All posts filed under: Battling Stereotypes

Sweden’s Santa Lucia celebrations marked by epistemic violence against children of African decent

Ask the average Swede what the Santa Lucia celebration is about in terms of its historical/religious significance; chances are they won’t be able to give you straight forward answer because the details escape their memory. Like the below video mentions, when it comes to this Swedish tradition, “the why is less important than the how”. This morning (13 December 2016), thousands of children (and adults)–including my own three year old son–celebrated Santa Lucia by singing songs and eating pepparkakor (i.e. ginger bread cookies) and lussekatter (i.e. saffron buns) afterwards. Unfortunately, however, this year (around the 4th of December) saw an ugly controversy emerge when a Swedish department store called Åhléns posted an advertisement on its Facebook page that featured a Swedish child of African descent wearing the usual costume worn by children on Santa Lucia (a white robe and a crown of candles). The picture received a storm of racist comments (and love by anti-racists) to the point where  Åhléns removed the picture in consideration of the child and his family. Apparently, some within the Swedish society …

The Average Black Girl: Sick and tired of the stereotyping

I was once asked by a reader of my blog about what my stance is in regards to making negative stereotypes positive; this was my answer: To be perfectly honest with you, I have a hard time thinking of a stereotype that can be made positive. There might be some that are not as harmful as others, but still are quite negative because in their nature, stereotypes are not true depictions of people but imagined ones. And personally, I don’t know of any stereotype that truly characterizes all people of that stereotyped group, whether positive or negative, because in the end, people are individuals entitled to their own opinions, beliefs and practices. For instance, some people think I’m a musician or singer because of my hair. Now, that’s not such a bad thought, and I do enjoy playing the guitar and singing… but if someone concludes that I am something that I am not just by looking at my hair, that also implies that they can’t or are not interested in seeing me as who …