Someone finally calls out Swedes on their inherent racism!

There’s a wonderful article in the Swedish on-line English language newspaper/site “The Local”. The far-right wing anti-immigration (and anti- lots of other stuff) Sweden-Democrats gained about 20 seats (which is about 5% of the vote) in the recent Swedish elections. It has given the party legitimacy and a possible balance of power in Sweden. This has shocked most of the country. However, something I’ve known since my best friend Yoda lived in Sweden for a couple of years is this: Swedes are inherently racist. He found out the hard way!

Their racism is displayed in quite subtle but effective ways – they exclude foreigners socially and especially in employment opportunities. They don’t run around with banners and shouting racist slogans, they just do it in their everyday lives in a stack of different ways.

God knows, I love Sweden and the Swedes and, for many years, thought them the perfect social-democratic “internationalists” of the world. On the surface, that is the face of Sweden you see – but when you dig deeper, you find something quite different.
The Local is a fantastic website/online newspaper – I heartily recommend all Swedo-philes check it out!

http://www.thelocal.se/29280/20100927/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=188

“US-born contributor Naomi Olofsson wonders why supposedly immigrant-friendly Swedes who never bothered to help immigrants adjust to life in Sweden seem so outraged at the success of the far-right Sweden Democrats.

My name is Naomi , I’m 44, and I’m an immigrant.

They say that it’s easier for me because I’m a “white immigrant.” I come from the United States, so I’m not one of them; I have a Swedish last name and a Swedish husband and at least a high school education with some college in the US. But that’s not true, it’s not easier, and being “white” doesn’t make a difference.

The Sweden Democrats (SD) have shaken up Sweden. Many don’t want to admit that they voted for them, others are proud to have voted for them, and in the meantime, the country feigns shock and disgust that it’s happened.

I hate racism. I’ve been subjected to it all my life. I’m female. I’m overweight. My heritage is mixed – I’m half Mexican and half white. I’ve dealt with those prejudices in the United States. Never did I dream that I’d meet up with a different kind of racism and prejudice when I moved to Sweden!

I’m now faced with prejudices of being 44, female, having small children, being an immigrant, and, although my spoken Swedish is fine, I have trouble with my written Swedish.

You who are outraged that the Sweden Democrats won places in Riksdag, you who voted for the Sweden Democrats because you are tired of the way that immigration has been handled here in Sweden, whether it be asylum seekers or otherwise, I have a question for you:

Where were you?

Where were you when I needed a friend to help me get out of the house and integrate into society? Did you even try to get to know me, or did you just sit and fika with your Swedish friends? Did you even LOOK me in the eye and say hej when we passed?

Where were you when I needed someone to speak Swedish to so that I could improve my language skills and attempt to integrate into society better?

Did you volunteer to do anything with the immigrants in your area, with others and me, or did you stay safely away from us who are different and definitely not Sven Svensson in how we dress or sound or look?

Where were you when I sent application after application in for a job? Did you give me a job or even offer me a praktikplats when I almost begged for the chance to work for you, or did you see that I was female, over 40, with small children and an immigrant and immediately place my CV to the bottom of the pile, regardless of my merits?

For those who claim outrage to SD’s ‘victory,’ where were you? To those who voted SD because you were tired of how things were being handled and the mess that immigration and asylum is here in Sweden today, where were you?

How many of you even attempted to be a part of the solution instead of taking the “easy way out” and voting for a party that has its roots in racism and hatred?

Martin Niemöller was credited with the following verse. Through the years the words have been changed out for whatever the current fear is. Change Communists to Asylum seekers, Unionists to Immigrants, and Jews to Muslims and you have the current situation here in Sweden.

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

If you don’t do anything, if you don’t speak up, if you’re not a part of the solution, then, when it’s all said and done, who will be left to speak for you?

Where were you? How did you help? If you didn’t help, then don’t shake your head in shock and disbelief, rather, hang your head in shame.

Your apathy helped get SD elected!

By Naomi Olofsson”

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2 Comments

  1. I voted for SD. Not becouse im racist but becouse we need a limit to imigrants or every place would be like rosengård, nobody would want that to happen. I wasnt born in sweden, but i have lived here all my life and Im so sick of all the muslims in the country commiting crimes. More than 80% of the ppl in jail here are muslims.
    Dont get me wrong, I have friends from iraq here to.

  2. Interesting that they have this problem in Sweden, too. Racism is really bad in Germany and especially in Austria. They are so snotty about problems with racism in the USA, but are totally blind to the fact they racism here is much, much worse. At least racism is discussed and seen as a problem in the US! I remember how my jaw dropped as an Austrian explained to me that he would never visit the USA as long as George W Bush is president – while at that very moment, Austria’s version of the SD was in the government!

    A close friend of mine here in Dortmund is from California but looks ethnically South American, and the way she is treated by strangers here is shocking. I’ll never forget, either, the Black man in Vienna, trying to ask for directions on a crowded shopping street, and EVERYONE looked away and walked way around him…. or the other Black man getting screamed at in a tram by some old Austrian man who grew up in the 1930’s and ’40s.


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