Pinar Canpolat was born at some time. She studied at university and graduated. Then she realised that she had to study art. So she studied again. Worked. Between times she painted and drew. Then she tutored drawing. She curated exhibitions. She shot a few short films as a director. She designed. She loved designing. She designed artistic ideas and objects. She continued both the tutoring in drawing and painting as an artist. She kept having a love for painting. Somehow she still paints.
Globalization and Second-Generation Migration
Migration was never a new thing and has happened in the history of the world for centuries. But what we are elaborating on here is a new category of second-generation migrants as they are still called (Booth, 1992, p.1) who consciously decide to leave the (European) country that they were born in to move to another country in order to live in a more multicultural society (Kraen 2010). The interesting part is that these second generation migrants are not culturally pure (Young, 2000, pp.154-155) citizens of neither the country of their parents nor the country they were born into, and by moving to a cosmopolitan city, they are now making up a new group who are already stigmatized as second generation migrants in Europe (Booth, 1992, p.5) (sometimes they are referred to as first generation Europeans, but this is only happening in academic literature), although real life is far from the latter naming. So the term second-generation migrant includes the children of primary migrants born in the recipient country albeit they have never lived in their motherland. And the choice of resettling in a more inclusive country/cosmopolite is primarily caused by the consequences of an exclusionary agenda and its discourses in the everyday lives of migrants to Europe (Sarrazin, n.d. and Hedegaard and Mogens, n.d. and Fink, 2011). But what is the psychology of the second-generation migrants and how can we describe this in detail using postcolonial theory? And how does it differ from the view upon migrants as a problem of integration into Europe (Kaya, 2000, p.43?)?
In an era of globalization it is hard to believe that multiculturalism, hybridity, migrancy should be conceived as a problem in the West, but nonetheless this is the present reality (Rushdie, 2010 and Brah, 2000, p.277).
With globalization there has been a change in time and space according to geographer Doreen Massey (Massey, 2006), although the world is shrinking in size and everywhere is getting closer, still an inequality is taking place as it has become easier to travel to London and New York while going to Uzbekistan equally has got more difficult. And even though people are more interconnected today because of globalization it is a neoliberal globalization that is taking place and therefore other non-discriminative alternatives to the present world order have difficulty being realized (Massey, 2006) as this kind of globalization is impoverishing the Third world by making them dependent on USA and the West (Bhabha, 1994, pp.xiv-xvi).
Which creates a wretchedness deriving from the uneven developments, the economic IMF support and the on-going exploitation of the global South that is compared to ‘the colonial ruler’ in a new ‘economic-world-order’ (Bhabha, 1994, p.xvi). Which is further described as the on-going imperial project according to Spivak (cited in Dhawan, 2007). And the Third World countries cannot go against this neoliberal economic world-order, but only be a part of its solidification (Bhabha, 1994, p.xvi).
As an example, Massey points out that the West is also dependent of the migrants who are serving us in London and in European cosmopolitans and still being a part of the global south (Massey, 2006). Hence this inter-dependency should in fact bring a more multicultural and discrimination-free approach along with it, but it is rather brushing up the historical power supremacy of the West and its discriminations based on race. So which theories could help us to clarify this contradiction?
Since in the globalized era due to labour migration pure nation cultures do not exist anymore as there are displacements (Bhabha, 1994, p.13) by post-colonial subjects living in other countries today (Bhabha, 1994, p.xv) as well as economic migrants from the 1960s-70s. Thus the situation of minoritization and globalization can be considered as the ‘quasi-colonial’ in line with W.E.B. Dubois (cited in Bhabha, 1994, p.xxi-xviii). Explaining the inferior position and the racializations of migrants as well as post-colonial subjects within Western Europe. Therefore postcolonial theory can be applied to the present era as well specifically using Homi Bhabha’s concept of mimicry, and the colonizer’s anxiety of the termination of its superiority reflected in the racism and the colonizer’s approach to stereotyping and hybridity.
Search for Identity and Hybridity
We are living in an era of movement (John Berger cited in Rapport, 1998, p.5), exile, and migration (Trinh T. Minh-Ha, 1994, pp.13-14 cited in Rapport, 1998, p. p.23) which is fundamental to modern identity in general (Marc Auge cited in Rapport, 1998, p.6). Identity which is suggested to be a dynamic and processual term is ‘…treated as a search…’ (Rapport, p.4). But on the other side there is no more a pure identity to reach at the end of this search as due to migration ‘homogeneous national cultures’ (Bhabha, 1994, p.7) and pure ethnic cultures are in a process of redefinition. So the Third World diaspora in Europe is gradually feeling as a native in Europe due to their upbringing and lives in Europe. Hence nation-states that do not exist as pure ethnical demographies any longer (Rapport, 1998, p.23), as globalization and migration’s transitions lead to hybridizations instead of traditionally explaining identity with ethnicity, religious or national background (Rapport, 1998, p.8). On the other hand hybridity is provoking and remaking the ‘imagined communities’ of nationalists and concomitantly increasing racism in a global era were transnationalism and globalization are simultaneously (Bhabha, 1994, p.7) outspread demographically and economically.
In cultural theory ‘hybridity’ refers to a mixing of cultures in diaspora, displacement or migration in colonial times (Brah, 2000, p.11). Originating from ‘a racialized scientific discourse’ (Young, 2000, p.158) where even the breeding of different races of animals is resembled to the half-breed between a white and a black person (Agazzis, 1854, p.lxx cited in Young, 2000 p.156). The hybridity deriving from Bhabha’s term ‘mimicry’ is connected to colonial times, where the colonizer’s culture is imposed on the colonial subject who copies this culture (Huddart, 1996, pp.57-76). Unconsciously this creates a hybridization. It is in the ‘liminal’ space between settled cultures that a ‘hybrid’ culture and identity is created. This is the ‘location of culture’ accordingly to Bhabha (cited in Huddart, 2006, p.7), making up a third place, that erases the boundaries between 2 cultural identities (Lawrence Grossberg cited in Cala-Lesina, 2011).
Hybridity which is considered as a richness in the bi-cultural migrant since possessing a ‘double-consciousness’ and ‘the truest eye’ (Bhabha, 1994, p.7-8), between being hybrid and concomitantly essentialized (Young, 2000, p.167) and who can bring newness into the recipient country as an act of cultural translation where a renewing of the past takes place, while simultaneously interrupting the present (Bhabha, 1994, p.9).
Such a newness is explained as a way of surviving according to Salman Rushdie (cited in Bhabha, 1994, p.324). Where the performing of a cultural translation of German culture into for instance Turkish creates a hybrid, it is actually German which is transformed not the Turkish culture (Rudolf Pannwitz in Benjamin, Illuminations p.80 cited in Bhabha, 1994, p.326). Hybridity thus becomes the life condition of a double-track transformation, which creates a new third culture.
Turkish diaspora, which will be the main example in this essay for a reading of this post-colonial terminology, is one of the biggest communities (Ural Manco, n.d.) in Europe which now with second and third generations represents this hybridity. The term used for diasporic Turks in Turkey is ‘almanci’ (Robins, n.d., p.248) meaning they are not real Turks, since they are the Turks who went to Europe as labour force chiefly to Germany in the 1960s and 1970s. Today the Turkish population originating from the post-war time and their descendants make up a big Turkish diaspora in Europe (Booth, 1992 and Manco, n.d.). The ‘almanci’ term is thus indicating that these expatriate Turks are neither considered as real Turks nor real Germans. Leaving them in an in-between space to make up their own identity in line with Kaya (2002, pp.45-50). They instead become the hybrids of a globalized era. Thus, for this essay, I have been carried out three interviews with three hybrid ‘almanci’.
As on Turks in other sites of Europe i.e. Denmark, many immigrants and second generation immigrants are not being accepted as citizens equal to Danes. As they are still identified as “Gastarbeiter” and immigrants still after years of living, working and contributing to the Danish society (Hylland Eriksen, 2010, p.78). These hybridizations have finally managed to figuratively crawl beyond the skin that Fanon (Bhabha, 1994, p.340 and Huddart 2006, p.30) depicts, the skin that still racially categorizes us even when registering at the British GPs. Since today one can find Turkish people born and reared in Denmark or Germany speaking fluent Danish or German to the big annoyance and surprise to the natives of those countries who are not willing to include them into European society (Fink, 2011 and Kaya, 2002 and Gursoy, 2011).
And it is only in academic literature and when being politically correct that the terminology ‘nydanskere’. The discriminatory representation of Turkish-German youth or Turkish diaspora in Germany causes a choice of a hybrid identity in order to resist both cultures that they are a part of and that are trying to categorize them (Kaya, 2002, p.44-45)
The negativity and racializations implemented historically in the concept of hybridity by some white pseudo-scientific theorists such as Nott (1854, pp.67-68 cited in Young, 2000, p.156-157) who believes in racial purity and refuses the mixing of interracial sexual relations to avoid ‘…the degeneration of white societies and the debasement of their cultures…’ (Young, 2000, p.157). Unfortunately this has also become the view upon the hybrid second generation in Europe. Hybridity thus echoes a historic discourse of race that confirms the supremacy of the white race (Young, 2000, pp.157-158).
Hybridity which is considered as a threat to essentialist views on cultures as being pure due to its power of facilitating a change to the power-balance of the world (Brah, 2000, p.1) is thus not promoted by right-wing politics in the Western European countries ((Sarrazin 2010);(Hedegaard and Mogens n.d.)). Which is a quintessential prejudice among colonial racializations that has been almost formalized in the West as the hybrid is considered impure and apprehensive even back in colonial times (Young, 2000, p.157). Thus in the everyday life of the Turkish diasporic youth this racialization is resuscitated. And the migrant Other is given the role of the formerly colonial subjects and thus it is evident that a neo-colonialism is persistent in Europe (Bhabha, 1994, p.9).
It is not only the whites who opposes hybridity but for the colonized, the hybrid, the one who has transformed towards the white is also a ‘native colloborator’ himself. This was the accusation of Rasheed Araeen for Bhabha whom he criticizes for creating a separation between white and non-white. “While white artists can carry on what they always did, appropriating any culture they liked, and without carrying with them any sign of their cultural identity, non-white artists must enter the dominant culture by showing their cultural identity cards.” (Aaraen, 2000, p.16 cited in Huddart, 2006, p.160) Thus this area of in-between defined by Bhabha is not at the same level considered as middle by Araeen but belonging to whites still. This ‘allusionary’ (Huddart, 2006, p.161) criticism reminds of the accusations to Salman Rushdie as an other hybrid by his non-white fellow countrymen (Rushdie, 2010, p.405).
The experiences and destiny of Salman Rushdie after The Satanic Verses might be shedding light on the repudiation of a hybrid. In his book, the reversed use of an othering imperial language (2010, p.402) was intended to reclaim an identity for the subaltern and migrants who are constantly powered by the white representation. But the racists or anti-Islamic groups did not understand this sense of equalizing among East and West. Instead Rushdie was denounced a traitor, and an Uncle Tom amongst Muslims and they did not comprehend Rushdie’s real purpose either (2010, p.405).
Not only the novel but also Rushdie himself represents something that neither the essentialist Europeans nor the fundamentalist East and its diaspora within the West takes pleasure in (Rushdie 2010, p.404-414). Because not only hybridity but also secularism is being resisted by essentialists on both sides, as is not desired since this could lead to the transformations of the world’s power balance that Rushdie (2010, p.394) and also Bhabha calls for as hybridity’s potential (Huddart, 2006, pp.116-117).
And the diasporic as well as the migrant is aware and prepared for this hybridity that emerges out of migrancy, whereas the Western mono-cultural people are neither aware of this nor are they willing to give up their imperially gained privileges (Landry, 1996, pp. 4-5).
Since Rushdie as a hybrid has the ‘stereoscopic vision’ and he is in my opinion supposed to question both of his cultures to find his own identity of the more relaxed well-integrated secular or atheist migrant in the West albeit having a Muslim background. But the stereotyping and homogenizing of the post–colonial subject by Europeans did not like this (Mitchell, 1988 and Huddart, 2006) At this point comes the power of the stereotyping as a tool of the white to prevent any claim of equalization of the migrant.
Stereotyping of the ‘White West’ and Bhabba’s mimicry
A generalization is happening towards the hybrid diasporic since a homogeneity of all colonial subjects and today even migrants (Fink, 2011) is desired by the whites in order to keep the stereotyping (cited in Huddart, 2006, pp.47-48 and Mitchell, 1988) , as a tool to prevent change in the existing power structure and the representation of non-whites (Huddart, 2006, p.35). And even when attempting to question this ‘stereotyping apparatus’, it keeps empowering it (Huddart, 2006, p.48).
Since Bhabha also highlights the fact that stereotyping is not the real life of the colonial subject or the migrant (Huddart, 2006, p.48). This explains the urge to homogenize (Rushdie, 2010, p. 409 and Robins, n.d., p. 251) all migrants in one category as foreigners or blacks regardless of national, religious or cultural background in the name of pluralism between cultures is yet another way of being able to dominate and represent the non-white Europeans (Bhabha, 1994, p.327) as well as reinforcing an ‘imagined community’ of European nationalism.( Bhabha, 1994, p.330).
Hence the stereotyping of the colonizer that kept the subaltern (Landry, 1996, p5) as well as the migrants in a position of inferiority has today been taken over by European politicians and media. But this stereotyping is to some extend being challenged and stopped by the emergence of hybridity, that via its creative identity choices emancipates freedom to the migrant who is no longer dependent of the representation and opinion of the racializing discourses of i.e. the majority of German society (Kaya, 2002, p.44) as well as being prone to racism (Ruble, n.d., p.4). Therefore hybridity is not supported by the White Western and is considered a threat and instead stereotypes are still used as a means to limit any identity search or an equalizing positioning of the subaltern (Landry and Maclean, 1996) and the migrant.
This, the anxiety from being equal, is explained by Bhabha in his theory on ‘mimicry’ (Huddart, 2006, p.57). And the colonial fear of the migrant for being as educated as the white man or taking over his country (Brah, 2000, pp.283-284). For Homi Bhabha Mimicry is an imitation of the colonizer’s culture, behavior and language, but with a difference (Huddart, 2006, p.57) and therefore it is not an assimilation albeit ambivalently desired and opposed by the colonizer and the Western European states. Since if this equality of both the colonizer and the colonized were present then this present power-relation could not function. (Huddart, 2006, p.59). Thus in this sense ‘mimicry’ is even considered as a mockery or exaggeration forming a resistance, that is almost unconscious, towards the whites (Huddart, 2006, p.58).
Furthermore this explains the situation of the diasporic Turk who thinks he is Danish, German or Austrian, and well-integrated but still is not accepted or recognized by the native authorities nor its inhabitants. Since a full resemblance except the skin colour of course, is causing anxiety within the whites. Therefore it should be emphasized that the consequences of this colonial discourse cannot be controlled since it has an in-built ambivalence (Huddart, 2006, p.59-60). And the mimicry is thus undermining the colonizer and thus its identity in contrast to the non-whites (Huddart, 2006, p.76). Therefore integration is never really realized by the recipient European country, since this idea of the colonial subject is passed onto the contemporaneous migrant being identical with himself is not an aspiration from the whites (Huddart, 2006, p.65). Nonetheless ‘the partiality of presence in colonial discourse leads to a kind of drive to become authentic; ‘authentically British perhaps […]being more British than the British’ (Bhabha, 1994, p.88 cited in Huddart 2006, p.65) or ‘…becoming ‘almost the same but not white’ (Bhabha, 1994, p.89 cited in Huddart, 2006, p.68). This way the colonial discourse becomes a two-fold desire for both the colonizer and the colonized who are in a way both prone to moderately unconscious choices (Huddart, 2006, p.65).
This two-way act by colonial and colonized is showing itself in the concept of ‘doubling’. In the discourse on post-colonialism there is an intricate ‘doubling’ (Huddart, 2006, pp.2-3). Since the West sees the settlement of postcolonial subjects, migrants and its descendants as a threat, as they are convinced that a counter-action of colonizing the West by the former colonial subjects is happening (Brah, 2000, pp.272-290) or a jihadization after the 9/11 incidents. Since this is the ingrained fear of colonizers of the East to one day be taken captive themselves (Huddart, 2006, p.6). Because of this anxiety within the colonial power, the colonizer never really obtains what he desires resembling this to Lacan’s mirror-stage. Fanon is using Lacan’s term the ‘scopic drive’ to elucidate this gaze (Huddart, 2006, p.42). Hence this could explain the situation of migrants simultaneously feeling inferior as well as being able to perform a threat. The colonized and also the migrants are aware of this weakness within the colonizing power and thus could profit from this situation.
This might even explain part of the behaviour of second and third generation migrant adolescent boys’ provocative behaviour in Denmark. Because of these ‘doublings’ Bhabha (in Huddart, 2006, p.6) is finding Edward Said’s Oriental discourse insufficient and lacking the agency of the colonizeds’ resistances for an empowerment. Since Orientalism as a Western discourse is keeping the Spivakian subaltern (Landry, 1996, p.5) and the migrants in a fixed position via representing them and present-day migrants as a group that have no possibility of resisting discrimination or stereotyping by the West and thus the subaltern cannot speak (Landry, 1996, p.5). Bhabha thus shows us both the point of view of the colonized and the colonizer, instead of only seeing the situation from one angle, since this is only reinforcing the maintaining of a white hegemony where the position of the Other is subverted (Huddart, 2006, p.37).
Creativity and Resistance in Hybridity
Furthermore the resistance and announcement of Bhabha’s writing style and deconstructive discourses that the white critics even in academia are defying could hence be explained with the concepts of ‘mimicry’ and ‘doubling’ (Huddart, 2006, p.15). Hence they are not ready to give up their authority and privileges yet according to Spivak (Landry and Maclean, 1996, p.4).
Political psychologist Ashis Nandy (1998, p.147 cited in Huddart, 2006, p.15) ‘…suggests that the way we write cultural criticism has its own political significance, especially when that culture is as politically charged as colonial culture. Nandy proposes that ‘The first identifier of a post-colonial consciousness cannot but be an attempt to develop a language of dissent which would not make sense…’ Therefore a newly emerging post-colonial language gives an insight to the hybriditized identities of migrants around the West, but the language itself is also an evidence of a resistance within hybrid culture against the white colonial hegemonies. Since it does try to make ‘the subaltern speak’ (Landry, 1996, p.5 and p.287) although the language is complicated in Bhabha and the fact that Spivak never feels that she is understood both as a women, a third world woman or an immigrant (Spivak, 2008) explains the obscuring of white hegemonies.
The route via the post-colonial novel thus brings us to the hybrid identities of migrants. Since Bhabha suggests to contest and change the apparatus of stereotyping by means of new and different styles of literature bringing a counter-stereotypical strategy along and argues that stereotypes can generally be transformed due to their openness and the innate split or ‘doubling’ within colonial authority (Huddart, 2006, pp.49-54).
And as Hylland-Eriksen (2010, p.72) suggests the creativity and potential inside migration which is evident in hybridity, has an ability to make most of it, when choosing between cultures in the ‘global supermarket’ as well as to make this creolization a part of an identity and lifestyle. Which can be traced in the works of writers such as Hanif Kureishi, Salman Rushdie (cited in Hylland Eriksen, 2010 and cited in Bhabha, 1994 and Rushdie, 2010). In addition to writers there are also rappers (Kaya, 2002, pp. 44-45 and Robins, n.d.), artists or academics who uses their hybrid creativity to resist the widespread Eurocentric representation of themselves. Hybridity thus becomes the life condition as well as the creative potential of the second-generation migrants.
Although in my view, as a second generation migrant, even writing, making art or in other forms of creativity it is not enough to forget the surrounding society’s exclusionary practices, since this is almost not possible as a diasporic in Europe since one is constantly reminded of ones colour, background and inferior position (Robins and Morley, n.d., p.249). I therefore do not believe in hybridity as a solution since the interviewees I have interviewed and myself, along with possible re-settlers to London or New York have still not been able to resist the racializations of i.e. Denmark, Germany or Austria via the creativity of hybridity. And second generation migrants in England are also leaving this country to live, work and belong in other metropolises (‘I for India’). And this is the reason why we move to seemingly more multicultural settings such as London.
The hybridity of Bhabha which is described by Young as having an implicit (cited in Huddart, 2006, p.78-79) awareness of its lack of being able to perform a difference in practice in the everyday lives of my interviewees for instance who are making a second migration to London to avoid these present neo-colonial racializations, despite their promising hybridity.
Although Bhabha’s theories are criticized he is still considered important to post-colonial studies (Huddart, 2006, p.150). Hybridity that was already a categorizing tool in colonialism is not something that neither Bhabha (Young cited in Huddart, 2006, p.150) nor the hybrid ‘almanci’ has made up. Although Young ‘…warns against uncritically celebrating hybridity in our contemporary moment…’ which is also a reading of Bhabha’s own standpoint regarding hybridity. What Bhabha points out in his oeuvre is the resistances of the colonized, although Young himself argues that these resistances were apparent even without Bhabha’s theories. (Huddart, 2006, p.151).
Coming to London:
Since people usually needs to belong and have their identity recognized to resist feelings of oppression (Taylor, 1994, p.25) inferiority and self-oppression (Taylor, 1994, pp. 25-26) and thus internalizing the white gaze of Fanon (cited in Huddart, 2006, p. 1 and p.30). And to behaviours defined by the white majority to prove that one is as good as them or even better (Bhabha, 1994, p.88). Therefore there ‘…is a struggle for a changed self-image, which takes place both within the subjugated and against the dominator…’ in order to modify the colonial making of inferiority argues Fanon (Fanon cited in Taylor, 1994, p.65). Thus the second generation migrant claims and searches for ‘A right to difference-in-equality…’(Etienne Balibar, 1994, p.56 cited in Bhabha, 1994, p.xvii).
This longing for a new life and the formation of identity in a globalized world of movement where even Westerners are in a constant process of hybridity (Rapport and Dawson, 1998, pp. 3-4) could easily be resembled to diasporic Turks. The desire of the migrants to feel at home in a cognitive environment where one feels its identity best mediated (Rapport and Dawson, 1998, p.10) explains the choice of the diasporic Turk who chooses to move to Turkey (Tekelioglu, 2011) or to London as myself and my interviewees in kind of a second migration who are in search of a home and a notion of belonging are taking authority into their own hands, to choose where and how to live in accordance to their hybridity. This gives them an empowerment that enables them an escape from their paralyzed and stigmatized situation in their birth countries (Jenny B. White, 1997, p.761 cited in Ruble, est.2009, p.3 and der Spiegel, 14 April 1997 cited in Kaya, 2002, p.44). And facilitate them to be and to speak (Landry and Maclean, 1996, p.287). Speak of what they want instead of being prone to racism and mono-culturalism. But still they are only making up a small group and not a category as yet. Nonetheless these counter-acts towards the life conditions of Western migrancy have thus far not been noticed in the overall eyes of the wider public in Denmark (Generaliseringsartikel), Germany or Austria.
This lack of recognition due to the present world situation is perhaps part of the reason why diasporic Turks often via organizational work or via media urges to define an identity and to be heard as the subaltern have trouble being heard according to Spivak (cited in Landry and Maclean, 1996, pp.287-296).
Although Spivak argues that one should not confuse subalternity with economic migrancy there is indeed a resemblance in the racializing discourses of the West, towards both groups;The subaltern that Spivak rightfully depicts as not being able to speak (Landry and Maclean, 1996, p.292) due to mechanisms of power (Landry and Maclean, 1996, p.295).
And thus the ‘migrant-as-subaltern’ (Spivak, 1995, p.115 cited in Dhawan, 2007) is not her depiction of the subaltern since the subaltern in her opinion does not have the opportunity to mobilize. Moreover Spivak (Dhawan, 2007) claims that the ‘new-immigration-in-capitalism’ or ‘Eurocentric economic migration’ is just the tip of the iceberg and that it is only just a tiny part of the continuing imperial project that is tried to be obscured by the white hegemony. And ‘…the international division of labour today is allegorised into the situation of the ‘guest workers’ or the Third World people in First World arenas, which has very little to do with the larger problem”. (Spivak, 1990, p.14 in Dhawan, 2007).
Hence one should also consider the fact that the new migrants to the West are all part of capitalism and thus have chosen to migrate themselves, and even in cases of exile the Spivakian concept of subalternity is to shed light on the bigger picture that should bring the imperial amnesia (Brah, 2000, p.276) to an end.
The young diasporic youth are all ‘…haunted by some sense of loss, some urge to reclaim…’ something from their parents’ past according to Rushdie (2010, p.10). And concomitantly ‘…we will not be capable of reclaiming precisely the thing that was lost…’. Thus instead ‘imaginary homelands’ are created in the minds of emigrants and their descendants. Leading us to the ‘beyond’ concept of Bhabha (1994, p.5) which is always something desired in the future that has not yet come but which is also a nostalgia connected to one’s past and childhood. A nostalgia for a future utopia that one already feels as a part of, but is melancholic because of this lack in their lives. This is the primus motor behind the decision to choose to live in a third country, where one believes to feel at home. Thus Bhabha brings the seemingly static notion of immigrant nostalgia into a narrative of the future. The nostalgia of belonging that brings us to new places such as London. To recreate what was lost and to make us feel at home and accepted ‘…as full members…’ of our respectively German, Danish or Austrian societies (Rushdie, 2010, p.15).
Since this misrecognition (Taylor, 1994, p.25) inflicts trauma to migrants and their identity process and hence is a decision to resettle in a cosmopolitan and more multicultural city, as London is which is more inclusive of cultural diversity than their own countries. But racism is also existing in London and is inherited from colonial times (Rushdie, 2010, p.129 and Brah, 2000, p.283 and in interview with Nobrega 2011) and instead of colonialism, Britain has instead imported ‘a new empire’ that Bhabha names ‘our colonial present’ (Huddart, 2006, p.2). And although a lot of legal racializations are acted out in England, the life styles of my EU-citizen interviewees are not influenced, since they are not under British legalizations.
As the agencies of states do not wish to decode or analyze the hierarchies of race, gender, class or even sexuality, otherwise they would not be reproducing discourses of 400 years of racializations as this would not benefit their privileged hegemonies (Young, 2000, p.167 and Landry and Maclean, 1996, p.287 ). And as a result the keeping of migrants or the subaltern in an inferior position from where ‘they cannot speak’ (Landry and Maclean, 1996) would be preferred. Although racism is not absent and tolerance is not constantly triumphing (Gilroy, 2004, p.xi), still London can be described as being more multicultural than for example Denmark, Austria or Germany. But the main problem being that multiculturalism has come to an end due to its neglect by the political agencies that endeavour the proliferation of neo-liberal politics based on a post-colonial racializing past. As Spivak draws attention to it is important not to mix the terminologies of subalternity with emigration since this will not transform the situation for the postcolonial subaltern, instead it will only increase the obscuration of a Western European imperial history.
Once again I must emphasize that it is the hybridity that the essentialist European as well as fundamentally opinionated nations or migrants are not capable of, or rather do not wish to accept, since this would result in a change in centuries long ingrained nationalism. Hence it does not seem as if the world and thus the situation for me or my Turkish diasporic interviewees will transform having the neo-colonial agendas all over Europe. Including that of London.
Therefore the concept of ‘mimicry’ is reproduced in the obligation of an integration of migrants in European states or as Rushdie argues integration actually means assimilation in Western societies, (Rushdie, 2010, p.137). As it is the ‘…threat to national unity’ that affiliates an assimilation politic (Bhabha, 1994, pxxii) in line with the Danish Minister of Integration, Soeren Pind.
And the second migration of the Turkish diasporic youth to London is thus viewed as a result of the maintaining of colonial stereotyping (Kaya, 2002, p.43) that does not recognize or permit the subaltern to speak and therefore they choose to resettle albeit still making up a smaller group in cosmopolitan cities and in the world in general is a result of this.
Furthermore the notion of the creative potential of the hybrid almost resembles the stereotyping racializations of black people to be more creative and musical for instance (Barnes 1995 in pp.39-40 in Young, 2000, p.164), since every migrant does not feel or use the creativity inside hybridity.
Bhabha’s hybridity that has a conceptual popularity is criticized by Hardt and Negri (cited in Huddart, 2006, p.164) for only theorizing and not implementing a change in practice and for being written from a privileged upper class position and therefore cannot bring me nor my interviewees back to our delivering European countries as the world is not ready for the ‘hybrid’ yet.
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1- Although you grew up in Germany all of your life or most of it, why did you choose to leave Germany? What triggered you to move geographically?
(Was it for career, educational or private reasons? i.e. being fed up with racism, immigrant psychology, monoculturalism, right-wing politics or the longing for somewhere to feel free from all of this?) It could of course be all of the above.
2- And why is it that you do not return to your European ‘motherland’ even though your education here is almost done?
So I would like to get your reflections before and now?
Interview with Gaye Gursoy:
1) I decided to leave Germany as I realized you do not have the same options careerwise like a German. You are always second class person, you are always confronted with questions about your heritage and backround. None really sees you as an individual but as a foreign women who is trapped in tradition and family. So my reasons were immigrant psychology, racism, right wing politics
2) As I have never lived in Turkey it is always a holiday destination for me. I dont think I would feel comfortable in Turkey as I am too “German” and western oriented for Turkey. I grew up between two cultures and when this happens you are creating your own culture. You pick up few things from both sides, so Turkey wasnt an option for me.
I am much happier in London, as I feel you get treated as an individual and not as a foreigner.
Interview with Onur Suzan Komurcu Nobrega:
To question 1:
I was born in Germany and lived there until 2006. I worked for several years precariously in the media and cultural industries in Berlin and decided to leave Germany to do a Masters at Goldsmiths. The two main reasons for why I left were that I wanted to escape the German labour market and the institutional and every day racism that I experienced. There was not one key situation that triggered my decision to leave, but many accumulated experiences that made me realise that I couldn’t progress in my career as I was constantly fixed by white German employers into a position of inferiority due to my ethnic background. I believe that the German labour market is highly discriminatory in relation to race, gender and class, especially when it comes to higher positions on the job market and my experiences after I have moved to the UK show that there is a different awareness in British work organisations regarding the issue of equal opportunity. Also I feel that London is a much more internationalplace in comparison to Berlin, which positively effects how people of different origin interact with each other. However, I think that there is an increasing anti-Muslim racism and traditionally a very strong class
based discrimination in Britain, so that I don’t really feel that I am “free” from all forms of discrimination whilst living and working here.
To question 2:
I haven’t made up my mind yet about the question where to live in the near future. In the five years that I’ve been living in Britain I have successfully completed my Masters and I am about to finish my PhD. I am also married with my British husband (of mixed Scottish-Caribbean descent), who grew up in London and only speaks English. Therefore we will have to decide together were to live in the future. I do miss Germany sometimes as I know it inside out and a lot of my very close friends and my family lives there. However, based on my previous experiences on the labour market in Germany. in the educational system of the country and in view of the terrible debates regarding migration in Germany, triggered through the statements of Thilo Sarrazin and others, I have strong doubts about returning to a troubled place of belonging. I wouldn’t want that my children experience in the future the same racism that I have experienced and I am not sure if my husband and me could pursue our careers and be happy in Germany. I feel that my independence from German employers and the structures in general has given me a great freedom and confidence in my abilities beyond my ethnicity, class and gender. Let’s see where the future will take us.
Interview with Yilmaz Algul:
The reason I moved had several influences:
As part of my study it is very much advised to complete a PhD thesis abroad the country you have studied during your undergraduate study. Further to improve my English I have chosen to come to the uk, which is still closed to Europe and I am able easily to visit my family in Austria. The main force for leaving Austria was in first instance a carrier decision followed by the fact that Austria has a rooted racism and subconsciously knowing that the UK especially London is a very cosmopolitan city I was looking forward not to see anymore the daily racism presented everywhere especially in politics.
After having finished my phd, I started to join some interesting and challenging projects. I am looking forward in a way to return to Vienna but I have invested much time into research projects that are running currently here in the UK and I would not leave it without having harvested the results that satisfy me. After all visiting Austria also seeds some doubts in my feelings whether I really want to be back there face all the classical daily life of Austria back. There are other pros like the living standards, the quality of material life that are encouraging to go back.
I guess I have to make a decision at same point after having finished my research project here and the conditions might even require a radical one in order to get out of the ambivalent situation of not deciding to settle anywhere.
 Nydansker meaning new Danes in Danish.
6.november 2016, London.
Jeg sidder i overgrundstoget og synes pludslig at jeg har set Guldanes far pa perronen. Men jeg er i London og alligevel foles det som om at toget afgar fra Solrod Strand S-togsstation. Hvorfor var det nu egentlig at det hedder S-toget? Jeg er ikke forfatter, mine skriblerier gemmer sig pa min kreative men sparsomme blog, hvor jeg prover at finde hoved og hale i hvem jeg egentlig er. Jeg er Hulya. Jeg har gaet pa Karlsunde Skole og pa Hundigeskolen. Jeg er student fra Greve Gymnasium. Jeg er din og mange andres klassekammerat, jeg er den hemmelige tyrkiske kaereste, Jeg er hende der ubevidst manipulerede Annika, June, Sine og andre veninder til at vaere mit alibi i mine teenagear hvor jeg loj mig til fodselsdage og modtes med fyre som var mig forbudt.
Jeg forstar godt Cecilie Lind. Mine tekster blev ikke valgt dengang jeg indsendte dem til det staerkt problematiserede antologi-projekt “Nye Stemmer”. Men maske var det ogsa ok, men alligevel nagede det mig sa grusomt at jeg pa RUC senere kritiserede det med kultursociologiske teorier der forklarede og gav mening i raciale sammenhaenge. Hele udgangspunktet var alligevel helt forkert da man forsogte at isolere tekster skrevet af 2.gen.indvandrere i en bog.
Jeg synes at Cecilies udbrud er rettidigt og pa sin plads. Maske lidt for sent endda. We need to talk about Kevin..Jeg mener vi er nodt til at snakke om det at vaere kvinde, pigebarn og teenagepige i DK, vi er nodt til at snakke om vores koloniale historie, vi er nodt til at tale om den indvandringshistorie vi har haft siden 60’erne, vi er allermest nodt til at snakke om Janteloven og om det at kunne vaere sig selv og om det pres der findes i DK hvad angar det faktum at man absolut skal vaerei et hetero parforhold. Ageism er et andet problem. Lissom man ikke ma ga idet toj man onsker sig.
….Fordi Janteloven og de til tider abenlyse misogyne vaerdier odelaegger vi kvinders selvvaerd og tvinger os ud i dyre og ikke brugbare terapier, samt bukser der ikke passer til vores kropstype til 1200kr pa udsalg i Magasin.….
Jeg er hende der ikke ma pynte mig. I DK gar vi da i joggingtoj?!…For indtil kun 10 ar siden/tilbage matte jeg altid benytte mig af det man idag kalder ‘to dress down’ for blot at kunne udholde en togtur, en bytur eller en sammenkomst. Mit har var sa langt, sa morkt og med sa meget fald at jeg matte vaelge mellem orenringe eller nederdel hvis jeg skulle klaede mig paent pa. Idet der var alt for mange ojne pa mig allerede; da jeg jo var 1) morkharet, 2) smuk, 3) indvandrer (ja,det er stadig det vi bliver kaldt!), 4) klaedte mig som jeg onskede mig og ikke som moden dikterede mig. Man kunne vel have kaldt mig queer, hvis man/jeg dog bare havde kendt til udtrykket dengang. Er end ikke sikker pa at udtrykket er saerlig kendt rent mainstream i dagens DK heller. Queer-kulturen findes den mon i DK og er den da ogsa hvid, hvis den da i det hele taget findes?! …..Nogle gange synes jeg at jeg har set den i glimt, mens jeg gik ned af fortovet langs med Norrebrogade og dens gule mur.
Min ven Joe, som er norsk og som boede i Kobenhavn indtil han flyttede til Pakistan, og jeg talte tit om livet og hvad det fik os til at fole. Vi famlede men vi vidste godt hvad vi onskede os, det handlede om at kunne vaere til og komme hinanden ved, noget vi begge vidste var svaert at fa i DK. En dag faldt snakken over at vagne op og i et split-sekund inden man abnede ojnene om morgenen rent visuelt at tro at rummet man vagnede op i var hjemme hos ens foraeldre. Vinduet, stolen, sengen og garderobeskabet stod som det gjorde dengang, men vi var ikke de samme born eller teenagere laengere. Vi var voksne og lukkede i virkeligheden vores ojne op i vores egne respektive lejligheder og kollektiver.
Derfor lige meget hvor laenge jeg har boet i London, sa er mit helt fundamentale link til tog og togstationer stykket sammen i Vestegnen pa Sjaelland i DK, derfor er det ikke maerkligt at jeg tit tror jeg har set en jeg kender selv her i Londons Overground, for jeg plejede jo at se Guldanes far pa Solrod Station -. Og ej er det slet ikke underligt at jeg tit tror jeg vagner op hos mine foraeldre i Hundige.
Every meal has its own dessert. Every relationship has a beginning, a middle and an ending. Happy or sad.
When I was a child back in our little village Karlslunde in Denmark I was always grateful for being partly Turkish. This feeling of almost relief or convincing always came out on a silent Sunday, as this was one of the days where we had lots of guests visiting ( oh my poor mum and aunt and all the other aunts who visited us could never sit down and just enjoy themselves and each other’s company only. There was lots of work to do cleaning, cooking, serving and partially looking after us children.) This stupid serving cycle never ended. This taking advantage of women’s domestic labour is sadly also my first visible and conscious love for my Turkish culture (as I have had many times where it doesn’t speak my temper. And where I do not love it. In fact I hate it. And it becomes a burden to me in many ways).
On Sundays most of my friends who were Danish back then when I was six, the year I started school looked lonely to me since i.e. my friend Lotte only had her parents and her older brother Morten around her most of the year. Sundays were the day I got scared of the Danish silence. The only sounds coming from the church chimes/ bells ringing and the birds tweeting very clearly from our huge garden.
I even encouraged my already worn out poor mum to knead some dough for a bread so that if there were no guests present, the Turkish superstition could at least work its ways(: meaning that a bit of dough would splash out of the dough to randomly land somewhere in the kitchen which would then be interpreted as someone would visit you that same day. And it ALWAYS worked!
I felt really sorry for Lotte and also for Anna, Rikke and Bitten in my neighbourhood in Møllehaven and for the rest of the Danish kids at school and at my kindergarten. They seemed like they had only had visitors a few times a year.
I once again on a weekly basis concluded that I was happy we were not Danish.
I used to eat my breakfast which was mainly the Danish brunch styled up Turkish in my communal garden in my shared ownership flat in Frederiksberg in Copenhagen.Having a Turkish boyfriend and later partner and husband taught me a lot especially the importance of Turkish breakfast. When I was sitting in my bed one day last week still feeling sorry for myself, guilty, shameful and abandoned and all alone in the world missing my ex and hoping someone would call me and invite me over for breakfast the Turkish way, my friend Ayten all of a sudden called me and said “atla gel” (translation: “just jump onto your bike an get here”) we are only just heading for the desert. Which in Turkish means the jams, sweet parts of the breakfast. Or ‘bal kaymak’ which is honey and the Turkish clotted cream ( in London ‘ bal kaymak’ is not the same. probably the tastes, the weather, the smells, the Turkish stress and high service along with the view of the blue Bosphorus is missing…). Nonetheless she said that I could still make it. They were only just heading for the desert. That meant I had still plenty of time as the amount of Turkish tea to be consumed in the tiny little ‘ince belli’ tea glasses, the conversations on being queer and Turkish and the general never-ending conversation topics could take some time I knew.
Indeed I took my time; went into the shower, read a bit and tried on different outfits even. I was ready to leave the house now. When Ayten told me that they were still not finished with their breakfast, I remembered the “revelations “ of Turkish breakfasts once more. I just couldn’t write it down back then or that morning. Today was the day for things to come together because I have stopped loving you. Stopped waiting for you. When I came to Ayten’s place I was of course late AGAIN as always. But Ayten still made me a portion of creamy, fluffy, scrambled eggs, just like I love them. Later that weekend I looked on YouTube to make my own fantastic creamy scrambled eggs. And a little later we all had the breakfast desert (jam and butter on toast) together in our little self announced “friendship-family”; Ayten, Gülnur and me.
Breakfast is also one of the things I cherish very highly about Turkish culture. The importance of this meal and how it has a whole pallette/menu of both sweet and savoury in one go that you can dip in and out of; sweet, salt, then sweet, then more salty or less saty and then end it up with a finalising sweet again. In and out. And the moment I discovered the beauty of this range of flavours to my senses I drew the cartography of this breakfast meal in my head. A whole spider web model of in and out, back and forth, up and down…
It wasn’t just müsli (sweet, crispy, sour and cold). It wasn’t cornflakes (too sweet and deliciously crispy and icecold milk). It wasn’t egg and bacon where you get your jam on the side if you get it as a whole plate even. These days money wise the breakfasts are paid for individually as tapas to build up a whole meal in London it seems.
Danish brunch does it very well too actually although being a newish tendency with only 15 years of existence almost.
Definitely the Turkish breakfast was speaking to me and in a different way than for example the Danish brunch which I absolutely love love love.
However my ex-husband and I partly also among many other issues broke up because of my love and huge interest in/ passion for food. I’m ok now. I dont feel guilty, different, difficult, snobbish or wrong anymore to be me. I try not to blame you. I have let go. And I love food, talking about it, making it, eating it, planning it, writing about it. I am me and you are you. And it is really ok if you want to eat really shitty food for the rest of your life.
As the Turkish say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And I have learned to believe in this after years of being exposed to other cultures’ breakfasts.
Although I love the Danish brunch I have found that it has too many rules for a creol like myself. It starts with the perfect müsli as the base. When it’s served separately as the first thing at the Danish brunch I always felt that it was a heavenly concept for many years. I who hate müsli on its own or when its served with other things on the same plate. And I wouldn’t touch it at all since I feel it’s not something that you just dip in and out of. To me it’s the starter of the Danish brunch when the right amount of crispy pan toasted granola or müsli, tiny dry fruit pieces, the homemade coulis and cold sour tasting yoghurt comes together evenly on my spoon. The Danish brunch has the great spicy beef cocktail sausages, the homemade cream cheese with Danish chives, homemade bread, various jams, and nutella made from scratch in house, a roulade of salmon and creamcheese, different cheeses, American pancakes with maple sirup, (and fresh fruit on the side).
Denmark is worth going if even only going for the brunch, the open rye bread sandwiches, the heavenly bakeries, anything Christmas related and Louisiana Museum with the view to Sweden across Øresund.
Oh I forgot the additional freshhh fruitt! Ok I admit it Danish brunch is the best one as it also contains sweet and salty elements on the plate, but depending on my mood, my need to reconnect with being Turkish or Danish. Still I prefer the Danish brunch out of the breakfasts I have been presented to this far in my life.
But does the Turkish breakfast exist in the UK? No! Although Kilis on Upper Street tries with their Turkish breakfast buffet.
And maybe because of my revelation around my own needs for dipping in and out of sweet and salty I have also discovered that I am indeed a true hybrid. Sometimes it is like NewYear’s Eve every day. Maybe I’m not being exclusively hierarchical French when I prefer the sweet desert both before and then again after my dinner for instance.
Maybe the overflow of various tastes consumed at the end of New Year’s Eve and the day after makes sense finally; dipping in and out of sweet, spicy, savoury tastes of leftovers. Without any specific order, without no beginning, no planned end, no hierarchy, no what’s best for you. First salty, then sweet? No! The map I draw when eating Turkish breakfast is different.
As desert comes anytime I like it in between, first or last or in repeat. Shuffle my way through Turkish breakfast like I do with my music; Western, Eastern—> mixed!
In the future I will start asking to have the müsli at the end when in Denmark. Although I will then wait longer to be served as Im not being served the alreday readymade müsli, while waiting for my brunch plate. I can do anything as I’m not only Danish, I’m not only Turkish. I can thus dip in and out of sweet, salt, savoury. If I was to draw the lines of me putting my fork in and out of the different senses I am simulating when re-mapping my food habits, I can finally think of you with less almost physical sorrow in my words, my flesh, in my breath when thinking about your breakfast rituals and the way that only you nourish, cherish and almost pet/ caress your jam when carefully layering it onto the top of a slice of sourdough bread from the E5 Bakery with Danish Lurpak butter underneath. You squint your eyes together almost closing them fully for a split of a second smiling to me in a thankful way whilst taking in the moment of the perfect balance of jam and butter onto the E5 multiseeded sourdough bread. And Im smiling back. I’m not scared of my bereavement of having lost our mutual secret language as a couple and as friends, what we had together around Arts, Cinema, conversations and writing anymore. Not scared of remembering the good things either even though it has taken me a long time to be able to contain the good emotions as well as being angry and sad.
Im not in denial of what once was. The good things were always there in our relationship it is other things that I questioned, but it was because of your obvious confusion within yourself. Your inheritance of expectations from your pretend white upper middle class Turkish parents and your wish for a non-critical blonde blue eyed girl which we collaboratively analysed on so many times; blaming it on the last days of the Ottoman Empire and it’s conflicting modernity. Due to these things I never knew what our story was. I didn’t get the full picture, as I was simultaneously trying to figure out my emotions, my reactions,your needs, and analysing you in order to help you and save our relationship and myself in an attempt to survive.
You told me not long ago;” We all do therapy, but…” I later reflected over this and said to you in my mind that you were not the one who got abandoned and rejected. You didn’t know what you were doing as you acted out of fear alone. Fear of marriage. Fear of not being able to taste other women. Fear of never getting to have the imaginary blond woman you, your parents and Turkish society dictated you to be the one you should love. I’m not gonna go into the troubled modernity of many generations of “white” Turkish men mainly. I’m only gonna dip in and out of life like on that plate of Turkish breakfast; sometimes salty, sometimes sweet and sometimes in between. I might not always be able to choose good or bad things happening in my life. But at least I will be able to taste it. Taste what is what, really feel it. Be honest to myself and you and others. So that I can write and read and see the picture of my life story at least.
None of the things you said made sense. I was not in a relationship with you, but with your interpreters who were your close friends and your brother who kept convincing me that you liked me and loved me and didn’t really mean what you said and did. They were also there convincing you that I was good enough, intelligent enough, beautiful enough. For a short while you believed them and gave me a break from that blond girl ideal that you were so obsessed with in your head. You never knew what you wanted or needed and you sure never saw who I really was. My worth!
The night you stopped in the middle of making love to me and told me that you had finally found out that actually you were only turned on by blond girls. Where to I again was very understanding, as I had occasionally really felt this, and packed my stuff the next day while we both cried as you escorted me to our nearby bus stop comforting each other while still staying friends. Just up until a few weeks later when you came to my door step again in my rented London Fields room in that pink house on the corner. How I wish you hadn’t. I wish you had stayed away from me. I wish you never wanted me back when I had left for Denmark in 2012. I wish we never got engaged or married. It was all a lie. You were never ready for me nor for marriage. You are now though. Since now that you found a blond girl with blue eyes your obsession will no longer become a hindrance for “true love” or for real marriage where you are not embarrassed of showing your wife or looking at her with admiration and devotion throughout your wedding day. You know I’m right it shows on the wedding photos.
This was the end to our story as I understand it. I really still enjoy the love for breakfasts that you implemented in me.