DJ Mosquito has literally transformed a national day barbecue-picnic, which was traditionally supposed to be with friends and family, into a mega-event. It has become a source of international pride based on diversity and world music, and which showcases the different countries and cultures represented by a variety of national flags being waived by “new citizens” in Sweden. They are expressing and celebrating both their own cultural and also universal values. The communal spirit is strong.
The year 2018 was the fifth consecutive summer I had attended this event. I have been witness to how it has greatly developed over these years, but this year was special because something else caught my attention that inspired me to start my research on a rapidly growing trend that has been having a huge impact on the nation’s demographics – and on the Swedish multiracial family life.
As I stood behind DJ Mosquito’s concert stage, soaking in the euphoria of the sun-kissed occasion, and observing the joy being expressed by playful frolicking of youngsters on a small sandy beach to my left, an observation got me wondering, and then sent me deep into thoughts.
I noticed that, roughly four out of five of the children and teenagers who were swimming or playing in the water under the supervision of their guardians were biracial.
As an African from Cameroon, I have been living and working in Sweden for a decade now. Noticeably – in contemporary multicultural Sweden, being a generally outgoing individual, I have participated in many social events and occasions, which enabled me to make a lot of friends who hail originally from a great many countries around the globe. Naturally therefore, many remain or came to become close friends. The question of integration and adaptability was a common conversational topic. It was usually very intriguing to listen and see how the blend in differences was somehow unique to specific couples but at the same time a similar trend to all.
At many of those social events – parties, BBQs, and the like; it was commonplace to see Black men with Caucasian ladies or vice versa. There is something pleasing about the sight of different racial groups mingling together. Most often and unavoidably, the circumstance of such relationships leads to a biracial baby coming into this world. However, I have become increasingly aware of varying degrees of dis-functionalities in such cross-cultural relationships, which thereby thus have the potential to create psychological harm in the minds of the children of such couples.
Statistical surveys of marriages, lasting more than fifteen years in Sweden even amongst people of the same racial background yields questionably alarming results. The figures concerning relationships or marriages between Blacks and Caucasians make for even more appalling reading. The offspring of such unions are almost always affected to some degree.
I had long assumed that I had an understanding of my underlining quest for knowledge in the field of study of interracial relationships, and was confident that as my research bore fruits, clear results and insights would emerge. Unfortunately, the opposite happened. My search for answers in the form of rational explanations raised even more questions than my initial fret, which inevitably spawned new and more pressing questions.
A new-born child coming into the world is always a wonderful, remarkable and life-changing experience that creates an emotional watershed for all concerned. It is just simply beautiful. It should not be as complicated or fraught with incertitude as the cases I have experienced or come across. That is the main reason why a critical understanding of the biracial phenomena must be thoroughly understood by everyone, particularly in the Nordic countries (albeit with Sweden as my specific research zone).
Today, it is evident with the World’s current geopolitical structure and the flexibility in international and intercontinental movements of people – either voluntary or otherwise; that European societies, especially in the Nordics, are experiencing a dramatic increase in racial diversity at the community level.
It seems to be that, too many young adults living in the “Developing World” still have a stereotypical and not fully accurate view of Europe providing some kind of “Eldorado”, promising swift financial gains, social-security safety nets and political liberalisms. This entices millions of migrants yearly to pursue a better life. Duly, thousands of such individuals end up in Sweden every year.
Most will eventually adopt the Swedish lifestyle during the process of adaptation. However, I do seriously believe that a comprehensive understanding of the implications of integration should be of cognizant to prospective parents of biracial children if they choose to procreate in Sweden.
It is clear that the dynamics and societal norms of the country are changing, and as a result, politically correct expressions of emphasizing commonalities among different racial and ethnic groups are being made heard with ever-greater frequency. However, this creates the danger of ignoring crucial basic differences and does not allow biracial children to grow up with a strong sense of self-worth and group identity. Moreover, they are hindered by the harsh reality that there are limited resources addressing their specific psychological needs.
Could the now-common practice of seeking to showcase biracial children on social media, with the intention of securing “likes” and other forms of approval, create the danger of misinterpretation? What about the phenomena of many parents of biracial youngsters seeking to have them taken-on to be models or icons in magazines, advertisements and in other media?
This research takes the form of a trilogy of books; exploring the lives and views of the biracial child in today’s Sweden, through real-life case studies, as well as all the “baggage” that comes with it.
The trials and tribulations, the kisses and hugs, the dance and songs, the love and hate of the men and women involved in a societal phenomenon that continues to foster both global understanding and painful misunderstandings
Book 1: Not Always the Best of Both Worlds – This was supposed to be Love
(Different true life stories from the women’s point of view)
Book 2: Not Always the Best of Both Worlds – I hate my Life.
(Different true life stories from the men’s point of view)
Book 3: Not Always the Best of Both Worlds – We will never Understand
(True-life narratives, from the biracial children themselves).