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Schools at centre of new anti-racism efforts

Schools at centre of new anti-racism efforts

Published: 06 May 2011 13:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 May 2011 13:05 GMT+02:00

The Swedish government on Friday announced plans to step up its efforts to fight racism by appointing a special commission to survey xenophobia in the wake of electoral gains made by the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats.

In announcing the appointment of former Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) leader Bengt Westerberg to head the commission, Sweden's integration minister Erik Ullenhag emphasised, however, the inquiry does not amount to an investigation of the Sweden Democrats.

"This isn't an investigation about or against the Sweden Democrats, but the need to combat xenophobia has increased since the Sweden Democrats entered the Riksdag," Ullenhag said during a press conference.

"We have a common responsibility to see that the forces for good stand up for tolerance."

Westerberg welcomed the appointment, but added that the job that lay ahead was far from easy.

"I'm going to survey, among other things, xenophobia. But what is that? That's not an easy task. How many who are xenophobic depends on how one defines xenophobia," he said.

"It's not about some specific group. The problem exists within all of us. There is good and evil within us all. And that's what constitutes the great risk for a widening in society, that this potential exists in us all. The important question is how we can get the curiosity within us about what is foreign to overtake the evil."

Westerberg plans to collect the existing research about xenophobia and intolerant attitudes and why they exist, as well as identify the shortcomings found in current efforts to address the issue.

Much of the work is expected to focus on schools, which are seen as a central arena for implementing efforts to reduce intolerance.

Westerberg plans to look into how knowledge about intolerance and racism can be better applied in Swedish classrooms.

Björn Söder, spokesperson for the Sweden Democrats, slammed the government's inquiry.

"Expect indoctrination and propaganda against SD in our schools!" Söder wrote on his Twitter account in reference to the government's announcement.

But Ullenhag quickly rejected claims that the efforts amounted to indoctrination.

"School and society shouldn't be neutral when it comes to democracy and human rights," he said.

The commission is scheduled to present its findings in October 2012.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:20 May 6, 2011 by Syftfel
Why do I suspect that this will be just more of the usual liberal gobble-di-gook, whose main purpose it will be to elevate islam as an acceptable life form? Were this effort to be fair, it should commence with the premise that Sweden's entire culture, system of justice, and sets of values is historically based in, and must remain in, Christianity. Anything less will necessarily be viewed as political indoctrination. This effort should be dropped immediately, and the money spent on reading, writing and arithmetic.
14:26 May 6, 2011 by byke
The bigger question is, how does the language laws brought into Sweden in 2009 penalize and support xenophbia for for tongues other than swedish?
14:47 May 6, 2011 by bcterry
And there is no intolerance taught in islamic schools.

Nothing but love and equality for all.
14:53 May 6, 2011 by infidel2012
Note to the Non-Scandinavians...

When in Rome (Sweden), Do as the Romans (Swedes) Do.

Enjoy your short lived stay here till 2012 in Sverige : - )
14:59 May 6, 2011 by Roy E
It's abundantly clear - get the ethno-masochist nihilists out of the government or forfeit Sweden's future!.
15:21 May 6, 2011 by voxprivat
What is it called when the dominant political ruling class establishment misuses public funds and public institutions like public funded schools to discredit and slander political opposition parties that threaten its grip?
15:24 May 6, 2011 by Roy E
@voxprivat

It's called a death spiral.
16:40 May 6, 2011 by Dave N
Since when has objecting to your country being invaded and colonised been called xenophobia?

I don't recall Ghandi, Cetewayo, Cochis, Geronimo or Sitting Bull ever being called xenophobes. Perhaps it only applies if you are white.
16:58 May 6, 2011 by tadchem
EVERY characteristic which can be used to distinguish groups of people from each other will inevitably be used by one side to discriminate against the other. Racism is just a single manifestation of bigotry. Race, religion, gender, national origin, language, economic status, whatever... even blood type!

Usually the side that is most insecure or unsure of themselves starts it so they can feel superior to the others. People who 'feel comfortable in their own skins' don't need the false ego boost that bigotry gives.
18:49 May 6, 2011 by jimthat
all this children that are sitting at school besides an inmigrant are being brain washed by anty white teachers

they tell them not to discriminate

what is discriminate ?

it is distinguish or notice a clear difference

so if you tell these brain washed children that in the street the red light is green they will cross

that s because4 they dont discriminate

so they are convinced (i have asked childs ) that the coloured people is actually white

also they are teached that not to mix the race is "unmoral"

and that to remain white is a crime

and that the non whites are the only wise kind moral people who deserve to live in this world

of course all this in a subliminal way which a child cant distinguish
19:14 May 6, 2011 by Rick Methven
@jimthat

From your post, seems like you need to go back to school and learn some spelling and grammar
19:18 May 6, 2011 by jomamas
Since when does having pride in one's culture count as discrimination.
19:33 May 6, 2011 by Infart
The success of SD does not mean that Swedes are becoming more "xenophobic." It means that they are tired of Middle Eastern immigrants who are over-represented when it comes to violent crime, unemployment, rape, etc!! When are these idiots in govt. going to stop ignoring the realities of the situation and start dealing with it?

I also wonder if the Islamic schools here in Sweden are going to be subject to the same type of "anti-xenophobia" curriculum that the public schools are set to receive? Does anyone know?
20:06 May 6, 2011 by Iraniboy
@Syftfel

Sweden is Sweden because of 100 years of such policy. That's why they have allowed you in their country despite the fact that most Swedes share almost nothing with your values.
22:32 May 6, 2011 by wxman
That's right, Rick. When you can't counter the message, ridicule and marginalize the poster by criticizing his grammar and spelling. Good argument!
00:33 May 7, 2011 by Yunis
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: Who has a bigger right to live in England: Me, a pleasing, brown-skinned Briton of Pakistani descent OR an Englishman (a pig covered in human excrement)?
06:11 May 7, 2011 by Smiling Canuk
This has been policy in the Canadian educational system for many years. However, anti-racism can be taught in the classroom, but its a bit mute if the family or peer environment teaches bigotry or intolerence. However, it is a good public policy. Tolerence begins at a young age.
10:51 May 7, 2011 by Dave N
Smiling Canuk - "Tolerance" begins at a young age? I think the word you're looking for is "indoctrination."

Hey, teacher - leave them kids alone!

Yunis - I've told you before - it's the pig every time. Pigs are far more appealing and useful - and they commit far less crime than Muslims.

And yet again - there is no such thing as a brown-skinned Swede or a brown-skinned Englisheman - they are imaginary beings, figments of your imagination. Like elves, djinn and goblins - they simply do not exist.
17:16 May 7, 2011 by cogito
@Wxman # 15. What's laughable is that, while regularly popping up to nit-pick the grammar/spelling of other posters, who may not have English as their first language, R.'s own posts contain more grammatical errors and gross illiteracies than most. Maybe they don't teach English in Wales.
17:32 May 7, 2011 by technoviking
Yes, brainwash children to ignore reality. Great idea.

But this is also entirely the fault of the slave auction idiots.

There's a difference between a realist and an outright racist.
02:20 May 8, 2011 by MichiganLady
jomamas, who ever said they were teaching you not to have pride in your culture?

someone make this elusive connection for me: why do you have to treat other people as sub-human in order to take pride in your culture?

they wish to make kids think twice about being afraid of things that are foreign. I can't see what on earth that has to do with asking people not to be proud of where they're from. you can't make a rhetorical leap that vast without proving it somehow.
04:20 May 8, 2011 by wenddiver
@Yunis- I prefer the the Pig to PAKis ever, since we caught you people hiding Osama Bin Ladin.

I can wash excrement off with a water hose and animal shampoo, but murder is in the heart. Terrorism is such an awful mental disorder that the animal with it ussually has to be destroyed like a rat with rabbies.

Pigs are pretty smart animals and do not engage in Terrorism or hide terrorists.
14:55 May 8, 2011 by technoviking
@ MichiganLady

They have plenty to be afraid of...

Like the loss of their safety, their economy and their social system.

And there's plenty to prove it.

Read prior to typing.
19:48 May 8, 2011 by Iraniboy
@wenddiver

Good point! Terrorists kill innocent people! So do the military forces of the country you come from! Now let's count how many pigs you have and how many Pakistanis have!
21:27 May 8, 2011 by wenddiver
@Iraniboy- Do you have any idea how many people would gladly take every pig in the world and give it a nice home in their country, If that would get all the Muslims out?? I dare say it's probably a majority. Wuldn't Britain be a nicer country with Pigs, Sweden, Germany, the US????

Our Military kills who we tell it to kill. We sent them to the miserable sand filled kitty litter box the world calls the Muddle-east to kill the terrorists, because we thought it would be more humane than NUKEing the area into glass.

Obviously, by the terrorist supporting posts we find here, we were wrong and the nuclear option was the way to go. It's not off the table yet.
22:35 May 8, 2011 by technoviking
"Do you have any idea how many people would gladly take every pig in the world and give it a nice home in their country, If that would get all the Muslims out?"

Best... reply...of 2011.

The Muslims keep trash talking on pigs around here...

Pigs taste good, they don't set cars on fire, they don't demand we pretend we live in the stone age and they don't want to kill us.

This is a no brainer.
16:45 May 12, 2011 by TommySmith
TALK ABOUT INTEGRATION AND ANTI RACISM.

You will never get rid of racism in schools so long it is supported at the top.

In schools in Mölndal West Sweden a reorganisation of comprehensive schools completely left out All foreign speaking Teachers.

This is supported by Politicians the School Management and School Unions. Foreign speaking pupils will no longer get support in their own language.

As for integration and anti-racism all foreign speaking Support Teachers are outside of the main stream school.

TALK ABOUT INTEGRATION AND ANTI RACISM.

Parent of a English Home Language Pupil.

Tommy Smith
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