U.S. Ambassador to Germany Derides Racist German "Jerks"

A letter on the U.S. embassy's website describes how Berlin soccer fans were nasty to an African American staffer

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The U.S. ambassador to Germany is not at all impressed by the "jerks" who abused one of his staffers, an African American man, at a soccer game in August, and he posted an open letter on the embassy's website to say so. It went up in the "speeches and texts" section of the site last week, with no hype or press push or anything like that, but since then the Internet has started taking notice of the hotly worded letter, and the awful run-in it describes (in which two German soccer fans jostled, insulted, and poured beer on an African American embassy staffer). It went up on Reddit on Wednesday morning, and Business Insider a few hours later. What's odd about the letter isn't that the ambassador, Philip Murphy, is outraged at the racist incident -- who wouldn't be? -- it's his odd obsession with the word "jerks" in this official State Department space:

There are jerks everywhere.

There are jerks where I come from in America, and there are jerks in the heart of Europe, here in Berlin.

A jerk is someone who shows no respect for other people, because they dress differently, talk differently, or were born with skin darker or eyes shaped other than the local standard. 

Ultimately, jerks are people with such a deficit of character and self-respect that they feel a need to belittle and intimidate others to fend off feeling small, scared and insignificant themselves.  So we need to help them change the way they think and the way they feel about themselves.  But first of all we need to stand up to them.  Because words and deeds do have consequences.

In this case, the consequence is that the ambassador to your country calls you a jerk on his official website.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.