• Sweden's news in English

Outrage over Swedish 'negro' neighbourhood

Paul O'Mahony · 5 Jun 2009, 15:43

Published: 05 Jun 2009 15:43 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"I'm extremely upset. The N-word is racist and this just confirms the nature of Sweden today," said Kitimbwa Sabuni of the National Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund).

The neighbourhood's name came under scrutiny when the National Land Survey of Sweden (Lantmäteriet) was asked by the Karlstad town council to reevaluate the designation. A private citizen had complained that "many people regard the name as objectionable, insulting, or just plain rude".

But the agency's 'Place Name Division' countered that the name was part of Sweden's cultural heritage and should instead be seen as "exotic and evocative".

"Accepted place name practices dictate that place names should not be changed without strong reasons, and the Place Name Division cannot see that there are such reasons in the case of the neighbourhood name Negern," Lantmäteriet writes.

Only in recent times has the word developed offensive connotations, says Lantmäteriet, which fears that changing the name Negern would open the floodgates for anybody to lobby for changes to names that they consider unsuitable.

The name Negern was chosen in 1866 as part of a project to rebrand central parts of the town. According to Lantmäteriet, the word was common in 19th century Swedish literature and can thus in that context can be viewed as "harmless".

But Kitimbwa Sabuni was quick to reject this logic.

Story continues below…

"How can the date be relevant? This is 2009, not 1866. And besides, Swedes' attitude towards Africans was overwhelmingly racist at that time," he said.

"This is extremely serious and has to go right to the top. I will be lodging an official complaint," Sabuni added.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:23 June 5, 2009 by JonnyDee
"I'm extremely upset. The N-word is racist and this just confirms the nature of Sweden today," said Kitimbwa Sabuni of the National Afro-Swedish Association (Svenskafrikanernas riksförbund).

So now the word "Negro" is racist too? I knew that "Nigger" was...what's next? Why stop there? Maybe the Green Party is offended that the name Stockholm" refers to the stocks of wood that were floated down the river, those poor, defensless trees, I'm so offended. Let's change that name too.

You know what offends me Kitimbwa Sabuni? I'm offended when someone like you who obviously was let into Sweden, most likely given a job, money, healthcare, and education, now wants to turn around and say Sweden is racist, just by your "Association" I see that you WANT to create a seperation, therefore it is YOU, and the National Afro-Swedish Association, NOT the city of Karlstad or Sweden that is racist!

Your name offends me, you're in Sweden now, change it.
16:34 June 5, 2009 by Che-che
Sabuni is right, "This is 2009, not 1866", it's a ridiculous act of nationalism to try to preserve this offensive name. How can the Place Name Division think that the name is "exotic and evocative" neither of which to me sound like good selling points. It isn't a compliment to name something exotic, it's exclusionary and the only thing "exotic" about it is that it's exploitative and the only thing "evocative" about it is that it's hurtful.
16:41 June 5, 2009 by kaze
Is that word racist in Swedish though?

In English its only became racist through assosiation with the CSA and the slave trade and all that. Sweden never had that.
16:43 June 5, 2009 by JonnyDee
You're right, Sweden is so racist, they just take in, feed, educate, rehabilitate, and die in your stupid, never-ending civil wars you so we can "offend' you by naming a neighbourhood "Negern" over 143 years ago....give me a break!....ahem, Che che and Sabuni....I'm going to just take a guess here, neither are Swedish are you?

Just admit it, people like you will take the more you are given and will never be satisfied.
16:46 June 5, 2009 by Miss Kitten
The word nigger is derived from the word negro. In certain contexts, the word negro is not necessarily a racial slur, but it has a lot of negative associations and connotations. It is certainly offensive when it's used to delineate one race from another.
16:50 June 5, 2009 by Norum
Live with it.. Nobody is holding Sabuni a prisoner here, the door is open for him to go back to where ever he came from.

Making a racist problem out of nowhere. I understand that "nigger" is an insult, but a "negro"?

But this is a big problem with black minorities in any white countries.....they see racism even if there is none. I think the name itself should stay.

Suck it up or get out.
16:57 June 5, 2009 by JonnyDee
Hey, I have Spanish wine in my house called "Vina San Pedro Gato Negro Merlot", does that make Spain a racist country? In Argentine there is a river called "Rio Negro"...is anyone demanding that they change the name of the entire river in case someone is offended? Hey there's a hotel in Brazil called Negro Brazil, let's all boycott Brazil!

Oh wait, never mind, those aren't countries with white people!
16:58 June 5, 2009 by Serendipitiz
Oh well... admittedly, Sabuni is making a big deal out of possibly nothing. But the reactions? They're a little xenophobic, don't you think? "Go back"? "people like you will take the more you are given and will never be satisfied."..."people like you"? Too bad our recycling system's not good enough to take white trash like you away.... though, given how you think and speak, we shouldn't have any problem finding a trailer park for you to live in.
17:05 June 5, 2009 by Cheryl Johnson
If you let the new immigrants take charge and redefine culture, history, and everything else then you will end up with all the problems of the USA. When one group gains political power they will want it their way, not your way. They will become the new Sweden and out with the old Sweden. Adjust to the new culture, language, and color of faces and everything else they demand or your a raciest. Be careful what you wish for. Their will be a point of not being able to go back. The landscape will be forever changed. You will find yourself a minority in your own country then you will find yourself with no country because it belongs to another racial group.
17:09 June 5, 2009 by Miss Kitten
Huh? There plenty of white people in Spain.
17:17 June 5, 2009 by Yendor79
They are wrong, a word becomes racist because one make it believe it is so! I won't be verging on the absurd if I had imagine if the word STOCKHOLM has to be attacked someday because of its some similarly to some word with a "racist notion". And negro is not at all degratory, it is not considered so in the southern europe...Italians have songs with the word negro in them so should they be deemed racists too!? Cause as far as I know they are symphatetic songs to people of diverse races, but no! Such issues are raised up only to increase the political power of Africans in European countries...simple..equality is NOT enough!
17:23 June 5, 2009 by Paulo +fab muscular than Jonnhy
There is plenty of rivers with such name in South America.
17:26 June 5, 2009 by amgt
Oh, pleeeeease. Gimme' a break! If you don't like things the way they are in Sweden, get a one-way ticket back to where you came from! That's what I would do....

And, FYI the word negro is a Spanish word for black. The Spanish must be racist too... oh dear!
17:27 June 5, 2009 by A.I.
No offence but 50 cent who is a black guy have the lyrics in one of his songs like

" . . .said my nigga dont dance they just pull up the pents now lean back lean back ..... half the niggas in the club have a scar on their faces . . . "

isnt he proud of it, I am not black but i feel quite prevliged to be called that when i am with them.
17:30 June 5, 2009 by JonnyDee
17:09 June 5, 2009 by Miss Kitten

Huh? There plenty of white people in Spain.

You're right, I was oversimplifying, I mean to say that it is not considered a "White" country and as such only "White Countries" are labeled as "Rasicst", when Afrikans went around killing white landowners and taking their property, this was not called rascism, in America blacks call each other "Niggers" but scream racism when a white person even dares utter a line from a popular black movie (ie: ...nappy headed hoes...), in Haiti when locals went around killing "the White Devils", no one cried racism, but when a small country like Sweden who'se been so active in human rights a leader in gender rights and equality, a country that takes in thousands of immigrants that noone else will take gets called "Racist" for a town's name that has existed for 143 years! I can't believe anyone would take this guy seriously. Its absurd to even give this Kitimbwa his 5 minutes of fame.
17:30 June 5, 2009 by A.I.
And, FYI the word negro is a Spanish word for black. The Spanish must be racist too... oh dear

"La camisa negra" is that a racist song too ?? oh my !! I didnt know that :-(
17:40 June 5, 2009 by JonnyDee
"17:30 June 5, 2009 by A.I.

And, FYI the word negro is a Spanish word for black. The Spanish must be racist too... oh dear"

Don't you know? That doesn't matter, it's how it makes someone "feel" that matters, in the "New Sweden" as long as an immigrant is "offended" he has the right to burn down his town, throw stones at fire trucks, and he's not wrong it's teh Swedes that are wrong, they must pay to rebuild everything and apologize to him for offending him.

I mean really didn't the Swedes who existed 143 years ago know that this neighborhood's name would offend Kitimbwa Sabuni of the National Afro-Swedish Association in 2009? Stupid Svenssons!
17:42 June 5, 2009 by Mzungu
Who gives a toss,it's not worth wasting energy on.

*even Idi Amin changed/reverted Lake Victoria to Lake Amin*
17:50 June 5, 2009 by skatty
Unfortunately, Sweden is a country with a social structure base on race and color, there is no question about it; however, the most painful part of the reality is that there isn't a cure for it! The suggestion of the majority Swedes to the minority miserable outsider is "get use to it", otherwise you would be called a person without "social competence".
17:51 June 5, 2009 by Kooritze
Get real!!!! Negro is defined as a person of black/brown skin who is from, or has ancestors from the continenet of Africa.

Nigger on the other hand is a nasty word when used by racist types. However, both words can be used on friendly terms: Hey Negro, how,s it going brother? etc etc

Get real, and dont look for problems where they dont exist!!!
17:57 June 5, 2009 by Muttlestar Galactica
Gee, some folk really are over sensitive. I mean, it would be a bit like me getting annoyed at Faggot Lane, Queer Street or Shitstabber Avenue.

It could even be a bit like "your mom" getting pissed off with this genuine road name.
18:04 June 5, 2009 by Paulo +fab muscular than Jonnhy
LOL! Apparently, there is no direct intersection. Nor, any Men at work warning sign.
18:24 June 5, 2009 by Dazzler
First they take our Nogger Black icecreams, now our town names! Vile non whiteys!
18:26 June 5, 2009 by Mrs.Swede07
This is the way of the world, an ugly vicious cycle, will it ever change?

Ignorance is abundant here, that's why nothing will ever get better for anyone. Damn, there's alot of hate flying off your keyboards. Heaven forbid anyone express an opinion contrary to all of your rants.

Wrong or right, everyone is entitled to their opinions, just know your intelligence and/or ignorance are revealed in how you express them.
18:28 June 5, 2009 by Serendipitiz
Yes, Cheryl... bet the Native Americans are real pissed right now. Holding on to the past is just a fear of moving towards a more uncertain future. That little comfort blanket needs to be thrown to the kittens at Skansen. Sooner or later, you'll realise that a country cant live alone. Sure, shut the doors. But who's going to pay the taxes that'll ensure that the government has money to pay your retirement and unemployment benefits? Swedes are procreating that fast, are they? And who do you think cleans your streets and drives your taxis and buses?
18:32 June 5, 2009 by Tennin
Is this guy going to pay for changing the signs??? Why does a country have to change an old name because it offends someone today, when the name was choosen a long time ago?

Okay so there are many names on signs I find weird here. I guess I better make a compliant to get these offensive names changed.

Here are some names off the top of my head:


Getå (ghetto)



18:53 June 5, 2009 by Dazzler
ooo dont forget Fjuckby!
18:54 June 5, 2009 by Pigeons Can't Fly Without Wi
And all those Anglian dykes!
18:54 June 5, 2009 by Miss Kitten
What about farthinder, infart, slut, and smut? And I know of at least one TLer that finds the Swedish word sambo offensive.
19:00 June 5, 2009 by Blazek
Both sides of this argument are ridiculous.
19:12 June 5, 2009 by bolababu
I am black but I think Sabuni is making a mountain out of a molehill. He probably is trying to gain status and be named the next integration minister after his sister.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the word "Negro", it is like describing someone as "caucasian", in my opinion. Besides, this area was named more than a hundred years ago, there were no negroes in Sweden at the time.

However, ..the racist and xenophobic commentators on this site are cowards, you only express yourself when you hide behind your computers, on the street, you are quick to smile at foreigners.
19:19 June 5, 2009 by Paulo +fab muscular than Jonnhy
You know what any neighbourhood called Little Italy with such signs poping out everywhere should be immediately desintegrated(not the people in it, I mean, only the warnings for the moment) - It's a name that diminishes the grandeur so hardly constructed during the Roman Empire. "Papi" would be OK though.
19:23 June 5, 2009 by High Priestess Kang - Slut

On one side of the equation we have someone who is deeply offended by the usage of the word, "negro" or any of its derivatives. On the other side, we have people saying, "Get over it."

Granted, there are cities all over the world with sections colloquially referred to as:


China Town

Little Italy

Jew Town

...but - none of them actually use what could be construed as a racial epithet.

I'm not sure where/when someone lets a, "tradition" die out due to cultural changes over time but I do think that any derivative of, "negro" is offensive. Then again - that's probably my American perspective doing the talking.

What strikes me as truly sad is the amount of people who are telling Sabuni to pack up and leave. Because - that's really a rational way to handle something, right?
19:24 June 5, 2009 by NYC76

Please stop comparing Sweden to the US on matters of race.

Most African Americans did not migrate to the U.S., they were abducted from Africa. They are not in the U.S. via some peace keeping mission, or refugee campaign.

They were not given "hand-outs" they were forced to work on plantations.

A great deal of the culture that you so eloquently describe as American (Technology, food, infrastructure, entertainment,) are direct impacts of how much Americans of African decent have contributed to American society.

If your only knowledge of blacks in America comes from rap videos, reality television, and African immigrants in Sweden, then your not educated or cultured enough to speak to this groups motives, struggles, and successes, or compare them to others.

You feel that the name is part of Swedish heritage, fine.

But don't try to drag every group of Africans around the world into the immigration politics of Sweden.

That would be Racist!
19:26 June 5, 2009 by Muttlestar Galactica
Ahh yes, the atavistically egoed Berlusconi and his world class late-life crisis.

Quite a beautiful thing to behold.
19:27 June 5, 2009 by Paulo +fab muscular than Jonnhy
No, of course it's not rational.

I think it is important to understand the circumstances and the reasons why it was named Negro in the first place hundred years ago. It could be a derogatory purpose behind that, in this case obviously quite offensive.
19:32 June 5, 2009 by swedenlover
This is ludicrous!

I am black and if I were to come across such a place name in Sweden I would find it charming and mysterious. I certainly would not think of it as being racist in any way that I've experienced racism because Sweden is one of the least racist places I've ever been to.

And certainly Swedes were not being racist 143 years ago when they never even could have met anyone of color.

Why not take is as an honor and thank the Swedes for having enough interest in blacks to name a place after them.

Sabuni needs to get a life.
19:34 June 5, 2009 by Paulo +fab muscular than Jonnhy
and he is entitled and was crowned to represent the traditional family.
19:38 June 5, 2009 by bolababu
I actually find it offending that some people find the word "Negro" offensive. I have heard people say it is politically in-correct to refer to a person as black too. If I cannot be referred to as Negro or black, what then describes me?

Why should it bother me so much what someone thinks about me? Since when is my confidence in myself not enough? Why should someone else dictate my feelings?

I think Africans have actually helped promote racism by displaying such inferiority complex. I am black and I am proud and if anyone wants to judge me based on other people's actions, I am absolutely capable of doing the same to them.
19:38 June 5, 2009 by Blazek
Where exactly is "Jew Town"?
19:41 June 5, 2009 by High Priestess Kang - Slut

Given Paulo's comments (re: the rationale behind the name) you would still find it, "charming and mysterious?" 'Cause - ya know - if I stumbled across some town with an anti-Semitic name, I don't think I would find it the least bit amusing. Especially in instances where a particular country relegated my ilk to a designated spot (otherwise known as a ghetto).

Nope. Actually...the more I think about the less, "charming" it is - regardless of calendar year.
19:43 June 5, 2009 by Tutu
The word used for Nigger in Swedish is nigern. we also have nigger ice cream only in sweden. the challenge i can see here is that most people on this forum are very ignorant and highly unknowledgeable. it is easier for you to pick on black people but sweden would soon become islamic caliphate. If i make a comment about homosexuality i would be called homophobic but it is okay to say nigern and tell sabuni to have a life
19:45 June 5, 2009 by High Priestess Kang - Slut
Ok - this is going to derail quickly and that's not my intent. There are Jewish quarters in many cities, Paris, Stockholm, New York, etc... Just like there are Italian quarters, German Quarters, Hungarian Quarters, etc...

Now - back to our scheduled programming.
19:46 June 5, 2009 by Tutu
i am not suprised that bolababu is angry. His brain works in the opposite direction
19:51 June 5, 2009 by bolababu
No Tutu, yours does work in the opposite direction or you failed woefully in school.

You just said "Nigern", the town is named "Negern" which I believe transcribes to "Nigger" and "Negro". There is a big difference between the two but not in your ignorant inferiority-ridden world.
19:52 June 5, 2009 by Tutu
telling sabumi to pack up and go is like telling obama to pack up and go. some people are born in sweden though their names are not Göran or svensson. just looking at the name we already condemned her as a foreigner and ask her to go home. This racist, racist and racist. like i said earlier many people are ignorant. Please dont tell me to pack and go home because i am already at home in my country.
19:55 June 5, 2009 by Muttlestar Galactica
Agreed. I also think Africans, like any group which finds itself in a minority position will seek to make political capital out of things like this as and when it suits them.

It's human nature.
19:57 June 5, 2009 by Tutu
bolababu or whatever has never contributed anything positive on this forum. I was to assume he has never left the country before. I will henceforth not dignify bolababu response with an answer. they say never argue with a fool for people might not notice the difference.
20:01 June 5, 2009 by tigger007

these are issues sweden isn't used too and have had a hard time with it. i think sweden should get some outside help on their intergration problems. sweden wants to be like moderns states with a multicultural sociality. some of the names in sweden has been there for yrs and people here are so used to them, in their mind they are thinking why change them. negro isn't really a bad word,but do we really have to remind them that they are black? should they have used african-town(like china-town)or used a more proper name? if u want people to feel apart of the sociality u must NOT lable them nor the place they live in.
20:10 June 5, 2009 by bolababu
Oh please Tutu! ..you are ranting like a child, we don't share the same opinion so I become your enemy? isn't that the peak of ignorance?

For your information, I am blacker than you are and the countries that I have been in, you can only imagine.

Grow up man.
20:20 June 5, 2009 by 7
i think the difference is clear.

bolababu is one of the only posters on this thread saying anything of substance and merit.
20:31 June 5, 2009 by skatty
The word "Neger" sound different to an African-American than a black refuge in Sweden! There's a ridicules name for "black hair immigrants" in Sweden to humiliate them, but not in Italy (the most have back hair), isn't there?

If you people open your eyes, you can see in the begging of the article there are many references to the other articles in relation with discrimination in Sweden, which are the obvious facts. The word "Neger" is a very small drop in the ocean of social system construction base on discrimination in Sweden.

These lines are for them, who can't see and just watch.
21:05 June 5, 2009 by Mzungu
It's all quite odd!

On this same page we have a person seeking information concerning a visa for a 'Sambo',don't hear any remarks about this,do you?

*mountains can after all be made from mole hills!*
21:06 June 5, 2009 by bekililly
now come a good debate becos of the word (~negem or negro~) well those time has gone welther is racist word or not time will always come the tail will become the head but all i know its have a negative meaning as for you SABUNI i do your work the Swedish govt ask you to do. not to come there and be discussing unwanted debate about racist word.if its painful for you go to your original country and make it become like Sweden. nobody will call you negem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
21:07 June 5, 2009 by Dazzler
Actually there is a neighborhood in St. Paul Minnesota that is referred to as Hebrew Hill. I dated a lovely jewess that lived there.
21:10 June 5, 2009 by Mzungu
Randy sod!
21:55 June 5, 2009 by Greg in Canada
It's hard to keep up with what the latest politically correct term is supposed to be. In North America the term "negro" fell out of favour and was replaced with "black", which fell out of favour and was replaced with "Afro-American".

Maybe the town of Karlstad needs to get with it and become more policially correct and change "Negern" to "Afro-Swede". :-)

Some people really need to get a life is this is all they can find to complain about.
22:06 June 5, 2009 by Soft Boiled
Lets all get real PC! Politically Correct is in... lets not offend anyone.

As far as i know the word Negro comes from the word meaning black.... Nigger is offensive but it never used to be - Black is offensive.. it never used to be.. Brown? Is that offensive...? Is white offensive? iM NOT "white".. but im very very close. Shall we go around calling people by the exact colour of their skin? No of course NOT (for those who have to think about that). If generally people consider a colour to be "superior" or "inferior" then of course the colour of ones skin becomes a bone of contention... but as any reasonabley intelligent adult knows.. the colour of ones skin says nothing about the person other than where they might come from... PEOPLE are PEOPLE.. let them be that - stop trying to defend something that mght or might not be rascist . For every racist indignation.. consider what you personally do- i doubt anyone is blame free.. black is black
22:49 June 5, 2009 by Mbach
Lantmäteriet is correct, if only insofar as connotations evoked by a specific word change fairly frequently. A few years ago it was offensive to refer to someone as being 'black'; 'negro' was considered respectful. Now it's a faux-pas to use the word Negro (though not racist), and black or afro-this-or that (depending on geographic location) is in. It seems rather ridiculous to change a place-name based solely on whatever is currently politically correct, only to have to possibly change it again a few years later when the new name suddenly becomes politically incorrect too. Or perhaps when the current name stops being considered taboo, people, wondering what all the fuss was about, will decide to change it back again out of a sense of nostalgia or history. One person (or group) reading something into a place name that never was intended is no reason to change it.
23:30 June 5, 2009 by biggermike
The big problem here is that ppl don't realize that "negro" (neger) in Swedish is NOT used in the same way that "negro" might be used elsewhere. While you might not often hear "you ** negro" or "you ** black person" or "you ** africanamerican" used in the context of a racial slur, the word "Neger" IS used with negative connotations in Sweden,

NEGRO IN ENGLISH DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME CONNOTATIONS AS NEGER IN SWEDISH. It's like translating "sommarstuga" into "summer cabin". The latter does not bring up the same cognitive associations as the former (i.e red house, white corners), which is why most people here are missing the point.

Besides - language changes. Unless the "Anti PC" crowd is still in the "thee" and "thou" phase. The Swedish word for the female sex organ was derived from the word for "moist fields". But I doubt that people these days will argue for keeping the name just because "once upon a time, it meant fields. It's haaarmless".

23:43 June 5, 2009 by wxman
Sweden is responsible for their own problems. Celebrate diversity! And suffer the consequences.
23:45 June 5, 2009 by Nayya
Lol.. there will always be noobs offended by little things like that.. Give me a break.. are they gonna rename those "China town" "Little Italy" and "Gay Village" town squares everywhere?

Sabuni.. I find that name quite offensive.. make him change his name imo..

Moist feilds.. that's a good one ;)
23:47 June 5, 2009 by taytelbaum
Interesting comments.

How is this sound to you: Negro Symphony in D- Minor

Or Negro Lane

Maybe it is much better if we keep it to educated terms like Moorish or Nubian.

But when determined to insult or kick ass, than negro or blacky will do.
00:05 June 6, 2009 by jastrid
As I understand it, the neighborhood was so named after the town of Karlstad all but burned down. Negern in Swedish (and German) does sound like the objectionable American slang word for negro and it does serve as a racial designation, sometimes for people from "outside." In Spain and elsewhere in Europe, one can still find place names given to segregated areas of a city where the group for which it was intended no longer resides either because of expulsion (Judaria - Madrid) or mass-killing (Judaria - Toledo). It is possible that behind the place name "Negern" is an intent to proscribe an area as outside the rest of the town or demark a section for those from "outside. " It's not an impossibility. But this is a new century and we easily change airport names, place names, and street names all the time.
01:50 June 6, 2009 by Jasoncarter
Best post on this thread, and smacking the nail quite squarely on the head.
03:27 June 6, 2009 by Marc the Texan
Negern is NOT a racist word, just as Negro is NOT a racist word. The word Negro is still in common use in English and is not racist at all. Ever heard of the United Negro College Fund? It's an important institution in America.

The only word considered to be offensive and thus labeled the N-word is the word 'nigger', due to it's long history and use as a pejorative term. I know black folks who proudly refer to themselves as negroes here in America, so what is this guy on about?

I think the guy making the complaint is fresh out of Africa and does not have an appreciation for which words referring to people of African origin are offensive and which are not. He needs to learn a little history.
04:04 June 6, 2009 by jimmyjames
This is an excellent example why the Swedes should start taking a very hard, very long, and very serious look at their governments refugee/immigration policies. The more of these outsiders you allow into your country and the more they breed ( having far more children per female ) the more arrogant the non-ethnic Swedes will become and ultimately the more political power they will accumulate. Do you native Swedes truely want a country that in 50 years is populated with a bunch of Afro/Indian/Arab individuals ? With hundreds of mosques in your cities and towns ? Where Islamic religious law carries as much weight as Swedish common law ? Where the Sweden of 2,000 years fades into the mists of time ?
04:15 June 6, 2009 by High Priestess Kang - Slut
OMFG! The hysteria!
04:50 June 6, 2009 by Muttlestar Galactica
Enoch Powell: Gay AND right.
07:33 June 6, 2009 by Sofia_stockholm
Maybe there should be a task force set up to track down all strange and offensive names of blocks and have them changed...

How about;

Kvarteret Muffen (Pussy) in Stockholm

Kvarteret Hundturken (Turkish Dog) in Stockholm

Kvarteret Positivhataren (Barrel organ hater) in Stockholm
08:26 June 6, 2009 by skatty
To realize the needs for change in Sweden needs open minded people, and Swedes are just open minded during the Nobel-prize ceremony!
08:49 June 6, 2009 by Mucker
I don't normally get involved in this rubbish, as there seems to be a lot of posters who just want to rag on immigrants.

Firstly, who gives a damn if they change the name of the neighbourhood? Do any Swedes really care?

Secondly, there are a lot of black Swedish people. If this offends them, then change the street name. Just because you don't think it's offensive, doesn't mean that it isn't. I find it offensive when English people call me "paddy", but I'll bet you most of them don't think or mean it to be offensive.

Thirdly, the Swedish immigration policy is theirs to decide. If you don't like it, you have a few options.

1) Get Swedish citizenship and vote for change.

2) Leave

3) Shut the hell up

(I suppose you could also moan about it on a forum for ex-pats, but I don't really see what that will achieve)
09:05 June 6, 2009 by Muttlestar Galactica
It's not just forum for ex-pats. Many of the posts you now see in here are automatically fed in from the comment sections that are now situated under most of the actual stories.

Therefore anyone whom comes to the site, for whatever reason, from whatever source or link and whom wishes to make comment on the story or follow up and discuss the matter, is able to do so.
09:34 June 6, 2009 by Grippen
If african rights activists are so upset - why don't they go to Africa? There they could easily get away from Swedish "racism" and enjoy african lifestyle and democracy.
11:02 June 6, 2009 by biggermike
"...fresh out of Africa "

"...The more of these outsiders you allow into your country and the more they breed"

"....why don't they go to Africa"

"....You will find yourself a minority in your own country then you will find yourself with no country because it belongs to another racial group"

Oh how I love the smell of putrid xenophobia in the morning.
11:53 June 6, 2009 by PeterGray
I am appalled by the comments left on this article.

They are worse than the comments on the article about charging higher rents to Refugees.

Of course the name should be changed. Lots of things that weren't offensive in the past are now, and as such should be changed. For example, the modern chokladboll instead of the traditional but offensive negerboll.

I find it strange that people are saying Negro is not a racist term. I most definitely feel that it is.

Who cares if it was acceptable at the time it was names, the article is not critical of swedes over a hundred years ago. The fact is that it's not acceptable now and to not change it would be racist.
14:23 June 6, 2009 by vladd777
Having studied ancient Latin at school I remember that..

..the word for 'black' in Latin is 'niger'.

14:58 June 6, 2009 by soultraveler3
Countries shouldn't have to change names of things, customs or cultures for immigrants, it's sad when they do.

Having different cultures and ideas is what makes the world special and differences in other countries is one of the joys of travel.

Sweden is absoulouty wonderful with taking in refugees and giving them a better life. It's one of the leading countries reguarding many things from human rights to enviroment to equality.

I for one, consider myself lucky to live here.

The one thing I would caution Sweden against is don't lose your identity while trying to help others.

Keep your names, sing your national song at graduations, keep your customs, keep your way of life.

Don't be ashamed to be Swedish. Be proud of all the good you do in this world.

When you, when ANYONE moves to another country, anywhere in the world, no matter the reasons behind it. It becomes your RESPONSIBILITY to adopt the culture and assimilate in your new home country.
15:38 June 6, 2009 by biggermike
Cultures adapt and change for Chrissakes. What's with the "Sweden should stay Swedish", or any country remaining anything for that matter. Nation is a myth, national borders are a myth, and to be honest, it sounds like some people here couldn't be more pleased if Swedes were still running around in Viking gear pillaging and raping. Because that was also "culture" once upon a time, wasn't it?
15:44 June 6, 2009 by High Priestess Kang - Slut
I like biggermike.
16:25 June 6, 2009 by J.Ravier
According to me, such a name refers to history, and it is not because someone will decide to replace the name "Negern" that it will change history. It is ridiculous to think about changing the name of places seen as "offending" and advocating it with the "racist history" of Sweden. History is what it is, and there is nothing offending in the name of this place. I understand the point of some immigrants but when someone is welcomed by a country, it is the rule to follow its law, and the will to make it better does not allow such an ingerance in its home policy, whatever your skin colour, your religion, your culture...etc.
20:46 June 6, 2009 by Fvol
I think the only people who have the right to change the city name are people from the Negro, noone else has the right to do so. if the majority of the people living there feel uncomfortable with the name, then fine, change it.
21:28 June 6, 2009 by 7
would someone please lift the needle on this broken record, thanks.

yes, thank you for asking. have a nice life.
22:28 June 6, 2009 by 7
names or words should be evaluated and weighed in modern times, i totally agree. however, i don't agree necessarily with this town's name.if it were named "negern" as a pejorative term back when it was named, then i'd agree. there are a lot of modern day terms which aren't offensive anymore today, but came about out of offensive origins. here we have something that happens to coincide with a modern "american" concept of what a word might sound like.

and that americas today shy away from older usages of terms like negro because of the negative associations i can sympathize, but not because the words themselves are charged but because of the insecurity of what "might" be perceived by that name.

i use the term "black" and have never found anyone ever up in arms when using it.
23:25 June 6, 2009 by Octover
Trollish comments. Personally I think it needs to be judged in the context of Sweden and Swedish. Is it racist and derogatory to a Swede? Otherwise we may as well start getting to work on changing sambo. While we live in a global community local customs should be respected as well.
23:43 June 6, 2009 by biggermike

If it's derrogatory to a Swede?

Please, define "Swede". Is it being a citizen, length of citizenship, how far back your "roots" go, a certain sunny disposition, a plant...?
23:57 June 6, 2009 by Mib
Should Mecca (bingo halls) change their name because it offends Muslims? Should homosexuals be converted/killed/locked up because it offends many religions including catholics? Should short people be just called people in case it offends them when I try to point out someone in a crowd? Should the word blond be removed as it can be used as a derogatory term for being stupid? The list goes on....
00:06 June 7, 2009 by Muttlestar Galactica
(attached image not shown)
07:59 June 7, 2009 by skatty
Actually, it's a good question: who is a Swede? To feel that one belongs to a nation is a mental matter charged by family history, and stamped by authorities. Now, you can have the family and the stamp but not the mentality to accept the nation. Depends on your status and how well your words are functioning in the social system, your senses of belonging to the nation change, it goes up or down.
12:25 June 7, 2009 by martell
The host, not the guest makes the rules in his own house. Do not bite the hand which feeds you, Mr. Sabuni, or leave for the paradise you came from.
12:35 June 7, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
They will be after "black" next.

Words are only offensive if they are used in the context to offend.

The African American rappers use the word "nigger" and "negro" in friendly context to describe each other, so it can clearly be used in non offensive context.
19:44 June 7, 2009 by bolababu
Judging from the other comments I have read here, i am sure by the time immigrants are done with neighborhoods like Rosengard, it will become derogatory to name any areas Rosengard.

We should be more concerned with improving ourselves, I would rather be referred to as a Negro or Black person with respect because I earned it. The name should not define the man, the man should define the name.
11:08 June 8, 2009 by A British Swede
The local reported recently on road names that people wanted changed yet they never received of 70 racist comments. If you lived on a road called 'fula människorgatan' (Ugly People Road) would you want it changed?

Ful perhaps didn't' mean the same thing as it means today but I'm sure if you lived on the road you would want another name. Probably, your response would be 'I'd move' but that only helps yourself, which seems all most people on this forum care about.

Many of you should be ashamed of the comments above. Allegedly, many of you are 'proud' Swedes. The 'paradise' one described Sweden as seems to contain racists, poorly educated people and an extreme lack of sympathy or understanding for other races. Is that paradise as it also clearly shows bad parenting. Paradise! LOL!
13:08 June 8, 2009 by kuntta
Most tolerant country (people) in the world happens to be one where it is a crime to point out that an act is offensive to you.

What I don't understand is why do they like to pretend that they are so tolerant? why do they deny their racist past, especially Swedish connection to the slave trade in Africa?

The first taxonomist to classify humans on a hierarchical scale that placed Africans at the bottom is Carl Linnaeus (1707-78), a swede and was very influential in European racism.

How can you guys compare the above name with names like little china, Italy etc? Gross ignorance or simply Swedish racism at it's worst.

In the most tolerant society like Sweden, if your roots is from Africa and you don't like what is going around you better go back to Africa or shut up...haha. What Southern n Eastern Europeans fail to understand is that they too have never been (and are not) considered 'white' and the hatred against non "swedes" is also directed at them.
14:02 June 8, 2009 by Aneud
Very aptly put! I feel the same way about Feminism as a matter of fact.

And despite not normally describing myself as an objectivist, IMO, just as Feminism is a dead horse being flogged to the bone so are anti-racist efforts and generally Affirmative Action in some regions of the world. Sweden happens to be one of these and insisting on any more PCness will only serve the paradoxically noble purpose of rendering it blatantly ridiculous in the long run so personally I'd like to see more absurd demands as such being made.
14:04 June 8, 2009 by magic1964
Fighting racism is a noble cause but very often it looks like the inquisition.......
14:55 June 8, 2009 by hardwood
As a Proud Negroid, i actually dont find the word "negro" offending. In spanish, portuguese and latin languages the word "negro" denotes the color black.

The Swedes have a right to name their streets in whatever matter that suits them. However, judging by the birth rate, voting population, population under the age of 18, influx of immigrants and a steady growing influence of immigrants in social and political circles, ethnic Swedes will be a minority in their own country by 2060.
15:12 June 8, 2009 by dmosquito
The guy might have made a big deal about this 'Negro' case. But, oh men...lots of hate against foreigners (mainly Black people) on these comments. Just relax guys...it is 2009 and we only have a limited contract on the planet! Peace
08:12 June 9, 2009 by Eel
Racism against black people in Sweden? Sorry, I don´t think there´s a lot of racism against black people in general. If you´re a black American you´ll probably be treated well by most. Yes, there is a lot of prejudice against some African immigrants but that´s not really racially motivated.
15:11 June 9, 2009 by amgt
"14:58 June 6, 2009 by soultraveler3"

is the only one here who understands the concept of what it's all about when you move to another country.

I'm in my third and wouldn't dream of going around being constantly "offended" by this and that in my new country. If I don't like it, I'll just move back to where I came from, it's as simple as that.
16:53 June 9, 2009 by Jaden
Its amazing how topics like this get so many excited to chat sh*t about foreigners and the handouts they are being given etc..

As one guy said “Words are only offensive if they are used in the context to offend.”

All this talk about go back to where you came from if you don't like is not warranted at all. There are a lot of cowards that are using this thread to really voice their inner feelings about how they feel about foreigners/blacks in Sweden. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and what might offend me may not offend u even from the same race.

While it is true that you may find slight regional differences in people's hospitality within Sweden itself, the discrimination is always there. That applies even if you have a good job and pay lots of taxes.

I am black and from London, I have a great job here, get paid well and in return pay a lot of taxes.

Sometimes I get awkward looks from Swedes in some parts of the country…like they haven't even seen a black person before…...until they find out I'm from London and then their attitude changes..

Live and let live ya'll! Its 2009 for phuk sake!
23:16 June 9, 2009 by Göran Eklund
Pippi Långstrump's father, the sea captain, ended up as king of a 'negerby' in the South Seas. Wonder if he still is there.
01:02 June 10, 2009 by Gustav- Fælbönnran
Absolutely. Pippilotta's father, Ephraim, was Negerkung. It was an important cross-cultural experience in our national history.
00:54 July 8, 2009 by Pursuivant
Go ban the country "Niger" first, as well as the river... and while you are at thet the Nigerian spammers as well. You Niger.
17:18 July 8, 2009 by Kaethar
On Sweden's news in English? Most people here are not Swedes.

Rofl. Ok then.

And who are you to say they're pretending? Are you a mind-reader?

I think your mistake is likening the slave trade to racism.

The slave trade was about the $$$.

Since when did he place them on a hierarchical scale? They were on the same level. A sub-group to homo-sapiens. Most descriptions he gave of different races are still stereotypes today. He didn't just invent it out of nowhere. Many would argue racialism has nothing to do with racism. I see nothing wrong with Linnaeus's work. I find it to be an interesting area of study actually. Perhaps outdated now but anyone today could create studies which either prove or disprove his work. Scientific knowledge is ever evolving after all. Today since we know that biological races don't exist we could study "race" and cultures through a social scientific viewpoint.

And how is that discrimination? It's probably not even prejudice. People tend to stare a lot. Why assume they're having racist thoughts?

Which proves the complete opposite. That they're not racist. If they were racist it wouldn't matter where you were from. They would dislike you because you're black.

What this proves is that these Swedes thought you were African and they have prejudices against African peoples and their cultures. That's hardly racism.
02:25 August 31, 2010 by Homesoul
I'm shocked as a Black-American, who is that dope who said those horrid things? I hope it stops soon.
Today's headlines
Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available