Yes, the refugee crisis is everywhere and racism is definitely part of the problem. But refugees are newcomers fleeing from war or famine or extreme poverty; they’re not citizens battling for justice and equity within entrenched systems. In Europe, the race issue is over having enough pieces of cake to give out, while in America, the bakers are wondering why they just get crumbs.
But in Berlin, "second generation" and "model minority" are really foreign concepts. Am I Asian? Am I American? How can I be both? I suppose maybe liminality is what this rambling article is ultimately about. Not to toss a high-faluting five syllable word around, but liminality is such an interesting idea in terms of mixed ethnicities and diasporas.
The idea was first applied by an anthropologist in the early 1900s to the middle state of rituals. Now it’s also applied to societies and history and individuals. It’s the state of being between things. It’s the moment when something is being dissolved and something else is being created. The anthropologist Victor Turner argues that liminality is a state of great tension that can’t remain for too long. That might be obvious but it’s an important thought. Another interesting thought is the liminal being, a creature between two different states. In fiction, that would include shape shifters, tricksters, and cyborgs. And in reality? Teenagers, transsexuals, people of mixed cultures.
We’re the people at the threshold. We are the future. Everyone else just has to get used to it. All that racist hostility in America? Howls of a dying beast. It's inevitable that one day, everyone will be of mixed cultures and race will be totally moot. Until then, my mutant powers of invisibility seem to have developed a weird and interesting tangent here in Berlin. I wonder if there's any use for it.