Opinion 29/8-11 7:24 76

Comment: Racism in Denmark

Photo: Eva Chan
Asian-American Eva Chan scolds Danes for disguising their racism as ‘humour’

I am an Asian-American who lived in Denmark for two and a half years. The first time I heard people saying (in reaction to learning that I can speak Chinese): »ching chong, ching chong, etc…« to my face, I thought that I had been transported to the Twilight Zone or some distant elementary school playground.

Sadly, I was amongst so-called educated Danes. The excuse for the behaviour was to chalk it up to Danish humour and not racism. I chalked it up to ignorance. Never mind how disrespectful and demeaning it was to me. Danish humour, REALLY? I wasn’t laughing and neither was my husband. I was so stunned the first couple of times that it happened and vowed that the next time it inevitably did, I would say something.

Read also: An African-American's experience with racism in Denmark.

Fast forward a couple of months later. I’m buying something to eat at the SDU swimming pool kiosk with a friend of mine from China. The man behind the counter takes our money and then asks where we are from. My friend tells him she’s from China and within seconds we are treated to the offensive sounds of what he must think is Chinese.

Ask the minorities

I should have bowed and said: »OHHH, so sorry I don’t think I speak DUMBASS!«, but I didn’t. I understood that he is ignorant and needed a different response. I looked at him and said: »That’s really offensive,« Instead of apologising or inquiring about my response, he turned away from me and didn’t say anything at all. He wouldn’t even look at me.

Denmark’s minorities have not had a history of organising to speak out against unequal treatment or disrespect. There has not been a social movement, but watch out Denmark, it will come! I completely agree with another commentor on this site when he points out that »it doesn’t matter if THEY (Danes) find it offensive. What matters is that someone else does,«

The problem is that many Danes don’t seem to think so. This is a country where many Danes arrogantly declare that there is no racism because THEY don’t think there is. I am sure you will get a different answer if you were to ask the minorities.

Do Danes want a heterogeneous society?

I think that there are many layers to this onion, the biggest being ignorance and arrogance. In Denmark, some Danes think that their freedom to use a racial slur towards minorities supersedes that minority’s equal right to exercise their own freedom of speech in objecting to being treated that way. If Danes have the right to use offensive language, then minorities have the right to say it offends them. Both are exercising their freedom of speech, right?

When minorities speak up, we are often brushed off as being overly sensitive, not understanding Danish humour, or not respecting the democratic ideal of freedom of speech by being politically correct. Some of these are the same people who wave the banner of freedom of speech, which is a freedom of expression, while at the same time supporting the banning of head scarves, which is also a freedom of expression. Where is the outcry there? I smell double standard.

Anyway, Denmark is a total mess when it comes to race relations. They have not come to terms with what it means to live in an increasingly heterogeneous society. This homogenous society started letting people into the country before it had decided if it even wanted to become heterogeneous.

Hopes for a movement

To people in Denmark, I suspect that racial slurs are acceptable to say because most have never said them to someone who isn't a Dane, who isn't in on the 'joke'. These Danes become desensitized to the impact of their words because of their mostly homogenous social circles. How often do you see Danes with a truly diverse group of friends out and about?

Anyone remember Lars Von Trier's debacle at Cannes a few months ago? How many people do you know who said that people just didn't understand his Danish humor or Danish sarcasm? How many of those people who said that were Danish?

My hope is that as Denmark becomes more heterogenous, we will see an emergence of a movement. Minorities in Denmark will someday get past their own differences in order to organize and have a voice that speaks out against their treatment in society and the media. I would like to see more bridges and coalitions. Hopefully then will we also have more Danes that speak up on behalf of minorities as well.

Until then, minorities in Denmark need to stand up and define themselves or Denmark will try to do the defining for them. I hear the term 'politically correct' thrown around way too liberally in these types of discussions. I don't think many people in Denmark understand why or how the terms African-American, Asian-American, and Mexican-American actually came about. If they even care to know, these terms and others are a result of the desire to shed derogatory and colonial names given to them in the past by slave holders, imperialists, or what have you. Everyone should have the right to define themselves. Isn't that a freedom of expression?

To follow up on the debate on whether or not Danes are actually racist, you can read the study on Danish racism and xenophobia carried out by the two professors from the University of Copenhagen.


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Is the Danish sense of humour just an excuse for racism?


Closed for comments

By Mike Young on 14. March 2013, 8:13.

This thread is closed for further comments.

Mike Young
Editor, University Post

Feel free to leave if you

By Danishape on 7. March 2013, 12:17.

Feel free to leave if you can't take Viking humour. Adapt or exit.
I am a Dane (pure) who have lived in multi-cultural Australia for many years. Australians are not less racist than Danes. Fact.

I stumpeled on to the page by

By Charlotte on 3. March 2013, 21:11.

I stumpeled on to the page by coincidence - and I did a little research on the subject in general. I'm must admit that I am deeply shocked by how, apparently, a lot of people view Danes.

Humor aside, I do not believe that we are a rasist nation as a whole.
You will meet idiots all over the world, that I hope we can all agree on that... And there is absolutely no excuse for calling someone by the N-word and stuf like that!

But the lack of understanding of my countrie's culture really surprises me. Born and raised in a tiny country like Denmark, I have a natural thirst for seing the world, and have so far visited quite a few places on 4 different continents. I ALWAYS have a lot of respect for the culture in the country I am visiting - and I of course!, adapt. Because that is how my Danish parents raised me. I adapt, regardless of me being able to understand it.

as an example: Thai culture, does not appreciate emotional outburst in public, which was a big challenge for me while backpacking through there being a bit of a hot head, but I of course keept my frustrations to me self. Like I respected how a lot of the Italian population is extremely flirty, like I respected that I was almost attacked be every single salesperson in Mexico City, like I respected how Finns can be a bit reserved, like I respected that you will have trouble in France if you don't know French, and so on and so forth, like I respected every single culturel difference I have blessed enough to experience around the world so far.

But I do not make an article about how the people from the countries I have visited have treated me poorly! I do not accuse them of being wrong, simply because I did not agree with their culture.

I am very aware of the cultural differences there is ind the world - maybe some of the people writing all of these extremely hatefull things about Danes, should try to show me the same courtesy when you some to my country. We are a nation, who are devoted to our country, and the social and educational system that we pay a lot of money to maintain. We are protective of our resources, and that I will never apologize for! And I should never have to.

Every country is different, and I hope every country will keep being different - just.. respect whose differences, whether you understand them or not.

Most of the Nordics are ignorant

By Balthazar Rodrigue Nzomono-Balenda on 5. February 2013, 13:50.

I am not here to be politically correct, I tell it like it is: Danes, Norwegians, Finns, Icelanders and Faroese are a mong the most ignorant people in the entire Western world, you cannot fix what you do not admit to be broken. Nordic countries, except for Sweden need to take an honest look at their way of thinking and themselves, do they want to be hetrogenious societies or do they want to be homogenous societies? If those countries use freedom of expression as an excuse to use the N word or calling a Black man a Negro, and other deragatory names to other people of color, then immigrants in Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland and even the Faroe Islands have the right to look down on them, judge them and call them all vile names in the book. I am myself an immigrant from Denmark who is from France, originally from the Republic of the Congo, I do not allow Danes to walk over me at any cost. If they don't want people in their countries, then they should also recommend their fellow Danes who live abroad to come back to DK, N, IS, FIN and FO, then they can isolate themselves from the world. This is a trust issue, the Danes and other groups of people I have mentioned here have a very low self worth because of the Jante Law, a code of conduct those Nordic countries live by. If they cannot even trust themselves, then they cannot get along with others. Look at the way the Danes treat Greenlanders, look at the way the Norwegians and the Finns treat the Sami people. On the surface they feel a sense of pride, beneath the surface they're nothing and not worth my time.

Having read through most

By Kris N on 5. January 2013, 6:57.

Having read through most comments and of course the article, there is simply just a point where the, without knowing a better word for it, bullshit detector ticks off for me.

I am Danish and half Norwegian I've lived in Ireland and the US during my childhood and i currently study Humanities in english at RUC. There is nothing i hate more about my country than our lacking ability to adopt to a multi cultural society.

Many people in their comments write as if there was somehow a mutual agreement in Denmark that we were supposed to have a multicultural society, but this is sadly not the case. Denmark has a state religion an a established culture which you have to adopt.

Like i said this has always bothered because that was exactly how i felt when entering the states "WELCOME TO 'MERICA WHADDOYA MEAN YOU HAVE SOCIALISM IN YOUR COUNTRY YOU COMMIE PIG?!" As also stated by others: Ignorance and racism is everywhere.
What finally ticked me off with these comments and this post were the many examples of how some people felt mistreated or were met with ignorance I will use the authors example:

I should have bowed and said: »OHHH, so sorry I don’t think I speak DUMBASS!«, but i didn't

Oh, so you recognize there is a problem, but you didn't do anything about it? Other comments mentioned they had lived here for decades being treated poorly, but no mention about changing anything, so here is my argument:

If you've lived here for years or you are treated like that and you don't respond to it, then you deserve it. It's that simple. I say this because I feel offended when i hear these stories. Not because it makes me ashamed of my country, i know this about my country already, but because when I argue with ignorant Danes and get into huge discussions that often makes people view me as a over sensitive wuss, if then the people whom i feel i am representing are apparently just sitting on their asses at a university forum complaining how they've taken it from behind for a decade without doing anything about it, then isn't it all just pointless then? As the author states, we do need a movement, but that movement doesn't just magically appear. It starts with people changing the dialogue in everyday life, and the only people who can truly do that, are the immigrants.

When I hear this "Denmark just sucks everyone talks about my brown skin and i just have to laugh about it even though it makes me furious" at that point i want to say: "go home". Not because i don't want you here, believe me, i would love a multi-cultural Denmark more than anything, but because if you don't want stay here and help me create this Denmark, but just want to whine about how stupid of a country it is, well then you sound like the ignorant hypocritical bacon munching cap-with-hands-that-clap, beer drinking, tobacco smoking, football chanting stupid Danes that you're criticizing.

I think every time an immigrant is treated poorly in Denmark and a Dane does not address the person who is ignorant, he or she should feel like they're contributing to the ignorance, because they are: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" as Edmund Burke said. This however, goes both ways. If you are treated like crap in this country, but all you do is take it and then complain about in safe haven, then you're not helping me help our cause and you're definitively not helping yourselves.

Interesting shocking notions

By Tamara on 25. January 2013, 8:32.

Interesting shocking notions have been made, and I must it is sad, but it'll always remain sad because them who are victims are not brave enough to stand up for what they believe in, and so I will have to agree with Kris N.

Racism is, if I may term a 'global epidemic'. Everyone, everywhere has been teased, belittled,ridiculed,violated etc etc during the course of history.

Why make mention of something that's imperative and fabricate bravery only after? Surely you'd fight back wisely if it meant anything of deep measure, right then, right there.. Right?

No matter where you go in the world people will always have something to say, whether you doing good or not.

People are hostile or 'racist' even to their own kind, even to themselves. It's a global thing. My goodness, it's basic human nature. I just quite frankly think you need to know who you are in order to defend your worth. If you know who and what you are as an individual, that is enough strength, that is truth. The rest is mere opinion. How do you perceive yourself? That's the real question here.

Kris N, you going to make one brilliant humanitarian.

In order to change our world, the change must firstly commence in the self.
If you want to improve the globe.. When last did you improve you? It all begins with you. People say things out of a lack of experience, knowledge, insight etc etc. It may be self-esteem, long over-due vexation, past hurt catching up consciously from the sub-conscious, non open mind, environment...
Whatever it be, there is always a root.

I suppose talking about it helps in terms of closure. And that's a good thing. But, from what I've observed and in accordance to my experience... Talking is just words until walking brings the words into action. It's like the body without a beating heart. Meaningless.

My name is Tamara, I'm from South Africa and It look forward to studying my Masters, Honours in Denmark. Who knows what things may come. Imagine if everything and everyone were the same. Would life have meaning? What great worth would you have? Think about it. Be the change you want to see. =)

Update on Chinese Racism

By Doug on 1. January 2013, 9:34.

Did some more digging. The racial slur yelled at my friends everywhere they went on the streets of China was guǐlǎo (Chinese: 鬼佬). Also they said it is very common for them to walk behind and yell hello at your back over and over again. Apparently English sounds so stupid to the Chinese the word hello is a hilarious form of comedy.

Also according to a black coworker, (we have offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong) many Chinese people have no problem letting you know what an unwelcome sub-human you are if you are black. He said very often store clerks etc. would let him know that he was not welcome in the country and warned to try to marry Chinese women etc.

Ignorance of racial sensitivity is shocking?

By Doug on 1. January 2013, 9:11.

I'm just surprised that it is shocking to everyone that a nation that is not multi-cultural is not more sensitive to cultural issues.

The true irony though is that my friends who have gone to China were treated with extreme racism and called by the Chinese on the street racial slurs against whites. The translation was something to the effect of a white ghostly invader from the sea. Stop for a second and think about how much of the worlds population is Chinese versus Danish, will you?

I feel bad for anyone who has to deal with ignorance of treating other races poorly. However, if you are but a sliver of a minority in a country with a massive majority I think this would be expected human behavior from any race. Making fun of me for my race doesn't upset me but, the unequal treatment to other races does. This is the bad part whether you are Chinese in Denmark or a white person in China.

Although it is far from idealistic the answer for me as a white guy is that while I might move to Denmark I'd never move to China. I might go there and deal with racial intolerance though. I think this goes both ways and it is a bit unfair point the finger at Danes as racist for a problem of sociology.

Racism everywhere

By Mike Bond on 29. December 2012, 23:06.

Same happens in Spain. I've decided to ignore those comments, because i would have a conflict every moment of the day. It's just ignorance and i don't want to fight. Life is to short to waste our time on trying to reeducate these people. Maybe one day this will change. I'm glad that I am different.. Life would be so boring beeing a racist guy. Regards from Barcelona.

Denmark & the world

By Dan on 20. December 2012, 10:55.

This article is spot on, Danes are racist. But remember: Denmark needs the world, unfortunately the world does not need Denmark. In the long run this is going to be a problem for Denmark and the Danes.

Sensitive much?

By mathias on 19. December 2012, 19:15.

Danes are very nice people and I'm a Danish-American (USA)
I'm now living in Denmark because i cant stand USA anymore.
Americans are racist as well all of the world is racist.
iv'e actually been to china and they treated me like i was stupid.
Danish humor i find very funny, the reason they make a little fun with you about being Chinese is because they expect you not to be a little baby and cry because of a little joke, Really its just for fun and should never be taken seriously. Don't turn it into being nationally proud because every country should be proud of themselves for their major resources.

Foreigner amongst Danes everywhere

By Mike on 19. December 2012, 18:06.

I am a white American who married a Dane and live in America. We've been married 14 years. In all my time being with my Danish family, one thing is clear - I am nothing because I am not Danish. They come here to visit and turn my house into a Danish institution. They play with our kids, go for walks, etc. but will never ask me to join them. I'll sit around them and they will rarely start a conversation with me and will never ask about how I am. They simply don't care. With their present immigration laws, their social nationalism can be compared in some ways to Nazi Germany in my opinion. How can it be that a college educated, white American is not considered for any jobs over there? I considered moving over there until I started reading about all the discrimination towards immigrants of any kind. They want to keep people out. It's that simple. It's funny because Denmark is like a pimple on Europe's rear-end yet they think they're better than everyone else. It's sad that discrimination, racism and shunning is the more the norm than the exception.


By Trine P. on 31. January 2013, 9:30.

You talk about us being racists, and yet you generalise us. The explanation is, that in the 70's there were a lot of immigrants from Poland. When they got here, they started demanding the ebst of the best, yet they didn't do anything to get a job. I know that every person from Poland isn't that way, but there were enough to make it a problem.

The reason that our immigration laws are so strict is because of one Party in our government. I am sorry about your Danish family not talking to you or interacting with you, but not every person is like that. You are being racist yourself, when you accuse all of us and think, that every Dane is like your family.

I know, that we are a small country, but we are proud. We love Denmark, but that doesn't mean, that we don't like foreigners. Our culture is just different. We act different than other people some times

I have no time for the Danes.

By db on 12. December 2012, 9:03.

I have no time for the Danes. They are ignorant beyond belief. I was born in Canada and my wife born in Pakistan. She was working for a multinational oil company in Chicago and on her way to London to visit me. Her flight to Europe required a change of planes in Copenhagen. The airline was European. That's where the problem began. A very ignorant Danish woman working for the airline in Chicago would not allow my wife on the plane, arguing that she needed a transit visa to pass through Denmark. She was extremely rude and made a condescending remark about foreigners sneaking into Denmark. She even called the Danish police who confirmed no transit visa was required to London. Still she was determined to hold up the plane. Then she marched over to a polite Mexican ticket agent who provided my wife her boarding pass and publically ridiculed her like she was incompetent. Finally, as the loaded plane was about to take off on the tarmac, an American woman who was a senior airport official intervened. She made it very clear to the Danish woman causing the problem that her behavior would not be tolerated, that she had no good reason to force my wife to miss her flight and that she was being overruled. The American official also apologized profusely for the woman's bigoted behavior. My wife was quite traumatized from the experience and has vowed to never set foot in Denmark again and I don't blame her!

Always an Outsider in Denmark

By Taylor on 12. December 2012, 5:01.

In Denmark, you will always be an outsider if you are not an ethnic Dane- regardless of race.
I am white, from a wealthy American family. I married a Dane and lived there for 8 years.
Despite half of his family having immigrated to the States, and living there for 30+ years, they had dreadfully racist / xenophobic treatment of me. We had a blissfully happy relationship and were deeply in love. Yet his family did everything in their power to break up our marriage, claiming that I married him in order to get his father's money (mine has much more, but they never even bothered inquiring as to my family's health and happiness. And which money-thirsty person would move from America to a country with those tax rates and opportunity limitations?)

When his father died, he rewrote the will so that the son inherited nothing unless he took a Danish girl instead. The obedient son went out the following weekend, and picked up a friend of our mutual friends. With all friends and this woman aware of the situation, she began sleeping in my bed. None of our mutual friends bothered informing me. When this woman expired, another friend of friends was provided and willing to come into my home. Before I found out about the situation, a total of 4 Danish women were knowingly doing my husband in my bed, without even using protection. He claims that he did nothing wrong.

When finally his actions came to light,
what should happen?
-- His family contacted the Danish authorities to have my spouse visa cancelled immediately, and to have me forcibly shipped out of the country where I was working and had done my higher education, and had lived for 8 years.
-- His mother bought him a new house, furnished with white leather Danish design furniture, in celebration, and encouraged the Danish women who had been sleeping with him during our marriage to join their family for Christmas celebrations.
-- Our mutual friends cut contact with me rather than him, inviting him to their baby's christening- because what is better to accompany purity and new life than betrayal and filth? They wrote me an apology letter, explaining that he was in the end their friend. In other words, he is Danish and I am not.
-- He called the police and a government psychiatrist to issue me out of our house. He gave me 2 days to pack my entire life, and sent me away without a penny. The chauvinist psychiatrist spoke only with him, and wrote a secret report about me without even consulting me, which was then written by his staff into my permanent government medical record with entirely false claims. The psychiatrist commanded me, in front of the police, to "pack my suitcases and go 'back home' by Wednesday" (1 day from then). How is the home that I have been married and living in for 8 years not my home? The police were there to arrest me, a loving wife, a good citizen with a high education, in case I failed to agree.

My summary of the issue is that Race in this case is simply a readily-visible form of Other.
Other in the sense of Non-Dane,
but at its fundamental base,
Other in the sense of Not-Me.

The son is an extension of Me, the wife that he loves is Not-Me. Therefore it must be destroyed.
Going into a married man's bed satisfies Me, his wife is Not-Me. Therefore it is of no consequence.
Danes are selfish, self-centered, self-serving, arrogant, and unapologetic for any harm they cause to others in the pursuit of Self.

I can not believe what I am

By Rashid on 12. December 2012, 2:07.

I can not believe what I am reading. I am not a dane, but I love to indulge in racist humour. Danes have mocked my heritage several times, as I have mocked theirs. This balance must be maintained for the danish society to operate.

If you migrate to this country, and are unable to handle the danes way of coping with ethnical differences, feel free to leave.


By Poja on 7. December 2012, 5:04.

I was a foreigner living in Denmark, I was born there and spent the first seven years of my life there. They have this attitude towards people who aren't like them, that makes them look really bad. But, I did know a Danish family who were very inviting and nice, so not all of the people are like that. I remember being 5, and a lady on the bus told her kids not to sit beside us "That's where the pakis sit, don't go there"I'm not even from pakistan... I think that's outrageous behavior. Most of them are nice though, but I did have racist teachers who openly made jokes about me and this other foreign kid(this was in kindergarten) I felt really bad being laughed at as a child for something like that. I don't know how Denmark is today, The area I lived in was Copenhagen so that might have been why I didn't encounter so much racism as some people claim. I'm kind of glad I don't live there anymore, I always felt different and "disgusting" as a child... So i guess i was just "sensitive"? no idts..
But it depends on who you meet, some of the nicest people I have ever met are Danes, who we still keep contact with after we moved away from the country.

As a Chinese American, Eva

By kenji on 5. December 2012, 9:25.

As a Chinese American, Eva might have been conditioned to believe somehow that white people are superior to Chinese people, She has a complex of inferiority and she is hyper sensitive to ethnic jokes.

On the other hand, most Danes do not believe that white people are superior to Chinese people. The Danes treat Chinese people as equals and the Chinese language is not being seen as inferior. Therefore, making Chinese sounding noises is not seen by Danes as being racist, it is just good fun.

This is a very immature and

By db on 12. December 2012, 8:34.

This is a very immature and ridiculous comment. Obviously written by someone Danish.

Danes have a long way to go

By Samuel on 25. November 2012, 10:34.

I've been called a nigger whilst I'm out here in Copenhagen. Called nigger by a white and mixed raced guy. A mixed raced guy....can you believe it? Constantly being stared at and looked upon. I know not all Danes are racist and I know they have long way to go.

I know a lot of dark skinned

By Charlotte on 3. March 2013, 21:17.

I know a lot of dark skinned people, and they refere to themselves and each other in that way. They do not consider it to be racist when they say it themselves. So try not to be so sensitive


By Diplomat citizen in Denmark on 20. November 2012, 13:47.

If Danes have the right to use offensive language, then minorities have the right to say it offends them. Both are exercising their freedom of speech, right?

Couldn't agree more. I was a diplomat in Denmark Copenhagen and I have seen many people making fun of my accent and language!!
I have tolerated it few times but enough is enough. Gladly I have been to the IB school in birkerod gymnasium where people are from different countries but half the school was shared with Danes, and since there is been too much of racism against languages I started making fun of their language and how ugly it sounds ( to Danes it might seem retarded but ask whoever is new to your country and can't speak Danish, ask them how your language sounds) to me your language sounds like someone is about to puke and yells ø å æ. Yes I'm gonna be racist if you are one of the racists and I apologize to everyone who is one of the non racist people I do believe I have offended you but I just wanted to take this off my chest, and i know not all danes are the same since I have had Danish friends and they have been really nice to me and I owe them but there are some people who doesn't realize the level of their ignorance and childish humor

Well I am a Dane and I have

By J. Nielsen on 12. November 2012, 3:13.

Well I am a Dane and I have lived for like 11 years abroad and four of them in China. Me and my Chinese wife and two kids are constantly having to defend our right to speak the mandarin at home and with the kids even though our kids speak Danish well too.

We are more or less tired of this unreasonable pressure from the schools and surrounding society here in Denmark and have decided to leave Denmark within the next 12 months. Of course my firm will leave Denmark too :o)

I feel ashamed about my own nation Denmark and do no longer recognize Denmark as a suitable place for our children to grow up in.

Currently Denmark has several new laws that can force foreigners kids into kindergartens for up to 30 hours at week in order to "stimulate" the foreigners' kids with Danish language. This law is of course a clear violation of the UN child convention article 29 and 30 but no one seems to point that out.

The so called demand for assimilation of foreigners and their kids in Denmark has reach a level where one dare to call it state supported racism and violation of human rights as well as violation of the UN child convention as mention before.

Now public schools have this year gone from calling bilingual kids "a problem" to a resource but still the public schools sees bilingual kids as a problem and even try to pressure the kids to stay at the school for the whole day and not with their families after class so they can speak their mother language.

We have been dealing with public school teachers who found it to be their duty to tell my wife to stop taking care of our now 3 years old son at home, send him to kindergarten and start look for a job... WFT??? I mean that is not the schools duty. My wife decides by herself what kind of life she wants and when and where she wish to work and how long she wish to stay at home to take care of our son. That is not of the schools business. Needless to say but my wife found them rather ignorant and rude.

I even got a question from a private school teacher like this "can this mandarin stimulation not only be done in the weekends?". Me and my beloved wife were blurred by this question. My answer was "no that is not possible". Also I hold a BA in Chinese and do know that this is really bad to ask for a Chinese. If any person would demand of me not to speak Danish with my kid from Monday to Friday I would go crazy.

We are so done with Denmark and are now looking forward to live in China where speaking more than one language is viewed upon with awe and even encourage from childhood.

Denmark has really disappointed us with its narrow-mindedness and constantly rude attitude towards foreigners who wish to keep just a little of their own culture intact.

Been here 24 years. Hate the

By Rodney Trotter on 3. November 2012, 13:19.

Been here 24 years. Hate the danish attitude. Rude, arrogant, unfriendly, as well as being thick as pigshit.
They have NO humour, think too much of themselves, and are a bunch of hillbilly tosspots, who wander round with their clogs on, and their precious wallet in their back pocket.
No idea how i haven't mudered one yet.
Oh, yes, jantelove. Say no more. Jealous, vindictive nerds
Aaahhhh, feel better after that !!

I regret those years I spent in Denmark

By Simon D on 29. October 2012, 20:06.

I have lived for a couple of years in Denmark and I found them extremely self occupied and arrogant, without any manner or respect to the other. They think they are better than all the races in the world and believe they are the best humans in the world, something they have probably learned the germans in old times! I regret those two years I wasted there and I will never go back again, nor will I talk to a dane if I see any.

Racism is everywhere.

By D on 6. October 2012, 20:56.

Of course there is racism. Any country or society you go, you will find people that don't want you in their land. Even in your precious Asia there are racists. Instead of crying about it, deal with it.

You don't have to live in Denmark, so please, if you hate our racist White society GO BACK TO YOUR OWN COUNTRY. Problem solved.

Denmark is for Danes and if you find Danish people's humour offensive, then leave. You are the immigrant after all and joining in someone else's stream.

I can tell that you are very

By Abs on 5. November 2012, 15:36.

I can tell that you are very well educated. Live with the darkness that is smothered with illiterate scum

Well as a skilled worker

By Chameleon on 9. October 2012, 20:01.

Well as a skilled worker coming from outside to your idea of heaven here on earth (aka Danmark), I have to say I have been deeply disappointed. The very comment you make saying 'go back to your own country' is deeply offensive. If you can't see that, then sorry for you.

I am from the UK and certainly don't think that we have things right there. I have lived all over the world and came here for a variety of reasons. As a mathematics and physics teacher at a school trying out an international programme, I have seen the horrors of the Danish education system (most of our intake come from Danish primary schools). Most of the kids can't do simple arithmetic and are lazy and lacking manners. The HTX kids in my school (I don't teach them thank God) are simply out of control. I have seen behaviour that would make a seasoned head at a UK comprehensive wince. The Danish staff like to leave sometimes at 11.00 am (not joking). I am deeply worried by my son's lack of progress in a dismal international school in our town.

Simple administrative matters at work end up being a total f. up. Our room timetable was not ready for several weeks after the start of term. In short, crap and no one cares.

Goodbye and good riddance.

No apologies

By Happy at home on 5. October 2012, 10:17.

Living in Copenhagen for a year, I noticed that Danes do not apologize for ANYTHING. If it is their mistake, they will somehow find a way to blame you. If you want an explanation for a wrongdoing, they will ignore you. This is why I do not understand why people are saying Danes are "in your face". Yes, they are honest about their opinions and openly make fun of people, but they are equally passive in taking responsibility for their actions.

That being said, I have never experienced so much racism as I did in Denmark. In the beginning I thought smaller were just "life's happenings" and I brushed things off, attributing them to the fact that I could only communicate in English. Then bigger things started happening. Anything that involved my first and last name (which are clearly "ethnic") went wrong; paperwork was lost, technical errors occurred constantly, and emails went unanswered.

Perhaps this happens to all foreigners? Wrong. People I know who had clearly English or French names did not experience the same adversity as me. I got the sense that certain nationalities were embraced in Denmark, while others were seen as "polluting the country".

It's sad to think that a country that is perceived to be progressive and fair is in fact extremely close-minded and discriminatory.

Of course there is racism in

By thomas on 23. September 2012, 17:54.

Of course there is racism in Denmark. Yes people of foreign origin, whether German, Africal or whatever is treated differently, and yes Danes have a tendency to say things so blatantly that many foreigners get offended. Calling a dark person Black is to me not more offensive than calling a white person White. But for some weird reason racism seems to only go one way. Some time ago there was a demonstration outside my apartment, basically a group of locals from Brabrand throwing rocks at the police. The Brabrand boys were yelling the police for "white pigs" and "racists" in the same sentence, which I found really funny. What if the police had called the Brabrand boys "black assholes"?? Man it would have hit primetimeTV!
Denmark is a country with lots of racists, of which the vast majority are lower educated ignorant people, but to me a lot of the foreigners who come here seem to be too sensitive and unable to bite back.
If im called Mr. Piggy, Potatohead or fat bastard (cause im fat obviously:), then it wont take me many seconds to find some nasty reply to the other person, and throw it back at the person. After such an incident, I walk away without any bad feelings. I have lived in England and been called a "Danish rapist" (obviously related to some viking incidents a thousand years ago) and in Thailand where I have been called "Moo" which means Pig (and which my Thai colleagues found really funny). The people who called me this were not the brightest of the lot, and they were indeed racists. I didnt find it very funny, but I didnt let it get to me, cause the majority of the people I spoke to were pretty normal. I do feel sorry for Eva, and agree that her experiences were certainly not funny and the Danes who spoke to her like that had a bad sence of humour. That said, when I have experienced such incidents I have just reverted with double ill humoured replies, that normally shuts up the idiots. Dont forget, Denmark is a country with a lot of low educated people but also a country which prides itself with freedom of speech and black humour, all in all a toxic mix, but at the same time with opportunities for lots of exciting run-ins if you take them as that.

Wow, we Danes must be really

By Seriousness on 1. September 2012, 18:50.

Wow, we Danes must be really racist.

I could not agree less with your post. Since when has being an Asian or an African been a bad thing? You make it sound like being a non-white is something terrible. Stop being so damn sorry about yourself, and avoid the stupid people who are actually RACISTS, knowing they are idiots thinking whites are better than other colors.

Not all danish are rasists!

By Ramy on 18. August 2012, 9:28.

Hi, I am from Romania and I live in Denmark for about 3 years. I am pretty young, and maybe I will say wrong things.
Here is mostly people from other parts of the world. But is still something so natural.
I don't think that danish are racists, or definitely not all of them. Old people, I guess is pretty normal for them to be kind of racis in this part of the world. Denmark is a small land and they think that soon will be no space for all of us and them. And also they don't want to become a minority, that's something normal.
Personally I like danish people, they are funny..ok, not that funny but still.
Sometimes I am afraid to walk on the streets, but not of danish people, of people like me, who come from other lands.
When I was to KAB to join a waiting list, I saw one muslim guy who almost hit the women who work there. Why? because he want a house, and he want fast, he think that he can do what he whant to do. Do you think this is right? I guess is not, he didn't had the respect for this land. That is the reason why some of danish may be rasists. Is normal in my point of view.
I will move soon in Tingbjerg, and I know that there is mis and I am afraid. But anyway I don't have a choice.
So, my opinion is that danish people are ok. But you have to know how to speak with them, is very important to be polite. And I think everywhere in the world you have to be polite. But when we are in this land, we must have respect for what this country is giving to us.
We have to get use with this, and everything will be fine. ^_^
Maybe I said wrong , but still, this is my opinion.

P.S sorry for my bad...bad english!


By Nicklas on 26. July 2012, 4:57.

After spending 5 years in Australia, which has an exemplary and cosmopolitan mix of cultures, I can definitely agree with Eva's points. I am myself Danish, but every time I return home for holidays I am instantly disgusted by the Danish culture on this particular point. If it is blatant racism or 'just' ignorance is hard to tell, but whatever it is it has no place in the modern world.

As an Asian who has lived

By kenji on 5. December 2012, 8:30.

As an Asian who has lived both in australia and in denmark, I would have to say that australia is far more racist than denmark.

Agree, but...

By MIa on 26. July 2012, 7:01.

I am also Danish and have spent the past 5 years living in Melbourne, Australia.
I agree with the author of the post and Nicklas - Denmark has a problem with minorities and are far from political correct when it comes to treating people from different backgrounds with respect. Few are hardcore racists, some maybe moderate but a lot of it is ignorance and lack of exposure to different cultures.
However here in multi-cultural Australia I have more than once had people laughing and imitating me in a - Swedish chef from Muppet show - way when I speak Danish - should I then be offended??

The Real Issues

By From America, with some Experience of Denmark on 23. July 2012, 7:08.

Whether the Chinese-American lady's experience is racism or simply appalling behavior is rather a semantic issue. Denmark has much more serious issues, when it comes to minorities. Think of all the well-qualified applicants who don't get invited to job interviews because of their foreign-sounding names. (And Lord help you if your name is Mohammed.) Think of the 24-year rule that prohibits (mostly non-Western) spouses from joining their partners in Denmark. Think of the racist vitriol that parliamentarians and TV anchors spout in public. The lady's blog/comment is just a glimmer of the cancer inside.

Rest of Scandinavia not far behind

By From Norway on 7. May 2012, 5:05.

I'll overlook the ching-chong and nigger parts, offensive as they are. Blatant racism is near-universal among employers, as well as the housing market. These problems are almost as bad in Norway and not quite so bad in Sweden. Scandinavians may find it hard to believe but this part of the world is rapidly becoming synonymous with racist arrogance.


By Another non-Dane on 1. May 2012, 5:04.

This article was spot on. I think it's a tragedy for Dk that so many Danes can't even acknowledge that your argument might have some merit, and immediately go on the defensive. Actually, it makes me tear up a bit, because I realize how impossible it will be to ever be comfortable raising my kids in a society that is so closed. I really hope that I am able to take the advice of so many Danes and "just leave."


By tomas rock on 31. October 2011, 10:53.

hi i do not agree to what people say about denmark. yes, some of my friends are racists, but that aint mean that all people in denmark who are racists! alot of danes are against racism. if i heard some of my friends who talk bad talking about black people, or people who come from turkey or afghanistan or some other countries, then i and lots of others try and stop them to say such things horeble things.
so please dont say to people that all danes are racists.

Not necessarily racist

By Madhura on 24. September 2011, 10:31.

Danes are not necessarily racist. Most of them are just ignorant about all cultures outside their own. I'm an Indian and I've had plenty of ridiculous questions thrown at me while I was living in Denmark.

I was once describing the culture in India where we always eat only after offering food to whoever we're with and sharing food isn't considered strange or weird. When I finished the story, one Danes commented ''Oh that is because you guys don't have enough food''.

Now that feels extremely offensive, but it is not because they wanted to insult my country but because they probably don't know anything about it.

I also feel that the political correctness amongst Danes is not that high. At times they tend to speak their minds even at the cost of insulting others. But once you tell them that you did not like a certain comment they always retract and apologize.

All in all I don't agree that Danes are racist by nature. Although the author could've been unlucky enough. I felt very welcome in Copenhagen and a lot of my Danish friends find it rather refreshing to try and learn about my culture and traditions.

Living in Denmark

By Balthazar Rodrigue Nzomono-Balenda on 17. September 2011, 10:56.

I agree with the blogger who has written and most of things that Eva says on this blog are true. I'm a Black man living in Denmark and I have experienced a huge amount of racism from Danes anywhere in the country. I have been called "Neger" many times, which means Negro and it really offends me. I am not a person who allows Danes or any other Scandinavians to walk over me, then I call them "Cracker dogs" or pigs. I honestly think that most Danes are ignorant, and they blame everything on political correctness because they enjoy using racial slurs to dark skinned people, thinking that it is humor. They are really hypocritical because they justify racism, but again they're in denial. There are many immigrants living in this country who make efforts to integrate, some of them have higher education, but when they look for a job, they are denied work because of their race. Danes are damaging their societies by ignoring that there is racism in their country. I know some Danes here are going to tell me "go back to your country", guess what? I'm working on it. There have been people who fought, bled and died to put an end on racism. I was born in a country(France), which also prides itself on protecting fundamental rights to freedom of speech, but at the same time the law against racism is enforced, whereas in Denmark it is not. You will find similar problems in Norway, Iceland, Finland, Russia and the Faeroe Islands as well. In fact, Greenlandic people are treated as second class citizens in Denmark. I have also met many Danes who are hypocrites because they pretend to like you, but in the end, they tell you behind your back that they hate you because of your race. Multiculturalism has failed in Denmark on both sides. You judge a civilized society in the way it treats its minorities.

You write that you feel

By Carl on 13. March 2013, 21:53.

You write that you feel racially offended by the word "neger" being used for a black skinned person.

That word happens to be the neutral Danish word for a black person, so it would appear that its you who in your ignorance travel to a foreign country and tell the locals how much you hate them and how inferior they are - YOU are obviously the racist here!

What business do you think you have to tell people whose language you obviously dont comprehend which words then can and cannot use?

i understand how you feel

By mike c on 14. June 2012, 16:18.

i feel you sir... i'm an asian male who grew up in california no less, and yet even here i get them, racism that is. so many ways of coming at you, all the tactics and methods... i don't think racism will be wiped out, ever, unfortunately. it's everywhere, all over the media too. so, i try not to watch or participate in the media, and i "vote" by shopping at ethnic friendly businesses. i think it's one of the ways of changing things, even if it's only slightly.

I dont get why this lady gets

By K on 9. September 2011, 1:15.

I dont get why this lady gets so histeric?

I lived in Danish ghttos for almost a year. First Brabrand and after Tingbjerg. I had my laptop stolen by a person of definetly not white race( yes we have see those thieves). I was also insulted by a person of not-white race.

If I would use reasoning of Eva Chan I should now be calling for a movement to thrown away those terrible colourful people out from Denmark. Or at least make them know their place.

But i dont feel like that. I know that assholes come in every color. Wheather white or arab. Christian or Muslim. Danish-Not Danish. So getting overreactive because few people were not nice to you? Seriosly? How old is she? Judging whole group of racism, because of their sens of humor? That is totally superficial. I am easily able to notice that most of people inthose getthos wants a normal and stable and safe living. And it is just a bunch of hooligans that make problems. So it did not get me go crazy and hurt about those terribles foreigners(of which i am one also;-) ) But Eva cannot notice that most of the Danes is actually embarassed by Pia and all this stuff going on.

And this statement here "How often do you see Danes with a truly diverse group of friends out and about?" shows that the author is totally insentive to differences in culture. Danes are like that because of their cultural upbringing which focuses on having a group of very close life long friends. It is a basic cultural difference.Annoying for foreigners, true. But this is how they are, and this is their cultual heritage they have right to. As well as they have the right to their humor, which is often similary tough on Danes.

Re: I dont get why this lady gets

By Write your name here (Steven Josep.comments will be deleted) on 15. October 2012, 2:20.

It is incredible !!!
Re-read the post, how can't you see racism there, there is something wrong with your culture and society!!
Anywhere in the world even In third world countries insulting someone, making fun of their languages , and not apologizing for their behaviors is consider RACISM !!!!
But I am more surprised by the comments from most Danish people itself rather than the unfortunate cases of Ana Chang.

Their is something wrong in your education system is you can't see the difference in making fun of others and putting people down for racial or cultural differences.

It is incredible !!! Re-read

By Write your name here (Steven Josep.comments will be deleted) on 15. October 2012, 2:16.

It is incredible !!!
Re-read the post, how can't you see racism there, there is something wrong with your culture and society!!
Anywhere in the world even In third world countries insulting someone, making fun of their languages , and not apologizing for their behaviors is consider RACISM !!!!
But I am more surprised by the comments from most Danish people itself rather than the unfortunate cases of Ana Chang.

Their is something wrong in your education system is you can't see the difference in making fun of others and putting people down for racial or cultural differences.

I agree with your article. I

By jezzy on 2. September 2011, 22:52.

I agree with your article. I don't think Denmark is the most violently racist place on Earth, but I have never personally been in a place where racism is so commonplace on a cultural level. It is so institutionalised that I fear it will take years to even make a modest difference.


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