IDÉDEBATT | ELECTION. During the elections everyone talked about integration, but nobody talked about racial discrimination. The border that divides cities and labor markets is now simply explained as a matter of education, values and crime. In the statement made by the government four years ago Stefan Löfven that afrophobia does not belong in Sweden. This year he does not say anything.
Yet nothing has changed in daily life, afrophobia and all other racial discrimination still have the same power over the country, during the job interviews, in the square, in a park in Huskvarna. All anti-racist social criticism, the questions it raises and the dispute are still so intrusive. But nobody says anything more. It seems as if decades of conversation and knowledge development have suddenly been eradicated, as if Löfven never said that about afrophobia. We are in the retreat era.
In the latest Glare (1/2018) there is a readable article by Julia Willén which goes far beyond the contemporary spirit of justice and therefore just ends up in reality. Using a charged debate among South African opponents of apartheid in the 1970s, she investigates the question of how white is best dependent on anti-racism.
It was Steve Biko, leader of Black Consciousness, who questioned the involvement of white radicals. The situation in South Africa was of course one hundred times more popular in the autumn of 2018 than in Europe. But I am white, have been writing for 25 years on racial discrimination and recognize the most often legitimate distrust – we do not want to be represented by white middle-class humanists – and then distorted the references to guilt and good will from elsewhere. The state of mind is often caused by high infection levels.
We have problems with our whiteness. Most do not even want to admit it. Believing that color blind is still working as a simple self-fraud in Sweden. But a long time in the American South or a short walk through Dakar usually makes clear that your own skin color elaborates on an inheritance of abuse that remains up-to-date.
With a glossy sharpness I remember that moment 33 years ago when I first understood the meaning of my white skin color. My values did not matter. I was white in the eyes of others, with meanings that I still can not avoid.
I have acquaintances who do not go to Husby or other poor neighborhoods. They blame the crime. But in fact it is probably an overwhelming reluctance to confront with the broader context of wisdom, to suddenly be in a minority.
"My cut skins"
It is easy for me to see racism depressed, but painful to analyze the slowing party. It should not be more difficult than a male feminist in a patriarchal reality. But it is quiet. Perhaps because any attempt to understand whiteness from an anti-racial point of view is so ridiculous and both right and left is being harassed as a sort of reverse racism or identity-political self-esteem. And yet it is so important, because nobody stands outside the social reality, the unequal conditions, the unfair starting points of the first day of school.
Those who first began to pay attention to the worldwide dominance of wisdom in Swedish debates were writers from the 1960s traveling outside Europe. 1969 wrote Staffan Beckman their spoken openings in the book "Palestine and Israel": "We know that people are horrible and we are becoming more and more disgusting for every year." There is a moment when I am disgusted with myself and my cut skin. "The reaction was understandable, but not particularly profitable as a starting point for a more analytical anti-marijism.
In the spirit of enlightenment
The white South Africans Willén writes about trying to answer Biko's challenge simply by leaving behind those feelings of "white guilt" and the idea that racism is a matter of enlightenment and prejudice, to try and make a "responsible whiteness" develop. But for the Swedish debate she proposes instead, and much better, a "white story consciousness" that is aimed at solving the power of whiteness. No fault. Nothing bad. No good will. Instead, knowledge and political systemic criticism. In other words, a liberation policy in the spirit of enlightenment.
Was it not exactly in the direction of the Swedish social debate in a few years? Rasisms began to be described as a structural phenomenon that characterized our lives. Everyone was not a racist, nobody needed to feel guilty, but everyone – regardless of skin color – lived in a system we had inherited and needed to free ourselves.
But politics goes elsewhere, even among credible and reliable anti-racists. when Jonas Sjöstedt Recently valalade in Skärholmen I have heard nothing about racial discrimination and whiteness such as glass roofs. Instead he sounded 20 years ago as white anti-racists: racism is only a threat to the protagonists, of those who are not as open-minded as "we" – an approach in which Marxists and liberals are often united. It was completely in line with how we speak in the rights of retreats.
Per Wirtén is the author and collaborator of the cultural side of Expressen. His latest book "Are we coming soon?" The dream of Europe & # 39; s United States " was nominated for the August prize in 2017.
READ MORE – Per Wirtén: SVT & # 39; s resistance to diversity is shameless