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RACISM

Sweden Democrat: ‘a negro is a negro’ to me

A Sweden Democrat politician in southern Sweden recently made the papers after saying on Facebook that the word “negro” is not a racist term.

“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.

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RACISM

Black Lives Matter wins Swedish rights prize

The international civil rights movement Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation on Friday won Sweden's Olof Palme human rights prize for 2020.

Black Lives Matter wins Swedish rights prize
A Black Lives Matter protest in Malmö, June 2020. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The foundation was honoured for its work promoting “peaceful civil disobedience against police brutality and racial violence all over the world,” prize organisers said in a statement.

The Black Lives Matter movement, founded in 2013 in the United States, has “in a unique way exposed the hardship, pain, and wrath of the African-American minority at not being valued equal to people of a different colour,” the statement said.

The movement had its major international breakthrough in the summer of 2020 following several cases of extreme brutality in the US, including the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

READ MORE: INTERVIEW: Sweden's anti-racism protests aren't just about what's happening in other countries

Prize organisers noted that an estimated 20 million people have taken part in Black Lives Matter protests in the US alone, and millions more around the world.

“This illustrates that racism and racist violence is not just a problem in American society, but a global problem.”

The Olof Palme Prize is an annual prize worth $100,000 awarded by the Olof Palme Memorial Fund.

It commemorates the memory of Sweden's Social Democratic prime minister Olof Palme, an outspoken international human rights advocate — and vehement opponent of US involvement in the Vietnam War — who was assassinated in Stockholm in 1986.

Since 1987 the award has honoured human rights defenders around the world including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

An online prize ceremony will take place in Stockholm on Saturday.

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