It’s a post written for a Afroswedish active facebook group but It hasn’t been not posted because look how I manage to make a thesis with it. So…
Sorry for the long post coming AGAIN but living here raised a lot of questions that only found silence so far and I want to understand. Especially because I’m considering leaving even if my European activity agreement says that I have 5 months left to do here (I could be useful for people and myself somewhere else). But if I can learn one last thing out of those first 7 months, I’m interested in. So I’m posting this. I hope I’m not offending, I want to understand what’s wrong with my way of doing and being, and what I don’t understand. So if you have time to read all this, just give me the light.
(I don’t have issue with people hurting my feelings a little bit so I can improve, do better, do useful, or just stop.)
I come from Belgium (born and raised). My parents came from Congo (DRC) about 35 years ago to do their Ph.D. I came in Sweden as a volunteer to do a European Voluntary Service (Erasmus+, EU), which means volunteering, living in a shared apartment with 3 others volunteers and receiving 3.000SEK per month to live. I’m in Linköping working in two cultural houses and my main tasks are working in the cafés of the houses, and trying to make projects. They are doing this program for 9 or 11 years now and I’m the first person of color they have, and it’s not really going well many times.
But my ongoing questioning is not about white Swedes, but about black people, black community(ies), black « consciousness » and black activism here.
I thought that we would have more in common than the general topics, because it’s Europe. But what I experience so far it’s that maybe Afroswedes have a more similar way of functioning to white Swedes, and that probably allows me to acknowledge that I have a Belgian way to function myself too (that’s a really awkward feeling). That the « afro » part of Afroswedes and Afrobelgian/french is, in terms of community and synergies, less that what it could suggest. Deepening my understanding of Afropean.
Honestly, I came here to take a break from activism. I was supposed to work on sound techniques and help young people to organize stuff but is was a trap, the agreement has never been respected. I was pressure to work for free not in sound stuff with white privileged kids so the white privileged paid staff could not give a fuck about making the place alive since I’m the exotic entertainment. So at the end of March, after two months of shit, I said no way, that if I have to work for free but not do what was planned, I’ll work with and for black people. Plan: taking the money where I find it, using my Erasmus+ label as a convincing tool, and using this money to do something new, create Afropean connections and support black people here (EXTRACT). But what I didn’t get is that maybe this is not wanted by Afroswedes neither. So being in trouble with my organization doesn’t make any sense. Lire la suite