Sweden doesn’t have a race problem

When I originally talked about Geert Wilders, the racist fuckhead who is on trial for being a racist fuckhead (which, while extremely objectionable, should not be a crime), I made a passing comment about Scandinavian socialist utopias. While it is undeniable that the quality of life is much better in those countries – due in no small part to the wide variety of the social programs available to the citizenry – they are not immune to the same brand of racist bullshit that is a problem everywhere else in the world:

Swedish police fear a lone gunman may be behind a spate of racially-motivated shootings in the southern city of Malmo. Detectives say they are linking up to 15 gun attacks in the city over the past year that have targeted people of immigrant background. The investigation comes amid growing tension in Sweden over immigration.

It appears as though Sweden is caught in the same fear-grip that allowed an asshole like Geert Wilders to gain political power in The Netherlands. And of course once you stoke fear to  a fevered level, and move the entire zeitgeist toward an anti-immigrant sentiment, eventually the nuts who were at the far right before find themselves embraced in the mainstream. With mainstream acceptance for stupid ideas comes a new re-drawing of where the fringe is. All of sudden, picking up a rifle and picking off a few members of the feared group no longer seems like such an unreasonable idea?

Don’t believe me? Ask Byron Williams, the so-called “progressive hunter“, who drew his inspiration to murder employees of an environmentalist philanthropic group from the implicit support of Fox News. When you stoke the fires of fear in the populace under the guise of “just asking questions”, you invite people to draw their own conclusions based on shitty evidence and innuendo. Invariably, people come to believe that they alone have pierced the veil of secrecy, and that violence is the only answer. That’s undoubtedly what’s happening in Sweden, a country that I otherwise have positive feelings about.

I have no such feelings about the Czech Republic, another country that clearly doesn’t have a race problem:

Four right-wing extremists in the Czech Republic have been jailed for an arson attack on a Roma family. The court in the eastern city of Ostrava handed down sentences of up to 22 years for racially motivated attempted murder. Three people were hurt when three Molotov cocktails were thrown into a Roma house in Vitkov on 19 April, 2009. One of the victims was a toddler who barely survived, suffering 80% burns on her body.

When we allow racist ideologies to take hold in our society, we pave the way for atrocities like this. When we soothe ourselves with the lie that racism isn’t a problem anymore, and that anti-racists are just whining about nothing, we lend tacit acceptance to those who think that there needs to be some kind of reprisal against racial minorities. The world has a race problem, and the longer we pretend it doesn’t, the worse it will get.

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