The Hierarchy of Blond Hair and Blue Eyes

When I write this (without the internet, so I will post it later) it’s been three days since we got here. So really, this is still all very new and also very unnerving. But things get easier every day.

I know how to take the bus now and I learned how to pronounce the name of the street we live on. I finally got hot water in the house and soon I will have internet. The doggies are here and we’ve been cooking at home and using the wine fridge (OMG; I don’t know if I can live without a wine fridge again! This thing has four racks. The bottom two are for red and the top two are for white. You set the temperature for each one. My god, what a brilliant, and now seemingly necessary, invention this is!). I’ve been walking everywhere, because although I got a bike, I’m too afraid to ride it. More on that later… But yeah, I must easily be doing 20,000 steps per day. (Marissa gave me her old Jawbone and I wish I could be wearing it, but the band broke and I need to replace it somehow…) I feel like I’ve been exercising though.

So, despite not having internet or any furniture and sitting on the stairs to eat our meals, I am really enjoying being here. I think I will quickly get used to things and it will be a very pleasant life here.

For the most part.

I am not fearful of a lot of things, but one thing I’m a little weary of is the Danes and their ethnocentric attitudes.

Having spent decades in the Pacific Northwest, where people were PC before political correctness became a national fad, I am not used to overt racism. But here, in Denmark, even within these few days, I’ve started to pick up on something. Maybe it’s not necessarily racism (although, yeah, it is also that), but definitely something a bit unsettling about how people talk.

For example: I had someone (I won’t name names or identify people if it’d tarnish them in any way, so I won’t say who said it) say: “she has a Swedish name. Why would anyone name their child with a Swedish name?”. (Full disclosure: I have no idea what is wrong with Swedish names. The Swedish names I know are very pretty and this name in particular has a very nice sound to it).

And then another someone, when asked about the people who live on our street said: ”these people will come and knock on your door. Mind you, that is not Danish thing to do. Danish people respect your privacy.” (Our street has some foreigners living here, which is something I am very excited about! They are welcome to knock on my door anytime.)

And then there is this conversation I’ve eavesdropped on at the street food stand during lunch today. It was in English (duh) and between two brown skinned people:

“She was very rude. Her son tried to talk to me and she said: don’t talk to him. He doesn’t speak Danish. And I said: yes, I do speak Danish. And so she looked at me, very rude, with that condescending look on her face and said: you do? And I said: Yes, I do. And I won’t serve you.”

The other guy just nodded.

“I tell people who move here: if you see these things happening, you need to stand up to them. After I kicked her out, she must have gone home and thought about what she did. I hope she did. And I hope that little boy remembers it too. We can’t let them talk to us like that. I wouldn’t exactly call it racism. But it’s a hierarchy of blond hair and blue eyes.”

Did I mention this is my third day here?



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