“No, for me a negro is a negro. There is nothing negative with that at all,” Annika Rydh of Älmhult, Småland, told local paper Smålandsposten on Monday.
The debate kicked off after Rydh answered the query “Is it racist to say negro?” in a Facebook post. To her, the answer is no.
According to the paper there have been many reports to the Swedish Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen, DO) pertaining to the word and several companies and government agencies have been made to pay damages to people who feel discriminated against when that particular word has been used.
But Rydh told the paper that it is not the word but how it is used that is important.
“It shouldn't be an insult to be called a negro. There is the red race, the yellow race, and then there's me, who is of the white race. A negro is a negro. There is nothing demeaning with that,” Rydh told Smålandsposten.
Rydh also told the paper that things have gone too far and that if it continues in this fashion it will soon be impossible to say anything at all.
“We do have freedom of speech in this country, after all,” Rydh told Smålandsposten.
According to Rydh, despite the fact that some may feel the word is demeaning most of the people she knows wouldn't mind at all. But these are no people of colour, the paper pointed out.
“No, I don't know many negroes, there aren't that many in our area,” Rydh told the paper.
She retained the firm belief that it is the context that should determine when it is acceptable to use the term, and if someone feels insulted they should just say so.
Annika Rydh is one of two Sweden Democrats on the municipal council in Älmhult.