The Subject in Black and White: Afro-German Identity Formation in Ika Hügel-Marshall's Autobiography Daheim unterwegs: Ein deutsches Leben
- Women in German Yearbook: Feminist Studies in German Literature & Culture
- University of Nebraska Press
- Volume 21, 2005
- pp. 62-84
- Additional Information
Black Germans still experience prejudice and social isolation based on their appearance. Alhough they are born and raised in Germany, their fellow citizens often do not accept them as Germans because of their skin color. Such social exclusion makes it difficult for Black Germans to define for themselves who they are and where they belong. Yet through their own community-building efforts and the transnational diasporic interactions with Blacks in other countries, Black Germans are developing the means to resist marginalization and discrimination, to gain social acceptance, and to construct a cultural identity for themselves. This essay explores these and other aspects of Afro-German identity formation via an examination of Ika Hügel-Marshall's autobiography, a work that, until now, has received little scholarly attention despite its relevance to the ongoing—albeit relatively new—Black European identity movement. As an "occupation baby" of mixed-race origins who was raised in a Catholic home for children with special needs, Hügel-Marshall's transformation from a neglected and abused child into an empowered and politically active adult is inspiring, while her experiences with racism are paradigmatic for the Black-German experience.