• Sweden edition
 

Immigrant students get 'Negro' Swedish lesson

Published: 20 May 2011 15:29 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 May 2011 15:29 GMT+02:00

A class of immigrant students in southern Sweden was given a Swedish grammar lesson using the Swedish word for Negro.

The homework assignment, given last week to a class of about a dozen students at the Vägga School in Karlskrona was meant to teach the student about Swedish nouns which change form from singular to plural.

The Swedish word for 'rule', regel, becomes regler when written it is plural form.

Among the words that appeared on the worksheet was neger, a Swedish term for a black person which translates roughly as Negro and is considered by many to be derogatory.

"It's absolutely not appropriate," principal Eva Kindell told the local Blekinge Läns Tidning (BLT) newspaper.

Kindell claimed she only learned of the lesson after it had been handed out after a copy of the worksheet was sent to her by a teaching assistant assigned to help immigrant students.

"It's a very unfortunate example and a work that people really don't use any more," she told the newspaper.

"It's stigmatizing and absolutely inappropriate."

The teacher suspected of handing out the assignment doesn't want to admit to any responsibility for the offensive worksheet.

Kindell said she plans to investigate the matter further, but couldn't say how long the material had been used or whether it has since been removed.

She guessed the neger worksheet was from an out of date grammar book, explaining that the school had access to updated material and that "a lack of awareness, thoughtlessness, or an oversight" is likely to blame for the assignment being handed out to the immigrant students.

Kindell couldn't say, however, whether the teacher in question would be formally disciplined.

"I can see that we need to have a serious conversation about this," she said.

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:59 May 20, 2011 by Syftfel
WE're talking about grammar for crying out loud. Not ethnicity or anything else. How these people, socialists and liberals, are able to drag their twisted concepts into every nook and cranny of Swedish society is appalling! Why the hell is it "stiiiiiiigmatizing"???? - I think Kindell should resign immediately or be releived of he duties. It is not her job to provide political indoctrination. She has overstepped the bounds of her authority. It is she who should be reprimanded.
17:06 May 20, 2011 by helveeta
So a word that in American English is derogatory is now applicable in Swedish?? Last I checked Sweden didn't have African slaves and the derogatory slang that went along with it. This whole thing is spiraling out of control and I don't know when it will end. I must go now and read my copy of "1984" again...
17:08 May 20, 2011 by Danne8
I have to thank The Local because it has been a great motivation to learn the Swedish language. The need to read other newspapers that publish REAL news in Sweden has been immense.

Stop trying to make a big deal out of stupid things that are not news.
17:14 May 20, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
...must admit to being bemused somewhat by the article.

Is it "a work we don't use any more" (regarding this word) or "a WORD we don't use any more"?

Why can't the various peoples, coming to any land, have the chance to actually say how they want to be described? Bit simplistic perhaps but embarrassing to give offence when absolutely none was intended
18:16 May 20, 2011 by Haubits77B
A cat is a cat and a dog is a dog.... . And a N is a........
18:20 May 20, 2011 by kenny8076
HELVEETA, yes this is the case. Not because of Swedes, but because of black people. Black people don't want to be called a Ni$€#R whether they are in Italy, China, or Sweden........ The word is also not slang, it is a real word with a real definition. Sweden also doesn't have a Mexican immigration and crime problem, should Swedes be allowed to call them taco benders or some other form of derogatory names? Your rational that if it didn't happen here then its fair game is a bit odd.
18:21 May 20, 2011 by andrewsrocks
I dont understand what is the problem... If they want to integrate into swedish society they have to learn the way white kids do, including the imbued racism, and the art of hiding it in public and international relations involving money. The fact that the local is mostly read by "negers", implies a subtle way of remarking the general feeling in southern sweden towards, not only immigrants, but foreigners in general. A narrow-minded, small village way of thinking.
18:34 May 20, 2011 by nocdib
Sweden's lack of ethno-diversity is likely the cause of oversight in this case. You can't really fault a nation that is largely homogeneous for being racially insensitive. Things like this will make them more aware of a latent problem.
18:42 May 20, 2011 by helveeta
@kenny8076 it's not the traditional "N" word we're talking about here. We're talking about a word that translates simply into "black." Black people are darker skinned and there's nothing wrong in saying that. Get my drift? The N word is a bastardization of this word that occurred during and after slavery. They're not the same and one does necessarily refer to the other.

The first time I traveled to Europe about 12 years ago, I was in Austria and a bartender referred to a group of black people as "negers" and my friends and I were mortified and scolded him for saying it. He told us, "maybe where you come from it's a bad word, but not where I come from, it simply what they are called." We were like, you're right, where we come from it has taken on a different meaning--a very bad meaning. Here's it's just an adjective.
20:18 May 20, 2011 by foordranata
It takes awhile with these sons of bitches, does it not?
21:53 May 20, 2011 by technoviking
They just need to even it out:

crack

cracker

crakerna
22:17 May 20, 2011 by crunchy2k
Jessie Jackson makes a visit to Sweden to seek out new companies to extort money out of and now you're all bigots. LMAO
22:24 May 20, 2011 by dizzymoe33
It sure is funny how the Blacks can use the N word but no one else. And really cracker is the best they can come up with for us Whities? There is nothing wrong with saying Negro it is the other word that everyone is upset about.
22:49 May 20, 2011 by foordranata
I been workign for a very long time.

Top get my business straight.

I´m your man.
22:57 May 20, 2011 by johnny1939
So what do we call people w/ dark skin for not to offend? African-Swedes? Just like they are called African-American in the US?
00:21 May 21, 2011 by jimthat
so why had the school director to give any explanation ?

or reprimend a teacher ?

she humilliated herself from beforehand

aniway there is a thing i dont understand

if somebody call someone with a middle east resemblance for example negger , black monkeys or anything that remember them their colour ,he would get deeply offended , right?

but by the contrary

what happen if somebody call a white men you whitie or snowie face or white fish for example .do you think he would get that offended ?

i think the white man wouldnt even take that in account

so as sheakspeare said .that is the question

may be these guys would really like to be white
01:19 May 21, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Sweden is crawling with white negers anyway.
01:23 May 21, 2011 by PaulTheOctopus
what is wrong with this? For example my country never had an african slaves, and we don't see them many in my country, but we call them negroes, but by saying it we don't mean that they were slaves or smthng like that.., we mean that they are black and that is all
01:29 May 21, 2011 by foordranata
Let me tell you somethig:

I call Mister Mr.

It is where I´m at.

I know goddamn well where I´m at.
08:10 May 21, 2011 by jimmyjames
First I must address "helveeta''s arrogance in presuming to correct the Austrian bartender. That is like being a guest in someones home and having the outrageous arrogance to presume to correct them in their own home. "helveeta" must be an american. I know of no other nationality that is so lacking in manners and so consumed with their own superiority than americans. It is too bad I wasn't the bartender, I would have immediatly expeled you from the bar and invited some of the other Austrians, along with myself, to give you some lessons in manners and humility "out back". Now as to the word "negro". "Negro" is not to be confused with "n---er". I know in the United States there are ; 1.) The United Negro College Fund 2.) Universal Negro Improvemant Association 3.) National Council of Negro Women 4.) National Association of Negro Businesses and many others. The renowned Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. always used the term "negro" in his speeches in reference to his people. The Swedes and apparently a good many Americans as well as obviously a few others need to get their facts and their priorities straight. Oh, and by the way the Human Genome reseachers are able to definitely identify four (4) distinct human races; 1.) Caucasoid 2.) Mongoloid 3.) Aborigines AND 4.) Negroid. Stop making something out of nothing.
08:47 May 21, 2011 by HYBRED
@helveeta

RE: Thread #2

Actually Sweden was very much part of the slave industry.
09:35 May 21, 2011 by zooeden
@johnny1939: Before you die as an ignorant old man you can learn that you can call them black people and its just fine. Rest in peace old klan member...
09:56 May 21, 2011 by infidel2012
Were these so called students by any chance 'Sand-Negros'? : )
10:15 May 21, 2011 by prince T
Swedish Word for black is svart or mörk. Neger is complete racist. Sweden should be Careful because they go out to study. You cannot be in UK or US and think it is ok to use derogratory words.
11:12 May 21, 2011 by skatty
@andrewsrocks

Actually, there are lot of problems. This incident about the word "Negro" is not the only one. As a matter of fact Swedish immigration policy has a systematic mechanism to marginalize immigrants and refugees in different ways. There are many different methods from the start like SFI, and learning Swedish language. As an example I remember most of pictures of the books for my SFI courses (for many years ago), were particularly designed to present the immigrants in lower degrees than Swedes in Sweden, for example in many pictures immigrants were presented as manual workers and Swedes as doctors, engineers, and teachers. In one cartoons drawing, it showed an immigrant as a thief running away form Swedish police and many other examples. So, it's not a matter, which just happens in a small village in southern Sweden.

If you are interested to know more about the methods, I suggest you to read "Constructing the boundaries of the nation Canada and Sweden compared" by Shauna Wilton University of Alberta 2004.

http://www.cpsa-acsp.ca/papers-2004/Wilton.pdf

It compares literature for Newcomers in Canada and Sweden, and the policy behind the design of the literatures from texts to the pictures.
11:20 May 21, 2011 by Marc the Texan
In America the word 'negro' is definitely not derogatory. It may not be popular, but it is still part of the formal name of organizations and in common and courteous use in many parts of the South. Just because you don't happen to hear a word often where you live or think it's old-fashioned, doesn't mean it is derogatory. Sweden and Britain have been all hung up on these words for years because of their perceptions of what is politically correct in America. Laugh, and it's all based on mistaken idea that Hollywood = America.
13:01 May 21, 2011 by Meckuk
@helveeta

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_slave_trade

Yeah absolutely no slave trade
15:39 May 21, 2011 by fancyavi
I have Africa blood in me as well as Portuguese and many others. But if your not white then you black and i am ok with that. the word Negro is not insulting the word "nigger" is, if the word translated this way then i would have an issue. the word Negro is in the English dictionary so why not in the Swedish. we should not be so thinned skinned.
16:18 May 21, 2011 by Triple Play
Karlskrona is one of the most racist area in Sweden. In even BTH international students are exposed or vulnerable to racism from teachers and local students
17:14 May 21, 2011 by Morenikeji
This is simply silly. Most black people don't object to the word Negro, it is its obnoxious and racist variation, the so-called N-word which they rightly object to. When local media ( I don't mean The Local) like Karlskrona's BLT starts to make issue out of this kind of thing one suspects that there is a hidden agenda to it. They may be trying to portray the black community in Sweden as over-sensitive. There is a genuine furore going on about the Lund's slave incident, Many people would welcome an enlightened editorial in BLT on that. Eva Kindell is wrong: there is nothing inappropriate in the word Negro!
18:53 May 21, 2011 by swedejane
Glad to see someone called out this revisionist fantasy that sweden had no slave trade...give me a break. Second only to the other great revisionist propaganda perpetrated that sweden was "neutral" (cough cough) during WWII.
19:02 May 21, 2011 by helveeta
@jimmyjames yes I am American, A. You can kiss my American ass. B. I was very young and it was my first time in Europe. I live here now and have travelled all over the world so to say I have grown since then would be correct. As I say in my story we realized he was right. He was a very nice man and didn't feel we needed to be physically harmed for merely being "arrogant," ignorant American kids as you would have done to us.

@Hybred and Meckuk, thanks for your info that Sweden traded Slaves in St. Barts in the 1800s. But if you knew anything about American slavery, it really does not compare. There have been slaves for centuries all over the world and there STILL ARE slaves all over the world. The N word comes from the slavery days in America, has nothing to do with Sweden, which was my point.
20:41 May 21, 2011 by jamesblish
Please underrstand that the word n.i.g.g.e.r. doesn't exist in the swedish language, it's an english word and if it's used, it's a borrowed word. Negro is not nearly as derogatory as n.i.g.g.e.r. I don't really see a huge problem here. I think white folks are more upset over it than blacks.
08:30 May 22, 2011 by rise
To Eva Kindell in the article. Below are some more words you can upset yourself with:

Svartskalle -> Svartskallar

Blatte -> Blattar

Larkritstomte -> Lakritstomtar

Tattare -> Tattare

Finnpajsare -> Finnpajsare

Notice how both Tattare and Finnpajsare are spelled the same in singular as well as plural.
10:17 May 22, 2011 by HYBRED
@helveeta

" But if you knew anything about American slavery, it really does not compare. There have been slaves for centuries all over the world and there STILL ARE slaves all over the world."

I agree with you that they're still is slavery in the world today. However to say that Sweden's participation in the slave trade in the past "does not compare" ? You can't be a little bit pregnant. Either you engaged in the slave market or you didn't.
13:02 May 22, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
NewsID: 33894

URL: http://www.thelocal.se/33894/#comments

Username:

Comment: You Swedes are really something out of this world. To discuss such an stupidity like the one you are discussing in this thread,s simply too far fetched. Swedes are so afraid of saying the word nigger, that once upon a time they forbid the use of "neggerball" to a delicious chocolate covered all with coco. Now you have to calle it "chocolate ball". In my country,Mexico, we have thousands of people with black skin. Their origin is the black slaves introduced by the Spaniards when and after they conquered Mexico. You can see them in the states of Veracruz and Guerrero, mainly. We do not call them negroes, niggers, blacks or whatever. We call them "acapulqueños", because you see them mainly around Acapulco; for us they are "veracruzanos", because they live in the State of Veracruz and around the city of Veracruz. We have chinese people. We do not call them "yellows". Everybody is equal in my beloved country. In Sweden is where I learned that they are "svartkalles" and other beauties such as that one. But what can you expect of a country where almost everything that you like is either prohibited, illegal, inmoral, makes you sick, or belongs to someone else? A country filled with thousands of thousands of Eva Kindell? A country that a negro stops being a negro just because he started competing for Sweden in long distance races? A country where a great majority of its inhabitants still believe they are true "aryans"? Descendents of the Germanic tribes that produced the likes of dolf Hitler? For not whowing their way of thinking, they try to hide the Sun with one finger. You should not call a negro a nigger, because that is derogatory; but deep inside their souls, that is what they would like to shout to a negro everytime they face one. Eller hur?
16:25 May 22, 2011 by skatty
I think some people with their comments in here completely mixed up the language of the streets and what is supposed to be learned in the classrooms.

People use different languages in the streets depends to their knowledge and backgrounds.

People might learn the words like, Nigger, White trash, Svartskalle … and the purpose of these words in different situations for some particular reasons. These words may also be used in literatures, but the purpose of the educational institutions shouldn't be to legitimize the use of these words. You can hear the word "Nigger" thousand times in the Hollywood films, or the word "Svartskalle" in the streets, in Sweden; but you never hear in any American classroom to present a black American as a Nigger, or a refugee in Sweden as a Svartskalle to the public; otherwise the conclusion would be that the educational institutions legitimate the use of these words!
16:32 May 22, 2011 by Jes
Some fools have will see this as a "grammar " lesson and nothing else . Try telling them that "faggot " is also an English word and you will see how the craw out their silly skins
12:33 May 23, 2011 by jamesblish
Faggot and negro are not even in the same ballpark of offensiveness, however.
13:13 May 23, 2011 by uunbeliever
Isn't a faggot a small bundle of sticks?

@jamesblish: why don't you go and call a homosexual a faggot and then call an African descent person (for lack of today's PC term) a negro and tell us which one punches you harder.
14:09 May 23, 2011 by Streja
We're all Africans.
14:27 May 23, 2011 by oracle2world
Black folks don't have an issue using n******* as a term of affection amongst themselves.
14:46 May 23, 2011 by Jes
@jamesblish , if faggot and negro are not equally offensive , let`s tyr to see how the public would re-act if a teacher stood infron of a group of Swedish children and tought them how to use the words f**a , h**a. kn**la is a sentense .

@oracle2world , you are missing the point . White Swedish girls don`t have an issue using the some words as terms of whatever amongs themselves either -------- but I am yet to hear of a school where such words are taught , Do you know any ?
16:29 May 24, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Well, well, well, wot da yous say. in swedun, dere iz naffink dat iz not rank, illegal, inmoral or makes yous sidk. if yous call someone "nigger", yous wind up in inside. da same goes fe bög, lesby, transy, tranny, nazi, poon, nincompoop or socialdemokrat. yous iz guilty as charged. so, be careful, yous rank batty niggaz around dere. be careful.
19:50 May 24, 2011 by bramblebush
Years ago, a country boy wanted to divorice his wife. The judge asked him, "Why, is she a nagger?" He responded, "No sir, she's a white woman".....
05:57 May 25, 2011 by Da Goat
so what is the plural to the original word in question?

did the children find that out so they know if they are being lampooned as a collective group?

would be sad if so and they did not know it!

if people get offended by words like these then they need to grow up and get over it ......if someone calls you small and you are not then it does not matter, but if you are small then you will get upset.

if you are white/brown/black and you get called that then you know its you!

if you are black and someone calls you white then they are being disrespectful or just being cheeky maybe and vice-versa!

it does not matter if you are black white or brindle, it is the are you a nice person that is important!
11:18 May 25, 2011 by Jes
@ Da goat , I have changed my mind and I now agree with you - again !

A white Swedish girl should not mind if she is called " fita" or "höra" as long as she knows 2 things :

1 - these are just swedish words

2- she knows she is a nice person .

Right ?
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