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(to girls and boys) :-)

I am sure each and everyone of you has been „struck“ by this  beautiful and overwhelming feeling at least once in your lives. Beautiful and overwhelming?! Yeah, sure!

It usually takes you by surprise, hits you right in the face and leaves you there helpless and lost.

I would not consider myself the jealous type of girl. See, I’ve got this great set of principles I am trying to stay true to. A man who does not appreciate everything I have to offer – looks, brains and especially my willingness to devote myself completely to the man I love – is DEFINITELY not worth the effort.

Still, I have recently found myself torn between feelings of love and fear, sadness and anger! I never thought I would doubt my man’s love! I never thought I would see our connection be in danger. Romantic and stupid at the same time.

After some days of thinking and doubting, I have finally found a way to deal with those feelings – mainly because I am sick of wrapping my mind around my man thinking about other women! Here it is!

Flirting is OK if your lovers think they need it. If they do not know how special you are and if they like wasting their energy for some meaningless and trashy fling – then you should let them go for it!

You are worth way more than that!

Don’t let anybody EVER tell you anything else!

Having Nader take some pepto-bismol?! I like that idea!

First of all, talking white? Talking black? Where are we? 19something?

Second of all, statements like this can be found pretty much everywhere, in every country and in every area of life. I guess that’s part of human nature (at least of some humans’ nature).

This is how it goes:
Something good happens! There is finally somebody being able to get people’s attention! An interesting, motivating and inspiring person!

What do we do?

Dig deep and try hard to find something to criticize! Grown-up actions, huh?!

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You lose yourself in dreams about coming home and falling into his arms [He is, of course, just waiting for you to enter your “temple of love” (aka apartment)]. You are dreaming up some wild kissing and passionate love-making.

With your hopes all up you finally reach the doorstep. You slowly turn the key, sing “Hello, darling, I’m home” and … wait … two minutes have passed … you are still waiting (in case you were wondering).
And if you hadn’t moved you would still be waiting. Coz he’s sitting in front of the TV enjoying WHATEVER and not thinking about jumping up from his seat and doing to you what you have so nicely came up with in your secret dreamworld.

How you find your way round your workplace very much depends on you as a working person!

If you are just some pot plant standing around and waiting for someone to tell you what to do, then you’ll probably be just fine.

If you are one of those slimy people who permanently tell their bosses HOW MUCH work they have done in only half a month (like fill in some forms, answer about 9 emails and send out 2 letters of request), you might be alright, as well.

If you are, however, one of those people who like taking on responsibility, are not afraid of thinking for themselves and actually take their job extremely seriously, you are, FOR SURE, having a hard time!

A hard time fighting ignorance and stupidity! A hard time dealing with “colleagues” who may, for some reason unknown and unclear to you, have a position higher than yours even though they should be the ones bringing you coffee! And a hard time because most of the time you seem to be working for nothing, even though you know that without you your workplace would be way more of a mess than it is anyways!

Speaking of different versions of the same language – did you know that at school (obviously it doesn’t matter whether you study in Austria, Britain or Timbuktu) teachers only concentrate on some strange standardized version of a language nobody really uses.

My teachers spoke “Oxford” English; at least they claimed to do so. When I started teaching English I was advised to stop using this “horrible” American English I am kinda proud of. Now I am with the Language Testing Center at the University of Klagenfurt and in charge of producing listening items with all kinds of native speakers. Of course, I have already gotten some feedback on the American, South African and British speakers who have helped me with the recording. And guess what I was told: Austrian teachers focus on Oxford English (surprise!) which is why I should stick to British native speakers only!

Sure, that’s how real life works: You got, let’s say, three clones. One is British, one American and the other one is Australian. They look the same, smell the same and always say the exact same things. You just pick the one you like the most! (In some way, that’s a completely new kind of discrimination, don’t you think?!)

Nigger you just fucked with the wrong bull. Come here, you should’ve learned your place on the fucking basketball court. But you fucking monkeys never get the message. My father gave me that truck, you mother fucker, you ever shoot a fireman? You come here and shoot at my family. I’m gonna teach you a real lesson now, mother fucker. Put your fucking mouth on the curb [...] Put it on the curb, right now! That’s it! [...] Now say goodnight
(American History X).

Being asked about it, I strongly believe that a lot of people would be convinced that something like ‘racism’ is a thing of the past. As long as those people only refer to the inhuman and despicable treatment of, for instance, Jewish people in Europe in the first half of the 20th century or black slaves in the United States, they may well be right. How do those people, however, explain white people burning down asylum-seekers’ hostels? How do they explain New York police men leaving 41 bullets in an African American’s body just because they thought he was pulling out a gun? How do they explain teenagers making racist remarks in the middle of an Austrian schoolyard?

The truth is that racism still exists. The truth is that our world is full of prejudices and stereotypes poisoning human relationships or preventing them from being established in the first place. Instead of getting rid of them, we support, nourish, and spread them. Some people may say I am exaggerating. I do, however, think that the seriousness of our situation must not be underrated.

Thinking of our future, I feel that young people, especially, should get to know and learn something better and more fulfilling than racist attitudes. They must not drown in self-hatred and hatred towards others, but learn to appreciate the difference. Being a teacher, I have strong interest in dealing with this very delicate subject at school. Teachers are role models, no matter whether they want or do not want to be one. Consequently, they do have a great impact on their students’ personal development. There is no question whether they should make use of that impact or not. They just have to.

My book is meant to take away people’s blinders and make them open their eyes. They do not only have to accept the fact that racism is still omnipresent, but they also have to seriously engage in finding ways to deal with both the good and bad things our world has to offer.

My book is divided into three different parts. The first one gives a historical overview of the term ‘racism’. Dating back to the Middle Ages, ‘racism’ had been religiously or physically motivated for a long time before humans started to set up biologically determined hierarchies in the 19th century. All of a sudden, there was scientific evidence of the superiority of some people over others. This conviction culminated in the overtly racist regimes in Germany, the United States, and South Africa in the 20th century. After that, the term ‘racism’ underwent some crucial change. Scientists finally proved the belief of biological superiority and inferiority wrong. Therefore, we do not talk about biological racism any more. ‘Racism’ has, however, taken on different forms and can now be considered ‘cultural racism’. The first part will, additionally, deal with the origin and spreading of stereotypes and prejudices. Furthermore, I will have a look at the question when humans learn the concept of ‘race’. It should not be surprising that it is learned at a very early age.

The second part revolves round an actual suggestion of how teachers could fight or work against the spreading of racist thinking and acting. I consider ‘Intercultural Learning’ one of the most promising and inspiring ways to positively influence young people’s cognitive and emotional development. To me, it is an all-embracing discipline, determined to encourage qualities like critical thinking, tolerance, open-mindedness, and solidarity. As the term suggests, intercultural learning means getting into contact with other cultures, entering into a dialogue with each other, trying to reflect upon similarities and differences, and, eventually, growing from engaging with it.

The third part represents the core of this book. It combines the first two parts which are primarily theoretical and revolves round a practical teaching approach. What I intended to do was to provide teachers, students, and even parents with a suggestion for a possible access to the subject. I decided to use a movie named “American History X”. I strongly believe that this movie holds a number of possibilities of how teachers could introduce the subject without totally confronting the students with its complexity right away.

Introduction of “Racism in the 21st century – How everybody can make a difference”, ISBN: 978-3-8364-1033-5

Find the book on Amazon