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’Kassenbon’ means racism in German

 Language Learning Forum : Cultural Experiences in Foreign Languages (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post Reply
26 messages over 4 pages: 1 24  Next >>
schoenewaelder
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 5295 days ago

759 posts - 1197 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Spanish, Dutch

 
 Message 17 of 26
19 April 2015 at 11:15pm | IP Logged 
Sounds like a harmless everyday event. The old man was presumably trying to
attract
your attention to your faux pas. Sometimes people act the fool a bit. Sometimes
they make jokes. Maybe it was at your expense. Maybe it wasn't. Have you never
made a joke at a stranger's expense? It doesn't mean it was racist, although
people probably do say things they wouldn't otherwise say, when they think
someone won't understand.

I must confess, I always find it difficult to understand what cashiers say. I
think I read once, that going shopping was a good way of practicing you're
language, as there was a fairly limited number of things a cashier was likely to
say, but I find them quite varied.

Edited by schoenewaelder on 19 April 2015 at 11:18pm

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Serpent
Octoglot
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Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 18 of 26
20 April 2015 at 1:57am | IP Logged 
I think it's a good way for those who are living in L2 country. Also, going shopping is good for seeing all the labels and learning what things are called (what I do in Swedish whenever I'm in Finland :)).
The cashier does have a limited amount of things to say, but they're often culturally specific and/or idiomatic. Some examples are asking whether you need a plastic bag, a receipt, whether you have this or that kind of discount card, whether you're aware of a specific discount program (like "buy 4 and get the 5th for free"). The good news is that most of these are easy to demonstrate, you just need some stock phrases like "i don't understand" or "could you explain that?"
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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 6332 days ago

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 Message 22 of 26
20 April 2015 at 4:10am | IP Logged 
mitsos wrote:
Cthulhu wrote:
Serpent wrote:
Plenty of stupid jokes are racist or xenophobic.

Also, racism is more than just "making fun of the skin colour". It's making any lazy assumptions based on someone's race, especially when you're in a position of power or consider yourself to be. And cashiers only feel like that when there's a "potential criminal" out there.


Of course racism is more than that, I never suggested otherwise, but what lazy assumptions about race were made
here? Did they assume the OP couldn't understand German because he's not "Aryan" (Something most Germans
wouldn't do in my experience), or did they assume he couldn't understand German because he BLATANTLY couldn't
understand German?

And yes, stupid jokes can be racist or xenophobic, but they can also be about the weather, or about the
inconvenience of being stuck waiting at the checkout for whatever reason. If I had a dollar for every time I made a
joke about some jerk with 18 items in the 10 item or less line, I wouldn't be wasting my time on the internet; if that
jerk happens to be of a different race, that doesn't make me a racist.

My point is just that the OP really doesn't know what was going on, but they're assuming the worst and so many
people are reinforcing that interpretation regardless of the consequences.

I've lived it before.The inability to speak German targets one immediately in Germany.Also the different physical appearance is a big plus for the aggressor.Have you been to Germany?

I see your native tongue is Russian.In the Russian language one can speak far more blatantly than in other languages .And no-one could be offended.Furthermore in Russia the cashier could easily get a beating for such an incident.кассир мог бы получить по морде!Старик тоже.

You mixed us up ;) I'm the one who said this definitely stinks like discrimination, but that being discriminated for your looks or language skills is not the same as racism.

Anyway, I'm not so sure about getting beaten. Maybe only because the clerk wouldn't be protected by the professional association. And honestly I'm against fighting (verbal) violence with more violence. This only makes it easier for bigots to justify their bigotry :(

Edited by Serpent on 20 April 2015 at 4:16am

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Kronos
Diglot
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Germany
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186 posts - 452 votes 
Speaks: German*, English

 
 Message 23 of 26
20 April 2015 at 4:13am | IP Logged 
mitsos wrote:
The cashier's job is not to be stupid and behave himself when dealing with customers.
I'm not saying the incident is clearly racist but it does have racist connotations.I've been there before.

Anyway the part that annoyed me most was the behaviour of the cashier not the client's.What consumer organizations exist in Germany?I can take things for stupid clients but not from employees.

Here is an overview linking to the various regional German consumer organizations.

It's in German however, and I'm also not sure racism is part of the assigned tasks of such organizations. If you are serious about reporting the incident I would rather consider getting into contact with the agency set up by the government for such issues:

Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency

Edited by Kronos on 20 April 2015 at 4:26am

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