Originally posted by broskiii on October 08, 2020 00:18
I want to start off by saying that before reading the articles and watching the video, I did not know that Germany was still culturally divided to this day. They are technically reunited politically, but some East Germans still feel as though the West are foreigners to them, vice versa. So I thought that this cultural divide was really interesting because even after 30 years, not much has changed. These cultural labels, Ossi and Wessi, create a stigma towards their people and society still treats them as if they were still part of the stereotype, just as razzledazzle8 mentioned before. For example, in the US, when someone says that they are for New York, we probably perceive them as someone who always needs to live life at a really fast pace. When someone says that they are from Los Angeles, we imagine them to have this “valley-girl” personality where everyone eats kale or is vegan. These stigmas stress the importance of cultural division. I understand that many people are proud of the region that they came from because they do not want to be mistaken for another region in their state. For example, as razzledazzle8 mentioned before, a lot of suburbian kids tend to say that they are from Boston even if they live in Dedham. While Bostonians tend to correct others when they mention that they are from a neighborhood that isn’t Boston. We also make sure to say that we are from Boston because we don’t want to be grouped with people from the suburbs.
In Germany, the Ossi are referred to as “penny-pinchers” because of their economic catastrophe at the time which led to many Ossis moving to the West. The Ossi still think of themselves as second-class citizens because of their history of transitioning from being a socialist country to a capitalist country. Their wages are significantly lower than the West and the unemployment rates drastically higher. This leads me to comment on President Steinmeier’s speech on the unification of Germany. He compares the unification in 1871, which was brought by force and was due to Prussian dominance, to the unification in 1990. I think that President Steinmeier is really pleased of how his country managed to peacefully negotiate a unification between the East and the West. I am also quite impressed at how they managed to reunite Germany with peace rather than brute force like before. He also mentions how although they are currently one country, they still have a long way to go for both parties to feel equal. I like how their President acknowledges that there is clearly an unspoken cultural difference between the East and the West, unlike our President who denies that racism happens in the US. We can definitely apply this sense of acknowledgement into our own affairs, but our President chooses to ignore it and chooses not to denounce white supremist groups in the presidential debate.
I completely agree with your point about stigmas based on where you live. When I think of someone from the Midwest, I thing of a very conservative, and maybe even a racist person. We often make generalizations because we have an outside point of view of people, and the media often conveys stereotypes even if not everyone is like that.