Sofyan Aswad: ”Another man shouted ”Bloody nigger” at me”

On 25th May George Floyd draws his last breath lying on a pavement in Minneapolis, USA. A white policeman is pressing his knee mercilessly into the back of his neck. Floyd gasps, ”I can't breathe2 before he dies and becomes a victim of 2the racism epidemic”. But there is racism here in Sweden, in Kristianstad, too.
Sofyan Aswad
Foto: Sofyan Aswad

It took only a few hours until the streets in many American towns and cities exploded with rage, so that the whole world could hear what the policeman did not hear.

quote
I remember the first time I encountered open racism. It was in the town, in the middle of Kristianstad
Detta är en personligt skriven text i mosaik.kristianstadsbladet. Åsikter som uttrycks är skribentens egna.

We have all a clear duty to counteract xenophobia and racism in our everyday lives. Racism expresses itself differently on different levels, and the consequences are serious.

There are similarities between Sweden and the rest of the world. Sometimes this can be hard to see.

A girl with a face-mask during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in London
Foto: Frank Augstein/AP/TT

I remember the first time I encountered open racism. It was in the town, in the middle of Kristianstad, and I was doing a survey for Kristianstadsbladet.

Somebody asked, with surprise and criticism in their voice, ”Do you work as a journalist on Kristianstadsbladet? And then he asked, ”Do you have a press card?”

I showed him my press card. He just walked off.

quote
One man spat on the ground

A woman went up to the security guards and said, ”He's conning people. He's taking down their names and taking photos of them!” On of the security guards came with her and asked me, ”What are you doing here? Why are you taking photos of people?” I answered that I was a journalist, and the woman asked, ”Where's your press card?” Then she added, ”There are a lot of people like you who don't tell the truth”.

Ceremony in remembrance of George Floyd in North Carolina, the state where he was born.
Foto: Ed Clemente/AP/TT

A lot of people were unwilling to talk to me. One man spat on the ground when I said I was a journalist conducting a survey. Another man shouted ”Bloody nigger” at me.

Racism is everything from behaving thoughtlessly or avoiding people who are considered to be different or less worth, to various forms of harassment and exploitation or hindering women from working and being part of society.

quote
It goes completely against our values – discrimination is against the law

In today's society immigrants are often discriminated against in questions of housing, education, health and jobs. The question affects our lives as immigrants and has a lot of negative effects.

It is important to point out whenever expressions of racism or xenophobia occur in daily life, in school, at work, on the football pitch or anywhere else. It goes completely against our values – discrimination is against the law.

quote
We are all human beings. We are all the same species, living on the same planet

There are no races that are inferior or superior, there is nothing to condone treating people differently because of race or colour, ethnic or religious background.

Xenophobia and racism must not be allowed any form of legitimacy. Racists who strive towards a nation with a homogenous population must be curtailed. Their propaganda has led to a hardening of the political climate.

We are all human beings. We are all the same species, living on the same planet, a family of humans sharing the same fate, and it is our duty to be ”united like one soul”.

Protest against racism and the police intervention against the black American George Floyd In Canada’s capital Ottawa in June.
Foto: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/AP/TT