Finland's prime minister said Nordic countries do a better job of embodying the American dream than the US

apocat

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,077
But the talk about how white Nordic is and us POC here not being visible, as many comments in this thread has focused on, is pure hyperbole. I'd argue it's harmful as everytime it's perpetuated that we don't exist it stirs up the crazies when we're increasingly becoming visible in the media landscape. I tried to show what I see regularly by just following news and politics in Norway. And it is no worse in representation than the UK or USA.

I feel many could learn that their local personal experience is not necessarily what it's like elsewhere. My experience as a POC in the USA (1 year), France (1 year), UK (10 year), and Norway (25 years) are very different. I've experience racism everywhere but to me it felt different, but I would never claim my experiences in the USA or France is indicative of what it's like to be a POC there. Nor would my experience as a mixed, Norwegian born POC be the same as the experience a non-norwegian born POC living here.

So criticism of someone from across the oceans with close to zero knowledge of the political situation, in any of the Nordic countries, nor what representation looks like in the media in these countries, is hard to let lie without any response. Since US culture is so prominent and embraced here, everytime it's mentioned how "pearly white" the Nordics are it encourage the rhetoric around us actually being overrepresented in politics, news media, when we're absolutely not.
I have to agree with this. It's not conductive to a constructive discussion to dismiss the nordic countries as monoliths of whiteness, because that simply doesn't correlate with reality. It simply perpetuates the myth of what the far right wants the nordic countries to be.

I'm not a person of colour, myself, but I very much want to normalise the multiculturalism that is growing in my home country. I want it to be a diverse place, and that viewpoint is under attack from the far right, with the swedish democrats leading the charge. It's a bummer to see their ideal image of my country perpetuated as true by people on this board solely because of ignorance.

Even tho, I do wonder: from what I've seen, examples of how good the quality of life can be in a Nordic country is always from people who made it, but can life still be good in a Nordic country if you haven't made it?
I'm not sure what you mean by "made it." There is povery in Sweden, and I'd assume that recent immigrants are overrepresented in that category, but we rank second lowest in the poverty index of the entire EU after Luxembourg. Quality of life is good for most that live here, but as has been reported from some posters in this thread, you will likely hit the ceiling quicker if you have the wrong name, which is absolutely down to racism.
 
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Idde

Member
Oct 27, 2017
315
Threads about Nordic wellware always turn into some rable rable about immigration, but is it really better being an immigrant in the states than in a Nordic country?

Even tho, I do wonder: from what I've seen, examples of how good the quality of life can be in a Nordic country is always from people who made it, but can life still be good in a Nordic country if you haven't made it?
I don't know if this counts as 'made it'', but looking at poverty numbers in the Netherlands (not a Nordic country, but western Europe since my Scandinavian google skills aren't up to par); 16 percent of the adult non western immigrant population lives below the poverty line. Which is a lot. Especially compared to the only 3,5 percent of adult non immigrants.
 

fushi

Member
Oct 26, 2017
125
The bans in this thread make me wonder if there actually are any Europeans among the mods, especially PoC ones. Because it clearly seems to miss perspectives like this:
But the talk about how white Nordic is and us POC here not being visible, as many comments in this thread has focused on, is pure hyperbole. I'd argue it's harmful as everytime it's perpetuated that we don't exist it stirs up the crazies when we're increasingly becoming visible in the media landscape. I tried to show what I see regularly by just following news and politics in Norway. And it is no worse in representation than the UK or USA.

I feel many could learn that their local personal experience is not necessarily what it's like elsewhere. My experience as a POC in the USA (1 year), France (1 year), UK (10 year), and Norway (25 years) are very different. I've experience racism everywhere but to me it felt different, but I would never claim my experiences in the USA or France is indicative of what it's like to be a POC there. Nor would my experience as a mixed, Norwegian born POC be the same as the experience a non-norwegian born POC living here.

So criticism of someone from across the oceans with close to zero knowledge of the political situation, in any of the Nordic countries, nor what representation looks like in the media in these countries, is hard to let lie without any response. Since US culture is so prominent and embraced here, everytime it's mentioned how "pearly white" the Nordics are it encourage the rhetoric around us actually being overrepresented in politics, news media, when we're absolutely not.
Which is an excellent post.
 

Mjester

Avenger
Mar 3, 2018
39
what do you mean by "made it"?
[...]

I'm not sure what you mean by "made it." There is povery in Sweden, and I'd assume that recent immigrants are overrepresented in that category, but we rank second lowest in the poverty index of the entire EU after Luxembourg. Quality of life is good for most that live here, but as has been reported from some posters in this thread, you will likely hit the ceiling quicker if you have the wrong name, which is absolutely down to racism.
By "made it" I was basically thinking of people like the ones shown in this video, which I highly recommend the posters in this discussion to watch! People who did higher education and have at least a college degree job and a stable income.

I don't know if this counts as 'made it'', but looking at poverty numbers in the Netherlands (not a Nordic country, but western Europe since my Scandinavian google skills aren't up to par); 16 percent of the adult non western immigrant population lives below the poverty line. Which is a lot. Especially compared to the only 3,5 percent of adult non immigrants.
My question actually pertained to the "happiness" of people who don't have a good or stable income or higher education. But to be honest here, I may be mistaken about what this thread actually is about.

And no, while the Netherlands is closer to the Nordic countries compared to the USA, it still isn't doesn't count as a Nordic example.
 

ryan13ts

Banned
Oct 28, 2017
582
But the talk about how white Nordic is and us POC here not being visible, as many comments in this thread has focused on, is pure hyperbole. I'd argue it's harmful as everytime it's perpetuated that we don't exist it stirs up the crazies when we're increasingly becoming visible in the media landscape. I tried to show what I see regularly by just following news and politics in Norway. And it is no worse in representation than the UK or USA.

I feel many could learn that their local personal experience is not necessarily what it's like elsewhere. My experience as a POC in the USA (1 year), France (1 year), UK (10 year), and Norway (25 years) are very different. I've experience racism everywhere but to me it felt different, but I would never claim my experiences in the USA or France is indicative of what it's like to be a POC there. Nor would my experience as a mixed, Norwegian born POC be the same as the experience a non-norwegian born POC living here.

So criticism of someone from across the oceans with close to zero knowledge of the political situation, in any of the Nordic countries, nor what representation looks like in the media in these countries, is hard to let lie without any response. Since US culture is so prominent and embraced here, everytime it's mentioned how "pearly white" the Nordics are it encourage the rhetoric around us actually being overrepresented in politics, news media, when we're absolutely not.
Well said.

I think we (Americans) tend to have our own perspective based on purely on what we've seen or heard of other countries, which is far from fair, especially if we've never been there or had any direct exposure to those places. Even though I'm a POC in America, I think the assumptions about Nordic areas being completely white and willfully without POC or representation is being unfair. The same goes vice versa about other countries making presumptions about places like America too. We should always at least be willing to hear things out from people that are actually from different places before we just take it as fact.
 

Mist

Love & Respect
Administrator
Oct 25, 2017
3,013
But the talk about how white Nordic is and us POC here not being visible, as many comments in this thread has focused on, is pure hyperbole. I'd argue it's harmful as everytime it's perpetuated that we don't exist it stirs up the crazies when we're increasingly becoming visible in the media landscape. I tried to show what I see regularly by just following news and politics in Norway. And it is no worse in representation than the UK or USA.

I feel many could learn that their local personal experience is not necessarily what it's like elsewhere. My experience as a POC in the USA (1 year), France (1 year), UK (10 year), and Norway (25 years) are very different. I've experience racism everywhere but to me it felt different, but I would never claim my experiences in the USA or France is indicative of what it's like to be a POC there. Nor would my experience as a mixed, Norwegian born POC be the same as the experience a non-norwegian born POC living here.

So criticism of someone from across the oceans with close to zero knowledge of the political situation, in any of the Nordic countries, nor what representation looks like in the media in these countries, is hard to let lie without any response. Since US culture is so prominent and embraced here, everytime it's mentioned how "pearly white" the Nordics are it encourage the rhetoric around us actually being overrepresented in politics, news media, when we're absolutely not.
I don't disagree with anything you've said, and I don't think it's in conflict with my post, either. The point of my post was not that there was no argument or discussion to be had, just that certain posts clearly missed the point of who was making these arguments in this thread, and why. Then we also have posts that are completely dismissing racism within Europe. There's a recurring issue in threads about Europe where people feel it is above racism, just because the history with racism isn't quite as front and centre.

You're right that the exact form that racism takes will differ from place to place, even within the same country. This goes for both individual and systemic racism. For example, I'm fully conscious that Black Americans have unique, and in many cases much more severe challenges than myself as a Black British woman from an African migrant and refugee background. But I've also faced some unique challenges myself in regards to xenophobia and Islamophobia here. I was 'fortunate' enough to grow up in a very racist white working class area (that is now instead very multi-cultural thanks to white flight), and have witnessed white working class people cutting off their nose to spite their face over the years here. Brexit being the latest example. Then there's far right groups gaining more power across Europe whilst using xenophobia and racism to gain that support. So even if the form of racism differs, it still exists on both an institutional and individual level, and it still can and is weaponised. It's also important to understand how and why the situation in America has developed to where it is, instead of viewing America as this strange phenomenon that has no correlations with European countries.

I do agree that people shouldn't dismiss the number of ethnic minorities and people of colour in these countries. And that it's important to not dismiss these voices, either.
 

Idde

Member
Oct 27, 2017
315
By "made it" I was basically thinking of people like the ones shown in this video, which I highly recommend the posters in this discussion to watch! People who did higher education and have at least a college degree job and a stable income.


My question actually pertained to the "happiness" of people who don't have a good or stable income or higher education. But to be honest here, I may be mistaken about what this thread actually is about.

And no, while the Netherlands is closer to the Nordic countries compared to the USA, it still isn't doesn't count as a Nordic example.
:(

We're only 180 kilometers away from Denmark!

As what you're thinking what this thread is about...depends on your definition of the American Dream. If it means; no hurdles on your way to unlimited freedom. I don'th think the Nordic (without Holland :() countries do best in that regard.

But I do think you stand a pretty decent chance of not starving to death if you don't have higher education.
 

TojoT

Member
Oct 30, 2017
126
My question actually pertained to the "happiness" of people who don't have a good or stable income or higher education. But to be honest here, I may be mistaken about what this thread actually is about.
It's an interesting question, and I'm not aware of any statistics or research on the happiness of those that haven't made it. But I looked it up and I might be able to provide some insight into what it's like not having made it through the data on people with low income in Norway (it'll be different in the other Nordic countries).

The percentage of people in Norway with low income is about 11%. Immigrants from Africa and Asia is highly overrepresented in this group with just under 40%, and it's even worse for refuges at around 47%. But low income is a relative term and, in Norway, it means a person makes less than 60% of the median income. The median income in Norway is 431 000 NOK, or 46 600 USD. So low income would mean a single adult earning about 28 000 USD or a two adult household making 56 000 USD (if I understand it correct).

I would fall into this group since I became unemployed last year. My income is now fully from the Norwegian social services while I'm looking for a new job. It covers my mortgage of the apartment I bought while employed and any utilities and food necessities. In comparison I was unemployed for a little while following the financial crises in 2008 when I lived in the UK, and to me that experience was much more stressful than now. Don't get me wrong, it sucks being unemployed, but I don't have to worry about losing my apartment, or not being able to pay for food and utilities (I even sometimes manage to buy a new videogame). But that's just my experience.
I Ihink we (Americans) tend to have our own perspective based on purely on what we've seen or heard of other countries, which is far from fair, especially if we've never been there or had any direct exposure to those places. Even though I'm a POC in America, I think the assumptions about Nordic areas being completely white and willfully without POC or representation is being unfair. The same goes vice versa about other countries making presumptions about places like America too. We should always at least be willing to hear things out from people that are actually from different places before we just take it as fact.
I agree. I've been very privileged to be able to live where I have. I know many of us Europeans are quick to jump on news stories from the USA that confirm our biases, and we're just as quick to insert our experiences into the news from USA. What's common though is that racism is very much present both in America and Europe. It just isn't identical.
 

Suur Tõll

Member
Oct 26, 2017
25
Estonia
Considering the venue where the original interview was conducted (Davos), the sensationalist nature of the Finnish PM’s statements makes sense. Especially for smaller countries, Davos is an easy platform to get attention and promote the virtues of your country, sort of like Super Bowl. Unfortunately, this also makes these statements typically high on calories and low on nutrients, just like the Big Game ad spots. :)

The upside is these statements sometimes generate interesting and eye-opening discussions like this thread. I have learned much reading the posts here. However, it was surprising seeing someone here get the hammer permanently for talking about what their grandparents were like.
 

BlackJace

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
3,482
I dunno, it just seems to me like some of y'all just want to have a thread where you can pat yourselves on the back. The pearl clutching about us dastardly Americans making premature judgements is pretty hilarious considering y'all are in like every thread about American issues jawing off about how fucked up the country is and how we should be more like yours.

If y'all were to pay attention to the Era staff meeting thread, you'd notice that this trend of European posters coming in being condescending about race has been a huge grievance for the black community.

Anti-blackness and xenophobia is fucking global. Own up to it and let's have good discussions on how we can ALL work to make things better. If you want to just treat these threads like an opportunity to get your potshots off, then I have no problem reminding you how "great" y'all are despite how many times you post that one rap group you have.
 

apocat

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,077
I dunno, it just seems to me like some of y'all just want to have a thread where you can pat yourselves on the back. The pearl clutching about us dastardly Americans making premature judgements is pretty hilarious considering y'all are in like every thread about American issues jawing off about how fucked up the country is and how we should be more like yours.

If y'all were to pay attention to the Era staff meeting thread, you'd notice that this trend of European posters coming in being condescending about race has been a huge grievance for the black community.

Anti-blackness and xenophobia is fucking global. Own up to it and let's have good discussions on how we can ALL work to make things better. If you want to just treat these threads like an opportunity to get your potshots off, then I have no problem reminding you how "great" y'all are despite how many times you post that one rap group you have.
I'll gladly discuss a multitude of aspects of vile racism and the expansion of right wing populism in my country. There are a lot to get through. I just don't agree with some of the points made in this particular thread. Making the nordic countries out to be less diverse than they are is something I really don't get the point of. I also don't think racism will be enough to dismantle the welfare model, though I guess we'll have to wait and see how that pans out.

If you want some real issues, how about how the very real way a not so subtle segregation is getting in the way of integration, how there is need for better representation for POCs or the fact that it's very difficult for more recent immigrants to get employed and starting a career. These are actual issues. The ones raised in this thread are not ones I recognize.
 
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Tacitus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,431
Threads about Nordic wellware always turn into some rable rable about immigration, but is it really better being an immigrant in the states than in a Nordic country?

Even tho, I do wonder: from what I've seen, examples of how good the quality of life can be in a Nordic country is always from people who made it, but can life still be good in a Nordic country if you haven't made it?
As someone who hasn't "made it" yet thanks to long bouts of illness, my quality of life is... ok.
I can't afford to eat out or go drinking much, or have the newest and flashiest thing, but I have a roof over my head, can afford food without worries and afford the meds I need and have something left over to save for the things I want or for unexpected expenses - which if necessary I can ask the govt to pay for.
Speaking of unexpected expense I barely missed the line for getting the govt to pay for my hospital stay because I had savings of my own. Still, paying for my hospital stay was only a bit over 200 for my appendicitis so I could pay for it with my meagre savings.
 

GreatFenris

Member
Apr 6, 2019
295
The bans in this thread make me wonder if there actually are any Europeans among the mods, especially PoC ones. Because it clearly seems to miss perspectives like this:

Which is an excellent post.
I'm gonna say, no, there aren't. The mods here allow some honestly hateful White Power narrative to be pushed about how snow white the Nordic countries is so that some posters can holler about evil nazi Scands while the nazis can go "See, Scandinavia should be white!"
Like, yeah we in Sweden have issues with immigration on both sides of the fence but I'd invite the mods or that Mammoth person from earlier in the thread to come to my hometown and see if it's a bastion of whiteness. Hell, my job have Texans, Pakistani, Africans, Thai, Albanians and more working at it.
 

Mjester

Avenger
Mar 3, 2018
39
As what you're thinking what this thread is about...depends on your definition of the American Dream. If it means; no hurdles on your way to unlimited freedom. I don'th think the Nordic (without Holland :() countries do best in that regard.
The moment I was typing my post I was assuming this thread was about the quality of life of Nordic inhabitants, but then I looked at the title again and was reminded that it was more about Finland embodying the American dream more than the USA, well, I wasn´t far off, but then again maybe the thread got sidelined and is now about racism in Europe?

Not that people can't talk about how under the surface xenophobia or racism would affect policies if situations were different, but still maybe the thread has gotten too sidelined?
 

Idde

Member
Oct 27, 2017
315
I dunno, it just seems to me like some of y'all just want to have a thread where you can pat yourselves on the back. The pearl clutching about us dastardly Americans making premature judgements is pretty hilarious considering y'all are in like every thread about American issues jawing off about how fucked up the country is and how we should be more like yours.

If y'all were to pay attention to the Era staff meeting thread, you'd notice that this trend of European posters coming in being condescending about race has been a huge grievance for the black community.

Anti-blackness and xenophobia is fucking global. Own up to it and let's have good discussions on how we can ALL work to make things better. If you want to just treat these threads like an opportunity to get your potshots off, then I have no problem reminding you how "great" y'all are despite how many times you post that one rap group you have.
Yes, I think the US should be more like western Europe in some regards. Namely the social security and relatively cheap access to higher education I think would benefit a lot of people in the US. When I see the graph of the poverty disparity between PoC and white people further back in the thread in the US I think that fucking sucks. (that goes for all the people living in poverty, btw) And I think the safety nets the Netherlands have could (partially!) combat that fucked up situation. Honest question, is that such a weird thing to think?

However, I also think a lot of the Netherlands (can't speak for other countries that much) would be a lot more interesting with more different cultures, which I like a LOT more about the US, and which is part of the reason I moved to Amsterdam (which is only fifty percent white).

And I'm not sure what you (and perhaps other black posters in this thread) want out of this thread? And I honestly mean this (again) as a sincere question. That people from Europe agree with people in this threadon the part that 'everyone is white'? That we agree that if Europe was as diverse as the US we'd be just as hostile? That if we were as diverse the social safety nets would disappear?

But sorry, those things all vary from untrue, to definitely but partially true, to impossible to know. And, again, honest question, do you feel it's condescending for me (and PoC from Europe) to explain that...the way you view Europe is not entirely accurate and perhaps a bit black and white (no pun intended). Just like the idea I (and perhaps other Europeans) have of the US is too black and white. Both situations across the sea are perhaps more complex than we'd be able to grasp. Are we being condescending by explaining how there are actually other colors than white in Europe? And yeah, I've read the Era staff meeting thread.

Also, and I'm not sure I should say this as white guy, and if I'm crossing the line just tell me....but I find it a bit...odd that you gloss over the views of PoC, and their visibility, in this thread with "despite how many times you post that one rap group you have." In a thread focussed on how little PoC there are in Europe. Again, I don't know if I have the right to say this as a white guy, or if I should just STFU, but I couldn't help but find this odd.

And I'll repeat myself. I'm completely owning up to the fact that there's racism in western Europe. Ranging from diet to full blown racist. And there are definitely people who don't want more PoC to come to 'their' country.

The moment I was typing my post I was assuming this thread was about the quality of life of Nordic inhabitants, but then I looked at the title again and was reminded that it was more about Finland embodying the American dream more than the USA, well, I wasn´t far off, but then again maybe the thread got sidelined and is now about racism in Europe?

Not that people can't talk about how under the surface xenophobia or racism would affect policies if situations were different, but still maybe the thread has gotten too sidelined?
I ultimately don't know what the thread was meant to be about and what it turned into.
 
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CoolOff

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
2,070
And I'm not sure what you (and perhaps other black posters in this thread) want out of this thread?
I've been considering posting more in this thread and came back around to this every time. I'm not quite sure what the goal of the discussion is at this point. The conclusion that European social security systems were developed during a time when the countries were more ethnically homogenous, and that the ethnic make-up of the US has been a factor in resistance from ruling whites to implement sweeping welfare policies seems non-controversial but also nothing that leads to any real insight.
 

BlackJace

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
3,482
I've been considering posting more in this thread and came back around to this every time. I'm not quite sure what the goal of the discussion is at this point. The conclusion that European social security systems were developed during a time when the countries were more ethnically homogenous, and that the ethnic make-up of the US has been a factor in resistance from ruling whites to implement sweeping welfare policies seems non-controversial but also nothing that leads to any real insight.
You'd think so, but apparently bringing this up just means you're a bitter American spouting right-wing propaganda.
 

oddjobs

Member
Oct 27, 2017
496
You'd think so, but apparently bringing this up just means you're a bitter American spouting right-wing propaganda.
Come on now. I think there were a lot of valid points of view from posters on all sides of the issue, but some of it was straight up hostile, belittling and in no way conducive to a fruitful discussion. And then of course a bit of white supremacist drive-by shitposting for good measure.

But stuff like this for example does nothing to further the discussion except tries to bait people to react:

Well, I do. They’d let their babies starve before seeing food in the bellies of non-Europeans. Black folk in particular. Sorry if this rubs you the wrong way but it’s the truth.

If you don’t intend to speak on my initial assertion then don’t bother quoting me.

I stand by my statement and I’ll flip it for you: If America had the ethnic makeup of Nordic nations taxes would be high and there’d be free healthcare, gun regulations, education, mass transit, pre-k and all that shit.

All them Nordic nations would lose their minds in record time if a Thanos-snap dropped off a bunch of minorities and they had citizenship.
 

fushi

Member
Oct 26, 2017
125
You'd think so, but apparently bringing this up just means you're a bitter American spouting right-wing propaganda.
If you are spouting complete misinformation on Nordic demographics and making the current PoC population of those countries out to be invisible, then you are pretty much doing just that.
 

BlackJace

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
3,482
Come on now. I think there were a lot of valid points of view from posters on all sides of the issue, but some of it was straight up hostile, belittling and in no way conducive to a fruitful discussion. And then of course a bit of white supremacist drive-by shitposting for good measure.

But stuff like this for example does nothing to further the discussion except tries to bait people to react:
I'll remember that the next time a thread about US issues is littered with "lol America" or offers nothing of discussion except to laugh at a shitty situation literally no one on this board wanted to happen.
 

Idde

Member
Oct 27, 2017
315
I've been considering posting more in this thread and came back around to this every time. I'm not quite sure what the goal of the discussion is at this point. The conclusion that European social security systems were developed during a time when the countries were more ethnically homogenous, and that the ethnic make-up of the US has been a factor in resistance from ruling whites to implement sweeping welfare policies seems non-controversial but also nothing that leads to any real insight.
Well, what you just posted (and what has been said in the thread before) is not something I've ever thought about before. So that in itself is a new insight for me :)

And yes, it could be true that if, at the time of development of secial security systems, countries would've had a more heterogenous population, those systems might've turned out differently.

Right now there is plenty of sentiment here that 'those foreigners only come here to leech off of our welfare'. So if there would've been more diversity back then, it could've gone different.

However, there are undoubtedly other factors at play that actually DID lead to the development of those systems, and I'm not sure how they would've interacted with, or been changed by, the presence of more PoC. I'm not a historian, so I don't even know what factors played a part in the development of those systems. And I don't know enough about it to speculate on those 'what ifs...'
 

apocat

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,077
Well, what you just posted (and what has been said in the thread before) is not something I've ever thought about before. So that in itself is a new insight for me :)

And yes, it could be true that if, at the time of development of secial security systems, countries would've had a more heterogenous population, those systems might've turned out differently.

Right now there is plenty of sentiment here that 'those foreigners only come here to leech off of our welfare'. So if there would've been more diversity back then, it could've gone different.

However, there are undoubtedly other factors at play that actually DID lead to the development of those systems, and I'm not sure how they would've interacted with, or been changed by, the presence of more PoC. I'm not a historian, so I don't even know what factors played a part in the development of those systems. And I don't know enough about it to speculate on those 'what ifs...'
It's possible that a more heterogenous population would have made the implementation of such policies more difficult or even impossible, nobody can say for sure. I'm personally not convinced, though.

As has already been pointed out in this thread, race is essentially a construct, with the conscious or subconscious purpose of othering your fellow human beings. And there has always been othering in every society. In Sweden, finns have already been mentioned, and why not add the sami and romani to that list. What is defined as people of colour varies. For a while, the irish were seen as such in the US. At the moment, being black or of a family with roots in a muslim country will make life enormously difficult for you.

In the end, the major resistance to adopting social welfare policies comes from the one minority that actually deserves to be scrutinized and viewed with suspicion. The rich, who rightly has been pointed out as exploiting otherness to sow discord between subgroups within the working class. If the existence of several minorities that at the time were undoubtedly scorned in the nordic countries were not enough to stop the implementation of social reforms, I'm not sure why the presence of other minorities would have. I'd argue capitalism is the real obstacle for that kind of progressiveness.

In the end, though. This is, as you say, speculation, and not really of any real worth. The very fact that Bernie Sanders is gaining traction as we speak should be enough to make it obvious that such reforms are at least within the realms of the possible in the US right now, despite the exceptional heterogenity of the american people.
 
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ecnal

Member
Oct 27, 2017
117
The discussion around race, population and cultural homogeneity in relation to Europe’s social welfare programs is really interesting.

With the recent influx of immigration from the Middle East, are any major European countries looking to restrict or reconstitute their benefits programs?

Additionally, I always find it interesting that US spending in Europe is never mentioned in relation to topics like this. I’m highly skeptical towards the notion that European countries would have as robust a social welfare system if it weren’t for trillions of dollars worth of US subsidies — primarily in the way of defense spending and guarantees.
 
Oct 25, 2017
13,428
Sweden
The discussion around race, population and cultural homogeneity in relation to Europe’s social welfare programs is really interesting.

With the recent influx of immigration from the Middle East, are any major European countries looking to restrict or reconstitute their benefits programs?
there has been some movement to restrict refugee immigration (to levels still far above that taken by usa on a per capita basis) but not really to restrict social programs as a direct consequ of immigration
 
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CoolOff

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
2,070
As has already been pointed out in this thread, race is essentially a construct, with the conscious or unconscious purpose of othering your fellow human beings. And there has always been othering in every society. In Sweden, finns have already been mentioned, and why not add the sami and romani to that list. What is defined as people of colour varies. For a while, the irish were seen as such in the US. At the moment, being black or of a family with roots in a muslim country will make life enormously difficult for you.
I hadn't actually thought about this. I do wonder how you would go about measuring homogeneity in the sense of "lack of othering", because as you say, even the Nordics have always had very marginalized groups, even back in the 20th century when the wide implementations of welfare policies were put forward. It would be interesting if there was historical documentation of politicians making arguments against certain groups being given access to healthcare for example. It wouldn't surprise me if it did happened against Romani people.

I think it's hard to argue against the fact that the othering of black people in America goes way beyond most if not all examples of European minority oppression in the post-war period though, which makes the whole comparison kind of ridiculous. It's one significant factor in a whole mess of different implementation scales, different ideas around the shared national identity, different racial dynamics, different overall political trends, and so on.

I can only speak for which side of the Atlantic would be where I think I would have the best shot at achieving the "American Dream" if I started out as a lower class white person, and it's easily a non-corrupt Northern European social democracy. I do completely agree with the US posters in here though who are frustrated by the "lol America"-drivebys in any news thread of a new shooting or similar, but I think that's a broader moderation discussion outside of this threads scope.
 
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Rupetta

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,124
Boston/Helsinki
Additionally, I always find it interesting that US spending in Europe is never mentioned in relation to topics like this. I’m highly skeptical towards the notion that European countries would have as robust a social welfare system if it weren’t for trillions of dollars worth of US subsidies — primarily in the way of defense spending and guarantees.
Just some historical reference here: Sweden and Finland have never received any defense guarantees from the US. Finland was allied with nazi Germany against the USSR during WW2 and eg. never received any money through the Marshall plan. In fact they paid off huge war reparations to the USSR and was the only country to pay off their war reparations in full (equivalent to $5.5 billion). So the reason any US aid and guarantees are not mentioned here is because they never existed...

I mean I understand social democracy is outside if the imagination of the American psyche but it is a bit of a reach to even implicitly suggest that the disposession was there to fund social democracies in the Nordics, in trillions (where do you pull these numbers from?)
 
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apocat

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,077
I think it's hard to argue against the fact that the othering of black people in America goes way beyond most if not all examples of European minority oppression in the post-war period though, which makes the whole comparison kind of ridiculous.
Oh, for sure. It's in an entirely different ballpark. I certainly can't disagree there.
 

Idde

Member
Oct 27, 2017
315
I think it's hard to argue against the fact that the othering of black people in America goes way beyond most if not all examples of European minority oppression in the post-war period though, which makes the whole comparison kind of ridiculous. It's one significant factor in a whole mess of different implementation scales, different ideas around the shared national identity, different racial dynamics, different overall political trends, and so on.
I agree. I was gonna say the Jewish people leading up to WW2. Perhaps. But post war I don't think anything comes close.
 

apocat

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,077
But post war I don't think anything comes close.
At the same time, it's important to remember that things were happening in the nordic countries long after WW2 as well. Both members of the sami and romani population in Sweden were sterilized for decades after the war, peaking in the fifties, but not ending completely until the seventies.
 
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RoadHazard

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,403
Probably true. If only nordic countries were more diverse.
Always this. Yes, our population is less diverse than some other countries, but:

25% of Sweden's population has foreign background (born in another country, or both parents were), the largest group being people from Syria.

It's not 100% ethnically homogenous white people here, as many of you seem to believe.