Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Black people in Sweden demonstrated for recognition Swedish transatlantic slave trade

Black people in Sweden (‘Afro-Swedes’) demonstrated in the main capital Stockholm to support a bill to recognize Sweden’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. The demonstration was held on May 12th 2011.

But Sweden, slave trade and the Caribbean doesn't sound natural when you think of Sweden. But long after most colonial powers abolished slavery, Sweden was still trafficking slaves. In 1847 Sweden proclaimed slavery illegal. Only then were the last slaves in the Swedish slave plantation island St Barthélemey in the West Indies set free.

The demonstration in Stockholm was not only about slavery, but also against racism in general. Urbanlife.se was at the demonstration and made the following impression.

"A lot has happened in Sweden recently to believe that change is on the way. Although the change I describe is perhaps not in line with Rosa Parks refusing to sit at the back of the bus on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, it is however, the first time in Sweden's history where ‘Afro-Swedes’ – a term people of African and Caribbean descent fight to be addressed as - have joined together in protest.

The demonstration in Stockholm held on May 12th draws attention to the bill initiated by Gustav Fridolin (Miljöpartiet) regarding the transatlantic slave trade that Sweden was a part of, but which has not yet been recognized by the Swedish government. This is something that Gustav now wants to change and therefore has written this bill. There was a chorus of dissatisfaction amongst the crowd with the announcement that the bill had been dismissed earlier that afternoon. "

Read the full story at Urbanlife.se

Some links and a video:
EU network: Sweden passive on 'slave auction'

Sweden’s slave trade

Swedish slave trade in Ghana


  1. This would have been a much better demonstration is more Black Sweden’s would have shown up. My friends in Sweden said so many seem to be uninterested in what happens to Black Sweds. They also say they have pretty much tried as much as they could to figure out how to get more support. This is something I don’t understand about some European Blacks…why don’t they support issues that matter to them. Why do they just turn their backs and pretend like they don’t see what is happening. And I was also amazed that all of my Black friends in Sweden are married to white women… I couldn’t get that. You’re so into your Blackness…but you marry white… I asked if it was because they wanted to fit in to society more. Well lets just say they were mad at me….and I didn’t care. Because I say what I feel but I do it with respect. And they could never answer the question….

  2. The Africans in the US are different. They're really proud of where they come from; this has been my experience. But going through the UK and going to other European countries, I agree; Africans love them some white women/men. One African in Germany was telling white girls in the club that he was a black American soldier so that they'd be interested in him. That's how desperate he was. They knew he wasn't an American too.

    I've noticed too that Africans in Europe are really eager to ditch their nationalities. I've heard, "My son is Italian." Well, not really. He's not white. Or, "I've become Swedish," even though they were born in Africa. Not so fast...

    How many black Americans that are children of soldiers that you know, NegroArmor4u, that were born in Germany and call themselves black Germans? I have never met a black American born in Germany that calls himself or herself German. NEVER. That's silly. But there are tons of Africans that I have seen on the net that ditch their roots for their adopted country. Not all, of course, but way too many do this.

  3. if this garbage continues the blacks are going to overrun the demographics to the point that swedes will be minorities in their own countries. Why are africans and pakis and arabs in europe anyway? Before you call me racist I am middle eastern.....

    1. Its sad that this is happining

    2. Some were born there due to the slave trade. Others migrated there for opportunities which means, they are there because they want to be. Is that okay with you Mr. Middle Eastern?

    3. Why are Caucasians in the US, Africa, Asia, North & South America, Australia and all the other places that they didn't originate? I'll tell you what, when they do back to Caucasus and other white regions, all the other people of color which make up 2/3 of the world population will go back to their native regions. Until them STFU!

  4. Why are there immigrants in the US? Why are there whites in South Africa? Why are black people in the Caribbean? Why are Spanish people in South America?

  5. Anonymous: Why are YOU in Europe anyway?

    1. Africans were in Europe thousands of years ago. Prior to any meaningful contact with so called "White" Europeans. Also The Moors, who are directly descended from West Africa, and to clarify I do mean indigenous Africans not Arabs, ruled Spain from Andalusia from 700 years at least. The national flag of Corsica depicts the "Moor's head" a symbol that is a reminder of the once great empire that ruled Muslim Spain harmoniously until Isabel and Ferdinand under the secret doctrines but in the name of Catholicism deposed them. The Rock of Gibraltar is named for a great African general. Stop pretending that you don't know the history of these architects of civilization. So to answer your question. We are in Europe because we have always been. We are in North America, Central and South America because we have always been. We are the Maori of New Zealand, the Aboriginals of Australia. The Temples of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom in Vietnam are African monuments. 3000 year old pyramids in Belize are marked with statues with the faces of guess who? Not that Europeans didn't contribute to global society. There are the Inquisitions. There is of course the "discovery" of America and the West Indies, because in his infinite wisdom Columbus thought he had encountered India. Didn't bother to change the name though. Get a grip and do some research. You're welcome.

    2. Another black supremacist at best. The "White" European's were in Europe long before blacks knew that continent existed. The Neanderthal's were in Europe for over 150,000 year's. The first Human's "Grimaldi man" immigrated to Europe 45,000 year's ago these to mixed and created the people that we have today.The majority of black history in Europe is only because of the moors.Not only that they came into contact with white's right when they entered Spain and the rest of Western Europe.

    3. Wait I forgot to mention that these so called moors also enslaved the white population of Europe so of course they aren't gonna have much history.Also black's weren't always in Europe blacks came from East Africa and immigrated into other lands.That last part had me lost if blacks are the original people of all these lands.Where exactly did Asians & Caucasians come from?

  6. Truth2011 I agree with you on many levels. Yes Africans here in the US are proud of where they come from. And no I don’t know any Black Americans that were born in Germany that call themselves Black German. As a matter of fact I have a friend in Germany now….that now calls herself Black. Only because she never grew up around any Blacks and she is very fair. But once she discovered other Black people she said she couldn’t pull herself away from the Black people she met. For her is an eye opening experience. But she does have mad love for Black Americans she likes the fact that we are willing to fight for what we want. But it is silly! But you know truth when you travel you learn so much about how people are. We would like to think that all Blacks are the same in ways…but in reality we are different depending on how we were brought up…. Or what we let influence us. And yes some Africans in Europe are willing to ditch their roots. Prime example I met a brother over in Spain and he is from Africa and he so desperately want to be like the whites in Spain. But he is young and he is now seeing how they really treat him. So there is hope… But I’m amazed that you noticed that….good for you bro. Man I had the impression that you were like what we talk about. Man I was wrong…and I’m glad …. Peace!
    Anonymous why are you on here….and you do sound like a racist!! I cosign what others has written….

  7. Truth, negroamor4u, I think it’s quick to judge that Africans are selling out. I personally haven't met one African who is trying to pass for a native European. I am not an expert on black people in Europe, but it really depends in what country you are and if there is a sizeable black community or not. Being black in Spain or Italy is very different from being black in the UK or The Netherlands.

    In the Netherlands Surinamese people don’t even have to take a citizenship test, they get a preferential treatment at Colleges and Universities and the Dutch Surinamese language is part of the standard Dutch language together with South African and Flemish. Most countries of UK blacks are part of the Common wealth. So black people in these countries a have stronger identity in relation to their countries of origin.

    But in Spain and Italy most African people are complete outsiders. Unless if you are from Guinea (a former Spanish colony) or Ethiopia (a former Italian colony). But also that is no guarantee for a better treatment.

    If you are from an African country which has no ties with the country where you live, than there is no black reference point. You’re black in a country that doesn’t know you nor your country. So I guess there is more pressure to integrate or even to assimilate.

    So you can’t compare your situation as African-Americans in the US with black people in Europe. The US is build on immigrants, Europe is not. And also the integration of immigrants is often measured by the number of mixed marriage in an ethnic group. So the message is: if you want to be Italian or Spanish, marry an Italian or a Spanish person. This also goes for other European countries.

    And the term black German, or Afro-German has also nothing to do with selling out, it has to do with identity. Read this piece on Afro-Germans at http://www.africawithin.com/asante/afrogermans.htm.

  8. Afro- Europe I never said that all Africans who married white was a sell out. But that is a good way to look at it. For me I don’t care who someone marries… All I can say for me it she is not Black it’s not going on. I have no need or want to be accepted into any society that don’t respect me just because my skin is Black. I say this all the time and I will say it here. I don’t find white people attractive and nor do I want to be like them. All who do knock your socks off….

    And you’re right you cannot compare Blacks in Italy to American Blacks. They are different in so many ways. But also the same… I look at it like this…what you are around most is most likely what you will desire to be like. If you are constantly bombarded with the white image in your face…that is what you will likely try to aspire to be. That is why you must have a strong sense of self. And that starts at home!!! I grew up with an African American mother and Afro Cuban/Puerto Rican dad… So who we were was so important to my parents. My parents taught me to look and see what is in front of me. And I do agree with you about what you said about Afro Germans… It is about Identity. I was just saying Black people here in there US don’t call themselves Black German.. Now I’m saying the people I know. And what you said about the Surinamese is true because my friends that live in the Netherlands are Surinamese. And they have a very strong sense of self and culture. I thought I was into my culture…man…they love to go to club playing their music.lol! I was like ok it’s cool but let go somewhere else.lol! But I loved it because I learned so much from them. And i'm no expert on anything i can only tell you of my experiences. And hey they may not be the reality.... so i feel what you're saying

    1. you know if you dont like europe you can always leave

  9. I also didn't say Afro Germans were selling out. I said I find it suspicious when they're so eager to adopt their new country and ditch their homelands as if they have no roots. This is why I compared them to the many black Americans that were born in Germany because of their parents being in the military.

    There's a thread on here about a woman who says that her daughter is "totally Italian." This is foreign to me. She doesn't look like any Italian I know.

    Black Americans born overseas don't mask their nationality so easily just to assimilate.

  10. African Americans are citizens of a country that has a global domination in the world. so an someone from the us will never arrive in europe for the same reasons that someone who comes from Africa. the guy from usa has generally a better economic situation; he will go to europe as a tourist or to work for an american organisation or as an artist. he won't have a passport or visa issue. he will not come as a refugee as well. when you come from a country thats "poorer"than the one you migrate, you automatically have an inferior statut. and most people dont want to remain in that dominated statut so they prefer to assimilate to the dominant class. i am not trying to justify these facts, but that's the reality of things. actually i call it prostitution but don't get me wrong: i have sympathy for a prostitute but have none for a hoe.
    about interracial relationships/marriage, remember lot of AA had children from german women and whites from other countries. also there are many AA women, especially in france, who married white men. still in france during the 50's -60's you had lots of AA musicians invited by france to perform. it was known many of them was motivated to travel by the fact that there they could "experience" the white woman. and currently in the us, in the entertainment world you have more and more interracial relationships. so in conclusion i would say that the tradition of official and unofficial racial segregation is stronger in the states so it was harder to the AA (dominated group) to access the fantasy of the whites (dominant group). but in europe, where in spite of their racism, many whites are very excited about having an "exotic" relationship and "exotic" kids, and segregation wasnt written in the law, you can quickly access that fantasy. that is why unfortunately many blacks from africa see a white partner as a double bonus in their lives (color complex +money).

  11. Sanza, very interesting comment. I wanted to answer truth's comment about the Italian woman, but I think I have nothing to add.

    Oh yes, I made a mistake about Ethiopia being a colony of Italy. Italy only occupied the country.

  12. Well, Afro-Europe, with that logic, I guess I'm Spanish and English because they colonized North America.

    That's nonsensical.

    I don't remember this woman being Ethiopian either. Even if she was, her child is black! And the Italians will let her know this. Why you'd want to claim such a racist country, is beyond my comprehension. Especially that clown that lives in France that made those statements about black Americans. He probably really thinks that he's French.

  13. I'm an African girl (born in Nigeria and lived there till I was 5) and I live in America. it really depends. I know a lot about my culture, I love it and embrace it, but I also consider myself pretty American in my views and opinoins as well. But it really depends on where you live. I have friends who live in places where the black community isn't strong or present. They want to b e like what they see and u know what, it doesn't bother me as long as they are being true to themselves.
    As for black men or women liking white men or women, color means nothing to me. I live in a very diverse area and I've seen it all: indian and white, indian and chinese, blacka and chinese, black and indian, and I'm not bothered by it. You like what you like, and if you do marry in order to assimilate, good for you. All cultures are equal, and a marriage is of two equals (at least in my opinion).

  14. Truth is it essential and logical. As an American it is easier for you to integrate in a English speaking country than in a French speaking country. Of course it doesn't mean you are English.

    And about "Even if she was [Italian], her child is black! And the Italians will let her know this. Why you'd want to claim such a racist country, is beyond my comprehension."

    Didn't your leaders fought for this very same issue and also in very racist environment? You can say that the US is "your" country and Italy is not her country, but what's the difference with the US back in the old days and Europe today. If the majority feels you are still not part of the country, than you still have a problem. And it doesn’t matter if you have roots there for 9 generation of if you just arrived in a boat. The hatred feels the same.

    To end, of course you are right that the black Italian woman you mentioned is from an ethnic point of view not Italian, but from a cultural perspective she has become more Italian than many right wing parties would want. And that is also your main point, but from a different perspective I presume. A European is white, so black people can’t be European. That French guy is not European French, because he is black. And because he is black he is an African. Very simplistic Truth.

    I remember someone I know was interviewed in a African-American radio show. The host asked her "you're Nigerian right"? She said yes. But she was a born, raised and educated in England and as far as I know she has never lived in Nigeria for a long period. During the whole interview nothing was said about it. So I guess every listener of the program thought they were listing to someone from Nigeria.

    I know she feels that British is white, so to her, saying you're British is the he same as saying you're white. But saying you're Nigerian isn't right either.

    It is not important if white or even black people feel that " there is no Black in the Union Jack". But she would not only be hiding her nationality, but also her identity if she kept saying she was a Nigerian. Because to be a Nigerian or an “African” you must have a Nigerian passport, or at least live in Nigeria to be regarded as a Nigerian by Nigerians.

    And you said “Black Americans born overseas don't mask their nationality so easily just to assimilate.” Well Africans don’t mask their nationality either. I think that woman also knows she is from an ethnic point of view not a Italian, but perhaps she has an Italian passport, in that case she is Italian. A black Italian if you wish.

    But then again who is ethnic Italian and who is not. Many “white” Europeans have roots in different countries. At the end of the day it just boils down to skin colour, whether you in a country for 9 or 2 generations.

  15. shelfdolly, very refreshing comment!

  16. American isn't a race. Black American is barely a race; you can look like Harold Ford or Wesley Snipes and still be a black American. Black American is almost not a race anymore.

    Italian is a race. German is a race. Germans are Teutons. French are Gallic.

    I understand the title African Italian. You're an African living or born in Italy. But to say you're Italian or your daughter is Italian, without denoting her ethnicity is almost blasphemy.

    Black Americans have roots in North America for about 20 generations. That's absurd to compare refugees (1st or 2nd generation) to us. We've been in our country longer and it is "our" country. No white person can tell us to leave America.

    Italians can and probably do treat Africans like guests. I never understood trying to assimilate in a racist country like France or Spain or Italy. The people don't like you. You're better off going to one of the real white countries up north that are richer and generally more open minded.

  17. Truth, do really think it matters if you look like Harold Ford or Wesley Snipes in Spain or Italy? If you look like someone with African Ancestry than you’re considered an outsider. Sure it will matter if you’re lighter skinned it even matters in black communities. But black is black. My grandmother looked like Harold Ford, some even thought she was a creole Jew, but she was regarded as black. So that’s not African-American thing.

    But finally we agree about one thing. It looks strange if you say you're an Italian while it's clear you have a African background and don't have a long history in the country. The word Afro-Italian or African Italian would sound better.

  18. Hi, I'm an Italian (ethnically Italian). To me, if someone is born in italy, grow up in Italy, watches italian television, is depressed by Italian politic etc etc he's totally italian. If this person arrived as a child, or as a teenager,or as an adult, and decided to settle here and take the citizenship, he's totally italian. If someone is Italian by marriage, he's totally italian too. It does not mean he can't be also totally something else.
    I know a lot of things suck in my country but there are good things too, and since now there is more awareness and also more people from other places I think we'll get better.
    Italy has never been a monoculture country so I think it's good to have something even more.

    Bye and this is a great blog, very interesting :)

  19. I like the exchange of ideas that you guys have going on here. I'd like to add some food for thought.

    1. Why is it necessary, for Africans, who are sitting on a vast amount of valuable natural resources, to emmigrate to these european countries in the first place?

    2. What is preventing Africans from the motherland, as well as us from the diaspora from getting it together and building a place that is welcoming, prosperous and secure for ourselves and future generations?

    3. When are we going to start learning and teaching our collective history in a way that helps us to understand that we are not actually and have never been dependent on non-Africans in order to have what we need?

    4.Which european countries were not enriched immensely by the exploitation of African resources and labor?

    5. Lastly, I only wish that all the Africans that Spain extracted from Africa would go back to Spain, if you catch my drift.

  20. Anonymous, Thanks for the comment. I think I share your optimism about Italy!

  21. Prospect, I wish I had the answer. But you and I both know that "Africa" is not the "Africa" according to the Africans. The colonial powers drew their borders and created instability and dependence afterwards. But perhaps an "African spring" will help.

  22. Afro-Europe
    I asked these questions because I believe we all have the answers. Still the questions need to be asked if we're going to come up with solutions. Now, more than ever we have the opportunity communicate with one another no matter where we are. The very fact that you maintain a platform where these exchanges can take place is leading, in my opinion, toward that "African Spring" you speak of. As long as we stay on track we can't help but make some kind of progress. Even language is not as big a barrier as we might think. For example while I don't speak a word of Swedish, I find that I am able to "feel" the essence of what the lovely sisters in the video above are saying and I support their efforts. I myself believe however that we don't really need Europeans approval in order to commemorate significant events in our history. In fact the European POV is the reason we don't know nearly as much as we should about our true history.

  23. Prospector, I agree with you all the way!

  24. As an African American who is 60+ years old, I have the benefit of experiencing how racial & national definitions and racial referents can change over time.

    Throughout my life Black Americans were formally referred to as "Negro", "Colored (people) and "Afro-American". But those referents have been retired and replaced with the formal terms "Black Americans" & "African Americans", and the more informal referent "Black".

    Furthermore, I believe that in the United States, "Black" can also refer to people from Africa and other African Disapora populations such as Black people from the Caribbean & Europe. That said, any of those persons who live in the USA could (also) self-identify as African American, though they might add the specific information that they were born and raised in Nigeria, or Guyana, or the UK. I also believe that rightly or wrongly, most Black Americans are likely to assume that any person who "looks Black" (which remember is a wide range of physical appearances) is Black-meaning that person is usually assumed by Black Americans to be African American. My sense is that most White people "lump" all Black people in the USA as African Americans just because those persons' visually appear to be "Black".

    But the United States' "one drop of Black blood makes a person Black" social rule may be slowly undergoing change. As evidence, some Americans (in the United States) of mixed Black/ non-Black ancestry refer to themselves as biracial or mixed race. I have also recently read a few articles in which some White Americans claim to have some Black ancestry. That would be unheard of even one decade ago as a "USAer" couldn't claim Black ancestry and still be considered White.

    Admittedly from the outside looking in, with regard to European referents, I believe that we are living in a period of "national referent changes" similar to that which occurred in with Black Americans in the 1960s to the early 1980s.

    I believe that the meanings of the referent "European" is changing right before our eyes. I also believe who people assume might be from a European nation is undergoing change to fit the realities of these times. There was a time that the referents "European", "Swedish", "British",
    "French", "Italian", and "German" all automatically meant "White". However, now I believe just like "American" doesn't or shouldn't automatically mean "White", "European" doesn't or shouldn't automatically mean "White".

    I support the use of "Black European" or "Afro European" and "Afro Swede", "Black Briton", "Black French", "Black Italian", etc for specificity. However, I believe that a Black Swede, Black Briton, Black Italian etc are just as much a citizen of his or her nation as a White (or any other race) Swede, Briton, or Italian.

    More power to those positive changes! And, to use an African American saying, "Keep on keeping on!"

  25. Hi Azizi, very interesting, refreshing and thought provoking comment! Very interesting to read about your suggestion that black people from other countries who live in the USA could (also) self-identify as African American, though they might add the specific information that they were born and raised in Nigeria, or Guyana, or the UK.

    I think that would really be the answer to some of the slight frictions which seems to exits between the African-American community and other black communities. I have often spoken to black people who refer themselves as Haitian-American, Jamaican-American of Nigerian American. I think African-American of Nigerian/Haitian/Caribbean descent would sound better.

    As for the word Afro-European. I think we still have a long way to go to get it excepted in the main stream. Although the word “black Britton” seems to have a more familiar sound. Black communities are relatively small minorities (compared with the African-community in the US) in most European communities, except in the big cities of course. And African-Americans as a community have a history with America which as long as the existence of the US itself. That's a big difference with black communities in Europe. But the struggle continues as this theme will become more relevant over time.

  26. This is an interesting article, however I don't understand why can't we agree to disagree? I like leaving comments as much as the next person, but why do we have to argue publicly on a forum page (is it?) about something that doesn't even truly involve us, just some trivial matters? There isn't much time in the day to waste life sitting down typing back and forth on silliness..i.e. afro-Germans. I enjoy reading comments, but not arguments (trying so hard to redeem oneself). THIS IS FROM A BLACK FEMALE HURRICANE KATRINA SURVIVOR! Use all the time you have for doing something useful, like make a change, you never know when a disaster might happen and then you really see a person's true colors! Oops wisdom came too late....ignore the date.

  27. have you heard of this scandal:


    and the "artist" is black!!!!
    please react on his facebook page:

  28. So your saying that the moorish invasion of spain was a good thing?
    And why should they go back to spain its not there counrty.

  29. Good lord we are talking over 160 years here WHAT does it have to do with anyone alive now. My great grandfather was a slave IN sweden and emigrated to us when freed i dont go around barking about the past there are 27 million slaves in the world TODAY more than at any other time worry about them instead!


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