A few things about me

Being Black in Denmark

I am back, I had a good break away from here, wish I could say “its nice to be back” but alas….it is not so.

I thought blacks had it bad in England, but I gotta tell you, we have it worse here. Far much worse.

I hesitate to say this but it is a fact.. there is an insidious air of racism that lies under the surface of society. As a person of color you feel it and if one is not careful, it drags you down slowly. Danes are generally mistrustful of all people brown or black. The news especially print media is filled will endless stories of “foreigners” doing one thing or the other and 99% is negative. The general air is “if THEY were not here, IT (theft, murder, riots etc) would not be happening…. The only pages I now limit myself to are the job ad section.. thank you very much.
I’m not sure I can articulate what it is like being black here.. all I can say is that.. Denmark is not Black friendly at all. If you are black.. do not apply. I have been told it is worse in Germany and France.. what do I know, I have never lived there.. but at least you have black professionals in those countries.. in this country.. you should see how surprised people are when they learn of my qualifications and then smile and say.. “but ah, you don’t speak the language, it will be very hard for you to get work.” They are proving to be right on that front, but I shall not be beaten….

I find myself increasingly reluctant to bring up my children in this country. I fear that they will grow up with a “closed mind” that seems to plague most Danes….

Ok enough with the Denmark bashing… got my rant out… Like I said, if you are Black, come visit, just don’t come and live here.

 

October 25th 2013

Being Black in Denmark Part II 

I decided this would be the best place for this update.

7 years later I finally feel compelled to say something about being Black in Denmark. I still get random comments from readers and  after the last comment I decided to look into the statistics of this post.  This month it  recieved over 120 vists. That’s big for me. I never pulled numbers like that during my blogging era.

It all sounded good in my head, when I thought about writing this post. As I write  the thought running through my head is “what do you want to say, what has truly changed, is it relevant and is it at all related to you being black”

A lot has changed. I have two children now, own part of a mortgage, got a steady income, still married to a great guy, still love and like him yet I still pine for home.  I pine because I know and believe that my career life would have been different. Certain things would have been easier. My heart would have smiled a little bit more. I pine because I am at crossroads in my self journey. Trying to reconcile my dreams and my reality.

I feel that if I had not been in Denmark, my journey would have PERHAPS been easier. What do I know, PERHAPS NOT. I feel Denmark stripped me of my confidence and I haven’t fully gotten her back. My career died here and I have not been able to resurrect it. I still do blue collar work. I hate going into work everyday. Yet the job applications don’t pan out.. how come? Could be the economy, could be because I am black, could be my luck run out. Every other aspect of my life is perfect.

Socially…that is something else and that is all I am saying. Danes and non-Danes living here know what I mean.

There is a program on TV, a kind of docu/reality series called “Den Sorte Arbejde”, directly translated means “The Black Work”. It follows the life of a Nigerian couple who own a cleaning business. As a black woman it leaves a funny taste in my mouth, because when you watch this show, you are not laughing with them, but at them. Yet at the same time I feel such a sense of compassion and understanding because I get the way they are thinking, the  why and how. It’s complicated. Last week, I turned it off because it was too much, I was embarrssed for them and irritated by them.  The credit roll features 2 black sambo like caricutures and apparently that is ok…

Being Black in Denmark is complicated. That’s the best I’ve got for you 7 years on!

Chika Unigwe explains it best here

Before I go I would like to say that I personally know only 3 black african proffesionals. All three got thier jobs before coming to Denmark. One can hardly string a sentence in Danish, but works for a multinational. The other works for one of the UN branches here, does not speak Danish, another speaks enough Danish to get by. All the other black Africans I personally know work blue collar   and are not university degreed. I say this to give you a perspective of being black and educated in Denmark.

 

Comments on: "Being Black in Denmark" (43)

  1. Bakari Ali said:

    I would suggest you hop across the Oresund and try to find a job in Malmö. Denmark does have a socially repressive regime that makes it impossible even for Danes married to foreigners to live in that country together.

  2. I give all Africans who live in Europe my respect, it is very oppressive and difficult to make a living there.There are times I want to complain about America but I look at what you people have to go through and I give you marks.I hear Australia isnt much better.
    I wouldnt ever consider bringing up a child in the states so bringing one up in Europe where they would be subject to constant ridicule and oppression would never ever happen.
    Keep your head up!

  3. Nuff respect. As long as you stay enterprising the walls will fall.

  4. Bakari, thanks for the suggestion, but I have swore I am not moving to another non english speaking country EVER!!! I have had more than enough… you are right about the socially repressive regime….but there are ways of getting around it if one is enterprising enough.. kinda…

    Acolyte,…I so hear you…I have been to America more specifically to New York, Chicago and Philly.. and one of the plus points for me was the presence of different ethnicities on the streets , black, yellow, white, brown the whole mix and nice mixing pot…….. I will keep keeping my head up! asante

    Makanga.. asante.. !

  5. Most European are simply blind and narrow minded. I wish I had born coloured, rafiki!

  6. hello you all, i am new in europe dating someone but it just nugs me this issue of plastic smiles and i can see through it, please advice before i sink my black pride into it.
    p/s i love being coloured. thank God for that.

  7. Proud Mary Entertainment said:

    Hello,
    New here. Thanks

    Mary Aloe
    Proud Mary Entertainment

  8. Hey – I’m brown and in Denmark, and it sucks every bit as badly as you say. And when you say that you have doubts about raising kids here, oh believe me, I’ve had that thought every day for my ten years here. Who wants to subject their kids to this constant, grinding ridicule??

    Hey Manky, I wrote that at a time in my life when I was very angry, depressed and very anti-Denmark. I do not take back what I wrote, but now that I have lived here longer and been out in the work place, interacted with more Danes, I am less hostile towards Denmark. Denmark certaintly has a long long way to go in regards to race relations be it, black or brown.

    For me what I find empowering is knowing who I am and what I am worth and that is what I want to teach my child. People will always judge you, and yes in certain places it is worse than others but there none-the-less. As long as I know myself and my worth, then no one and their perceptions can bog me down.

    Am I making sense to you. I could go on.. but….

    • Why do you niggers expect everyone to be nice and friendly to you , just because you’re black? And if they are not, you assume they are “racist”. You come to someone else’s home, not the other way around. Be so fucking kind and learn their customs and traditions. This whole liberal “multi-culti” bullshit, obviously failed.
      Hordes of rampant towelheads riot on the streets of european cities, thousands of these immigrants come along,bringing all their huge families with them, draining the welfare system. What do you expect? Everyone to smile politley like nothing’s happened?
      I’m not a “racist”, i’m a realist. I’m all for “can’t we all just get along” thing, but it’s not the westerners who don’t want to get along,it’s the migrants. You don’t see white people coming to 3 world countries in packs, dictating their way of life. Be thankful,that you had the chance to get out your famine-ridden, war-torn, shithole of a country in the first place.

  9. Hey guys.. i agree with you… I have been living in this country since 1997 and I jnow these country very well. I have studied in Danish universities and I know how difficult it is for black people to live in this country. Manky, you are wrong, and I strongly disagree with you. You are a puppet and everything you say is a lie. I will never advice my black friends to move to this country….

    I love my black people…..

  10. vernon phelps said:

    yes its hard in danmark….but here you get free education…so educate your self to be a citizen of the world…..in the mean time you know that in danmark you have a place to live…you eat every day and maybe drink too….and when you find a girl to sleep with you think you are in heaven………………but take your time ….love and be loved…..but dont for get to educate yourself…….take classes that are free….use the internet….stay in touch with your family and friends around the world and at home and even in danmark….the black university of the world…………black history safari…….all the best to you and yours…

  11. [...] ah, you don’t speak the language, it will be very hard for you to get work.” http://mrembo.wordpress.com/2006/09/…ck-in-denmark/ Figures obtained from the Metropolitan Police show that racially aggravated crimes are as [...]

  12. Att. Black people living in Denmark,

    I’m a co-editor of a small paper for anthropologists at Aarhus University and we are currently in the process of putting together our next edition – an edition dedicated to the theme BLACK alongside the theme WHITE.
    Tonight I sort of stubbled across your forum here, while searching the web for inspiration on the theme black, and I must say it’s very interesting and of course a little disturbing to read your comments. I hadn’t a clue that it was that bad being black in Denmark – but I have sometimes thought about, that is, how it must feel.
    I believe that the various, individual answers to such a question, which this site has plenty of examples of, could serve as highly educational for other students and readers at our university – for them to experience some real firsthand accounts about what it is like to be black in Denmark.

    I therefore pose the question, whether anybody on this site, would be interested in sharing his or her experience(s) of being black in Denmark? It is perfectly fine to write in English and it doesn’t have to be long, but if you would like to write a full article, that would be great too. We’re interested in as many voices as we can raise out of the white silence.

    Our paper “Informanten”: https://sites.google.com/site/onlineinformanten/

    Please write to: petra.k.jensen@gmail.com
    or post on this site and add that I’m allowed to republish it in our paper

    Hope to hear from you!

    Best regards,

    Petra Jensen

  13. Sorry I just realised that this is one persons private blog..? But people seem to be following it, so still hope to locate some people interested in the above. Maybe Mrembo too? Please let me know and please tell me if you know of another place to post my request.

    I hope it is okay that I posted on this blog :)

    • Wow! I wrote that blog a few years ago and i still get comments 4 years on. Who would have thought that.

      Mr. Jensen i need sometime to read through the info on the link u have provided before i make a decision.

      Will get back to you sometime later this week.

      Any other black folks in Dk feel free to knock youselves out:-)

      • Yes that’s a pretty long lifespan for a blogpost ;)
        Thank you for taking the time to look at our paper, I appreciate it. And hope of course that you will want to contribute.

        Kind regards,

        (Mrs.) Petra Jensen

        PS. I was just made coeditor, so my name doesn’t appear in the previous editions. We also have a FB page, if you want to check us out there: http://studiebladetinformanten.wordpress.com/

  14. [...] Når man blev gjort opmærksom på sin farve, så var det som barn (dengang var der ikke så mange farvede børn endnu), fordi man var den søde lille brune sag og senere var det så knap så hyggelige kommentarer, der gjorde, at man følte man ikke var “som de andre”. Du sidder måske i din “bobbel” og tænker – “jamen vi har da ikke racisme i Danmark” – lad mig så lige ryste dig ud af den vildfarelse – det kan du tro, vi har. Det kan hedde sig nok så meget på overfladen, at det har vi ikke, og du er lige så meget værd som alle andre, men når det kommer til stykket, skal du nok stadig få bemærkninger, som andre synes er hysterisk morsomme (selvom du står lige ved siden af), om farve/race, der enten nedgør folk som race betegnet eller bare fordi de er sorte. Ad dette se venligst dette blogindlæg! [...]

  15. I’m sorry to read all this but it’s hardly a surprise to me. The reason why I found this post is because I’m dating a Kenyan girl and I wanted to find some info for her to see about how other foreigners has felt about staying in my home country.
    I know that scandinavians like to think of them selves as open and educated and tolerant people but at the same time as we brag about how well we speak english it seems to be a HUGE problem if it is in a job situation where the applicant has a slight african accent.
    I like my country, I think it’s great but i’m not always so proud of my people.
    In the last couple of years I have made an effort to open up to other nationalities and races in Denmark. It has been an interesting experience. I have put my self in situations where I have been the minority at parties and social gatherings. It’s not easy to get used to being the “kartoffel” (danish for potato, what some blacks and browns call white danes), but I like putting my self in other peoples situation.
    I know that even though my girlfriend has a bachelors degree she might not get a job till she speaks danish really really well or maybe till the color wears off…………..
    She is a nice and talented and energetic girl so I’m sure she will get something to do if we decide to settle down here in Denmark but I must say I doubt that she will get the job that her level of education deserves.
    So yes, I would really like to see people change!!
    …but first things first, I’m going to Kenya soon for the first time. Let’s see how tolerant they are. I hope I will not be treated like a ATM machine or some kind of male mother Teresa that will come to feel the hungry and hand out cars and Iphones.

    The world isn’t perfect but I’m gonna dive into it….. Peace Ya’ll and Eid Mubarak and Merry X-mas

    :p ;)

    • Seven years later and this post is still getting some play! I have been thinking of doing another post about being black in Denmark. The spin on it would be “7 years later, what, how do I feel and think”

      Part of me is lazy, another resigned and apathetic, can’t be bothered to write anything

      I wish you and your girlfriend all the best. If you do indeed get married and decide she will move here, be ready to deal with a lot of stuff.

      Good luck on your trip to Nairobi and depending your your girlfriend’s family’s financial status and circles, you may or may not be treated as an atm :-) There are a good number of kenyans who have it going on financially!!!

  16. Interesting read. My co-worker once remarked the exact opposite and said in Denmark they LOVE black people. I dont really consider myself black, I consider myself mulatto (like Obama) but visually, most people would loosely call me black. After my co-worker’s revelation, I just decided to poke around and see. Google returned a few Denmark Interracial Dating websites, but then I stumbled upon this page amidst those. Ah well, I guess I’ll keep on looking.

    • Couldn’t help but think, what are you looking for?.

      I know of some blog posts about being black in Denmark, only thing is that they are in Danish.
      Oops, I have not been blogging for a long time and seems like I got rid of the links, can’t find them and can’t remember the blog names at all.

  17. why do all the blacks want to immigrate to other nations anyway if your so proud of being black why not take that pride to your native regions and reform those crap hole nations instead of destroying the ones you come to.

    • Now how am I even supposed to start answering this… nah.. can’t be bothered!
      Been there, done that, discussion got old.
      Mrembo

    • white folks are so stupid. willeta jones yall are savages why dont yall go back to the caves yall came from and eat raw meat like yall always do.

  18. and by the way I am black too

  19. I’m curious as to why you live in Denmark if the racism is so bad? And is it possible for you to move to another country where it’s not as bad? What’s keeping you there?

    • what is keeping me here? The answer is in the blog. Moving is not an option now but could be in the future perhaps earlier than I am even anticipate. But yes moving is something I would consider and considering.

  20. it is horrible and it is not your job to educate a whole country but I think it is important that you are in Denmark and seen to be thriving. I have lived in a small minded part of London for some years now and although I still over hear some obvious and open racist conversations (and I mean racist not just open to interpretation) I feel like it is important just to be here and not just back down and disappear or pretend to be less than you are or have achived because we exist we have much to contribute as positives to this world and it really has to accepted.

  21. Nationalist said:

    I hope you and your children will die in pain, fucking niggers. Why do you keep coming to white countries? Even YOU know, we do NOT want you here, so why you fucking monkeys don’t go back on trees. We all hate you with all our hearts but you are just too dumb to understand and move here anyway. I’m really looking forward to another likenazi movement, when we will fucking burn you, kill you, gas you.

    DIE black bitch.

    • You are really a sad person. Idek what your situation is but I can tell that you live a sad life. You’re extremely small minded and was probably raised by that by your parents, even though that gives you no reason to attack someone you don’t even know just because they’re black living in a country you feel they shouldn’t be apart of. She has said herself that living in Denmark is hard and she has faced racism so you don’t have to come on here harassing her even more. As a black woman myself, I aspire to visit Europe and I hope no ignorant people would come up to me and say I’m a “monkey” and all that. We are supposed to help each other rise up, expect you are helping to bring us all down. If black people are not personally bothering YOU than leave us alone. Let people live their lives without being judged for their skin. You don’t know her situation, you know her skin color. Open up your eyes and accept others !

    • Nationalist why dont yall savages go back to the caves yall came from. all white people have ever done was kill and steal. yall stole the land from the native americans, and if you read your history you will see that we were here first. i the USA. whites are devils, and all they mean to do is destroy. every country yall visit yall destroy.

    • At Nationalist,
      So I am supposed to what now, cry, be angry ,sad and afraid because you came out with all your wrath and racism- This is so old, tired and boring. Try again.

  22. Nationalist: you are so idle. you are a looser and live with fear. You are embarrassing the white community. Grow up!!

  23. Heya all,
    Was just looking for some info about being brown or black in Danmark. Wow been reading all this, I really feel bad about this idea now damn, my girlfriend lives in the South East and we were planning as she can’t travel now, that I will move there. I just feel bad now,
    and try consider and think my decisions again though we both really in love and want to settle our life together, sad that racism exist and will surely always do. But didn’t expect in 2014 this color barrier was also so North in Europe, or guess only my lack of knowledge about Northern countries weigh light in the balance. And well I only speak 4 languages and non from Northern countries. Ok guess, best way is to go there for few days instead of moving to install, or maybe get a better destination, where the white people have been travelling a bit around the world, and realize that other cultures and colors exist, and that they all not murderers, dealers, or only good to sweep floors or work in waste gathering shits. Narrow minded is hard to live with or around, now if it’s a full population, no wonder would feel unwanted. Saw racism in many countries been in like 20 different countries in the world, lol and the one I chose to settle seems the worst solution now, back to my plans.
    Sorry for my elglish, just a bit surprised and sad about all this.

  24. Black dude! said:

    Denmark does not count Black people (people called *neger* in Denmark or (persons with sub saharan african features) in statistics therefor has little to protect them against racism such as Afrophobia or Anti Black Racism as instructed by the EU and UN? Black people are outlines in the EU as being high risk to racism yet Denmark does not implement any special tools as other European nations have to protect them. you can be beaten up and called Neger and the police with only file it as assult and not a hate crime!

  25. blackguy said:

    like how bad is it really??
    i was born in Austria and things have been tough here too
    for instance hatecrimes against blacks and being called ‘neger’
    but lately things changed… you see more and more black people in public adds and the newspaper and working in good jobdescription
    im planning to do my master degree in denmark ? would you advice me to do it over there?

    • Blackguy,!
      I do not think it would be wise of you to make your decision based on what you have been reading here. Do not get me wrong, my experience of Denmark as described in my post is real and true. That said I feel that I cannot persuade nor disuade you from coming to Denmark. It has to be your own decision based on more research than this simple blog. In terms of seeing black people in the media, Denmark is eons and eons behind and the image of the black african is still one filled with negativity but one also needs to take into consideration that black people make up a very very small percentage of the society as a whole so I guess our buying power is not seen as significant enough to warrant ads having black people!

  26. Interesting thread and it is great to see people speaking out. I must add that one element that allows alot of racism towards black people to excist is the devision and unwillingness of the black populations to unify and effect change for black people and part of that is how Denmark gives out money and how dissunified people of african descent are. There are real human rights violations being committed against black people in denmark but to tackle them black people must be prepared for the work and effort it takes and partiipate in the change.

    Please find out what African Empowerment Center is doing and for your support in achieving!
    http://www.africanempowermentcenter.org
    http://www.facebook.com/AEC.CPH

    Solidarity!

    • Victor,
      I feel it is important to keep in mind the sheer number of black people in Denmark. According to Google, Denmark has a population size of 5.6mil, 95% of that being ethic Danes, 3% other Europeans, 1% Asians, 0.5% Africans and 0.3% others??!!

      Statistically Black people or people of African origin do not have a strong voice because our size is so insignificant economically and otherwise. (though the media would have you believe we are responsible for all the ills of this society) That said, I am in no way suggesting that because we are so few in numbers, discrimination should be allowed to run rampant.

      I would also like to stress that as an African living here, I am in NO WAY LOOKING FOR NOR SOLICITING FOR handouts of any form or nature whatever the name attached ala affirmative action etc. I firmly believe in being an upstanding contributing member of whatever society I am. And yes,

      My long disclaimer out of the way, let me tackle what you stated about the unification of Africans here.

      If as tribes in individual countries we are unable to unite, how do we expect the Diasporan Africans to unite. The expectation is a bit unrealistic in my opinion. When we come here, many times the only thing we have in common is our color and the racism we face, apart from that, culturally, socially etc we are so different that bridging that gap becomes mission impossible.

      I feel that as Africans here in Denmark, our job is to shift and change perceptions of who we are by the way we live and thrive in communities here. We must also challenge racism in a manner that is none violent or combative. The racism that I have experienced here in not “in your face” but an institutionalized, socialized kind. I could give examples from as early as 2 weeks ago.

      All that said, we must also live. Live life and be happy and be proud to be as black as we are because it is fabulous being African no matter what anyone says or thinks!

      Thanks for the links.

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