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Everyday Racism in Sweden? (Or, How not to Pick Up Swedish Girls…)

Everyday racism in Sweden? I think not. This is more how not to pick up Swedish girls than a story of racism. My take on this video, as well as my own story on my experience with racism. 

Watch the video, or read the transcript below. 

What are your thoughts on this topic? Leave a comment for me with your own personal experiences on racism (or picking up Swedish girls).  

(Also see: Egalitarianism Vs. Feminism: How We Can Cultivate a Safer Society)

Isabella: [00:08] Okay, guys. This is my first video on here and I’m not a really good speaker so this is probably going to come out all wrong, but I’m going to give it a try, [s/b anyway; no “s”] anyways because I think this topic is really important.

Eddy: [00:20] Well, I agree there; I think this is an important topic, but not for the same reasons that she thinks this is an important topic.

Isabella: [00:26] And I’d like to address it in some way or another. So, either way, I’d like to tell you first about a story of something that happened to me a couple of months ago.

Eddy: [00:35] [interjects]… I love stories!

Isabella: [00:37] I was at an Asian restaurant [how dare she single out that poor restaurant for being Asian! such discrimination (not)! such a racist remark (not)! I am aghast!] with some of my friends from university and we went to get some [always wondered what folks went to those places for…] food. And I was stopped by a man as I was getting some [not Asian at all, is she?] rice) who asked, “Are you Japanese?” And I said, “No, I’m not Japanese; I’m Swedish.” And he exclaimed, “No! No! I mean, really! Where are you from? You can’t be… from here.” And he had a hard time believing me when I said that I was Swedish. So, that was really something that got me thinking. [looks away, then turns back to camera, face askew as if trying to cry]

Eddy: [1:11] [interjects]… I wouldn’t think about it too much. That was probably just his pick-up line; he was trying to talk with you. [shrugs]

Isabella: [1:15] [tears off, scratching chin] Something that annoyed me even more was that, [smirks] in the afternoon–the same afternoon, I was stopped, waiting for the tram, by this guy.

Eddy: [1:28] Yeah, this is an attractive woman’s problem: they’re going to be approached by different guys because they’re attractive. [grimaces]

Isabella: [1:34] I thought he just wanted directions or something like that, but he asked me the same questions. He wanted to know where I was from!

[LOL! OMIGOSH. Seriously???]

Eddy: [1:40] Okay, that would be annoying after a while, fer shure! It is a bad pick-up line, basically; they don’t have anything else to say, so they’re trying to say they know you’re from someplace else. (That’s they’re opening line.)

[1:54] Because you’re not of Swedish Caucasian heritage, that’s why they pick up on it–because it’s different.

Isabella: [2:03] I think this is interesting, really, because I get this a lot. Almost every time I go outside my door! People ask me where I’m from or where I was born. [earth shattering stuff here] I’d really like to know why this is such an important question to people because, to me, it doesn’t really matter.

Eddy: [2:17] This is why it’s such an important question to people: it’s because you look different from the vast majority of other Swedish people and though you’re a Swedish national, you have a different heritage than most of the rest of the people in Sweden.

[2:33] It’s just a conversation starter. That all it is. It might be a bad one… or a good one, depending on your perspective. (Obviously, it’s annoyed you, but it’s what the guys are using over there to get the conversation started.)

[2:45] I, personally, wouldn’t advise using this as a conversation starter, unless you know for certain that that person is not from… the country you’re in. Sometimes it’s easy to pick out but, until you’re positive, don’t ask.

Isabella: [2:58] [voice breaks] Other than being born in another country, I don’t see how [s/b I not me] me and another Swede…

Eddy: [3:08] [interjects] … Have you looked in a mirror recently?

Isabella: [3:09] We have the same culture, we share the same traditions and holidays and we celebrate the same things!

[OMIGOSH. Is she serious? LOTS of nationals do NOT celebrate the same holidays / traditions. This gal would never see adulthood here in the U.S. Needed a good laugh today; thanks, Eddy! I had no idea stuff like this made it to the airwaves. LOL!!]

Eddy: [3:16] [interjects]… Yes! It’s because you were [note: she states at 2:58 that she was born elsewhere, not IN Sweden] born and raised in Sweden so you are a Swedish national. You’re just as Swedish as any other Swedish person, but your appearance is different from any other Swedish person.

Isabella: [3:31] Or it appears so. I think this is something that we really need to abolish from our society.

Eddy: [3:34] [interjects]… Okay. Beyond just being annoyed, this is where you get completely ridiculous! [AMEN. Jeepers! Sooo immature; lacking in her vocabulary, a spotlight seeker, perhaps? (sheesh!)] “Abolished from our society”? What are you going to abolish from society? The fact that people are picking out differences?

[3:49] How can people not see the fact that you look different? You’re a Swedish national, but you have a different heritage! That is obvious! We all know that you have an Asian heritage. It’s clear as day. There’s no getting around it. You can put up with it, you can take it personally and think, “Oh, my God! Everyone’s discriminating against me…”, “Everyone’s going to see that I’m not a Caucasian Swedish person!” (which is also obvious.)

[4:20] It’s like walking around naked and not wanting people to see that you are naked! It’s as though you’re asking why everyone’s staring at you because you’re naked.

[4:27] What are you going to abolish, exactly? Are you going to abolish people’s ability to distinguish one person from another? Are we all going to be drones or automatons where we all look the same and act the same? Dress the same? Is it going to be like a kind of Maoist society where we all wear the Mao uniform? I dunno…

Isabella: [4:50] So, day to day, everyday racism [!] is really growing out of hand!

Eddy: [4:55] You know? The only way people are not going to see you as being different is if you go to an Asian country, except for possible differences in fashion or behavior or your Swedish mannerisms.

Isabella: [5:09] [nonsensical statement] People from all different cultures and ethnicities and countries [s/b who not that] that have come to Sweden and see themselves as Swedish people because they were born here, live here, were raised their whole lives here! But, still, they’re not included in society because they look different.

Eddy: [5:24] I think you’re confusing two different things here: “not being included in society” and “being distinguished from the rest of the general population because you are different” and because those other people are also different.

[5:41] There’s no exclusion there! There’s not insidious racism or any kind of racism where people are going to want to prevent you from getting a job or doing something because you look different.

[5:52] They are simply noting the fact that you look different because you don’t have the same background.

Isabella: [5:58] People ask me where I’m from and I… I have a hard time, as I said, understanding why this is of such great importance to them! What I’d like to say in this video is please, don’t judge other people from their looks. I mean, it really does not matter!

Eddy: [6:15] Looks actually do matter. It depends what we’re talking about–the context of the conversation of looks. But, looks do matter! And people will never stop judging people based on the way they look.

[6:25] If you see a hobo or somebody dressed in rags (who appears to be a hobo dressed in rags), automatically, you will have a perception about that person. Usually, people dressed in rags and shitty clothing or dress like hobos are hobos. Usually. And we know they’re hobos and there are reasons behind that. There are going to be a lot of stereotypes but a lot of it may not be true and some of them may be true. (A lot of stereotypes are based on real things and a lot of stereotypes are just exaggerations of real things.)

[6:57] We’re never going to get rid of judgment of people based on their looks! Everyone is going to judge another based on his looks, automatically. It can be a survival mechanism! Yes, maybe it’s not true, but it’s something deep in our psyche.

Isabella: [7:15] And if somebody could answer me why everybody thinks it’s so important to know where other people were born or things like that… or if it’s just like a cultural thing–they wanna know what culture [unclear who the “they” being referred to 2nd time is] they belong to and what cultural differences there are between them, please leave me a comment so I can try to understand this a little bit more.

Eddy: [7:35] For me, it’s a cultural thing, too. Like I mentioned before, it’s just a conversation starter. A lot of these guys who walk up to you and talk with you just want to talk with you because you’re attractive! That’s what it boils down to. They’re interested in getting to know you; maybe sleeping with you, in dating you… whatever. That’s their attempt to communicate with you!

It’s their attempt to connect with you because they don’t know what else to say and, if you look different, that’s the easiest way to open up a conversation [with you]. They don’t realize that you’re annoyed by this!

Probably a lot of other people–Swedish people who have this Asian background–if asked this all the time, potentially would also be offended.

[8:19] I have a very different perspective on this: I am of a mixed race. I am half Mexican and, actually, have dual citizenship of Mexico and Canada, where I was born and raised. My dad is Caucasian and, because of that, most people think I look part-Asian. Some people guess I’m part native. Very rarely does anybody guess I actually have some Hispanic background.

[8:45] For me, race is just not important. I don’t consider myself to be Latino or Caucasian. I guess it depends which circle I’m in… if I’m with a whole bunch of white people, my differences stand out more if I’m with a bunch of Mexicans. I feel homeless then, as well. It just really depends and it just doesn’t matter to me!

[9:08] The fact that people are always trying to guess what I am doesn’t bother me! I think it’s interesting; it’s a good conversation topic. Right? Somebody new [that] you meet is going to be curious about your background and your country. (It’s a bit more obvious here, in Canada, as it’s a bit more of a melting pot–or, at least, that’s how it is in Vancouver.) I’m not sure how it is in Sweden, though I did hear a statistic that over 90% Swedes are Caucasian. (Correct me if I’m wrong. Just leave a comment below the video.) In any case, the vast majority of Swedes are of Caucasian heritage.

[9:42] So, it’s just an easy conversation starter for those people who want to talk with you because of the fact you have some Asian background. For me, it’s the same thing when I’m talking with somebody new. They’re always curious, you know? They’re always asking me, “What are you?” or “What’s your background?” And I always tell them to guess; it’s a fun little game. I don’t get offended at all; I don’t feel I’m being discriminated against! I don’t think it needs to be abolished from society: it’s just a conversation topic. So what if you’re different? Own it! Own the fact that you’re different!

[10:08] I owned the fact that I was different a long time ago. And I have been discriminated against and I have heard direct racial slurs made against me. Racial epithets.

[10:20] Like when I was 14 years old, this guy body slammed me into the boards. (I was playing hockey.) He called me a “chink”. I had no answer for that; I didn’t know what to say because, for starters, I’m not Asian; and, secondly, it’s very racist. So I had no answer for this. I thought, what??? This was the first time I had heard someone call me something racist–and, even though, it wasn’t even the right race! I let it go but it kind of blew my mind!

[10:51] Throughout my life, I’ve heard different things. I’ve heard people say racist stuff when they’re around me — like, when they’re on the street — because they didn’t know my background was Hispanic. (Or that part of my background is Hispanic.) I heard people talking about “dirty Mexicans”. They’re idiots! Let them wallow in their ignorance. Who cares? Who cares what somebody else’s opinion is about your race? [walk a mile in THEIR moccasins; right or not, perhaps they’re trying to deal with a horrible prior experience dealt them by those of another race]

[11:15] For the most part, what you’re talking about in your video is really benevolent stuff; it’s apparent people are interested in getting to know you! Or, a lot of guys are… and that’s their big, opening line.

[11:28] I wouldn’t recommend that, personally. In most cases, I wouldn’t recommend opening with, “Where are you from?”, if that’s your opening line. (If people were asking me where I was from all the time, I might get annoyed, too.)

[11:36] I remember I was in this tourist town in Mexico one time. These Mexicans kept calling me American, and I was really annoyed by this–because I’m not American. But, I didn’t accept it [did you mean to say “they didn’t accept you”?] because I wasn’t the same as the other Mexicans there and I don’t speak Spanish perfectly. So my differences were singled out and that’s okay. Whatever! People are going to spot differences automatically; that’s how we identify each other. That’s how we identify who’s friendly–who’s not friendly, right? A lot of time it is wrong, but that’s just the way it goes: we’re not going to be right one hundred per cent of the time.

[12:23] So I would just say, own it! Own the fact that you’re different. It’s cool that we have differences. It’s better than everyone being exactly the same. It’s better than being like every one of the other 99% of the Swedes (in your case) and, in my case, it’s a conversation topic when I meet somebody new–like when I’m talking to a new girl or something like that. They always want to know my background.

[12:45] A lot of stuff we can be sad about. Somebody’s background, I think, when you’re talking about them, it’s interesting. I like knowing a person’s roots. I’m kind of interested in knowing my own roots.

[13:05] I don’t really care about race, as I’ve said. I don’t really care about what race people classify me with and I’m not really big into taking pride about things that I have no control over. I don’t care!

[13:18] I like the fact that I have a Mexican background and, I like the fact that I have an Eastern European background on my dad’s side, though I was born and raised here (in Canada). It’s more of a point of interest than a point of pride for me; it’s not something I had any control over nor did I work for it, so, to me, taking pride in it doesn’t make any sense (usually). It’s just interesting and that’s it.

[13:45] What else can you say about it?

[13:46] Questions? Comments? Put them in the… [brief moment of being tongue-tied] Questions and Comments section! [smiles] Or, in the Comments, all right?

[13:54] That’s all for today, folks. Peace out.

/ end /

[14:05]

About the Author Eddy Baller

I'm the founder of Conquer & Win, and since 2011 I've been helping guys get into great relationships, build their core values as men, and become confident. I'm published on Lifehack, Order of Man, POF, Psychcentral and many more. I want to help you become a better man and live to your full potential. Feel free to contact me here.

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