Hear My True Story

Stereotypes about being black in Europe

November 09, 2021 Otako Episode 9
Hear My True Story
Stereotypes about being black in Europe
Show Notes Transcript

Otako is a black man living in Germany. In this episode, he tells his true story about the different stereotypes he has experienced not only in Germany, but also in other European countries. Otako has had the opportunity to live and travel in four European countries, but the stereotypes associated with being black in Europe seem to be quite similar.

On the Hear My True Story Podcast, we tell our own True Stories through storytelling, spoken word, comedy, music, hosted interviews, and conversations based on real experiences. You don't have to be a storyteller or writer because, "Life writes the best stories!"Support  Donations <

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Otako  0:00  
I am a black man living in Germany. I would like to share with you a personal story. It is about stereotypes of being black in Europe, or say, being black, leaving in German. Hope you enjoy it. For those who are here for the first time to listen to my podcast, my name is otako. And today I am sharing with you my personal story. You see, I was invited some years back in Europe to do a workshop with children between six and 10 years. It was a workshop about African storytelling with children. We reached the school where I was supposed to give the workshop about African storytelling. And the coordinator told me you know what, the students, the children are really excited to do a workshop with you. However, one thing they also expect from you to do African dance and African drumming. Would you do that with them? I looked at the coordinator, and I told this coordinator, please, the workshop is about storytelling, and not African dance or African drumming. But then the coordinator said no Otako, you are from Africa, you must be able to do something with them. The school had already drams from West Africa. Come on, come from East Africa, Uganda. I don't know how to play any west African drum. But anyway, one thing I learned in my business as an artist is improvisation. And most especially if you're an African living in Europe, and you want to make money, never just a geek, that is in my head. I took the workshop on the participants, we were children, they enter the room. Very excited. And we're looking forward to African dancing and drumming. And then they said, We want to start with African dancing and drumming. The coordinator looked at me, I looked at him. And then I told him, he said, please get a drum. Every child got a drum, we sat in the room. Let me tell you one thing. You know, playing a drum is different from beating a drum. But for us, we started to beat the drum. Let me tell you, the children beat the drum, the beat the drum, instead of playing the drum. And then when it came to African dance, me otako I'm not a dancer. I don't know any movements of dance from Uganda. But then we ran left and right, we jumped up and down. The children ran left, right, they jumped up and down. And I could see the coordinator seated in the corner, very happy is smiling to see that the children are really jumping up and down running left beating the drum. I could see myself in this room. And during the workshop, every child was excited. I can assure you after the workshop, the coordinator came to me and said Otako You said you are not a dancer. You said you are not? You cannot play an African drum. But what I just saw now, you play the drum with the kids look. He showed me a kid beating the drum and was yeah, that child has African drumming in his hands. He can play the drum. And then he showed me some of the kids running left and up and jumping and said you know what? Look at this white children. They are really dancing, African dance. Look at the African movement now they have in their body. Then he told me what would you come back again, there's another grade of children from 10 to 11, who are interested in your workshop, they saw you working with these ones. And they would like you to come back and give the workshop. And now I remember in 2019, our in France, I was part of this big project. It was a project that had 10 participants 10 artist from 10 countries. And then we're on stage. However, my feet was paining me. I could not walk well. So when we're on stage acting, the entire play. I was limping on stage as I was performing my stories. And then after the production, we had a conversation. You know, all these white old people and young people seated

after the show, they have to give feedback and discuss about the show because we're at about food, the importance of food. And then one of the audience members, a white old woman. She she put up the hand. And she she said, You know what? I like this production. I like this show. That African guy has put African movement in the performance is movement to authentic you. We are really African. And I like to dance from that young man from Africa. It was really perfect. Everyone in this production, looked at me, because they knew we don't have a dance movement from Africa in this production. The only dance movements we had were from Peru, and the dancer from Peru were there, but they never realized that there was a dance from peru. But they said this dance from Africa, can you imagine? That's how I can tell you the stereotype of being black and knowing how to dance and drum has always been following me as a black person living in Europe now. I try harder to break the stereotypes. The more I experienced them, the more I speak about them. However, it is sometimes difficult because people really judge you by this styreotypes. Thank you