Sixty years is plenty to forget the most stark lessons against racism

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(Talking about Germany, here, i don't know that the U.S. can be said to have learned in the first place from its centuries of extreme, institutionalized racism and their aftermaths.)

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has courted growing anti-immigrant opinion in Germany by claiming the country's attempts to create a multicultural society have "utterly failed".

Speaking to a meeting of young members of her Christian Democratic Union party, Merkel said the idea of people from different cultural backgrounds living happily "side by side" did not work.

She said the onus was on immigrants to do more to integrate into German society.

"This [multicultural] approach has failed, utterly failed," Merkel told the meeting in Potsdam, south of Berlin, yesterday.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/17/angela-merkel-german-multicu...
See also: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/01/racist-comment-germa...

There are few direct quotes and i'm not sure of the quality of the reporting here, but it shows a country not afraid to be openly racist 60-odd years after the close of the most widely-condemned genocide.

(What's the alternative to multiculturalism? Monoculturism? And this is enforced how? There's really no safe landing place for this rhetoric...)

But i think it also makes the point that trying to tell people what they can say doesn't work. I'm sure the discussion of anything that smacks of eugenics in Germany has been pretty well circumscribed for a while, but the sentiments remain.

Building a society that is more just, more free, more prosperous (in the true sense of people doing things for one another more often), together, is the only defense against the fear and hate that plagues even the most (self-identified) intelligent people when they feel no control over their lives.