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Too late for Denmark

Reader comment on item: Something Rotten in Denmark?
in response to reader comment: The Growing Racism in Denmark

Submitted by Alex (United States), Jan 4, 2010 at 01:48

After living in various countries in Europe, Asia and the US, It is my clear impression that Denmark is the most xenophobic society I have ever encountered. Denmark used to have a reputation as a tolerant country, but that image is now being replaced by one of intolerance and racism.

I had friend among native danes and the so called foreign workers (their grandparents were immigrants, but their parents were born in Denmark but they were still called "foreign workers"). When observing the encounters between the native danes and the immigrants, it was my impression that the native danes' xenophobia was mainly rooted in their lack of identitiy (as individuals and as a society), insecurity and their inferiority complexes. You could feel their fear for not being able to survive the newcomer's cultures.

I agree that there is a minority of danes that are racist (like in 1930's in Denmark), but the disturbing part was the lack of response from the so called "tavse fleretal" = silent majority, that seem to be non-existent or very silent. There was a complete lack of empathy toward the immigrants, a cultural blindness in understanding how their public comments and their media affects the daily lives of the immigrants. Under the cover of "freedom of speech", they ridiculed/accused/blamed their minorities for various ills of their society. There was a complete lack of decency and respect toward their minorities. Without lack of proper outlet for their frustration, many young marginalized immigrants would lash out and throw stones and set streets on fire.

The tensions between the natives and the newcomers seems to be getting worse, and I think the natives danes' longstanding unfair treatment of their minorities is coming back to haunt them now.


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