Mange af os møder ikke i hverdagen nogen grund til at tænke over, om Danmark skulle være specielt fremmedfjendsk. Især ikke, hvis vi er pæredanske og følgelig også “ligner” almindelige danskere og taler uden fremmed accent.
Andre er ikke så priviligerede. Den britiske blogger seasonticket citerer en dansk gymnasielærer, der er gift med en amerikansk mand og derfor oplever en lidt anden side af den danske “folkekarakter”, end de fleste er vant til:
I teach English at the Gymnasium level, and every day I am faced with the political wish to improve the English skills of the Danish population. I therefore never dreamt that my husband’s mother tongue would be much of a problem. But I was greatly mistaken. We have had so many bad experiences by now that I have stopped counting. A few examples:
At the doctor’s office: My husband developed a problem with his shoulder and needed physiotherapy. He started attending a weekly training session with four other patients. His Danish was still not good enough to completely follow the instructions from the doctor, however, so he very politely asked the doctor to repeat the instructions in English. This resulted in a very violent reaction from two of the other patients who both agreed that “if you were not willing to learn Danish, you were not entitled to medical care in this country!” The two other patients said nothing.
At the library: My husband wanted to take out a guide to California because we were taking a trip there. I had explained to him that his yellow social security card also worked as his library card, and that he just had to hand the card to the librarian. As he did that and asked – in English – to borrow the book, the librarian responded very rudely that “this was not a valid library card”. When I tried later that same day to take out the same book from the same librarian with my husband’s yellow card, but this time asking her in fluent Danish, I had no trouble at all. This provoked me into confronting her, and she finally revealed her true feelings and said that “foreigners could not be trusted; he was just going to steal the book and take it back home with him!”
At a Copenhagen restaurant: When we go out together, strangers often conclude that I must be foreign too because my husband and I speak English together. Therefore, they often speak their opinion of us very bluntly because they do not think I understand Danish. This also happened in June this year, when we were having lunch outside Palads Cinema in Copenhagen. We were talking, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Next to us sat two women, one middle-aged and one in her early thirties. Suddenly, the older of the two put her cutlery down very violently and said “We have to find another table! If I have to eat my food sitting next to these foreigners, I will lose my appetite!” The younger responded “I agree! This is Denmark, and there is nothing more disrespectful than people publically talking in their own language like that!” Then they got up and left, while I sat back in disbelief
Sadly, these are not isolated incidents; I could go on. I can honestly say that if I had not been there myself, I would not have believed this about Denmark.
De af os, der ikke selv møder indvandrere af forskellig baggrund til daglig møder som sagt ikke denne ubehagelige side af vore landsmænd – og er derfor ikke klar over, at den er der. Eller hvis vi er, vil vi i hvert fald ikke være klar over det – intet er jo desværre så nemt som at skjule ubehagelige fakta for sig selv.
Den citerede gymnasielærer er også blevet mødt med vantro blikke, når hun har fortalt sin historie – fulgt op af spørgsmålet, om hendes mand måske er sort amerikaner. Ja, for det ville jo forklare det, ikke sandt? Og hvem siger så, at der ikke er racisme i Danmark …
I can only answer “No, he is not African American, he was born in Indiana; a farming state, has German roots, and looks like your average Dane. But that makes absolutely no difference; “Wonderful Copenhagen” is no more! “
Hvis nogen i dag, efter ni år med Dansk Folkeparti praktisk talt i regering, stadig tror, at Danmark ikke er et dybt isolationistisk og fremmedfjendsk land, hvor det er vore fordomme og vore fordomme alene, der reducerer udlændinge til “problemer”, er de blevet vildledt. Hvis nogen stadig tror på glansbilledmyten om Danmark som det “moderne” land, hvor “få har for meget og færre for lidt”, lider de af vrangforestillinger. Desværre. For det var et smukt glansbillede.