Sunday October 25th, 2009

Our dark history


The reporter and former Member of Parliament Gustav Fridolin examines the roots of racism and finds chapters in Swedish history he never learned in school.

– I have been committed against racism since I was a teenager but are now starting to realize that I have had a simplistic view of what racism is, says Gustav Fridolin. Racism has deep roots in our society and it has shaped us in a much higher degree than we most would like to see.
Swedish trading companies engaged in the slave trade in Africa and the Caribbean and  Swedish officers had a central role in the genocide in Congo. The Swedish State stole Sami lands since the Sami were an “inferior” and “doomed race” and Sweden’s immigration policy arose to “protect the purity of the Swedish race”. Racism has characterized our country for a long time but receive almost no space at all in our history books.

The series was created by award-winning journalist Erik Sandberg and produced by Laika Film & Television.

– There is a Swedish self-image that is based on that the history of racism is about other people and countries, but not about us and that Sweden has never been involved in such things as slave trade and colonialism, says Erik Sandberg. It is a false view of history and it is dangerous. We want this series to show how today’s racism and xenophobia are related to things that happened fifty, one hundred and three hundred years ago.

The first episode, “The Negro is half man” is about Sweden’s role in the slave trade and how modern racism emerged in the 1700s, under the influence of scientists like Carl Von Linné. The second episode, “An inferior race, doomed to die” describes the development of racism in the 1800s and how notions of racial struggle fueled colonial conquests in both Africa and Lappland (Sweden). Part Three, “The white race’s future” is about the 1900s fear of miscegenation and how the Swedish government tried to stop the immigration of Jews and how the authorities and the media advocated the “extermination” of the minority group called “tattare”. History is frightening but the similarities with today’s Sweden is greater than they first seem.

Script and director: Erik Sandberg
Reporter and narration: Gustav Fridolin
Editor: Tell Johansson
Camerman: Mats Lund
Researcher: Mattias Sandberg
Producer: Andreas Rocksén
Commissioning editor TV4: Thomas Willtorp

First episode, “The Negro is half man“,
Sunday 25 October 18.00 in TV4

Second episode, “An inferior race, doomed to die“,
Sunday 1 November 18.00 in TV4

Third episode, “The white race’s future“,
Sunday 8 November 18.00 in TV4