Right now, Sweden's survival instinct is getting tested, and sure enough, racism inevitably rears its ugly head:
[I]t’s one of the few countries that racial minorities are in a position to threaten the racial majority, and it’s the only one among those countries that is by and large successful in curbing the racist sentiments that inevitably follow from such a situation.
[A] country that has no significant number of racial minorities cannot possibly claim that it is not a racist country. How can you confidently say that your morals will overcome your survival instinct, if your survival was never tested?
Swedes Begin to Question Liberal Migration Tenets [New York Times]
For a time, Sweden seemed immune to the kind of anti-immigrant sentiment blossoming elsewhere on the European continent. Its generous welfare and asylum policies have allowed hundreds of thousands of refugees to settle here, many in recent years from Muslim countries. Nearly a quarter of Sweden’s population is now foreign born or has a foreign-born parent.
But increasingly, Swedes are questioning these policies. Last fall, the far-right party — campaigning largely on an anti-immigration theme — won 6 percent of the vote and, for the first time, enough support to be seated in the Swedish Parliament.
Six months later, many Swedes are still in shock. The country — proud of its reputation for tolerance — can no longer say it stands apart from the growing anti-immigrant sentiment that has changed European parliaments elsewhere, leading to the banning of burqas in France and minarets in Switzerland.
Mr. Gasi was able to earn a doctorate degree here, and he has a job as a teaching assistant. But he still does not feel welcome. He points to the swastikas and the Serbian crosses etched in the hall outside the mosque he attends.
“It’s hard to watch the news,” he said. “It’s Muslim this, Muslim that. Everything is about how bad we are. The Swedish won’t say anything to your face. But they say things.”
If one wants to truly gauge the level of racism in a country, one needs to take a serious look about whether minorities are in a position to threaten the majority. Any country can claim tolerance when there is no one around to tolerate. Put differently, the formula for anti-racism is the proportion and status of racial minorities, times the actual tolerance practiced.
Can you really practice tolerance when you feel the racial minorities might change everything around you? That is the true test of how anti-racist a society is, and there is still no country on the Earth that does better on that test than America.
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