20 votes

Denmark is a liberal paradise for many people, but the reality is very different for immigrants

20 comments

  1. [2]
    ClearlyAlive
    Link
    This descendants of immigrants classification is completely crazy and goes counter to the naturalisation process. If I, as an immigrant who naturalises, is still treated differently than...

    This descendants of immigrants classification is completely crazy and goes counter to the naturalisation process. If I, as an immigrant who naturalises, is still treated differently than "first-class citizens", what even is the point? No matter the amount of assimilation, it treats me differently. I agree with the example in the article, it goes against the recognition of "equality of people".

    12 votes
    1. ohyran
      Link Parent
      The thing is that assimilation is a moving target for people who look "other" (using that term because it includes, here in Sweden, people who look European instead of Swedish and not just...

      The thing is that assimilation is a moving target for people who look "other" (using that term because it includes, here in Sweden, people who look European instead of Swedish and not just affecting PoC). The ideal as its presented by the right wing parties here is that you just have to BE more Swedish. More assimilated. But in reality that is impossible, even for someone Swedish as "assimilation" is just "removing otherness".

      Since we are all "other" we all have those quirks and details, assimilation where the subject bends to the majority culture, will always fail. Those who look Swedish gets a pass because for them its just quirks, for those who are not, those quirks are signs of otherness.

      What works, I think, or what works here - is removing the ideal of "Swedishness" accepting that its fluent and have always been fluent. Our society have always shifted with the influx of new people - our language consists of a massive chunk of loan words and our culture is massive blender of stuff (tell a Swede you know a place that serves "proper Swedish pizza" when they live abroad and just see them shine up, a pizza which has been passed from one new group of immigrants to the next catering hard to the hang-over food its clients want, making it this absurd dish)

      The problems with divisions in our society, and I suspect the Danish as well, is lack of work. Its really really hard to live isolated in a country if you got a job, and its equally hard to hate immigrants as a "ethnic Swede" if the dude you're drinking afternoon coffee with in the lunch room is from Uganda.
      Forced movement like forcing people to go to different places is not a great way, unless its done as a positive. Providing possibilities in these areas instead of pushing people in to them. The reason people move to others they know when fleeing to another country is obvious: safety.

      6 votes
  2. [7]
    TheWanderer
    Link
    I've live one year in Denmark as an immigrant and they open the doors to me and help me a lot. Anyway I live in small rural areas working with farmers so my experience could be completely...

    I've live one year in Denmark as an immigrant and they open the doors to me and help me a lot. Anyway I live in small rural areas working with farmers so my experience could be completely different to what could be happening in Copenhagen.

    What understand from the article is that they are trying to divide the ghettos so the immigrants have to mix more with the locals, thing that I consider good. I have met people who has been living for more than 10 years and can't say a word in the local language because all their life goes around immigrants and that completely divides the country.

    11 votes
    1. [6]
      jgb
      Link Parent
      Yeah, this might not be a politically correct policy, but as a Brit it seems far preferable to our hands off approach to multiculturalism that has given us Asian enclaves in many towns and cities....

      Yeah, this might not be a politically correct policy, but as a Brit it seems far preferable to our hands off approach to multiculturalism that has given us Asian enclaves in many towns and cities.

      Incidentally, I am considering immigrating to Denmark - what has been your experience of doing this?

      3 votes
      1. [4]
        TheWanderer
        Link Parent
        Sorry for the late response I have been very busy. I went to the country side in Denmark. The people were amazing, if you manage to prove being a good person they will help you a lot. Basically I...

        Sorry for the late response I have been very busy. I went to the country side in Denmark. The people were amazing, if you manage to prove being a good person they will help you a lot. Basically I aplied to work on a farrm with workaway and from there they offered me a job as a lumberjack. And living in their house, was a family business. Im my experience people is quite reserved and took me some time to make some friends, but once you become they will treat you as part of their family. One thing, they take honesty very seriously I have seen a guy being caught lying and got almost kicked out of the town.

        5 votes
        1. [3]
          jgb
          Link Parent
          Thanks for this response. How did you fare getting to grips with the language?

          Thanks for this response. How did you fare getting to grips with the language?

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            TheWanderer
            Link Parent
            I've managed to understand some basic stuff but I haven't been able to pronunce anything properly. To make it worse everyone speaks English perfectly so every time I tried to speak everyone just...

            I've managed to understand some basic stuff but I haven't been able to pronunce anything properly. To make it worse everyone speaks English perfectly so every time I tried to speak everyone just switched to english instantly.

            3 votes
            1. jgb
              Link Parent
              Ah, I hear this a lot. I think it's the same in quite a few continental European countries.

              Ah, I hear this a lot. I think it's the same in quite a few continental European countries.

              1 vote
      2. ClearlyAlive
        Link Parent
        I agree that ghettos are undesirable but I think the current classification system is simply unacceptable and unnecessary. I don’t see why they couldn’t just base it on if you’re an immigrant or a...

        I agree that ghettos are undesirable but I think the current classification system is simply unacceptable and unnecessary. I don’t see why they couldn’t just base it on if you’re an immigrant or a second génération native as other countries do.

        In terms of the UK, while I don’t really have any first-hand experience, I learnt in school that there were also Polish/EE enclaves as well; I don’t see why these are any better than the Asian ghettos and I think mixing the populations would be better in both cases.

        1 vote
  3. [10]
    Silbern
    Link
    This is the kind of thing that doesn't make me comfortable with labelling countries like Denmark as more liberal than the US, at least if CNN's reporting is accurate here. When the center left is...

    This is the kind of thing that doesn't make me comfortable with labelling countries like Denmark as more liberal than the US, at least if CNN's reporting is accurate here. When the center left is labelling immigrant areas "ghettos" as a legal administrative category, the government openly and comfortably using race as a factor in deciding which public areas to demolish, demolishing public housing not because it's unsafe or can be used for a greater good, but solely to drive these immigrants out of the city. The prime minister literally celebrating immigration restrictions with cake - it reads like a calmer, more passive-aggressive version of Trump's policy towards foreigners. Or at least, what he wish it could be, if Pelosi and RBG weren't reining him in.

    6 votes
    1. [9]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      But also crime, poverty, and unemployment rates. It's bad, but it makes it so much worse when we don't acknowledge that they are also labeling these areas by actual reasonable factors on-top of...

      ghettos" as a legal administrative category, the government openly and comfortably using race as a factor in deciding which public areas to demolish

      But also crime, poverty, and unemployment rates. It's bad, but it makes it so much worse when we don't acknowledge that they are also labeling these areas by actual reasonable factors on-top of the wierd racial slant.

      demolishing public housing not because it's unsafe or can be used for a greater good, but solely to drive these immigrants out of the city.

      But it is unsafe. The crime rate is at least 3 times the national average. And if you read the article they are not driving the immigrants out of the city. They want to rehome them in mixed communities so that they can live the same quality of life as white Danes.

      Whether we like to admit it or not ghetto-ization is a self perpetuating problem, and often times the most "liberal" solution is to just ignore them. Now I'm very big on liberty so I don't at all think they are going about this problem the right way, but let's not pretend like ghetto-ised racial enclaves are good for society.

      If this West is going to be multicultural then it needs to be integrated. Homing immigrants in mixed economic/social communities (from the start so as to not have this exact decision decades later) is the best result for everyone involved.

      Forcing them out of their already established homes is not the way to do it though.

      The prime minister literally celebrating immigration restrictions with cake - it reads like a calmer, more passive-aggressive version of Trump's policy towards foreigners.

      Every country has a right to choose their own immigration policy. Denmark is not North America. They weren't founded on the ideals of "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses." They have absolutely zero obligation to take anyone in and it's not hypocritical if they choose to restrict immigration. To compare them to Trump for having a strict immigration policy is unfair.

      11 votes
      1. [7]
        Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        The two go hand in hand. Social economic status (SES) is correlated with minorities because they make less money due to systemic racism and other factors, such as not being fluent in the native...

        But also crime, poverty, and unemployment rates. It's bad, but it makes it so much worse when we don't acknowledge that they are also labeling these areas by actual reasonable factors on-top of the wierd racial slant.

        The two go hand in hand. Social economic status (SES) is correlated with minorities because they make less money due to systemic racism and other factors, such as not being fluent in the native language of the land.

        But it is unsafe. The crime rate is at least 3 times the national average.

        Again highly correlated with SES. Turns out people who have enough money to not worry about things like housing and food tend to commit less crime. Furthermore, what does crime rate have anything to do with public housing being demolished?

        Whether we like to admit it or not ghetto-ization is a self perpetuating problem, and often times the most "liberal" solution is to just ignore them.

        What? What liberal is advocating to ignore these problems? Nearly any leftist or liberal I know advocates for providing these individuals with better economic mobility and providing them with a greater support structure.

        Homing immigrants in mixed economic/social communities (from the start so as to not have this exact decision decades later) is the best result for everyone involved.

        While I don't think this is a bad idea, I wonder how effective simply "mixing" races is going to be? It seems short sighted to be particularly focused on this one specific issue, when other issues such as a lower earning potential and less economic or social mobility are also issues. Forgive me if I'm jumping to conclusions here (not trying to say that's all you're arguing here), I realize I only have your one reply as context.

        They have absolutely zero obligation to take anyone in and it's not hypocritical if they choose to restrict immigration.

        While they don't, my general take on the science of immigration is that it tends to provide a good for the society which is taking on immigrants most of the time. I'm unsure how it plays out when you have drastic shifts such as people fleeing a country which is murdering its civilians like we saw with Syria.

        I do want to point out that I agree that comparing these restrictions to those of Trump is absurd.

        8 votes
        1. arp242
          Link Parent
          I'm not really familiar with Denmark specifically, but I am familiar with the Netherlands (on account of being Dutch) and the situation in this entire article sounds so similar to the Dutch one...

          Social economic status (SES) is correlated with minorities because they make less money due to systemic racism and other factors, such as not being fluent in the native language of the land.

          I'm not really familiar with Denmark specifically, but I am familiar with the Netherlands (on account of being Dutch) and the situation in this entire article sounds so similar to the Dutch one that you can almost swap "Denmark" with "Netherlands" and still be fairly accurate about the general situation. So let me talk a bit about the Netherlands.

          A lot of the migrants arrived during the 60s and 70s as "guest workers", the idea being that they would work for a few years and go back home. The rub is that the "going back home" part never happened, and that they either brought families over, or married someone in the community and created a family here.

          Guest workers weren't expected to learn the language, and they were concentrated in purpose-built neighbourhoods. Most were very low-educated (not infrequently to the point of being quite literally uneducated and illiterate) and worked low-income labour such as factory jobs and the like. The average socio-economic status was never high to start with.

          Your SES is in part determined in part by the status of your parents, and the guest worker community is a lot more homogeneous than the ethnic Dutch. Many guest workers formed their own communities and stuck together. There's nothing wrong with that as such, but you can't expect a community of non-integrated people who were essentially selected based on their low education level to start with to have the same socio-economic status than the much more socio-economically diverse native population. You can't really expect these differences to disappear in just 2 or 3 generations.

          I'm not saying there isn't any racism, but it's not the root cause of the difference in SES (although it does contribute to it). If anything, the racism is the effect from the low SES to start with; people tend to latch on to these kind of averages and then run with it.

          I have no problem (and even encourage) people to learn about and celebrate their heritage, but there's a difference between being "Dutch of Turkish decent" and "being Turkish who happens to live in the Netherlands". It's not a binary switch and large individual variety, but on average, the Turkish community seems rather, well, Turkish to me.

          Even today most Turkish mosques have imams educated in Turkey (and/or are Turkish) and the mosques are financed and controlled by the Turkish state; many Turkish people seem more concerned about the performance of the Turkish football team than the Dutch one; in the last few years the Turkish have had their own (pro-Erdogan) political party in government; Turkish sensitivities such as the Armenian genocide, status of the Kurds, and Gülen movement (and alleged coup d'état) are still alive and well in the Turkish community, and so forth.

          In one survey 97% of the respondents answered "yes" to "I feel Turkish", but only 47% answered "yes" to "I feel Dutch".

          Ironically, there's kind of a feedback loop here too: because ethnic Dutch don't see Turkish Dutch as "fully Dutch" (not without reason!), many Turkish people feel less accepted and "less Dutch".

          I've lived abroad for the last few years, and if I were to have a child abroad I would certainly teach them the Dutch language and about Dutch culture. But I wouldn't expect them to go to Dutch schools, celebrate the Dutch football team, have strong opinions about minutia of Dutch politics, and stuff like that. When I lived in New Zealand I met a number of people whose parents were Dutch, and without exception they were Kiwi as. Most celebrated their Dutch heritage to varying degrees, but they were Kiwi, not Dutch.

          The idea behind the targetting of these kind of ethnic groups is that we don't really want to have a permanent community of "Turkish people living in the Netherlands", but rather have "Dutch people of Turkish decent". There's quite a difference between the two.

          In short, the entire situation is quite different from the one in the United States, even though it may appear superficially similar. The idea behind the Danish law seems to make sense to me, although I'm less sure about a lot of the specifics.

          10 votes
        2. [2]
          Silbern
          Link Parent
          I don't think it's absurd at all. Just look at some of the statements from the Danish government coalition party spokespeople last year: This is 100% the attitude that motivates Trump, trying to...

          I do want to point out that I agree that comparing these restrictions to those of Trump is absurd.

          I don't think it's absurd at all. Just look at some of the statements from the Danish government coalition party spokespeople last year:

          As part of a growing anti-immigration agenda, Danish immigration minister Inger Støjberg, of the center-right Venstre party, wrote on Facebook that certain people "are unwanted and they will feel it."

          DPP immigration spokesperson Martin Henriksen told CNN: "Our hope ... is that people outside Denmark will understand that Denmark is not a very attractive place to seek asylum, if you are of refugee background, mean to cause harm, or incite crime."

          Støjberg wrote on Facebook, "When you are unwanted in Danish society, you should not be a nuisance for regular Danes," adding, "(The migrants) will be getting a new address."

          "Our approach is that they should stay on the island as much as possible, and if we can keep them there the whole time, we will aim to do that," said Henriksen, who claimed that the policy was inspired by the Australian immigration model. "We plan to have police, prison services, guards and detention cells in place, in case of any unrest."

          This is 100% the attitude that motivates Trump, trying to make the US as unattractive as it can for refugees. That's why he fought Mexico to have them detain asylum seekers in place, why he's bulking up Border Patrol, why he's drastically cut the number of visas available to asylum seekers and refugees over the last couple years.

          7 votes
          1. Gaywallet
            Link Parent
            This certainly sounds racist to me. I'm assuming the Danish immigration minister has some power over immigration, but I don't know enough about Danish politics or government to really comment any...

            This certainly sounds racist to me. I'm assuming the Danish immigration minister has some power over immigration, but I don't know enough about Danish politics or government to really comment any further.

            5 votes
        3. [3]
          Loire
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          For your first three comments know that I agree entirely that SES is correlated with minorities due to systemic racism. I wasn't saying otherwise. Ghetto's are a form of systemic racism. Breaking...

          For your first three comments know that I agree entirely that SES is correlated with minorities due to systemic racism. I wasn't saying otherwise. Ghetto's are a form of systemic racism. Breaking them up is an attempt at addressing a factor. Again, not the right way. But that is what Denmark is trying to do. They think that by integrating their immigrants into mixed neighborhoods they will increase the QoL for these people.

          What? What liberal is advocating to ignore these problems? Nearly any leftist or liberal I know advocates for providing these individuals with better economic mobility and providing them with a greater support structure.

          I am speaking at a governmental level, not your friends. There is, and always have been, a proliferation of ghetto neighborhoods in almost every Western Nation that goes ignored.

          Take the reserve system in Canada. These are ghetto's tucked away, out of sight out of mind for most Canadians, especially those Canadians in Ontario and Québec. The Native Americans that live on the vast majority of these reserves have lower quality of life, lower life span, poor educational outcomes, poor health quality and live in abject poverty. The solution, for both Conservative and Liberal parties in Canada has always been to do vaguely nothing. For centuries. Because politically, there is no solution. You can trim around the edges with free post secondary education and governmental hiring guarantees and what not, but the problem is systemic and the only real solutions are difficult and painful.

          Sometimes the only way to fix an entrenched problem is difficult. If Denmark genuinely improves the quality of life and economic opportunities for its immigrants through this action, who are we to judge that?

          While I don't think this is a bad idea, I wonder how effective simply "mixing" races is going to be? It seems short sighted to be particularly focused on this one specific issue, when other issues such as a lower earning potential and less economic or social mobility are also issues. Forgive me if I'm jumping to conclusions here (not trying to say that's all you're arguing here), I realize I only have your one reply as context.

          "Mixing races" is sort of an odd term for this, particularely because it comes with a lot of baggage. There is nothing wrong with integration of different socio-economic classes into the same neighborhoods. It is at the very least, known to decrease crime and increase educational opportunities. What's unmeasurable but, I personally assume is the truth, is that it will also decrease other instances of systemic racism by exposing white Danes to immigrant Danes. It's hard(er) to be racist against your neighbours. When you are looking at a resume with a last name similiar to your neighbour's you're less likely to instinctually reject it.

          As I said, as someone who grew up in a very integrated city (with the exception, again, of the reservation situation in Canada) I wholeheartedly believe integration is integral to the success of a multi cultural society. If we are going to succeed at this we can't have certain groups walling themselves off into enclaves or self- segregating. It's not okay when the race in power segregates minorities, it can't be okay for them to self segregate either. It causes the same problems.

          5 votes
          1. [2]
            Gaywallet
            Link Parent
            I very much agree with this sentiment, and now has me curious if there have been any natural studies on this to help separate the signal from the noise. Anecdotally, I can say with certainty that...

            What's unmeasurable but, I personally assume is the truth, is that it will also decrease other instances of systemic racism by exposing white Danes to immigrant Danes. It's hard(er) to be racist against your neighbours.

            I wholeheartedly believe integration is integral to the success of a multi cultural society.

            I very much agree with this sentiment, and now has me curious if there have been any natural studies on this to help separate the signal from the noise. Anecdotally, I can say with certainty that the exposure to the numerous cultures and identities where I live has been an extremely important part of my own viewpoints on human diversity - I find it a wonderful and beautiful thing and strongly believe that diversity is necessary for true strength.

            It's not okay when the race in power segregates minorities, it can't be okay for them to self segregate either. It causes the same problems.

            There's got to be some sort of separation that's okay though... I wonder at what point the proximity matters. It's not uncommon in large cities for there to be sections of certain immigrants, minorities, or cultures. I don't think it's necessarily harmful for businesses of a certain type to aggregate - having a section of a city with a unique culture can be interesting, fun, and serve a purpose of highlighting the existence and celebrating said culture. But having an entirely different city (or section of a city depending on how large it is) with a lower SES because they've been pushed out by gentrification is an entirely different problem. I'm not sure there's a simple answer to any of this.

            4 votes
            1. Loire
              Link Parent
              It would definitely require some research, because anecdotally it seems to be a toss up. I agree that areas with unique cultures are great but, it seems, for every fun well-to-do Chinatown in New...

              There's got to be some sort of separation that's okay though... I wonder at what point the proximity matters. It's not uncommon in large cities for there to be sections of certain immigrants, minorities, or cultures. I don't think it's necessarily harmful for businesses of a certain type to aggregate - having a section of a city with a unique culture can be interesting, fun, and serve a purpose of highlighting the existence and celebrating said culture. But having an entirely different city (or section of a city depending on how large it is) with a lower SES because they've been pushed out by gentrification is an entirely different problem. I'm not sure there's a simple answer to any of this.

              It would definitely require some research, because anecdotally it seems to be a toss up. I agree that areas with unique cultures are great but, it seems, for every fun well-to-do Chinatown in New York or San Francisco or Calgary, there's five Midwestern China towns that are a great place to get robbed.

              Likewise, you can find an inordinate amount of people in these areas that can't speak a lick of English because they don't need to. They spend all of their time with people who can speak their language. That, in itself, can't be good for their economic prospects in a dominantly English (depending on what country they are in) speaking country.

              3 votes
      2. Silbern
        Link Parent
        Yeah, but it's not scandalous to label an area a low income neighborhood . It is scandalous to call it a ghetto just because x% of its residents are black. And as mentioned in the article, an...

        But also crime, poverty, and unemployment rates. It's bad, but it makes it so much worse when we don't acknowledge that they are also labeling these areas by actual reasonable factors on-top of the wierd racial slant.

        Yeah, but it's not scandalous to label an area a low income neighborhood . It is scandalous to call it a ghetto just because x% of its residents are black. And as mentioned in the article, an extremely comparable neighborhood with the same low income and crime issues, but not being labelled because it's predominantly white, is downright 1960's.

        But it is unsafe. The crime rate is at least 3 times the national average. And if you read the article they are not driving the immigrants out of the city. They want to rehome them in mixed communities so that they can live the same quality of life as white Danes.

        They are attempting to drive them out of the city though. The Guardian covered this story as well, and specifically mentioned that residents who are offered accommodations will not be able to have any say in where that property is going to be or how much it may cost. Given that the Danish government was last proposing to exile them to some island, and the PM at the time literally said "these people are unwanted and they're going to feel it", surely you can put two and two together. After all, these buildings aren't being demolished because they're failing their duty - it seems to be because they're housing all these immigrants that they're being demolished.

        If this West is going to be multicultural then it needs to be integrated. Homing immigrants in mixed economic/social communities (from the start so as to not have this exact decision decades later) is the best result for everyone involved.

        I firmly disagree here. I live in Hawaii, one of the most multicultural states in the US and a place of racial diversity for centuries now. It's never been "integrated" in the slightest - each part of Honolulu, and each island, has its own diverse and unique little subcommunities. There's Chinatown in the center of the city, Millilani with predominantly Japanese-Americans, Pearl Harbor and its large military population, Kailua and its white population, etc.

        It's easily one of the least racist places I've ever lived, if not the least racist, yet it didn't achieve that by breaking up neighborhoods and deporting their residents all over the place. Quite frankly, Denmark could learn a lot from how we successfully accepted thousands of asylum seekers from Vietnam and Korea in the 60's and 70's, and we didn't do it through these draconian measures.

        Every country has a right to choose their own immigration policy. Denmark is not North America. They weren't founded on the ideals of "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses." They have absolutely zero obligation to take anyone in and it's not hypocritical if they choose to restrict immigration. To compare them to Trump for having a strict immigration policy is unfair.

        100% agree with you on the first part. It's absolutely their right to choose and I'm not denying that - every country has the right to decide who it wants to accept. I understand they might not be as uncomfortable with it as we are in the US / Canada, and I'm not begrudging them that (any more so than countries that do other things I disagree with, anyway)

        My problem comes when they're painted as some kind of left-wing uptopia though. In the US, being tolerant towards immigrants and deconstructing systemic racism are core components of American liberalism, and by this standard, Denmark fails miserably. Some windmills and trains don't offset this huge ideological gap between us, and I'd find it hard to consider a left-leaning Dane that supports this stuff as being to my own left and not way to the right.

        And I don't mind comparing them to Trump on this issue, because it's a set of policies he'd have no trouble endorsing. Just from the Guardian article alone - increased sentencing length just because a crime was committed in a ghetto, privatizing these demolished buildings so that wealthier native Danes can move in and replace the old foreign tenants, the rhetoric about them not being welcomed. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, this is stuff he would absolutely lap up (and has attempted to do in the past with the whole "build the wall" schtick), and he's on our extreme-most right...

        6 votes
  4. Sand
    Link
    Essentially treating people differently based on whether they're western descendants or non-western descendants like that seems very backwards to me. And which countries do they classify as western?

    Essentially treating people differently based on whether they're western descendants or non-western descendants like that seems very backwards to me. And which countries do they classify as western?

    3 votes