At the beginning of the year brought a small report. It showed, among other things: while hate crimes generally fell 6 percent between 2008 and 2012, increased hate crimes against people of African origin by 24 percent during the same period.
Afro Phobia The report, which was published by the Multicultural Centre, also describes how Afro-Swedes suffer discrimination in the housing market, in education and in the workplace. Swedes born in Africa – even those with Swedish exam – for example, has the worst educational performance of all residents and have to go three times as many job interviews to get a job as a white man.
Beat these statistics down like a Bomb? Hmmm. Or rather, yes and no.
In the traditional media got African-Phobia report is far from the attention it should have been. But it was discussed extensively elsewhere. 2014 was a year when many alternative radical voices were raised, and demanded their place in the public debate.
The room – the separatist site run by young non-white writers rooted in a post-colonial tradition of ideas – showed that there there was a pent-up need for new perspectives.
As belonging to the group Afro-Swedes – ie the 180 000 Swedes who were born in sub-Saharan Africa, or have at least one parent who is it – I feel that the air has felt a little easier to breathe this year. Last spring I saw Osmond Karim and Malin Holmberg Karim’s documentary “Raskortet”. The concept is simple: a series of Afro-Swedes share their experiences of being black in Sweden. Self, I could recognize me too well in a lot, like having one white and one black parent and feel more protected by the white people’s skin.
“Raskortet” became the most widely shared documentary on SVT Play in years, which suggests that it served as a wake-up call for many. In one scene tells Raymond Peroti when he was eleven dropped his wallet where there was a photo of himself – which got hate mail to cave in. Since then he has been forced to have a secret address and phone number. In another telling Tandi Agrell about his mother, the first black physician in Sweden. Once when they drove passed the scene of an accident, and when the mother was about to stop to see if she could help her daughter thought: Please, just drive on. Despite the fact that the mother was a doctor believed her daughter that her help was required – because she was black.
Although there have been no lack of anti-racist commentators on cultural and editorial pages earlier. But in 2014, the non-white writers stepped into the arena and not only wanted to talk a general anti-racist struggle, where the target is often racist parties on the right – but turned his gaze toward anti-racists themselves, and challenged previously given positions.
An example: in 2011 wrote Åsa Linderborg, Aftonbladet’s cultural section, in an article about Ruben Östlund’s film “Play”: “In the space of a nanosecond rolled my involuntary preprogrammed brain up the same confused trailers over the course of history as it always does when I see one colored man: slave ship, Tintin in the Congo, cotton plantation, Rwanda, ANC, Muhammad Ali, family Cosby, I have a dream, negro balls, Malcolm X, children with flies in the face, Obama, AIDS, Idi Amin … “
It is significant that the criticism of the passage – including the room-writer Valerie Kyeyune Backstrom in the Bulletin Board – comes first year. 2011 you could get away with using the dubious notion colored man. 2014 has many replaced it with racialised, a word that describes the social process where non-white people attribute certain characteristics based on their skin color.
During the year, this new movement naturally encountered criticism, not least from a liberal direction . Last summer was worried about Susanna Birgersson, editorial writer for the DN, what happens when rasifieringsdiskursen spreads to “misguided youths in segregated neighborhoods.” The risk, said Birgersson, is that they then get the idea that they “can not get anywhere in this by racist country if they are not performing at least twice as good as a blue-eyed Swedish”.
A classic cheap points: anyone trying to call attention to a problem accused of perpetuating the same, even though the problem description is empirically substantiated. In what other context would be stopped heads in the sand facing the kind of figures presented at the beginning of this article?
The same strange kind of objection came political science professor Bo Rothstein with recently. In Dagens Nyheter debate, he wrote that identity politics, as this movement has come to be called, threatens the Nordic social model. His thesis: trust in society is based on people, regardless of background, gender and sexual orientation, are treated equally by society’s institutions. If someone claims that they are not crashing all together. It is all about how we describe reality, not on how it is constructed.
Identity politics has been accused of being not just whiny, but also alarmist. “The debate about racism it sometimes sounds as if we are in the 1960s, the United States,” wrote Sakine Madon in a chronicle of Expressen’s editorial page. We do of course not. But should we stop discussing unequal pay just because we do not arrange häxbränningar anymore?
The big backlash came when right Åsa Linderborg wrote a long text in which she accused the identity policy to be liberal and “extremindividualistisk” and called for Single struggle. “It is more liberal than left to make representations to a matter of skin color and not structure,” she wrote. As if it were a choice. But it does not matter what you do or do not, there is a structure that ensures that it is more advantageous to be white and less advantageous to be black.
This summer, the author wrote Zach Stafford, growing up in American South, about his all-white half-brother Mitch, who during their childhood “loved black people more than I did.” In adulthood may Stafford a call. Mitch, now trained police have shot dead an unarmed black man. First, he wants it to be an accident, as fatal shootings of black people usually described by the police, but then he is forced to painfully realize: his brother hugged shutter button just because it was a black man. His conclusion is that the brother at the individual level has developed into a murderous thoroughbred racist over the years, without there being a racist culture in the US police.
It is precisely the identity politics is all about: to dare to see the racist structures, to realize that we are all, to use Linder’s words, has an involuntary pre-programmed brain.
The New American research that has been shown that whites tend to see blacks as carriers of magical powers. It is customary to talk about the dehumanization of people, but here it is about a kind of superhumanisering. Black is considered to have a higher pain threshold than whites. Therefore, the lower doses of painkillers in hospital. Therefore, a white police describe an unarmed black teenager as a demon and Hulk Hogan, who refuses to die when he peppers his body full of lead (as in the case of fatal shooting in Ferguson).
It is quite true that black sheep sit next to white on the bus today. But on a mental level, there are still things that have not changed as much as we think. The classic However, the test – where black American children had to choose between a white and a black doll – were first made in the 1940s. 2008 saw it again in Denmark, with both white and black children. The result was the same: a majority of the children preferred the white doll because it was finer, sweeter or simply white.
All of this can we keep talking about next year. Or we can just bury our heads in the sand.