Ishema Kane, a nine-year-old Black german girl from Frankfurt, has written a letter to the editors of the german weekly newspaper ZEIT and its recent “defense” of the continued use of racist language in children’s books (and everywhere else, for that matter). Ishema clarifies that neither she nor any other Black person is an N*, and that it certainly is not up to ZEIT to define what racism is according to their personal preferences. So: hats off to Ishema, well done! An English transcript of the letter is below the fold.
[FYI: The word N* is used as an illustration of ZEIT's racism in Ishema's letter of protest]
You’re in luck that I’m at least writing this letter to you in my best handwriting because I am very angry at you. Why should it not be prohibited to write ‘Neger’ in children’s books? One has to be able to put oneself in somebody else’s shoes. Because my father is Senegalese, and he is a very dark shade of brown; I am café-au-lait brown. Just imagine if you were Afro-German and lived in Germany. You’re a newspaper reader and unsuspectingly buy the ZEIT of January 17th 2013. Suddenly, you note the article ‘The Little Witch Hunt.’ This is when you read that the word ‘Neger’ is supposed to be deleted from children’s books, and that this would allegedly spoil the children’s books. I find it totally shit that this word should remain in children’s books if it were up to you. You cannot imagine how I feel when I have to read or hear that word. It is simply very, very terrible. My father is not a ‘Neger’ [lightning bolt sign] nor am I. This is also true for all other Africans. Right. That was my opinion. This word should be deleted from children’s books.
Ishema Kane, 9 1/2 years old
P.S.: You’re welcome to send me a response.
[more lightning bolt signs] “
[Update 2:] And now also to the Huffington Post!