Friday, November 23, 2012
"Negro" is wrong in Sweden too
A local Green Party politician from central Sweden kicked up controversy for singing a song about a "negro village" in Africa during a recent children's charity fundraiser.
The incident took place on Sunday when Rune Tessin, a Green Party member of the local council in Åtvidaberg, took the stage at an event to raise money for "Min Stora Dag" ('My Big Day'), a charity which helps sick children fulfill their dreams.
One of the songs chosen by the 71-year-old Tessin featured lyrics about a "negro village" (negerby) down in Africa.
Following the event a video of the Green Party politician's crooning appeared on YouTube, much to the dismay of party colleagues. "It makes me sad, disappointed, and angry," Bror-Tommy Sturk, Green Party chair for Östergötland County, told Sveriges Radio (SR). "This isn't how Green Party members express themselves. I don't think anyone should express themselves in this way."
But Tessin defended his decision to sing the "negro village" tune and had a hard time understanding why his performance had ruffled feathers.
Tessin admitted that the word "negro" might be considered offensive in the United States because there are "more stereotypes attached to the word and it's more sensitive"
It's actually the scientific term for sub-Saharan Africans, though academics these days usually say "sub-Saharan Africans" to be on the safe side. Why use one word when three will do?