It’s been a while since a new addition of Hate Watch. The minor victories of neo-nazi parties in state in local elections were tempered with resolve by the major parties to shut them out of power, to prevent them from exercising any influence. However, the slide into racism is becoming more real, as the Rheinisches Merkur reported this weekend:

A study published last November by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung arrived at shocking conclusions: almost ten percent of western Germans, and more than double that in the east, are antisemitic, every eleventh German has a reactiony (rechtsextreme) worldview, and in the east every third German is a xenophobe. Accroding to a study by the University of Bielefeld, two of every three Saxons holds a xenophobic position. [Despite divergences in the numbers], it is still certain that in the east, people with dark hair run the risk of being attacked. Xenophobia has become the cultural norm. The stranger is the one who should leave.

Racism, of course, often is a stigmatization of the other, the fear of an ideally threating stranger in the midst of an ideally composed, harmonious community. As the article points out, the other are increasingly not present (only two percent of people living in Saxony are of non-German origin). Their foreignness is imagined and constructed far ahead of their arrival, their presence a priori unacceptable.

It would be easy to say that Germans have not changed (even Goldhagen grants them some redemption).  Racism, however, is not just finding new targets, it is behaving differently.  The German racist is evolving into an advanced scout announcing a fantasy enemy.  Resentment plays less of a role in his/her make-up.  Correspondingly, the reaction of Germans to reactionary racism  is remarkably different.  If xenophobia is becoming the norm, resisting it has become a necessary and automatic response for the German public.