Swedish town debates ban on ‘racist’ clothing

A youth recreation centre in Bromölla in southern Sweden has decided to ban anyone wearing clothing that could be considered racist from entering the facility.

“You can’t have any sort of symbol, no boots, suspenders, or bomber jackets,” said recreation activity leaders Jenny Ahlgren-Bleckert to Sveriges Radio (SR).

She added however, that people who fail to abide by the rules would be allowed to enter the facility, provided they went home and changed clothes first.

Earlier in the week, a parent complained about the differing policies in place at the nearby Humleskolan secondary school and the recreation centre.

“At least one student is going around in clothing which clearly shows his racist opinions and, despite the fact that other students have taken the matter up on several occasions, it appears no one from the school’s leadership cares,” wrote one parent in a letter to the Kristianstadsbladet newspaper.

School principal Sven Håkansson tells the newspaper that the school has a policy against expressions of racism.

Symbols, logos, and slogans on hats and t-shirts with racist messages are not tolerated.

Clothing and hairstyles, however, constitute something of a grey area.

“At Humleskolan, we can’t stop anyone from having a shaved head or boots,” Håkansson told SR.

But Åke Eliasson, a Social Democratic politician in the local children and youth committee, thinks it’s odd that there are different rules at the school and the youth centre, and wants the matter to be reviewed further.

He added that combating racism is important for the community and that it’s not just about clothing, but about changing the attitudes of students with anti-democratic opinions.