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cultural similarity expressed in visibility and signals

Reader comment on item: How Ukrainian Refugees Could Inadvertently Erase the West

Submitted by myth (Germany), Jul 19, 2022 at 14:48

Cultural similarity manifests itself in mere visibility. Here's what this literally looks like.

For three month the German government introduced a 9-euro-per-month public transport ticket to travel all across the country with slower trains. This puts a cross-section of everyone that means citizens, residents, tourists, immigrants, refugees on train platforms.

Say there are 20 travellers on the same platform. A muslim woman wears a hijab or a man some oriental-style haircut and beard. These two are visible on the platform. Because they identify visually they are counted as foreigners. Perhaps there are 15 Ukrainians on the platform without any specific dress or hair. They blend in.They are invisible. No foreigners to be seen.

As a counter example there may be a muslim family in the pool during these hot days with standard bathing gear. They blend in. No foreigners here. There may be 3 Ukrainian women with water-proof lipstick no-one wears around here. Now the Ukrainians are perceived as foreigners.

Same with cars. No Syrian here in Germany has Syria license plates on the car. As long as they are driving they blend in. There are however many Ukrainian plates on cars I see. From the car-count I have the impression there are far more Ukrainians than Syrians. On the other hand the UA-plate signals they have the means to return to Ukraine with their own car as soon as they wish.

Our preception of foreigners largely depend on the numbers we can identify with our eyes. Who cares about how many people are actually in the country? Who even knows? I guess this is normal for we have 9 neighbouring countries.


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