onsdag 11 september 2013

Afrophobia in Sweden

The word afrophobia was very foreign to me a couple of years ago. Little did I know that I actually have been in very close contact with just that all my life having grown up in a little village/town in Sweden (with veeeeeeery few Blacks, in fact I was the ONLY one at my school until high-school in another city and that was not even that many).. This thing has been present in so many aspects in my life. Actually this thing has been so present that it has never given me a break or a vacation..
When I first heard the word afrophobia I was a bit confused about what it really meant. If you divide the word up it will be "afro" and "phobia". I knew phobia was fear of something and of course I knew what an afro was. Hmm.. fear of afro's? The hairstyle? No no, I had look this word that I heard in an expression. So I looked it up in a dictionary and here's what I found: Afrophobia - Fear, hate, or dislike of Black Africans and Black African descendant. Wow, fear of black people. People like me!
I also found the word "negrophobia" which has the same meaning as afrophobia. I prefer the latter expression. As I said before It came to my mind that this is the explanation for everything that I have gone through growing up! It must be the explanation at least to a 90 percent (of course there are people who are just all through mean)..
I'm born 1990 and my parents came to Sweden in the middle of the 80's.. The first time I got to experience my portion of afrophobia was when I was 2 years old. An older kid (abou 3-4 years old) called me a nigger! Woow this little kid had already heard it from somewhere. Of course he didn't come up with it by himself cause kids are innocent especially at that age. No no it must have been an older afrophobic person whom he heard it from. Then passing on the afrophobic behavior to his son who then applied it on me. Some people like myself don't even know that this word exists and that some people suffer from this sickness that it truly is. Or maybe it is a actually not a sickness.. let me rephrase that, it is a LEGACY that's what it is. It is a legace that people of today's world unconsciously or consciously carry on from their ancestors. I've seen afrophobia take on all sorts of forms. Racial slurs such as nigger, monkey, wide nose, big lip, swollen lip, wollen hair and there are special expressions for this in Swedish which I cannot really find an English translation for. For example the thing with our hair would often be described as steal wool (svinto) that you use to clean sauce pans. Or the color of the skin.. jokes such as: "have you showered today? you look a little dirty" or even saying obnoxious comments to me (light skinned) such as: "but you are not a real nigger". Ok, what is a 12 year old supposed to say as an answer to this stupid comment coming from an adult? You can't teach an old dog new tricks.. Difficult one. Countless comments have been thrown out there I mean it's so difficult for me to even understand the creativity behind this ignorance. And then the slurs would transform from psychological violence into physical violence....
Growing up I thought that this must just be these people from this small closed community. So as a grew up I got into contact with other Blacks who describe similar experiences. Talking to them was like telling my own story. Children beeing pushed on the streets as they called the racial slurs about their color, at school, at work,  in the grocery store, night clubs.. Everywhere was and is this afrophobia present. Several attepted murders and actual murders of Blacks occurred because of their skin. Vandalizing homes and a list of many many other things. All because of the legacy afrophobia.
Afrophobia to me is a legacy that people carry on from their ancestors. And with a portion of narrow mindedness, racism,acceptance of this behavior from society and the state, little knowledge, a little organisation it can turn out to a series of hate crime events with Black as targets.
Sweden is allegedly seen as a country that takes care of its people and a stable democracy and a just system. But when we don't accept and embrace the fact that afrophobia is present how are we going to protect the targeted people? or is this just to unimportant of an issue because Blacks are not that many here a in the UK? It must be accepted and thought in schools. Swedens slave history must be part of the curricular activity. This in order to create awareness about this issue. That is the first step. We should not be obliged to go to special seminars about this topic since it is ever so presents in every Black persons lives. This is connected to human rights, rights for every ethnic groups to enjoy the same rights as other groups..this treatment goes on all levels from informal to formal levels and at times, it is very difficult handle. Afrophobia is a problem that hinders Black from progressing in this society and we must always perform 1 million times better to get thing we really want compared to others.

I had a discussion with someone about something that we both actually have thought about since we grew up here. Sometimes we wonder what it is like to be on the privileged side.
- Not worrying about what people are going to say if I go out
- Not worrying about walking down a certain street
- How it feels to walk in a clothing store without feeling extra watched
- Not being asked by the sales lady to open your purse because it seems like something isn't right
- How it feels to be met with respect talking to authorities
- Not being treated as a thief at first
- Not having to worry if people at work are going to be ignorant today AGAIN
- Not worrying if people are going to be ignorant at school AGAIN
- Not having to defend everything about you, your country or people
- Not having to become enemies people at work or school because you stand up for yourself
- Not being called sensitive, exagerated, dramatic when you defend yourself

This list does not cover all thoughts but its part of the thoughts. All in all just thoughts on how life would just flow if we were the exact same persons with the same drive and personalities only on the other side of the road..
Afrophobia is STILL a problem and will continue to be if we just accept this. Recently a Black man in Malmö was severly assaulted and his son was beaten, not enough, they even tried to throw him off a bridge. I call that attempted murder or attempted lynching.. So it still occurs today in 2013. Afrophobia is a present sickness, legacy and issue today. It will continue to be a problem but it has got to stop enough is enough!