Racism at the movies

Last week I went to see the movie “Plötzlich Papa” (the English title is “Two is a family“). The film was great and, if you can, I recommend you see it.

There was a moment that made me feel very uncomfortable, though. Just in case, spoilers ahead.

So, one of the characters is a white woman. She disappears for a long time from her daughter’s and father-of- her- daughter’s life, who is a black man and who’s been raising the child. The fact that they are black and white is irrelevant to the film’s plot.

When the woman reappears, she has a new partner and she wants to introduce him to her ex and daughter. When the new guy appears on the screen, basically the whole theatre went like: “Ohhhhh…..”. I also heard a loud and clear “Neeeeeeeeeeeee” (with an intonation as in “Oh, noooooo”), and many, many laughs.

What was so funny or terrible about this new guy? He spoke perfect English, dressed in normal, some would even say “posh” clothes, had a normal height and contexture, was nice and friendly, said “Hello” with a smile. He was also a black man.

The colour skin of both characters had nothing to do with the plot. The movie is not about race issues. Do you think the audience at the movie theatre would have reacted the same, had the second boyfriend been a white man?

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5 Comments

  1. Well, you know. She made the mistake of hooking up with the wrong man once. Guess they could have forgiven that. But twice. Twice is bad. Clearly, he doesn’t need any characteristics beyond being black. 🙄

    I used to actually live in that area. Stuttgart seemed like the height of sophistication compared to where we were. Apparently, they gave the cold shoulder / weird treatment to Bavarians as well. Not that I’m trying to excuse them.

    I’m really not a fan of that region. People are very small-minded over there. I guess because of the army bases in that area they learned to “tolerate” (from their viewpoint) someone who’s darker. As long as they don’t come close. The school I attended when we were there had zero black children and no Turks. There were five foreigners there. Three left. I graduated, and I’m not sure what happened to the Italian girl. She was a few years below me.

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    1. Hi HelsinkiBudapest,
      Yes, in general I also feel Stuttgarters are tolerant people. That’s why this situation at the movies really was like “Whaaaaat” for me, because it really let the Stuttgarter audience show their subconscious side. The side that’s not so nice to Others.

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      1. Yeah. In the cover of darkness and all that. They’ve always been very good at not showing their other side. The tolerant ones. The bigots don’t care.

        Probably also had a lot of people from out of town there. From small towns and villages, trying to be sophisticated. Places that have had no newcomers since before the war.

        How do you feel about Berlin? Dirt poor but pretty awesome. Loved it there. Especially the Western parts.

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  2. Well, the last time I was in Berlin was ages ago (almost 10 years have passed). I was there as a tourist, which is not the same as living there, but it was definitely a great experience. I didn’t feel looked at as far as I remember. And people were nice 🙂 it’s definitely an option. Hamburg and Munich are on my list too.

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