I just wanted to write a quick update on some recent additions and also draw your attention to one of our earliest pages (ok, it was the one I could most easily summarize with a word starting with the letter “P”).
- Working backwards from the present, a new page addresses the beloved toy company Playmobil and its depiction of the Three Wise Men (Heilige Drei Könige). Since the first set in 2000, they have produced a Black Magus (and also usually an orange one)–take a look and see how they channel particular historical depictions.
- Robbie Aitken has also written a fascinating entry on a man named Karl Atiogbe. Lest we think that everyday racism is a recent phenomenon or that Black Germans did not do much about it, Atiogbe’s letter published in the Berliner Tageblatt in 1908 proves otherwise. He writes “to his Black brothers” about the problem of racism and its roots in a flawed underestimation of the intellectual abilities of Africans, which he proceeds to rebut point by point. In a closing statement that still resonates today, Atiogbe notes that Black people must have the right to respect but also that emancipation from prejudices is a long process.
- Finally, jumping back to the Middle Ages, it is worth taking a look at Hermann von Sachsenheim’s tale The Lady Moor (Die Mörin), especially if you’re familiar with Wolfram’s Belakane. Unlike the latter, who is noble and sensitive and pure, the Lady Moor is a cutting, clever, cynical prosecuting attorney, whose job it is to prove that an old Crusader had broken the rules of love in his youth. While she is certainly used to channel a certain fear of aggressive women, Hermann does not turn her into a demeaning caricature but rather creates a strong character unintimidated by men. She reminds me of nothing more than the protagonist in modern dramas like Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder.
And again, if you have any feedback or have any topics that you’d like us to address, do feel free to let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.