Racism-free language Munich and Berlin delete the term "Schwarzfahrer – Not everyone likes it
The transport companies of Munich and Berlin decided to avoid the use of the word "Schwarzfahrer" in the future because it could cause people to feel racially offended.
In general German usage, fare evasion is the use of trains, buses or streetcars without paying the required fare. The association of the color black here is clearly linked – in ethical terms – to something negative, namely the deliberate failure to pay the required fee for the ticket.
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"Schwarzfahrer" (fare dodger) can be stopped by "driving without a ticket to be replaced
Black as a term for a dark skin color is also a common designation alongside it. The double meaning of black can mean that the insulting effect can also be applied to people with dark skin and thus become a racist insult. In order to avoid this effect, the public transport companies in Munich (MVG) and Berlin (BVG) have now decided to dispense with the term schwarzfahren altogether.
The BVG states in a brochure: "Anti-racist advocacy groups point out that the color ‘black’ is often used in a negative/racist context in the German language (e.g. ‘black’ is used in a negative/racist context in the German language).: ‘Who’s afraid of the bogeyman’). In order to stop such use from being pushed further, z.B. The Initiative Black People in Germany (ISD) to replace the negative term ‘fare evasion’ with the term ‘driving without a ticket’.
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Term originates from Yiddish
In the aftermath, the ISD emphasized that it was pleased with the announcement by MVG and BVG that they would in future dispense with the term "Schwarzfahren to do without. "It is welcome, because the term has a negative connotation for black people", Initiative spokesman Tahir Della told AFP news agency on Friday. "It is associated with black standing for something negative."
BVG and MVG had first of the "Bild"-Newspaper confirmed that had first reported on the innovation of no longer calling driving without a valid ticket fare evasion. In this case, however, the term does not come from the color, but from the Yiddish word shvarts, which means poor.
ISD spokesman Della told AFP it was the case with many terms that they were originally created differently. But the language changes. "Even if fare evasion was not racist at all, the effect on those affected is that black stands for something negative, such as criminality or illegality."
That’s why it makes sense to stop using the term, they say. It also makes sense, he says, to put language to the test with a view to its current effect, and to check its effect again and again. Della demanded to also explicitly listen to black people about how they perceive appropriate terms.
The CSU politician Peter Ramsauer criticized this via "Bild"-Newspaper: "As a former minister of transport I can only shake my head. They all have a bang!"