• Denmark's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Danes and Swedes at odds over 'racist' plaster

The Local · 14 Aug 2015, 14:19

Published: 14 Aug 2015 11:55 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Aug 2015 14:19 GMT+02:00

It’s well-documented that Danes and Swedes often have a very different outlook on issues surrounding both race and free speech.
 
From Danes accusing Swedes of being stuck in a ‘spiral of silence’ on immigration issues, to Danish art projects and toy catalogues being declared racist on the other side of the Øresund and a Danish free speech group’s decision to highlight works of a Swedish artist convicted of racism, there are no shortage of examples in which the neighbouring countries fail to see eye to eye. 
 
The latest fallout surrounds claims by a Swedish blogger that labelling only beige plasters (also called bandages or bandaids in some countries) as 'flesh-coloured' contribute to everyday racism. Swedish pharmacy chain Apokteket responded to the controversy by saying it would offer a range of plasters to match darker skin tones by the end of the year. 
 
The ‘racist bandage’ story quickly made the rounds in the Danish press, where it is something of a national sport to portray the Swedes as massively overly-sensitive. Danish politicians also jumped in to the fray. Most notably, Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen posted a link to the bandage story on Facebook with the following quip: “I’m once again happy that I don’t live in Sweden…” 
 
 

Er endnu en gang glad for at jeg ikke bor i Sverige.....

Posted by Kristian Jensen on Tuesday, August 11, 2015
 
The minister for children’s affairs and education, Ellen Trane Nørby, also weighed in on the issue, comparing it to Sweden’s recent censoring of ‘racist’ elements of Pippi Longstocking stories. 
 
“Who in the world seriously believes that Pippi’s monkey is an affront to people from other parts of the world or that white bandages and plaster are made to annoy people who have darker skin?” she wrote on Facebook. 
 
After news of the two ministers’ slams made it into the Swedish press, Jensen said his Facebook post was meant in jest.
 
"I will be the first to apologize that my Facebook update has created so much commotion," he wrote in a comment to Jyllands-Posten. 
 
"It was written tongue in cheek and meant as a humorous commentary on the fact that the debate in Sweden is sometimes much different [than in Denmark]. I really like Sweden and we have a close relationship with Sweden in many areas," Jensen continued. 
 
Story continues below…
Jensen's Swedish counterpart, Margot Wallström, chalked his comment up to inexperience. 
 
"I think that he is new at his job as foreign minister. You have to forgive those kinds of transgressions. I am sure he will learn," Wallström told Swedish news agency TT. 
 

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Danes: Muslims must speak out against terrorism
Flowers left outside the French embassy in Copenhagen the day after the attack in Nice, France. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix

According to a new survey, 3 in 4 Danes believe that Muslims in Denmark are not doing enough to distance themselves from extremist acts carried out in the name of their religion.

Copenhagen 4th most liveable city in the world
The magazine praised Copenhagen’s bicycle-friendly infrastructure and nightlife. Photo: Roman Board/Flickr

The Danish capital makes a comeback in the British lifestyle magazine Monocle’s Quality of Life Index, where it 'only' came in 10th last year.

Number of Danes joining Isis in decline
Syrian civil defence members evacuate a young man following a reported air strike on the besieged rebel-controlled town of Douma. Abd Doumany/Scanpix

A number of recently published reports from Scandinavian intelligence services suggest that Isis recruitment peaked across Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia in 2013/2014.

Denmark slammed for sending lesbians to Uganda

Denmark’s decision to deny asylum to three lesbians and send them back to their home country of Uganda has been criticized by an LGBT group.

Denmark's heat wave to continue into next week
Take a dip this weekend – you never know what the rest of summer will have in store! Photo: Erik Refner/Scanpix

The long-awaited summer warmth that finally returned to Denmark this week will be sticking around for awhile, meteorologists said on Friday.

More work makes you sick: Danish study

A study that followed Danish workers for 12 years found that when companies enjoy an uptick in business, their employees pay for it with their well-being.

Danish women have become more violent
Photo: Colourbox

Danish women are closing the gender gap when it comes to crime.

Photo gallery
Santas spread (summer) Christmas cheer in Denmark
No big deal, just a Santa taking a selfie while on a Copenhagen canal cruise in the middle of the summer. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix

More than 100 jolly souls dressed up as Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and elves just left Copenhagen – see all of the bearded action from their visit.

Brawl breaks out between Danish asylum centres
The fight started after a player disputed a foul call. Photo: sunnybright/Iris/Scanpix

Upwards of 100 minor asylum seekers were involved in a brawl described by a witness as a “blood frenzy”.

Five million Danish ID numbers sent to Chinese firm
The CPR numbers and health information of 5.3 million residents was sent to a Chinese company. Photo: Colourbox

If you lived in Denmark between 2010 and 2012, it’s almost certain that your personal identification number (CPR number) and health information ended up in the hands of a Chinese company.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Danish Pokémon Go player finds dead body
Technology
Danish Pokémon Go player finds dead body
Denmark can't keep up with trove of ancient discoveries
Denmark can't keep up with trove of ancient discoveries
Our complete coverage from the 2016 Roskilde Festival
Culture
Our complete coverage from the 2016 Roskilde Festival
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Danish police use infamous 'jewellery law' for first time
National
Danish police use infamous 'jewellery law' for first time
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Danes with foreign spouses to be hit by new restriction
International
After Brexit, Danish PM resists calls for similar EU referendum
International
Why Denmark won't try to follow the UK out of the EU
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
National
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
International
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
Society
Sex campaigns lead to Danish baby boom
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Don't worry Denmark, the world still loves you
Culture
Danish diversity ad a massive social media hit – have you seen it?
National
Denmark scraps green card but spares current holders
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Society
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
National
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
National
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
National
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
The second best destination in all of Europe is...
Sport
We are the champions! Denmark wins world badminton team title
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
National
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
Society
Strangest political story in Denmark just got stranger
International
Keeping Denmark in Europol 'maybe impossible'
Analysis & Opinion
Green card holders tell Denmark to keep its promise
2,307
jobs available