When my mother drove me up to Stockholm we passed a lot of suburbs, and every time we passed a name sign I read the name out loud and nearly every time my mother commented: “There’s a lot immigrants, you don’t want to live there.”
At the time, it didn’t surprise me, I just nodded along but the more I thought about it, the more absurd it seemed. Because the fact is that Swedes avoid areas that are known to be inhabited by a lot of immigrants, especially Muslims (or those who look like Muslims). Refugees/Immigrants from the same countries or cultures tend to find each other and stay close, to feel a sense of their old home and closeness, particularly those who haven’t learnt Swedish or been able to get to know our culture. On top of this, or rather because of this and the poor integration, large subcultures appear and grow. There are Swedes that see these areas as barbaric and dangerous, and right-wing populist parties such as ‘The Swedish Democrats’ grow strong. And the more they grow, the more the Swedish population are fed with thoughts that immigrants are a danger, and the more they try to distance themselves from both refugees and immigrants. Sweden even closed our borders. This only causes the situation to get worse. Not only are there many people out there who need help, but the new citizens that already exist in Sweden made to feel unwanted and left out. Which causes them to keep together even more, so it’s all a downward spiral.
But I called my mother out on this. “Why are the areas bad just because there’s a lot of immigrants?”