The Face of Denmark is Changing Part 1.
Photo Cred. bbc.com
When I was growing up, I remember an episode. I was walking home from school and an old lady with an angry little dog walked by me. While passing me, she hissed “Slip home to your own country.” I got so surprised that I turned around and just shouted: “Shut up.” I couldn’t stop thinking why she said such a thing to me. What had I ever done her?
That was my first encounter with racial slurs towards me, at the age of 8 years old.
Fast forward to 2017. Nowadays all you hear and read is how bad immigrants are and how they are not welcome. All you ever hear in the news is how immigrants are causing all the social problems in the world. Small kids are differentiated by race, color, and by religion.
I never imagined that 20017 would look like this. I always thought that we would learn from history and do things better, maybe even experience a peaceful world.
But it seems as we haven’t learned anything from history. We are on the verge of repeating the same pattern as under Hitler’s rise.
Only this time there is no one to fight for Muslims rights, not even Muslim countries.
Read more in Part 2.
So why am I writing this and why is this relevant to me or this blog?
I have a son who happens to have dark eyes and dark hair. He is the son of a dark Pakistani mother and a white Swedish father. But you don’t see the whiteness in him except the color of his skin. In a white society where he is growing up, he will always be a foreigner.
The way things are going in Denmark, Sweden, and Europe as a whole, he will never be accepted as one of their own. Being of color society have always made sure that I knew that I was different. When I was growing up, we used to tease each other as in school. I was always teased for being black, and I teased back.
Yet Denmark has still always accepted me as one of its own, standing with one leg in two different cultures.
As a person born and raised in Denmark, with Danish as my mother tongue, celebrating the Danish holidays, as well as holding on to my Pakistani roots. The Danish society always accepted me without having to change myself.
My colleagues have always seen me as Danish. Whenever I started working in a new place or met new people, they would always ask:
“So where do you come from,”
and I would say:
“I’m from Pakistan.”
“But are you born here? You speak Danish so perfectly.”
“Yes,” I would say, “I’m born and raised here.”
“Well then you are not Pakistani, then you are a Dane.”
A couple of weeks ago the Right Parties in the Danish Parliament signed a document deciding that people born by immigrants and refugee parents are not Danes even if they are born, raised and have papers saying they are Danes. It was also aimed at adopted kids from other countries.
Why this step?
The argument they make is that residential areas with more than 50% foreigners make it harder to integrate people.
But how do you know who this document is targeted towards?
How can you see a difference between me, a dark woman born in Denmark and a refugee or someone living in these areas?
What are their proposals to solve this problem?
Will they get more Danes to move to the “problem” areas which are “overloaded” with immigrants”?
Or will they move immigrants into better areas with mainly Danish residents?
As it is right now, there is no real solution on the table.
Even if this bill wants to target Muslim families, it’s not only Muslim immigrants who will be affected. It will target all foreigners from non-western countries.
A Hindu who celebrates Hindu festivals, can they ever be Danish?
A Chinese person who celebrates Chinese New Year can they ever be Danish?
A South American Catholic, will they ever be Danish?
When I watch the news, the only thing I hear is that integration has failed, that all immigrants and refugees are sitting at home waiting to cash out their welfare check. They are not interested in contributing to the Danish society.
My parents came to Denmark in the 70s as guest workers and chose to stay. They have both worked all their lives and contributed to the Danish society.
I’m a daughter of immigrants. I have an education, and I have worked all my life, paid my taxes and contributed to the Danish society. My siblings the same are all well-educated and have always worked.
My family is not unique; there are many families like us, the second generations Danes living and working in Denmark. We are living the Danish values, working and contributing to Danish society every single day. But you will never hear about us, the successfully integrated ones because media is not interested in us. We don’t sell the news.
The media is only interested in one thing; to do whatever it takes to get people to buy their newspapers and watch their news segments no matter the cost. The news has become obsessed with click baits and many times the “journalism” is of similar quality.
Two of Denmark’s most popular and most read media houses base their news on causing outrage, panic, and hate. You will not find any objective opinion in their news and the journalism reek of “how crazy a story can we make this out to be.” Again, anything to sell the story.
Not one day goes by where the news brings up something negative about immigrants or refugees. Danish news always present a very black and white picture and has contributed largely to the very negative image
Danish people have of immigrants and refugees. That’s the main reason they either see them as a threat or someone to fear instead of looking at them as a strong resource for Denmark.
When the media paint such a negative picture, then Danes who have never been in contact with a foreigner and who sits at home watching worst case scenario news they start to fear these strangers.
These are the people who then go and vote for the right-wing party Dansk Folkeparti (The Danish Peoples Party) who feeds off people’s fears and that way gain influence.
Thanks to the media Danish Folkeparti has become a major influence on both the right and left side. Both sides want to work together with them because they are the ones that got the majority of the votes. We have a xenophobic party that everyone wants to cooperate with, and they are influencing every single decision in the parliament.
Although they are not officially a part of the government, they are still the ones that have the last word, because they’ve got the majority of the Danish voters.
Read more in part 3.
Out of the darkness is an even more extreme right-wing party emerging called Nye Borgerlige (New Conservatives), a party with roots in the Nazi environment with such a radical message that appeal to the worse in Danes and their popularity is growing.
Afraid of losing voters to the Nye Borgerlige, both Vestre (Moderate Conservatives) and Dansk Folkeparti are going to an extreme not to lose voters.
To be continued…