1. In announcing plans to remove all references of race from Swedish law, Erik Ullenhag, Sweden's integration minister argued: "We also know that the fundamental grounds of racism are based on the belief that there are different races, and that belonging to a race makes people behave in a certain way, and that some races are better than others."

    The Stream spoke with Minister Ullenhag about this topic and here is what he had to say:
  2. The Stream phone interview with Sweden's Minister for Integration
  3. Twenty Swedish laws, including criminal code, student financial aid laws, and credit information laws contain the concept of race. A chief district court judge has been assigned with investigating how to best implement this decision which has been in the making for 20 years. 
  4. Austria, Hungary and France have also removed the term "race" from their laws. The Swedish government decided to scrap the word "race" because in Sweden the term implies the existence of subspecies which are superior or inferior compared to others.  
  5. However, the National Afro-Swedish Association (ASR) strongly criticised the proposal, arguing that the move will hinder the fight against racism. 
  6. "Race may be a social construct, but that doesn't mean it's not a reality," ASR spokesman Kitwamba Sabuni told The Local. "For us, this is just trying to take away the possibility to even talk about it. It's critical."
  7. Sabuni also said: 
  8. "How can you apply for a grant for fighting racism if the concept of race doesn't exist in legislation? Racism will disappear de facto from the agenda. The government is lost in a fantasy, a fantasy which counteracts effective work against racism."
  9. Racism and hate crimes in Sweden are on the rise, according to the Migration Policy Institute. 
  10. And over the past five years, the number of hate crimes directed against Africans and the Roma climbed by 24 percent and 21 percent, respectively. A report by Sweden's United Nations Association and other organizations found that of the more than 5,000 hate crimes reported in 2012, about 74 percent were motivated by racism or xenophobia.
  11. In May 2013, Stockholm witness several days of youth riots that began in an immigrant neighbourhood called Husby in reaction to allegations of police brutality. 
  12. In 2012, Sweden's culture minister was accused of racism for cutting a cake in the form of a naked black woman.  
  13. Y&W.TV | Race Storm: Swedish Minister Eating a Black Cake
  14. In another incident, a student was punished for complaining about a slave auction enactment at a university dinner. Posters of him as a slave in shackles that read, "This is our runaway nigger slave and he answers to the name Jallow Momodou. If you should find him please call this number," were plastered around the university.  
  15. In recent years, Sweden has seen several rallies against racism. In December 2013, around 16,000 Swedes demonstrated against racism and Nazism in Stockholm. 
  16. Protesters took to the streets of Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm after Swedish neo-Nazis allegedly attacked several people in March. 
  17. The Stream asked its online community about the impact of the government's decision to remove mentions of race from legislation. 
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