Coloured by Sweden- Experiences of racism and discrimination among African Youth in Sweden

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All those we have interviewed have experienced racism and discrimination. Experiences of racism and discrimination among the young adults with an African background reveal these specific types of discriminatory treatment and every-day racism – usage of racist language and negative Africa-metaphors, violations of integrity, exclusion and avoidance, criminalization and violence.The experiences of the young adults as demonstrated in the report include several types of violence aimed at the young adults. The young adults’ physical integrity is violated in several ways. These violations entail a gender dimension, where the girls and young women are sexually harassed while the boys and young men are more subjected to physical violence. The violations are not concentrated to one specific arena; the young adults experience these types of racism and discrimination in school, in their work-life, in the public sphere and as troubling representation in the media. Moreover the racist violations are signified by a denial of the experiences of the violated person and are thus considered to be legitimate and normal by persons in the interviewee’s surrounding. The interviewed young adults use three types of strategies in order to deal with discrimination and racism– individual, social/interpersonal and legal.The individual strategies include the immediate reaction after which the person can choose to use various strategies in different situations. There are also individual strategies of a broader character – like avoiding certain places or choosing certain role models. The interpersonal or social strategies deal with the interviewee’s immediate social surrounding, where they seek support. Finally there are legal strategies, where the young adults can seek acknowledgement and vindication by reporting the incident to the authorities. The inventory of the available strategies reveals that once a report of racism and discrimination reaches teachers, school-management, employers or the police, further action is held up by these actors. 

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