Editor’s Note: This is a personal narrative and commentary about German public radio, and multiculturalism therein, based on my experience in the last years. I offer my observations, suggestions, and hopes, perhaps to prompt further thought or consideration from journalists and newsreaders alike. Warning..this is a long one!
“You have no idea what you are talking about, Boris.“ The small Greek colleague pushed a harshly dismissive comment toward Boris, incensing something primal in the latter. I had not yet met this colleague, after all I was just considered a Praktikant, an intern, a visitor, a stranger and kept more or less to myself unless prompted. I sat at the back corner of the meeting table in an editorial room at West German Public Media.
“How do you know what I have an idea about?” Boris shot back in his thick accent—Bosnian or Hungarian, I wasn’t quite sure. The other members of this multi-cultural editorial staff shifted their eyes nervously, some chuckled, not sure what to do. I stopped moving all-together, frozen in a pose for observation: my posture slouched, my chin buried in my hands, my eyes fixed. A discussion about refugees from Eastern Europe quickly turned heated.