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When colour matters: policing and hate crime

[journal article]

Wigerfelt, Berit; Wigerfelt, Anders S.; Kiiskinen, Jenny

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Abstract Contrary to the image of Sweden as a tolerant, colour-blind and non-racial country, which is based on the narrative of a country for instance associated with solidarity with the so-called Third World; in this article we argue that racial attributes, e.g. visible differences, account for people's different life possibilities and circumstances in Swedish society. This article explores and discusses whether, and if so why, people who belong to the group that is categorised as "non-white", with an emphasis on Afroswedes, and depicted as racially different, experience being targets of diverse variations of bias-based policing, harassment and hate crime. Theories relating to colonial stereotypes, racism, doing difference, the geography of hate, race/ethnicity profiling and intersectionality are used to analyse our material. Based on individual and focus group interviews with "non-whites", this article discusses how visible differences are highlighted in different kinds of social contexts. The interview results show that people with dark skin are often targets of different kinds of private and public policing based on race- and ethnicity profiling that often occurs on or near borders/boundaries. When those who are targets of racial harassment and exclusion resist such treatment, e.g. by crossing borders/boundaries, they are at risk of becoming victims of hate crime.
Keywords Sweden; social inequality; racism; exclusion; border region; ethnicity; police; criminality
Classification General Sociology, Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Sociology, Sociological Theories; Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnosociology; Social Problems
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 1-11
Journal Social Inclusion, 2 (2014) 1
ISSN 2183-2803
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution