I have been an American citizen all my life, but I also happen to be a Swiss citizen as well. Being born into a Swiss family, automatically makes me as such. I have lived my entire life, up until 2011, in the states. It’s interesting that such a country, literally built by people migrating in from countries all over the world, could have such discrimination amongst its people. As a white, American though, I can easily say, that I have not been discriminated against within my own country.
Moving to Switzerland is a whole other story. Since I live in a German speaking region and don’t speak any German, the Swiss Germans would have no clue I am a citizen, even though french is a language spoken in other regions of the country. As far as they are concerned, I’m just a foreigner.
And sometimes I get treated as such.
I have been helping Craig with our hunt for a house to rent. I can find properties on the internet that we would be interested in, but it is up to him to make the contact with the people in order to arrange viewings. Last week, he contacted a woman that works for Remax who is in charge of a home for rent in the area. When he explained our interest, she had an attitude, saying she doesn’t think the owners would be interested in renting to a non swiss.
She then goes on and on, but she does so in Swiss German. For those of you who don’t know, Swiss German is very different than German. Even Germans can’t understand the Swiss. It’s not so much a dialect, but many other changes to the language. Swiss German is also only a conversational language. It has no written form, though the movement of technology and text messaging is slowly creating it into a written language. When in school, the Swiss Germans learn everything in German. In theory, every Swiss can switch into speaking German. So, as she goes on in her Swiss German, my husband kindly asks her if she can switch to German, to which she replies, “See, you’ve just proved my point”.
Imagine my face as my husband told me this story. I was so angry to hear of such discrimination. Especially knowing that I hold the red passport of this country. Would she discriminate against me so much just because I am not Swiss German, but instead Swiss French. Perhaps she would. She kept going on and on about how there is a big yard that would need tending to. Yes, we know, that’s why we were interested in the property. I think her view of Americans is “concrete jungle”. Like we wouldn’t know how to keep a yard or would even appreciate being out in nature. Some of us like nature very much, thank you.
My husband, being the kind of man that he is, didn’t tell her to shove off with her discrimination, but instead insisted she set up an appointment so that we could see the place. I’m sure it irritated her to no end to have to set up an appointment to view the house with us since, she feels it is a waste of her time. We are scheduled to meet with her on Wednesday. I’m not sure if my husband is just going to go ahead and call the appointment off the morning of, or if we will see it. I guess I’ll see when Wednesday rolls around.
© Semi-Charmed Life