And I had this attitude before my father married my stepmother (who was born and raised in Mali and still is a citizen of Mali living in Germany) only a few years ago. Just the title of the show is so revolting. I learnt through the Spiegel article that the show was filmed in Namibia which is really very unfortunate!! (In lack of a better word!) Here in Germany most people are aware that not every black person is from “Africa” (many have German citizenship, some of those never ever been to “Africa”), although there are unfortunately always stupid people who have funny ideas of “natives” living in mud huts with no toilets … most Germans are aware that some people in the many countries of Africa live better lives than others. But here in Germany these stereotypes of natives being stuck in the savannah aren’t “mainstream”! There have been several soccer stars on our national team with roots in African countries. I remember that back in the 80s soccer player Anthony Baffoe – who has a wicked sense of humour – said on live tv after receiving a yellow card “man, we blacks need to stick together!!”. (He said that to the referee.) Also around the same time, the leading German soccer newspaper “Kicker” said of Anthony Yeboah “he lives like a German model citizen”. Yeboah said “what, do you want me to make a campfire in my living room??”. Mainstream Germany laughed with Baffoe and Yeboah! Back then the German public had already accepted people with roots on the African continent as part of German society. Soccer really is Germany’s “Lieblingskind” (favourite child), you can’t get more mainstream than soccer. However there are stupid people who go for these stupid stereotypes … almost no one watches that stupid show. So why do you ask “What’s wrong with the Germans?” …

    1. Sorry to disagree with you, but I’m black and German, and from my experience I can tell you that most of my fellow citizens are surprised that I speak German. There are still people who ask me if I want to go “home” someday. There are still people who oppose refugees (i.e. people who couln’t be more in need of help) because there heads are filled with effin stereotypes. And wait a second: nobody watches these stupid shows? We’re talking about the two biggest private TV channels in Germany. They create and run shows according to ratings. Shows that loads of people watch. People who might be stupid, I give you that, but still are many in number. So please… don’t be so blue-eyed, you should know better.

      1. The two biggest “private TV” channels in Germany are watched by 0.0275% of the population on average. They pale in comparison to public broadcast ratings! The top 20 or so most popular programs are all aired on the public networks ARD or ZDF and the most popular programs on private channels are American shows such as House or CSI!

        Viewer numbers for any channel in Germany hardly ever surpass the 5 million mark. The only programs to commonly exceed the 5 million mark are sporting events, mainly football, which are predominantly broadcast on the public stations and cult series such as Tatort or Polizeiruf 110.

        “…don’t be so blue eyed? ” I wonder what you could possibly mean by that? Is it a bad thing to have blue eyes? You really want to fight racism and stereotyping by perpetuating it yourself?

        1. blauäugig sein (lit.trans.: to be blue-eyed) is an idiomatic frase and means ‘to be naive; to be gullible’…

          1. Jeepers!! When will people learn that literal translations only work like 0.0275% of the time?
            Did you care to ponder a beat or two about the perspectives on either side of the linguistic whirlpool? Well… let’s say you are Germanic, Scandinavian or from any other geographical mosh pit of white haired wizards with an inherent melanin deficiency. Well then, I think it is safe to say that you would be accustomed to witnessing photons refracting to reflect the blue light from another persons skull, and you would know, as you appear to, that in those countries where blue light is more common in a humans face than the sky, the majority of children were born with blue eyes. Some later change to green ( the predominant colour of my homeland ), or grey or brown – if deficiency is overcome with age. So reference of the blue-eyed with pre-teen traits such as naivety is quite apt.

            Now. Would you like to translate it for me again? Perhaps from the perspective of a North or South American, an Asian or an African?

            Let me translate it for you from an English tongue. There is no idiom “blue-eyed” here. There is the “blue-eyed-boy” though:
            British informal, chiefly derogatory
            a person highly regarded by someone and treated with special favour:the problem that managers may favour their blue-eyed boys

            1. Erh, don’t really think that he is about to fight racism and stereotyping here with the expression “Don’t be so blue-eyed”..it also exists in Denmark (where many people indeed do have blue eyes), and does also refer to as somebody who is being “naive”.

        2. “The two biggest “private TV” channels in Germany are watched by 0.0275% of the population on average.”

          That sounds very, very inaccurate. Where did you get those numbers?

          1. That must be a guess. Even if I agree in most terms that those shows are mainly for the german counterpart of “white trash”. Nonetheless it is higher than 0,0275% I guess.

            @Samson I think the problem is, that black people are still quite rare in germany. I am from the country side and did not meet any non-white guy until I moved to the city.

            Honestly my experiences with blacks not born in germany is that it is often easier to talk french than german. I also believe it really depends on where you live. I live in Hamburg and I don’t think you would ever hear someone asking here if you want to go “home” someday.

            Might be different in the country-side especially in the eastern regions of germany.

            1. The market share is just an estimated market share of people watching TV at any one time. It does by no means include people who weren’t watching TV, so that the amount of people actually watching those stations was much lower — it would be somewhat unrealistic that on average 12.3% of all Germans were watching RTL (24h/day) anyway.

              1. Finally someone who understands that many figures quoted around 7, 8 – 12.3% are market share figures or “Markteinteil”. Thank you!

          2. You didn’t think to research it yourself before you feebly counter argue with mere suspicion? Have you not heard of Google?
            There are dozens of sites with German TV “Einschaltquoten”.
            This “very, very inaccurate” figure per said channel works out at 2.2 million per day. How did you figure it’s inaccuracy? Were you simply perplexed by the 0.0 in the percentile?
            I’ll tell you something about percentages child. Quite often, when you have something very very big and you take a percentage of that big thing, it can appear relatively small, yet in reality it is often still very big!

            1. And you mistook the percentage sign.

              Germany has roughly 82 Million people. 0.0275% of the poplulation are 22,550. What you meant to say was 2.75% of the population = 2.26 million people.

            2. Lieber Herr O’Leary,
              ihren agressiv-belehrenden Ton halte ich für unpassend. Da Sie sich mit der Deutschen Alltagskultur auszukennen scheinen, kann ich Ihnen ja ruhig auf Deutsch antworten. Die Behauptung, Privatsender hätten einen Marktanteil von gerade mal 0,0275% lässt jeden Deutschen, der Grundkenntnisse der Mathematik besitzt, zusammenzucken. Genau so gut könnten Sie sagen: “der Rhein ist dreißig Zentimeter breit.” Um zu wissen, dass das Blödsinn ist, brauche ist keine Suchmaschine.

              Muss ich Ihnen den Unterschied zwischen 2,275% und 0,0275% erklären?

              Ja, ARD und ZDF haben höhere Gesamtquoten, wenn man die Marktanteile bei der Werberelevanten Zielgruppe betrachtet, sieht das allerdings schon anders aus.

        3. “to be blue-eyed” is a German idiom which means “to be naive”. It has no racist intention whatsoever. This is a “Germanism” – a literal translation of a German saying due to the notion that it should be understood in foreign languages as well.
          From what I heard, the show “Wild Girls” didn’t run very well at all, hardly anyone watches it and it sounds like it’s really dull and boring, so it deserves to be ignored by the audiences even for reasons of entertainment alone. I think RTL must be quite desperate to produce something as hideous as this show.

        4. Just a short comment reg. the “blue eyed” statement-I assume, this is a word-by-word translation of the German phrase “sei nicht so blauäugig” which means ‘don’t be so naive’ (I guess this phrase has it’s source from babies born with blue eyes, who don’t have much life experience)

          1. MST. I believe we are all aware of the literal translation by now.

            However, Mr.Samson presented his full argument in English, and
            when one wishes to converse in English, using the sentence “… don’t be so blue eyed”, means one of two things:
            1. Having blue eyes
            2. favorite

            You cannot assume that a person, whose first or only tongue is English, to read this text and recognise “blue eyed” as a German idiom that has been literally translated. An absolutely absurd notion that so many people here appear to be entirely comfortable with to the point of re-iterating it to death. Clearly most contributors here are German native’s with a basic understanding of the English language, who don’t seem to be aware or capable of understanding that “blue eyed” is in fact an English idiom with an entirely different meaning!

            English speaking person [reading Samsons post]: “hmm… ah yes blue eyed, I will ignore that this is an English idiom and just for the heck of it change my understanding of the English language. Frig it why don’t I just translate it into German and inject that meaning into my understanding, even though I don’t speak German.”

            * For anyone here who will use Google Translate to read this post, I must note that the above paragraph contains some sarcasm. *

            If Mr. Samson had instead, chosen to use something like “…don’t be so blauäugig”, there would be no issue.

            That is all. Thank you.

            1. It is interesting to see how you are making such a big issue out of a linguistic mistake. The meaning you implied was clearly not intended in the original utterance and yes, people who only know English (or another language that doesn’t have this idiom) wouldn’t know that, but it has been corrected several times now. There are a lot of German idioms that exist in English, too, that was probably why Samson assumed it might work. *I’m* not going through *your* text being like: ‘ “….[reading Samsons post]” so you are implying that there is more than *one* Samson?!!’ When it’s clear that you made an error not using the apostrophe to generate a genitive. You cannot expect every single person to speak English absolutly flawlessly. If the mistake or error is corrected… give it a rest.

    2. this is a very naive fairytale view of germany. just take your soccer example: Black players are constantly abused by racist remarks and actions during games – booing, insults, throwing of bananas! and these are just the very obvious signs of racism. let alone more subtle ways in daily life and structural racism for example in public institutions …

      1. Samson – schau dir die Zuschauerzahlen an, es schaut so gut wie niemand, die Presse verurteilt es, was willst du noch?
        bam – this is not my opinion, you are either trying to read my reply in the wrong way or are to arrogant to read it or you are simply trolling.
        saadiyah – yes, there is racism, but mainstream Germany is against it! This article here addresses “the Germans”. That is wrong in itself, but let’s say that “mainstream Germany” is “the Germans” and mainstream Germany does not accept this talk, representation, views or racism as good.

        I am really shocked by your statements or “replies”. You complain about racism and prejudice BUT YOU ARE BEING RACIST AND PREJUDICE!
        I’ve been in countries where I was “white”. In Japan I was not addressed by name but as “gaijin”. (Not by everone, but by some idiots.) In Egypt (I was there for several months work-related) I was not seen as a human being but as an open purse. Both in Japan in Egypt these people didn’t bother really getting to know me or even talking to me long enough to learn my name …
        All that is racism and disgusting. There are racists in every country. But most people are very nice.

        What I am really disgusted by is when someone claims to be standing on some morale high-ground only to be guilty of the same sin, namely racism and prejudice.

        I am German and I do not appreciated what the tv channels are doing. But I cannot change it! All I can do is not watch it, so that the people from said tv channels will not start another show just like it.
        It does not represent me. But YOU say just because I have the same nationality as the tv bosses that I also share these ugly dated views!

        1. This might surprise you BUT the article is not about YOU! Or the 10% or 20% of Germens that aren’t racist or hold negative views about Blacks.

          Its about getting the German society, which you are a part of, to change.

          And please… You cannot be that nativee! calming that main stream Germany isn’t racist. If you are – then it’s time you wake up and smell the coffee. Being Kumbaya isn’t going to change anything.

          1. Have you ever been in Germany, or how do you know how racist people are there? Private TV in Germany tends to be very, very stupid. This show itself is not worse than other shows where so called celebrities emberasses themselve, it’s the same crap in a diffrent sourrounding, but indeed, now, we the Germans emberasse ourselves in Namibia.

            1. Well, every 5th German is xenophobic according to SPON.
              Is there anything else to say? Just go around and ask people, there is a general negativity towards foreigners and immigrants (mostly Turkish people and muslims in general).

              1. Again this is not unique to Germany! The Author of this article is from the world Capital of race related crimes! Guess he wanted to shift the attention to the Germans for a while. You should go to the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan even Pakistan, or North Africa, Indonesia perhaps. Anywhere predominantly Muslim, you’ll be sure to have an interesting time, certainly negative. Actually so negative that there is a very good chance that you would never come back. Maybe that’s why no one mentions it?

                Go around London or NY for a day, heck, go anywhere in Spain, Italy, France – the entire east block for that matter and see how well foreigners are perceived. It’s a global problem!

                1. That’s the thing. I feel especially a country with a history like ours should be smarter in that sense, but that even here in Germany we are this naive regarding xenophobia is alarming. Politicians neglect their actual jobs.

              2. According to SPON… Did you ever read more than 1 or 2 articles on SPON a day? Most of them are… lets: say not very well investigated. If you are just a bit more proficient in a topic SPON writes an article about, you’ll soon realize, that for SPON it’s more relevant to write a lurid article than the boring truth.

                1. Couldn’t have said it better. This is all very true, however this one specific post I’m referring to was based on empirical studies, so I’m afraid, SPON for once hit the target. I’d link it for you, but can’t find it right now. Found another though.
                  Here it says, every third. http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/studie-in-acht-laendern-europa-der-intoleranten-a-750172.html according to a study.

                  Even if you don’t want to believe these you just have to look around ask a few basic questions and you see there is a general xenophobia in the mind of the people. It’s not like we should be worried that we become Nazi Germany all of a sudden again, but there is a trend and due to rising poverty and rising economical troubles, xenophobia is on the rise, as well. Shows like the one on RTL don’t help for that, either.

            2. Lived in Germany,have family in Germany. I think that makes me a bit qualified to hazard a guess as to how racist said country is, no?

            3. Private TV like RTL is not just racist, it speaks in stereotypes and prejudices most of the time. People who get social money from the state because the temporarily have no job are constantly shown as dumb and lazy people. Teens are shown as dum party animals who fuck everything that doesn’t flee of them. Women in general are slutty and bitchy, men are machos. And of course, all black people are shown as foreigners. That’s how german private TV works, and it’s a shame.

              1. That’s how private TV works all across the globe! Jerry Springer, Jeremy Kyle, Jenny Jones… these shows have all sorts of guests, including a guy who killed 6 children for money, that’s in the UK! Teen shows like “sun, sex and suspicious parent”, various spring break shows, programs showing british pub culture and nightlife from the perspective of the police, which is way worse than anything I’ve seen on German tv or live for that matter. Italian programs that take the p*** out of foreigners (esp. blacks and asians), american shows constantly rip on Hispanics, blacks, canadians – everyone really. Japanese shows love to torture and humiliate people, especially foreigners, in particular white americans… the list is endless!
                So considering that racist and other vile tv shows are prevalent around the world, I find it a bit harsh and short sighted to single out Germans in this case. The article basically stereotypes Germans and essentially suggest that German people and racism are mutually inclusive. It’s a common notion given Germany’s past.

                Really the focus should have been on scrupulous private tv operators who will keep pushing the boundaries of morality, which in turn, gets people’s attention (for good or bad), and it’s all just for £ $ € …

          2. 10% or 20% …perhaps in USA..or Israel…there is still this nazi picture from germany in the world…but other countries, are much better now in this job.

          3. “10% or 20% of Germens that aren’t racist or hold negative views about Blacks.”

            Again with the sweeping generalisation – where do pull this figure from? Is that you know 10 German people of which only 1 or 2 aren’t racist?

        2. You are really terrible. i’m embarrassed to be German when i’m reading your comments. What is all this condescension and defence for? Besides, you are stating hogwash.
          If the rating for such shows was low they would cancel it, but they don’t which means they get a fairly high viewership.
          There is nothing positive about it all and we Germans should accept that a majority of our people are stupid (which is true for every other country, as well).

        3. “Mainstream Germany”, as you call it, is not against racism. “Mainstream Germany” doesn’t care about racism. Not seeing racism when it’s right in front of you is racist, in a passive way so to speak. So please stop your whitewashing already.

          1. Racism is NOT a German Thing. It’s a human thing.

            I hate it when people call “the Germans” racists… what’s that? Isn’t THAT racist, too?

            And LindaLee: So you know, what “we” are “crying” about? You know, what we’re thinking? I can only speak for myself, but of course I dislike generalization and racism IN GENERAL.

        4. Where’s the problem? Does anyone (the majority) in Germany give a mess about German newpapers or magazines writing about “the Americans”, “the Greek”, “the Africans” etc.? Why are we crying out now because someone writes “the Germans”? Maybe, because we see it as a stilistic device, when “our” news write it that way, but can’t stand when others do it the same way?

          I know, that no one blames me as a person, because I don’t watch any of those z-Celebrities-doing-everything-to-be-shown-on-TV. If you don’t, too, why do you feel blamed then?

          Do you feel blamed, too, when someone says about German tourists that all (!) of them get up at 6.00 am just to put a towle on a sunlounger nearby the pool to reserve it for the whole day and then go back and sleep another few hours? Or the typical caricature of us with sandales, tennis socks, beer belly, eating sausages and brezels, only drinking beer and wearing leather trouthers or dirndl? I don’t because I don’t do these things.

          As I know, that no one really means all Americans, all Greek or all Africans when they write it as a headline in German news, I think, enough readers know that here no one (hopefully ;) ) means “all Germans”.

          1. “Do you feel blamed, too, when someone says about German tourists that all (!) of them get up at 6.00 am”

            – No. If I am not a tourist. If I also don’t go these known booze resorts. If I don’t get up at 6am. If I don’t use towels. If I don’t like sun loungers (ugh) or urinal cesspits. Also no if im not the type of person to wake up only to go back to sleep – so disruptive.

            Second bit you mention characteristics and all that… completely different things. “What is wrong with the Germans” … read it again… let it sink in, read the article and construct your reply within the context of the article, keeping in mind the title that introduces the piece.

            Actually – yes, the title does in fact, formulate a meaning which does not exclude any particular individuals or groups of German nationals. So whilst it does not say “all”, the way the letters are arranged in the sentence, pretty much means “all”.
            I think you are being a bit blauäugig in this regard.

    3. your view of traditional lifestyles; ‘ “natives” living in mud huts with no toilets ‘ ‘natives being stuck in the savannah’ ; is completely ignorant and supremacist in itself. A traditional way of life in many ways is healthier and more hygienic than a lot of modern cities. Obviously there are certain drawbacks but your words underline a subtler form of racism, that a modern western lifestyle is superior to a traditional village/pastoral way.

    4. I completely agree with you. On the other hand, I feel very embarrased living in a country that allows such a show (or RTL in general). What about “Die Würde des Menschen ist unantastbar”? I think that the simple fact that such a show is produced is very very bad. And you do have to admit that we are far away from being over racism. There’s still a lot to be done. I don’t know many people watching this stuff either but that’s because I don’t want to know them. There are still too many racist ideas in many minds. Nevertheless, this article supports negative stereotypes of Germans which is very problematic

    5. problem is that a majority of Germans watch it, so the author has every right to say the Germans. But yeah, being German and being defensive is also highly common… (didn’t bother to read your post completely. Very poor defence).
      a German.

      1. majority of Germans watch it? 0.02% is the majority of Germans?

        Back to school for you boy, it’s time to learn about proportions!

        1. Ah, you got the number from the post above? It’s highly inaccurate. The TV channel would have closed down if it only had a viewership of around 0.02.

          Especially for a private channel….

          Nonsense accusations here. Wanting to send a law student back to school. Nice attempt, trying to come off as superior and cool while it’s just condescending.

  8. Hey, I’m a dutch living in germany. I just wanted to say, not all german people are that eberassing as these people and the guys which are producing the show.

    It’s trash TV: Produced by trashy producers with trashy actors for trashy german people. It’s just a small percentage I guess, which are watching these shows.

    I apologize for their behavior…

    1. Sorry, but as an African living in The Netherlands, I think you should apologise for Dutch “trashy people” before you stand up and attempt to defend German trashy people. Not to offend you, personally, but I have met more than my fair share of Nederlanders with an IDENTICAL mentality. And they are by far, in the majority.

  9. Sadly, they are just utterly retarded. But they really don’t represent Germany! you can find Stuipidity everywhere….Sorry for that. I wish RTL2 would know their responsabilty.

    1. O please, this stick has two endings, don’t be ridiculous, I have family in Africa, we are mix of European and Africans, how do you think we do love each other if we present your bashing about bad attitude. In the end we all are human.

      1. Sorry you feel that way–but its just business. Africa plays a major role in European wealth. Ask yoursely how and WHY did your European family come to Africa? to be poor?? i dont think so— hahahaha

          1. Africans go to Europe because that is where their stolen resources are located.

            1. Or a significant majority of Africans go to Europe because their governments do a shitty job of providing the infrastructures the different countries need to thrive?

              Honesty is … CRITICAL.

              1. Here is the honesty – the wealth of Africa and Latin America resides in Europe. Overwhelming the minerals, foods, precious metals are all exported. The governments of African countries are all controlled by the imperialist of Europe. The only infrastructure that is constructed is extractive infrastructure – ie. roads, railroads, mines. The US/Europe is afraid of the relationship that China is building with African countries. These imperialist understand that with China entering the picture that the relationship between them and the oppressed countries is changing. The imperialist will do everything in their power to stop the rules of exploitation from changing…expect more wars on the African continent sponsored by the imperialist…google Africom.

                Africans that come to west need need to understand that their resources are what brought about the development of Europe and the Americas.

                1. For me, I hold the African governments accountable, not the foreign powers. Why? Because a HUGE part of governance is creating opportunities for economic growth – social contract and all that jazz.

                  The Chinese/Dutch/Germans/Indians/etc do not owe any other geopolitical entity anything – their sole responsibility is making sure that their own economies grow and remain strong.

                  The leaders of African countries are not helpless babies – they are the ones with the natural resources. Why can’t they fight back? Seriously – is the oil/gold/iron ore/diamonds/cocoa/etc lying in some foreign governments background? Nope. Recall what America did when England/UK kept treating it like a colony? Notice how the Chinese can tell almost every “powerful” geopolitical entity to go where the sun does not shine?

                  African leaders are a lot of things but babies/zombies they are not.

                  1. So you are ok with the historical and contemporary rape of Africa’s resources and it’s people by Europeans?

                    Name an African revolutionary leader that was not assassinated by US/UK Imperialist sponsored regimes in Africa?

                    We don’t see anything differently – I see the history of imperialism and the role of colonialism in the maintenance of a dying Africa. You see that the imperialist and think whatever they do is their right…Following your logic, one wonders if you think Africans have any right that Europeans must respect.

          2. no they go to get a job…. they can make more money working for whites in europe than working for whites in africa– everybody knows that silly.

    2. please don’t embarrass your African brothers and sisters the way this TV show is embarrassing Germans by saying things like that.

      Blaming “white people” for the world’s problem is wrong because 1. it is a gross simplification of a deeper, bigger, more elusive and more sinister problem of universal power, subjugation, and inequity; and 2. it gives them way too much credit, and is just the flip side of, and ultimately reinforces, the “master race” narrative: “only they can fuck everything up in such epic style”.

      Industrialization/Modernization did not “come from the West to the Rest”; and both advantageous and disastrous consequences of these events need to be attributed to not just white Europeans, but understood as resulting from a global process. (For instance industrialization started in Manchester with cotton factories, but both the cotton itself as well as the knowledge of how to work with it came from India). Thus no one ethnic group or culture owns Modernity and everything it entails, from technology to fashion to global warming – these things all belong to the entire world, and is everyone’s problem.

      Similarly the dynamic of Colonialism/Slavery is much more complex than merely “White” vs. “Black/Brown/Yellow”: “the first victims of the British Empire were the English” (thanks Keith Jones for both quote and link below); and the much forgotten history of the Irish slave trade is an important part in a more nuanced understanding — “majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white… Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade” ———— http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-irish-slave-trade-the-forgotten-white-slaves/31076

      1. sorry– i am not african or black. and i am not blaming anybody just stating a fact. european wealth comes from africas natural resources.

        1. “european wealth comes from africas natural resources.” – Can’t argue with that. But “it is in their ‘Nature'”??? That is not only unacceptably racist, but a very limited and shallow view of a much larger and deeper problem.

          1. IT is not racist it is a fact. any group in power is in power because they took it by aggression. “wiki: Under Wilhelm II, however, Germany, like other European powers, took an imperialistic course leading to friction with neighbouring countries. As a result of the Berlin Conference in 1884 Germany claimed several colonies including German East Africa, German South-West Africa,Togo, and Cameroon.” How can you CLAIM a country? u can only do so if you are more powerful and aggressive In school if i want your sandwich–i will take it from you because i am bigger. i dont care if you are a nice peaceful guy, im hungry and i want that sandwich!

            1. Yes, Europeans have been exploiting, enslaving, raping and mass murdering those who have smaller guns for about 500 years.

              That is all true. Undeniable. That is history. And in many ways continuing.


              Do you understand why it is wrong and racist to say that Europeans are “NATURALLY”, “inherently”, evil?

              600 years ago, Europe was nothing. Europe was a miserable shit hole without running water, without bathrooms. Other older cultures, like the Han Chinese, like Eyptians, have been exploiting, enslaving, raping and mass murdering for thousands of years before Europe learnt how to wipe its ass.

              Is it in the Han Chinese or Egyptians’ “NATURE” to do so?

              NO. and to say that it is would be RACIST.

              It is in no one’s “NATURE” to do evil. People do evil because of historical circumstance.

              did you not read my first reply?

      2. khan, egyptians? sorry. you cite examples of pre-industrial civilization where men were sacrificing their own children, and worshipping animals–everyone was barbaric then. I am talking about the 1800’s at the apex of Europe’s cultural and technological revolution. that is when European committed great acts of evil in africa and india, for their own imperialistic greed… this colonial mindset is what spawned world war 1 and later ww2. but you already know that.

        1. your definitions of industrialized = civilized, pre-industrial = barbaric, are very problematic, but lets leave that aside for a moment…

          So what is your point? that it is in the “nature” of Europeans to do evil? (i know you said that, but do you really mean it?) and if so, what is the cause of this “nature”? They have the “evil gene”???

          Or is it maybe more logical (and less racist) to say that Europeans were placed in a certain complex set of historical circumstances, in which any other group would have done the same thing. And that the deeper problem is the nature of power in the context of state level societies, and the legacy of subjugation and slavery which accompanies it.

    3. If it is their nature it belongs to them so it would be a waste not to exploit it.

      Though I don’t think they will be able to “always” exploit nature. There’s only about 0.0344% of nature left – most of it is now plastic.

    4. Mmmmmmm…..UdonNo…..maybe you should direct your sight a bit more to China, they have already made there move big time on Africa and own a lot of their resources. They are just more clever so that nobody has recognized it jet :)

  10. I miss someone in your article: Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s director of choice, well-known through her films of the 1936 Olympics and the ‘Parteitag’. In these films she glorified and stylized the athletic human body. In later life she used her talent to create romanticized ‘realities’ in her films and photos of Nuba, Maasai, Himba. Her work in Africa has had a great influence on the kind of pictures of ‘natural’ people we know now so well.

    1. Thanks for the post, I totally agree. And let’s not forget: Riefenstahl’s glorification of the body (body over mind if you will) is still very influentual in modern advertising and marketing, and also very popular in the United States e.g.
      She was a racist of course, and her influence was – and still is – harmful. But racism is universal, and not exclusive to Germany. It’s a stupid show for stupid people, and as a matter of fact: the show flops in Germany.

  11. It’s really interesting to read this article, it is even more interesting to read the comments. For some reason, this show is doing well in Germany otherwise it won’t be showing. There are horrible people everywhere, but I blame the society for finding pleasure in the dehumanization of a people, given the history of colonialism and the genocide. I blame even more so, the Namibian government for being unable to treat such a minority group with respect; exploiting them out at every given opportunity. If a government does not protect its people, who would?

    1. Israel is one of the world’s most ‘developed’, ‘industrialised’ and ‘modern’ countries in the world, with a lifestyle comparable to Germany. It would be boring and apparently not, “exotic” enough to film in Israel. Besides, Jews are hardly marginalised in Israel, nor would their government stand for that kind of exploitation.

  12. The ratings of the show are catastrophic.

    I as a black German agree that the idiots are not the majority in Germany.
    Most (90%) of my fellow Germans are NOT surprised that I speak German.

    Also once I unexpectedly landed in the middle of a dozen of perfectly german-speaking Vietnamese (like minister Phillip Rösler). Boy was that a weird experience!
    So I feel I do not have the right to feel insulted and start crying when a person congratulates me for my good mastery of the german language.
    Are you sure that you wouldn’t react surprised if a white guy comes walking up to you and starts talking Ashanti, Haussa, Swahili or whatever african language without the slightest accent? You know that many whites who were born and raised in Africa do speak fluently the languages of their native region, don’t you? So do you feel that you are entitled to throw the first stone?

    1. well, knowing how viewership rates in Germany work I can say that this certainly appears to be a low rating, but comparing it to the time it is broadcast and the circumstances (season; weather) this is indeed a pretty high rating.
      Imagine any other show doing well on a Wednesday evening during summer. This is pretty normal to be frank.
      Which makes it even worse, because the target group still watches it and those who are intelligent enough to know better (racism, stereotypes, etc) don’t even watch TV, so they are taken out of the equation entirely.

      1. How could you possibly get the impression of this actually being a high rating when the article flat-out states that each week, it is dropping lower than the previous week’s ratings, and aside from that, it already started out lower than the expected share for that channel at that time? Summer already existed last week, which I can only assume you didn’t realise.

        1. Wrong assumption here. I realised summer existed already a couple of weeks, but doesn’t change anything.
          and what do you think these TV stations aim at? 50% 60%? That’s impossible. They aim at 10-20% depending on time of broadcast.

      2. “knowing how viewership rates in Germany work I can say that this certainly appears to be a low rating, but comparing it to the time it is broadcast and the circumstances (season; weather) this is indeed a pretty high rating.”

        Eyyup. Many people are not aware of this.

    1. We got the same shit in France. Don’t blame yourself for a system on whom you ain’t got any possibility of control.

  13. I must say I find the title “What’s wrong with the Germans” disconcerting. Stupefying shows such as this one, though it’s a particularly embarrassing example, address the stupidest of the stupid consumers, of which unfortunately there are a lot. But that’s nothing specific to Germany, or even the Germans. I do believe that Germany today has a comparatively open and liberal society. I think it’s fair to assume that viewers of this show probably don’t exactly pass as intelligent, educated, or cultivated enough to reflect on the cultural, historical, and other implications of this outrageously stupid programme in the way this article does. In my opinion the producers of this nonsense have a responsibility not to make things worse than they already are – their ‘work’ is positively insulting, and society at large should voice their disagreement. On the other hand I think people waste far too much time on their insignificant bickering about this or that conspiracy, and all the little injustices that’ve been commited against them. There’s too much of a culture of self-victimisation. I think it’s fairly normal that it will happen to a black person in, say, Germany that white people will assume that that black person might have a different background than Hans Schmidt. But there is as little offense in that as there is in, for example, some Japan-born Swiss person experiencing the same thing in Osaka. If that already makes you feel queasy then there’s little hope that we’ll all satisfy our curiosity in ‘the other’ by continuous learning experiences and eventually come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter for a person’s dignity where he’s from or what colour of skin she has.

  14. Germany is a country that is unwilling to come to terms with its colonial past, the important continuities to the Third Reich (most Germans don’t want to hear this but the first officially designated German concentration camps were build in Namibia in 1904 – something that I feel should have been mentioned beyond the evasive language stating analysts opinions instead of empirical and historical fact, for teh latter see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookreviews/7940763/The-Kaisers-Holocaust-by-David-Olusoga-and-Casper-W-Erichsen-review.html and Madley’s “From Africa to Auschwitz: How German South West Africa Incubated Ideas and Methods Adopted and Developed by the Nazis in Eastern Europe”) or the obvious problem of rampant, state-sanctioned and socially acceptable structural racism in Germany today. The comments reveal once again that a vast majority are unwilling to understand racism as more than just individual bad behaviour. The way the history of the Third Reich is commemorated does not help, as it narrowly ties the understanding of racism to National Socialism which is presented as an ahistorical evil rather than a project shaped in no small part by personal, ideological and political colonial continuities – many of which can be traced back to German aggression in Namiba . As a Black German, I have encountered all of the equivocating, trivialising, universalising, derailing arguments about German racism racism made in these comments countless times before, and this is the reason why such pointed generalisation about the entire country is totally fine in my book, despite the fact that I know many anti-racist Germans – who would agree with the assessment, which is why they are active anti-racists. The point that the exaggeration is trying to make visible is structural and epistemic racism that is so rampant that such a show could possibly be produced, given Germanys history not only, but especially in Namibia. This would be unthinkable for most other contexts of a holocaust such as the one Germans perpetrated in Namibia. And by the way: This past is not over, as a quick glance at land ownership in Namibia painfully illustrates: More than half of Namibia’s arable land is in teh hands of White German descendants who to this day are gratuitously supported by the German government which finances German schools etc for them….continuities abound in Germany as well, but maybe I should invite others to point them out.

    1. Germany never even got close to the number of people killed by British or Spanish Colonists.

      Your assessment is pure Bull crap

      1. So how does this make German genocide in Namibia, in Tanzania and the German-commanded attack of 8 imperial powers on China in any way less murderous and racist? Are you evaluating suffering by body count? See this is the customary way in which many white Germans and other western-educated people expose their lack of both knowledge and willingness to act responsible in the face of such horrid shared history. I never claimed Germans killed “more” than others, I find this whole number game to be reprehensible, its main aim is to deflect from inherited responsibility. The German reaction to being confronted with unpleasant facts about their colonial history usually is “wir nicht, die anderen auch”, meaning not us, the others as well – google the phrase, there is a whole book chapter written about this by two German historians. First, the scale of genocidal brutality is denied, in a predictable second step, the crimes of other European powers are cited to claim that German colonial aggression was somehow less bad or less brutal. Just read about what happened during the war in Namibia, read about what happened during the Maji-Maji war, read about what happened in China, especially after the “civilised” forces reached Beijing – just now your history before you enter such debate.

  15. Well, RTL and Pro7 are quite shitty TV stations – nobody watches this shitty programme and the guys from spielgel online are annoying attention seekers. If this show was popular, I would say that there is a need to worry, And this whole article and this pseudo-dicussion point out to some very basic truth: There are only to kinds of people – nice, open minded people and assholes. And the assholes will always find reasons to justify their negative and hateful attitude, be it racism, religious extremism, political views… or that people support a differen sports team. I don´t see that this article is “news” in any respect…

  16. see, this is (one of) the problems with making the mistake of blanket statements about an entire group: People are talking about the unjust portrayal of Germans rather than the problematic portrayal of Africa by Germans.

    About the article itself, i thought it could have gone a bit farther in its analysis of the claims in German press about the show “reversing the colonial/exoticizing gaze”; and instead of only saying that it is not equal, examining exactly HOW it is different to laugh at these dumb but sexy European women then to gawk at the “primitive” lifestyle of the Himba, in the context of European viewership.

  17. There are a staff of 2 men sitting in the main center of RTL in cologne, alone, making the decisions that rented teams have to execute . No team around, no own studio … RTL, Spiegel and Fokus are for dumb people who desperately need thoughts from outside, bewaring them from imploding caused by a lack of own thoughts. RTL has the worst reputation among even the slightest educated people here.

  18. do not see german TV is LAME…. and i say this as a German …when you mean WW2 was Hardcore… then see 30 min off RTL afternoon programm i can only say SRRY FOR THIS

  19. This TV show is a shame to us living in Namibia! It is a disgrace and embarassing. I agree: what is wrong with them?

  20. To defend our national dignity:
    RTL is simply Trash TV and as far as I know it is a big flop so far.

  21. amercians dont have the right to judge other countries… point blank.
    take care of your own brainwashing media…

  22. Shows like this make me wonder about the average intelligence of mankind.
    Most people watching this show (so happy I don’t know anyone in person) aren’t aware of that little racist undertone, what makes it even sadder. They are watching it to make fun of the “so stupid” girls. BUT it’s only a low percentage of germans watching this show at all! RTL is mainly watched for light entertainment (primarily about white trash, but every country got that embarrassing broadcasting network, right?! ) or american TV-Shows.
    RTL is using stereotypes to make other people feel better, most are aware of that, although not everybody thinks about this.
    The real racist-proportion in Germany is quite low, most times the problem is, that people simply don’t know better.
    Another problem is: Unlike USA, we don’t have a large black minority (I’m sorry if the phrasing is a bit weird, I’m not writing in english very often) so a) you don’t meet a really black person very often (ofcourse it depents on where you live, too, but in the main country… you know) and b) having a chat is even more unlikely, because, hey, how often do you get to talk to a completly stranger?! Not according to the skin colour!!
    The biggest minority of “foreigners” and targets of “everyday racism” are Immigrants of the Middle East (like Turkey), sometimes living in Germany in the 3rd or 4th generation. They seem to look slightly different and so distinguishable from “real germans”. What is bullshit in the end, but it’s human nature to blame “the others” (that haven’t lived “here” in my youth – as a sight from an (middle) old person) than the kids from the own group.
    In the end there are no differences between the “german youth” and the “not german youth” in Germany, (well, maybe a little accent, but a bavarian in Berlin is more likely to have communication difficulties ;) ) it’s all about the Subculture and peer-group!
    But try to find a brodcasting network willing to make a show about this!!!

  23. Germans sends bimbos in Namibia. All right. France and England sends troops in Lybia and Mali. Africa’s got a very big problem called Europe.

  24. ‘Zicke” does not mean “bimbo”, but “nanny-goat”, or, as used in this context: “bitch” or “silly thing”.

  25. Well, these TV shows are certainly nothing to be proud about, but as far I know RTL is very unhappy (6,6 % of the relevant audience).

    While some things are certainly not very good in Germany, I’d say it is wrong to jump to conclusions from shows being shown on RTL, which very few people watch.

    In other countries not so far away people are throwing bananas on politicians born in Africa btw.

  26. hey guys, i live in berlin and i believe most germans are on ecstasy all the time… <3

  27. “propped up with … silicon” is very funny but I think it should be “silicone”…

  28. Don’t take it too serious. It’s only television. As some people mentioned before, there are trashy TV shows in pretty much every other country in the world, too. Sometimes it seems to me that getting upset about some television show is a mere German phenomenon.

    I’m also sick of hearing all those bashing comments on RTL. It’s a private television channel and the character of the RTL brand has always been provocation. By the way, this is the only private general channel that still broadcasts an appreciable amount of news programs, whereas ProsiebenSat.1 doesn’t care about communicating serious current affairs topics to their audiences.

    1. The problem is, that the german audience is so used to “trash” like that and the majority can’t differentiate between the prejudices that this tv show wants to affirm and the reality of life in namibia. Thats why there is still so much allday racism in nearly everyones head and what remains in the audiences mind are not the girls, but a total wrong view on a culture, a country or in most cases the whole continent africa. As germans we need to take racism serious because this, in the face of it, “harmless racism” does much more with our minds than we think.

  29. I think once again this whole topic gets over analysed. I am Namibian and in our country nobody even thought as far as racism or exploration by the german “Kolonialherren” when this series got filmed. It was just seen as some common Reality show.
    The germans must stop bringing their past into every little happening. I know they feel guilty of what happened in the past, but I do not think this Reality show has anything to do with it.
    Is it of bad taste? Yes indeed, but the Namibian government and the Himbas had a say in this if they wanted to be involved. And the country and the Himba tribe who was involved made a good amount of money out of this.
    Some of you are totally right. When you watch something like this week after week you support it. Funny enough, the people who always shout the loudest about racism and exploration of the african tribes are the ones who watch it every week and suck it up like a sponge. On my side I believe that only a few german common people whatch this, and these are probably people who are not the brightest sheep in the flock.

    1. I am Namibian and completely agree with the analysis. It speaks to the continued “othering”, exoticising and dehumanising of African people in general and the Himba in particular. This is especially in bad taste seeing as the colonial history in the country.

  30. Thank you for this detailed analysis of those two (frankly, horrific) programs. The colonial gaze being turned is an interesting idea, though of course not totally new and, as it seems, not in the best hands with these channels. German schools still rely on a rather conservative, male white canon when it comes to literature and film in the EFL classroom. The introduction of the Educational Standards in 2004 has set this area back, imho. Teaching to the test leaves little space for deconstructivism. Sadly, from my experience with university students here, even in Higher Education, cut budgets and study reforms make us fall short of slightly more complex work even in BA literature courses. We’ve taught students to see university as a place to collect credit points; we have thus raised a student generation that focuses primarily on passing exams rather than on broadening their horizons. PS. Pessismistic, yes. I’m sorry; I have just finished grading some rather disappointing term papers.

  31. I am a german and i have to say i’m ashamed of the german TV shows. The TV transmitter makes more and more shows which are very antisocial and the only purpose of those shows are to humilate people. But as ashamed as I am of those shows, i’m ashamed of the many people watching this shit. Because if they wouldn’t watch the shows would be canceled. (I don’t know if my english is ok but if it’s not: sorry)

    1. Nope, not correct. The German public broadcaster ZDF sent the complete series “Auf der Flucht” (the German copy of the Australian “Go back to where you came from”) though it was heavily contested for its racist content and reached only a small viewership (zero-point-something). Plus: It won a TV award.

      (I’m sure, sending the complete series was only an act of defiance from whites who were critized for being racist again and again and again …)

  32. Unbelievable how many Africa, Germany and US experts we have
    here! So many smart words, everybody feels attacked and uses the poor Africans to
    make the others feel bad :’-( how heart wrecking.

    I’m a German living in Africa and one thing I can tell u. no
    one, really no one gives a bloody thing about such stupid TV shows,
    no matter from Germany, Netherlands, UK, US…

    Please just come, leave your cash and f..k off again, that’s all
    we want!

    If you are really such good people like you write, stop talking,
    buy a ticket and come here to help!

      1. This comment is a little ignorant isnt it, the image Europeans keep culitivating in their minds(through television shows) is what leads them to hold incorrect and frankly debasing views about Africa and African people.

  33. Hi,

    I have lived in Germany for almost 2 years now, and while there are many many aspects of it that I really love, I have to say that I have never lived in such a xenophobic country in the “west”.

    I don’t even look like a foreigner (have scandinavian heritage)… and the amount of genuine dislike and hate directed at me on an almost daily basis by germans is absolutely astounding.

    Not every German… I have met many friendly people here too… but it is nonetheless alarming.

  34. One correction to the line:
    “‘Zicken Alarm in Namibia: Die Wilden sind die Weissen’ (Bimbo Alarm in Namibia: The Savages are the Whites).”

    ‘Zicken’ cannot be translated into ‘Bimbo’.

    It is more like bitch/goat

  35. First of all I’m NOT surprised that instead of commenting on the actual subject, people here seem offended because for once in their privileged lives they are taken as a group (“The Germans”). Isn’t that what we white Germans do all the time when complaining about “The Turks”, “The Africans”, “The asylum seekers”, “The Muslims” and so on? But as stated above: These reactions have to do with the white privilege of being blank and surprised about other peoples’ experiences. Most Germans are either openly or subliminally racist and since we are talking about racism in Germany here, I don’t think it advances the discussion in any way to say “Oh my, when I was in Morocco or where ever people just wanted my money”. It doesn’t make sense because a) THIS IS NOT THE TOPIC and b) This so called “racism” is a reaction to white racism and is based on positive stereotypes of privileged white people and is due to centuries of colonialism where WHITE people came up with the absurd idea that they are superior, richer and simply better than everyone else in this world. So don’t complain if you as a white person have to deal with the repercussions of colonialism and racism – because: Guess what! All the Black and People of Color had to put up with that over decades now! This shit was started by whites, so be mad at your ancestors. Besides that it would be much better for Germany if we reflected our own way of judging people by their supposed group “membership” instead of pointing at others. Or as we say in German: “Kehre zuerst vor deiner eigenen Tür!” Literal translation: “Sweep in front of your own door first!”. Last but not least I think it says a lot about our “German mainstream” if two of the most popular private TV stations think that such a TV show might be a success. Before a TV show airs, they usually run a market analysis to determine if the show will be a success or not. Since this show does air now, the results of the analysis must have pointed out that this kind of disturbing, racist, sexist and embarrassing TV show might appeal to quite a number of Germans. So sorry to disturb your daydream with a “pinch” of German reality.

  36. NOO, please don’t believe the headline. That isn’t germany, that’s just the f***ing trash TV like you know it also from your countries.Only a little minority watches and supports this trash.
    Germany is more than this shit!

  37. I really like the headline, cause I think it’s quite helpful to generalize such things. Cause no matter how many or few Germans watch this …stuff(? don’t even have a word for it), it happened and is presented to the masses and when we just say “who cares, nobody is watching” then it will happen again and again (there are always some idiots watching…) and sooner or later everybody is fine with it, as it will become usual.
    I don’t want this kind of “entertainment” to be “standard”. I want it to be an example of “how exactly not to do entertainment for the masses except you want to be despised”. So I am totally fine with everybody stating that there is something pretty wrong with “the Germans”, because then it’s our concern and not just “oh RTL/SAT1/Pro7/etc is doing this shit again (and again and again…), but who cares, I didn’t watch”. We have to tell them that we really don’t want such kind of TV and not just don’t watch it and leave the rest to some reviews in the news

  38. saw some comments, though coming late. native austrian here ;)
    * Our worst problem, probably it’s global, IMHO is the oligopoly in broadcasting.
    I dare say RTL is _not_ genuinely German. There is a cabale and dynasty behind it: plz lookup “Bertelsmann North America”, on one side they claim they can make a better world with their think tank, on the other side they are co-owners of such double-message shows.
    They have a leg _in_ Germany and they compete with the “Springer” dynasty. Therefor, the mutual criticism is rarely motivated by truth or any care for the better of the country and the culture. It is jealousy about owning the bigger number of “pawns” or John Does…

    In fact, what I despise most and in rage, it is the total refusal of any responsibilty about country and people, when you are sitting in the center of a global oligopoly and flood the country with your very own stuff and content. But one day, it might harm international relations, when that care about sensitivity in _other_ countries in consequence is null as well.

    People from any country might go for a search for genuine TV for their own culture. Prospects are not good. Do something about THIS! In a certain way, they have such a thing in the “thug” states. Russia Today tells me issues, facts and trends about my own society, on more honest level than RTL…

    * The double message by the show will of course make ratings with the racism, not fight it. Any their statements are pure lip-service.
    * A symptom of our problem is visible in the reactions by Germans with visibly non-european ancestry. Neither can most of them find a cozy home in mainstream society, nor are they capable for a deep connection with their “old” culture somewhere else. The creation of a new society needs some reasonable environment to become a healthy one. But TV has become the most influential environment, only lately competed by social media (which are fickle anyway).

    * Please, investigate the mirror of/to Europe that Jose Rizal has created!
    His literary work has been successfully anti-colonial. (start with the “Indolence..” essay and the “Noli..” book.)

  39. Bimbo = Zicke!

    For all those of you who complained in the comments that “bimbo” is the wrong translation for “Zicke”, maybe you should consider that a word could have different meanings in different languages? I perfectly well know about the racial meaning of “bimbo” in German, but in english slang the term “bimbo” has a completely different meaning (from urban dictionary):

    1. bimbo
    A girl who is stupid, wears lots of make up and is obsessed with boys and clothes. Generally blonde but there are exceptions. Usually hang around i with other bimbos. You can spot them because they will be the big group of girls that all look the same and are giggling hysterically.

    2. bimbo
    Woman who is not attractive enough to be a model, not intelligent enough to be an actress, and not nice enough to be a poisonous snake.

    3. bimbo
    A very stupid woman; an airhead


  40. How can we be sure this is Germany, how can we know it’s not some far Eastern Europeans trying to catch their fun, in any case this shouldn’t be taken so seriously as it’s just a TV show

  41. the title is completely wrong, whats wrong with the germans? that same ideology is like africa is one country. Or should i tell the truth; all germans are wrong, are you happy hearing that?

    1. Oh wow. Oh super wow. You sound like one of those alabama boys (in the deep american south) son. I think, ‘One Country’ is a way to say We are ONE People? I think, whomever named the site knows that Africa is a continent? Jeez.

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