chapter  13
11 Pages

How ‘Black’ are the German Turks? Ethnicity, marginality and Interethnic Relations for Young People of Turksih Origin in the FRG

The life situation of second generation Turkish immigrant guestworkers has some unmistakable parallels with the situation of black youth in the UK: high unemployment and an unfavourable labour market position, partial ghettoization in areas with substandard accommodation, and subject to a multifaceted racism in everyday life. In this sense Turkish guestworkers are without doubt the ‘visible minority’ in the FRG. At the same time, we can identify clear specificities in relation both to living conditions and cultural background and resources in the way young people deal individually and collectively with their situation. So, for example, the nature of West Germany’s immigration laws leave young Turkish people in a position of basic uncertainty over their future: rights to permanent residence are not legally enshrined. Alternatively, we might examine the nature of available cultural traditions and to what extent these resist transformation and synthesis with new cultural elements.