It has been observed that Africans and the Roma are the most racially-discriminated in Sweden.
There are widespread racism and discrimination which affect both those of immigrant background and the national minorities, but Africans and the Roma are most affected.
Delivering a speech at an event to mark Nigeria’s 56th independence anniversary in Stockholm, a human right activist, Margaret Garding, said research had shown that Africans and the Roma are most discriminated in the country
She remarked in her paper titled Racism And Discrimination: Challenges And Strategies In The Life Of An African In Sweden, that ”there are humiliation, exclusion and open racism” in the society.
Garding who described Sweden as a wonderful country of humanists like Dag Hammarskjold, Rauol Wallenberg and Olof Palme, however, remarked that living in Sweden also has its problems as we face the challenges of racism and discrimination on a daily basis.
She berated the society for ignoring the experiences of people and, in turn, accuse them of being over-sensitive while lamenting the failure to live up to the laws and expressed policies in Sweden.
According to her, the media are not helping the matter, as there are negative stereotypes of people of African descent in books, children’s books, films.
She also talked about discrimination in the housing sector, ”getting flats and also the challenges of living in a predominantly white area”
Garding catalogued all forms of discriminations against Africans, which include police, social services, in shops, in the street, in schools, harassment by neighbours but said reports indicated that people seldom report.
The activist maintained that discrimination and racism against people of African descent also affect the adopted, mixed children and the second generation, expressing that 2011 research showed that 48% men born in Africa were unemployed.
She said university education seldom improves chances of Africans to secure jobs since many may not even be called for an interview because of the sounding of their names.
Garding who has been a human right activist since 1978 lamented the alarming rate of discrimination and the inability of the state to stem the tide and stated that ” I carry the scars of having experienced the pain of racial discrimination – but also the strength and conviction that things can change if enough people demand change. I know the inherent power in solidarity and compassion”
She, however, encouraged Africans on the need to rebrand Africa and promote the richness of our heritage, culture and African achievements.