November 6, 2012
Racism is basically a power struggle. Those in society who are privileged want to keep their power by keeping the minorities oppressed. This is done in the most subtle way possible, preferably invisible for the majority and difficult for the oppressed to realise. This can be done in different ways, for example by using racist expressions, reproducing stereotypes through media, having different laws for different groups in society, discrimination, harassments and hate crimes.
There are Swedes argue that the word “negerboll” is a Swedish word and should therefore be used and not replaced by “chokladboll”. In short the discussion is based on the name of a round cookie made out of chocolate sprinkled with coconut flares. It has been called “negerboll” which means “nigger ball” and is now called due to obvious reasons “chokladboll” which means “chocolate ball”. This vocabulary modification in the Swedish language to show respect to black people has, as mentioned, been met with resistance. There are even a t-shirts for sale which say “Varför får man inte säga negerboll när man får saga vitlök?” (Why can’t you say nigger ball when you can say white onions?), as well as a facebook page called “Svenska Negerbollar” (Swedish Nigger balls) which currently has 26 005 likes.
This word, I argue, is important to some of the people in the majority group in Sweden because they are scared that they will lose some power if they do not continue oppressing. If the oppressed gain a voice they will eventually be equals. The majority group is in this case so paranoid that even if they are standing on to the heavy brick of power they are insisting on placing their brick on top of the oppressed. This is what determines white rage. It is overall the perceived diminishment of power. In other words, white rage can occur even though minorities are not gaining power but the white person has a paranoia that it is occurring and are outraged because of that.
The oppressed is however not passive in the power struggle. There are some efforts pertained by few of the oppressed to gain some power. One is to subdue to the majority, to integrate, change and become someone who is quiet when encountering racism. But this way will only make the oppressed seem to have power but really s/he is not free nor considered equal with the majority, only slightly better than his/her own minority group.
Another way of gaining power is to try to oppress the majority group. In Sweden immigrants use the word “svenne” when insulting Swedish people. Basically “svenne” means a Swedish person. It has no history of being degrading, such as the n-word has, and has therefore not got the same impact, but still many Swedes consider this an offensive word and even occasionally equalize it with the n-word as if this linkage should approve for the n-word to be used.
Finally, the most effective way to gain power is to not accept being oppressed. For every degrading action towards the oppressed minority group there is a counter-attack in form of for example a good argument, a demonstration or pressing charges.
I am tired of listening to the endless discussion circulating the word “negerboll” because one argument for keeping the word is dumber than the other. Instead of just admitting that it is pretty nice sitting on the top of the brick dangling ones legs arguments such as; we have always used that word and it’s nothing wrong with it and why can’t we say “negerboll” but we can say white onions are being spit out. I sound pretty negative but I do have a theory that we are heading towards the right direction even though we are taking mini steps to get there.
There are white people who believe in human equality and are anti-racists. I don’t mean people who say they believe all people are worth the same and simultaneously are quiet when someone says something racist. I mean that there are people who are truly anti-racist and thereby fight for human equality. These people are willing to give up some of their power to give someone who belongs to a minority group power. These people are exceptionally rare but very important because the only way to combat racism is to even out the distribution of power amongst different groups in society which is something worth aiming at despite how much white rage we encounter.
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