Wednesday, May 04, 2005

For those of you not particularly enamored with all things theoretical, rest assured that I'm back in commentary mode now. The blog outline may reappear here later on, but not for the next few days at least. Obviously, thanks to all those who helped out!

At present I just want to draw your attention to an interesting story in Deutsche Welle about interracial dating in Post-War Germany. The few German men who survived the war were against it for obvious reasons, while the U.S. Army discouraged it because they'd been significantly debilitated by veneral disease during the fighting in Italy. Yet German-American dating happened nonetheless, and as a result about 70,000 mixed-nationality children were born.

There's two reasons for why I find this interesting. The first is that having lived in Austria now for eight months, there's an incredibly conflicted attitude towards Americans. Clearly, they're not exactly happy with our foreign policy, and they tend to disdain American 'materialism'. But on the other hand, it's not uncommon to hear American songs on the radio or, at least here in Salzburg, to meet mixed-nationality families. Understanding what exactly happened in the decade or so following the war goes a long way towards explaining its current ambivalence.

As for the second reason: almost always, wherever there have been American soldiers, half-American children (legitimate or not) have soon followed. No doubt Iraqi culture is vastly different than German, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc culture; but given the poverty in large sections in Iraq, I have to imagine there's a material incentive -- if not, on occasion, an outright romantic one -- for Iraqi women to cross what cultural taboos there are and have relationships with American men. Has there been any reporting on this yet? Or are the taboos keeping any interracial relationships there are behind closed doors?

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