The report of the Norwegian Institute of Human Rights (NIM) states that many Norwegians are prejudiced against national minorities.
Angel Janssen (18 years old) from Sarpsburg belongs to a national minority. She is half Romanian/Tatar and half Romanian. A group that has been a part of Norway’s history, which many may not have heard of, but which has seen many negative situations throughout history.
A new survey conducted on behalf of the Norwegian Institute of Human Rights (NIM) shows that many Sami and national minorities still face negative attitudes – even though the year is 2022.
The aim of the survey is to find out and measure attitudes in the general population that may affect the human rights of Sami and national minorities. Ordinary people on the street responded to the survey.
1 in 3 reported having a negative impression of Roma and Gypsies/Tatars.
Groups that have a long-standing relationship with the country are defined as national minorities. In Norway, these are Kvens/Finnish Norwegians, Jews, Forest Finns, Gypsies, Romanians/Tatars.
The Roma/Tatters are a group of people who immigrated to Norway in the 16th century. Gypsy Norwegians came to Norway in the 19th century.
She was called a gypsy girl
Growing up, Angela suffered discrimination. It could be anything from people who call them gypsies to people who associate being Norwegian with crime and cut their hands on everyone else, according to Angela.
She particularly remembers an episode from her childhood.
– When I started in first grade, we had to figure out where we came from to get to know each other. I couldn’t make out where I came from, I said India, among other things, because I didn’t quite understand, she says.
But when I realized what she was going to say, I experienced the treatment differently. She says she has also been bullied based on her background.
– I was called a short gypsy girl, she says.
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People know very little about Norwegian minorities
The survey shows that there are more Norwegian minorities experiencing negative attitudes: the further north you go in Norway, the more negative attitudes towards the Sami increase.
1 in 10 in Northern Norway in the survey reported having a negative impression of the Sami and Kven/Norwegian Finns.
The survey shows that much of the population has little knowledge of Sami and national minorities, and that many agree with stereotypes about the groups.
9 out of 10 stated that they learned nothing or little about Kvens/Norwegian Finns, Skog Finns, Roma, and Romani/Tatars at school.
Half of the country is about the Sami, and a third country is about the Jews.
– When I was in the seventh grade, I saw in social studies books that there were stories about Gypsies and Tatars, but they did not teach them. I think it’s sad that they didn’t teach us anything about it. I think schools should learn more about us, to make clear who we are, says Angel.
Shared responsibility to stop incitement and racism
The Minister of Education, Tonje Brenna (AP), believes proper training is important to break down the prejudices one might have against these groups.
In order to break prejudices and stop incitement, we must learn about different cultures and get to know each other through dividing lines. Kindergarten and school should help build an understanding of the identity of others, and both the Kindergarten Framework Plan and the new curriculum make it clear that students should learn more about national minorities.
She adds that the Directorate of Education has support materials that nurseries and schools can use.
Brenna also believes that it will be important to review the report and its findings to see what measures can be put into practice.
– Now we will read the report and recommendations of the NIM, and consider any measures to enhance knowledge of national minorities and combat prejudice – which unfortunately we still see a lot of. National minorities should be a completely normal part of society, and we all have a responsibility to stop incitement and racism.
Most Jews were affected by hate speech
Many of those surveyed noted hate speech and incitement against the Sami and national minorities.
The percentage of the population who observed hate speech or incitement against Sami and national minorities in the past 12 months is the largest in the case of Jews. 19 percent of those questioned noted incitement or hatred toward this group. Much of this incitement was linked to Israel’s policy and the conflict with Palestine.
The next group that many people have observed hatred or incitement against are Roma/Tatars and Norwegian Gypsies. Hate speech and incitement against national minorities have often been observed on social media.
Agitation against the ethnic groups Roma/Tatars and Norwegian Gypsies often revolves around allegations that these groups beg, steal, and intrude on society.
Among those who responded to the survey who actually noticed hate speech or incitement against these groups, 58 percent said they did nothing to help and only 7 percent said or wrote something to distance themselves from the speech.
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