A right-wing Swedish MP has caused controversy after claiming on Facebook that the word ‘negro’ is not racist.
Annika Rydh of the Swedish Democrats explained to Smålandsposten, a local newspaper in her hometown, why she made the judgement call when asked about the term by a friend on the social networking website.
“No, for me a negro is a negro. There is nothing negative with that at all,” she said, adding that it is the context, not the word, which is important. “It shouldn’t be an insult to be called a negro. There is the red race, the yellow race, and then there’s me, who is of the white race. A negro is a negro. There is nothing demeaning with that,” Rydh added.
The newspaper claims several companies which used the word recently have been made to pay damages to black employees who reported them to the Swedish Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen, DO). Rydh believes, however, that such actions are overly sensitive.
“We do have freedom of speech in this country, after all,” she said, adding that most people she knows would not take offence to the word.
However, she did admit that the majority of these people are white. “No, I don’t know many negroes, there aren’t that many in our area,” Rydh told the paper.