When we were in Cologne recently I kept seeing the same kind of ad against discrimination on big posters in subway stations: drawers with people neatly filed in their respective categories. It says “Kein Mensch passt in eine Schublade!” which translates to “No human being fits into a drawer!” Is this kind of Schubladen Denken (thinking in drawers) only a German expression? I’m sometimes known to literally translate German expressions into English and English ones into German and only realize my mistake when the person across from me looks at me like they only understand train station… ok, I’m just kidding, I know that that particular one really only makes sense in German: Bahnhof verstehen = to understand train station = to not understand a thing 😉 Either way, the thinking in drawers one translates well in pictures in any language I think. And who isn’t guilty of once in a while placing people in convenient drawers/categories because of their ethnicity, age, gender, etc.?!
The picture below has origin as a theme with the categories consisting of Turkey, Russia, Roma, etc. By the way, “Roma” does not refer to Rome, but to the Roma people (better known by the somewhat pejorative term “gypsies”). Another ad from the same series depicted an open drawer with the category uralt (common term for really, really old in German) and a very old-fashioned German name on a file folder, but I wasn’t quick enough to snap a pic of that. I wonder if there were other ads besides these two with the same theme.
Most times commercials and ads are just a bother at worst or a quick entertainment at best (remember the Vodafone cabs in London?), but these German ads against discrimination really kind of stuck with me. I like when ads get creative like that… And I like that they offer consultations for people who have been discriminated against (below the main sentence).
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