Racist forest? Sweden sparks PC debate over plans to take ‘N-word’ out of woodland name
An uninhabited woodland in central Sweden has become the center of a debate on political correctness, after complaints from minority groups that its name was racist forced local government to consider a rebrand.
Mora municipality in Dalarna County agreed to rethink the name of the area called Negerbyn, or ‘Negro Village,’ following complaints from the Afro-Swedish National Association in February. While the location includes the word “village,” the area is uninhabited, containing just one empty building, two ponds, and a stream.
“This is a racist word,” the association’s Nantale Kitali told the Expressen newspaper. She explained that Afro-Swedes and black people of African heritage found the “N-word” offensive, and that its origins as a word of colonial oppression by whites in Africa made it unacceptable today.Also on rt.com ‘It’s abuse’: Sweden Democrats Party makes move to ban baby circumcision
“Using this word employs a kind of dehumanization that includes pre-conceptions of black people as being lazy, unintelligent and more like animals compared with white people. This is nothing we want to be associated with today,” she added.
However, the naming of the area as Negerbyn didn’t occur until 1976, decades after the colonial era ended. Instead, the name harks back to the region’s history as the heartland of Sweden’s mining industry.
Kitali dismissed this as a valid reason to keep the name, saying it showed that minorities in Sweden were underrepresented and that is was important to break the use of “racist language.”Also on rt.com WATCH gang taunt black commuter with MONKEY noises on London Underground
Not all have agreed with Kitali’s argument or the municipality’s decision, however, with social media once again providing a forum for people to voice their views on the matter. “What should Arnold Schwarzenegger do?”asked one Facebook commentator, referring to the German word “schwarz,” which means black.
“Negerbyn actually comes from men having coal dust on their faces,” one tweeter explained.
I warned you. They don't want to integrate and they'll use our liberal laws against us...African Descendants Push #Sweden to Rename Place Over 'N-Word'https://t.co/cGTMEWg1vg#Negerbyn actually comes from men having coal dust on their faces.— Noel Dolan - 🚱 (@cybernoelie) March 11, 2019
Others agreed that the name was racist, with one explaining that they no longer used the word because of its derogatory use by racists. “For me, it indicates a colored person from Africa.”
The woodland isn’t the only place in Sweden to overhaul its name to something less controversial. In 2012, a residential area located in the city of Mjallby changed its name from Negerbyn to Ostboro following a public outcry. It had gained the unofficial title due to its houses’ distinctive black chimneys.
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