I started reading eingeschrieben months ago but didn’t have the motivation to finish it. I picked it up because it discusses racism in German universities. The book was quite difficult to read at times, as it reminded me of some of my experiences. I’m assuming this is one of the reasons why I couldn’t finish the book the first time. At the moment, this book is only available in German.
Emily Ngubia Kuria interviewed several people of colour and created stories about their experiences at German universities. One of the stories is presented in the form of several poems. It is an #ownvoices book, as the author herself has a personal story in the book about her experience as a black woman.
Going to university as a woman of colour was my daily life until a few months ago. I didn’t realise that some things were racist, as I was so used to them being ‘normal’. I didn’t realise that white people did not experience certain aspects of universities as I did. Reading this book helped me realise how racism shaped my university life.
The book didn’t only portray the experiences of people of colour from Germany but also other stories. As I am a citizen of Germany, I have it easier in the system than people who don’t have a German passport. It was interesting and shocking to read about the problems that these non-German people of colour had in universities.
Often, we’re told that we could complain if we are unsatisfied with how we are being treated. A story explains why complaining isn’t always easy. The person who was being racist, was also the ombudswoman of the complaints office. I had had a similar experience, which is why this story was rather emotional for me to read. This story really showed me why it is useful when diversity offices and complaints offices have a diverse staff. It may be easier for people to report discrimination.
Some of the sentences were very complex and I had to reread sections to completely understand them. I think the text could have been written in less complex grammar.
All in all
Regardless of whether you are a person of colour in Germany or not, I suggest that you read this book. However, if you have experienced racism and don’t want to be reminded of your experiences, don’t read it.
Usually, when people talk about racism in universities, they form their opinions through stories about universities in the United States. Eingeschrieben is a valuable resource, as it discusses the topic in Germany. If you’re looking for a diverse book, which was written in German, this is a very good option.
This review is part of the German Diverse Books project (#DeutscheDiversityBücher). It has been translated into German but the book has also only been published in German – to my knowledge. Thus the original published language is German.