Well, 31st March passed, and I didn’t get news of any important incident. Good, good.
Talking about the event with some Danish friends they said that they think there’s a certain underlying racism in their society. But then, a comment in my previous post got me thinking. It said that Danes are not racist, but xenophobes. So, not being very aware of the difference at that moment, I decided to look it up:
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term “racism” is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature (i.e., which harms particular groups of people), and which is often justified by recourse to racial stereotyping or pseudo-science.
Xenophobia is defined as “an unreasonable fear of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.” It comes from the Greek words ξένος (xenos), meaning “stranger,” “foreigner” and φόβος (phobos), meaning “fear.”
Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity.
So, Danish are xenophobes. Maybe. But, I mean, can you blame them? They have a perfectly functioning society, and they want to keep it like that. Does immigration threaten the system? No… and yes.
I am from Barcelona, Spain. I have seen, and experienced how massive immigration can destabilize a country. Some would say that the number of mafias in Spain (Chinese, Romanian…) has risen considerably, that people get mugged more than ever… but of course there’s a lot of legal and hard-working new-comers aswell.
The fact is, there’s been a positive discrimination towards immigrants for a long time. I’ve seen people who’ve never worked or paid taxes, get financial help from the Government, while Spanish people in the same financial situation couldn’t access that help. Immigrants don’t pay for books in most of the schools (while other students pay up to 250€ per year for their books), or for lunch service (otherwise expensive too), or school trips. Some companies were “adviced” to hire a certain number of immigrant workers (even if some locals were better prepared). All this “little” things (that would never happen in a country with the immigration policies and laws Denmark has) have favoured rejection from the locals towards immigrants. They’ve gone from xenophobes to racists. The cause? Poor immigration laws. Little protectionism.
So, no. I can’t blame Denmark for wanting to keep what’s theirs. Of course there has to be place for respect towards other cultures, and equality of possibilities for everyone (no matter where they come from). Discrimination, positive or negative, is always something to avoid. But also, as an immigrant, I know where I am going and I know it’s me who needs to make the effort to adapt to the country that’s welcoming me (in its particular way) and not the other way around.
Of course, I don’t mean that everyone who comes to Denmark needs to “become Danish” (as sometimes I feel they’d want us to 😛 ), but laws (written and unwritten) need to be respected.
Multiculturality enriches a society and its members and it’s something to look forward to . Also, people moving to other places to find better possibilities is totally understandable (I moved here for love, but I probably would have ended up moving out of Spain anyway), but there needs to be some control over it.
As always, just my humble opinion.