Rosenstein’s Ordonnance de la police génerale de St. Barthelemy

”Pehr Herman Von Rosenstein made me do it”. See, I haven’t posted here in a minute and theres several reasons for it which I might share some other time lol, nonetheless I thought I’d briefly share some of what I’ve been studying this past month.

Like a year ago I did a series on here about Swedens History of Racism, amongst the things I briefly covered then was our former colony S:t Barthélemy. For my course this term I’ve been writing a paper on the swedish ”Code Noir”. For those who havent heard of it the originl Code Noir: Édit du Roy was put together in 1685 by King Louis XIV of France with the purpose of defining the conditions of slavery in the French colonial empire.

What I’ve been studying is our own Swedish version of this whom many are unaware of even existed, and to be honest it was really difficult for me in the beginning of this study to allocate this ”Ordonnance” to begin with. After reading some on in my search for these documents I found out that we seem to have had a history of ”misplacing” or ”mishandling” our records. Thus I’ll be sharing some of it here, hoping it might assist somebody else in the future interested in looking into Swedens colonial past.

(After digging a bit, it seems the physical original of the ”Ordonnance”, should be available at the swedish national archive (Riksarkivet), and if I ever end up going I’ll make sure to try to get a picture of it.)

First up is a an (English) excerpt from the local newspaper The Report of St. Bartholome No. 5 & 6 from 1804 which printed sections from the original edict/text.

Here’s the full Swedish transcrip of the original Rosensteins’ Ordonnance de la police géneral S:t Barthelemy.

The original Ordonnance was written by the governor of S:t Barthelemy of the time: Pehr Herman Von Rosenstein, who was one of the first people to arrive with ”Sprengporten” the first ship sent out to the colony right after it shifted ownership from French to Swedish in 1784.

I’ll also be adding the original (French) Code Noir here:


Imagine all the people that came before you. In my mind it goes from a few faces, to a crowd, to a sea.

So many I can’t even picture them all with a face let alone a life of their own, my little brain goes 15 years back at most, yet they’re all there. Amazingly enough, even If I can’t keep track, my body does. They’re all there.

”If you got to pick a superpower, what would it be?” Classic question. Most of us have answered it multiple times and we’ll most likely answer it many more. We love magic, and mystique and the beyond.

I used to say ”I want to fly!”, or wish for a superbrain, but I could never quite decide what I’d choose for sure. Last year I did.

The idea has passed me by in various forms, and I have most certainly been shaped by my surroundings and the quite ridiculous amounts of sci-fi and fantasy that I’ve consume throughout my life. Really it’s alot.

My body pretty much runs itself, if I had to do everything my body does automatically by myself I wouldn’t have made it this far lol, I can’t even text and talk at the same time. Regardless, If I got to pick a power, I’d like the ability to tap into my double helixes (DNA) like a phoneline and chat with my predecessors.

I dreamt of it once. In my head I pictured it like a grand hall, with several etages holding a seated crowd looking down at me in the center, and I didn’t quite get what it was until my grandma came to greet me.

Homegoing is the name of a book by Yaa Gyasi that I just finished reading tonight. It brought back these thoughts I had. It tells the story of a familys lineage from Africa to America and the UK; from colonisation, to slave trade to now. Some of the people along the way are aware of their place in the family line, whilst others aren’t. As the reader you pick up on things that have been passed down all the same, unbeknownst or not, mannerisms, items, sayings, even fears. I won’t share too much, but this book will stay with me. It is beautifully written and it takes you in and holds you close ‘til it’s done telling its’ story.

If you, like me, have been wondering who came before you, if they thought about you like you think of them… Maybe you’ve beat yourself up for not knowing any or all their names, I know I did – let this be your reminder that they’re here all the same. The good, the bad, the ones you know and not, see they never left. Their story lives too, in everything that got you here, and that’ll stay with you even when you’ve forgotten all about it, just like your body breathes even if you’d forget to.

You’re not one but many.


What does it mean to be a historian? And what does it mean to be a y(o)ung historian in the 21st century? You know, like a next gen’ type thing?

I think about this alot. I have to. There needs to be direction in my work, no? A basic idea, a purpose etc. The sheer fascinating with reading about our past isn’t enough.

We’re in the age of information, majority of our collectively gathered history is a click away at any given time. Thus, the historians ”original” purpose, to just simply know history, is somewhat rendered obsolete. The act of documenting history in the now is also somewhat taken care of, we record e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. now, literally everything.

So far though, I’ve managed to conclude that my purpose as a historian still seems to be to know history. But not as a means of a walking timeline, but as a lens or a conduite. Bare with me lol. A conduite meaning, if a 10 year old kid touched me, they’d be zapped and know none of it’s random. They’d know of the people that came before us and just how much they matter. They’d know the events that shaped our reality now and how it’s all linked.

Will I ever achieve it? No, absolutely not. My head’s too small and my time is limited. However, It’s a pretty cool purpose, and I’ll keep busy forever.

I feel like there’s a focus on the now. Our attention span is getting shorter, travel is going faster, time itself feels like it’s moving faster. It’s easy to remain centered and only focus on your immediate surroundings, your immediate reality. I’m not gonna knock anybody who is, it makes sense.

All I hope is that the people whom we’re currently standing on, aren’t lost to history. That when we as individuals look for our identity, we remember that the people who came before us helped shape who we are. There’s no shame in looking to them for guidance and help. Our past, our culture and our elders is an asset.

So when you ask yourself who you are, or why people do what they do, my job as a historian will be to say look to those who came before.

Maybe I’m talking out of my ass but I feel like this makes sense?

Regarding the y(o)ung aspect, I guess I just gotta make sure I package (or convey) our history in a way that shows just how relevant it is for today, for people like me. Aswell as document the perspectives and conclusions that my generation will be adding to the book later on.

Further more, yungHistoria is a hilarious name for a blogpost, and I feel it embodies the concept I’m trying to push here, which is me I guess? Me as a historian? Like – I’m down for both trap music and ancient civilizations. If you tell me there’ll be hiphop, Axumite coins, Ekpe masks AND pizza? I’ll be there in an instant. Faster than Europe ruined the economy of an entire continent type fast. Feel me?

After My First Week As A History Major

So, after my first week at Uni, I wanted to share some thoughts and briefly reflect on it.

Most of the opinions I currently hold regarding the field of history or what it means to be a historian are fundamentally thoughts Ive had for some time, even if theyve been shaped and elaborated on through debates, active research and growth. I say this to highlight the backstory of my conclusions, which is this:

1) – I. LOVE. history. I could read and debate this stuff for hours, I’m so excited about this. I’ve been spending hours reading these first few weeks, and now all I wish for christmas is a faster and more effective way to retain information, thanks. (Relevant Avatar sidenote: For those who don’t know me my third favorite character after Aang and Toph was Wan Shi Tong, he’s goals)

2) – The achievements of black and brown people, as well as the African continent as a whole has been systematically written out, down-played and placed on the sidelines within this field.

(Many of you probably already knew this, as did I, but I get unmistakenly reminded whenever I’m in any designated setting than my own)

What to take from this statement you ask?

– If you’re of the opinion that ”black historians” are ”radical loonies” or that the concept of a ”black” historian is odd to you then you might want to go over it again. Some of them are of course, same goes for traditional western and eastern historians who’ve made up all sorts of things in an attempt to benefit from history (for example see the Piltdown Man). In any field there’s bound to be liars and loonies but I’m here to say that it’s been concluded as a fact – if you havent accepted it yet – that history has been consciously written to exclude/downplay the achievements of the people of the African continent (and their decendants).

Ironically, historians have been telling us this for quite some time in their famous ”History is (usually) written by the winners” – quote.

Most people don’t care about this that much, like really truly care. Which is okay I guess its not like history carries any form of political leverage or power. It’s not like a group of people were literally granted a country due to history. How do I know? Name one early complex society in the African continent that’s south of the Sahara, ill wait. Nothing? Okay. That’s fine. Don’t blame yourself. We like to put the blame on us and ofc part of the responsiblity is ours, but you mean to tell me that we have an entire continent, the very continent we as a species walked out of, yet majority of our historical excavations have been done everywhere else but there? Which is usually, in combination with the lack of documentation, the primary reason given for the lack of information available as well as provided.

I love history. So much. I can’t get enough of it, it’s like being told stories as a kid yet most of it’s (supposedly) true, which makes it even cooler. I geek out completely and been reading history mags (who’s target audience is clearly middle-aged white men,) since I was like 11 yrs old. Odly enough, the closest I got to seeing anyone remotely resembling myself in these mags were in stories of the Incas, Mayans, and Egyptians. (Us westeners sure love Egyptians, sometimes it gets weird).

Nonetheless, back to the topic at hand, It just doesnt make sense, rationally, logically, it doesnt add up. How, did our species walk out of that continent, (which we all more or less collectively agree on) and then proceed to collect information about everywhere but there? It must’ve been a conscious effort to place the focus somewhere else. Was it only a a matter of conscious disregard, maybe some plain disinterest due proximity? Probably a bit of both.

I opened up the discussion with a classmate, who seconded my thoughts and added that this has become more relevant of a question along with the recent concept and study of neo-colonialism/de-colonization. Which is true. Meaning that the idea itself already exists with the next generation of historians, I whole heartedly hope that we won’t collectivly fumble it and continue to echo the same withered textbooks people been reading.

So what’s the purpose of this post? And what’s the conclusion?

– That black historians were born out of a dire need. That the collective historical worldview is lacking and full of holes and that the historical field itself is very much alive (ill continue to say this dont @ me lol). It’s very alive and decisions are being made everyday about what gets put in the books and what doesn’t. Proximity matters – the way I look directly affected how I approach this field from jump.

I’m here and look the way I do because of history that goes further back than slavery and I want it to be included, I want to see myself in the books I read, beyond Egypt. We’re supposed to cover the African continent later on in the course, I read the introduction in which they already excused the lack of knowledge there was due to various circumstances. We’ll see how it goes, maybe i’ll have to double down on this. But for now, I’ll sit right here and continue to update my blog as I learn the (very incomplete) history of the world. I’ll keep asking why it doesn’t add up, whilst (fingers crossed) receving the tools to add some missing pieces one day.

Sweden’s History Of Racism: Part 3 – The State Institute For The Study Of Racial Biology

”The Swedish Institute For The Study Of Racial Biology”, sounds pretty impressive right? All official, clean and correct. It was official. Very official indeed, but not the least bit clean or correct. This week we’ll talk about how the Swedish government proudly founded an institute in Uppsala specifically dedicated to the study of eugenics – simplified, some of you might know it as ”selective breeding”.

What is eugenics? Basically eugenics is a set of beliefs and or practices that are centered around the goal of improving the quality of human genetics by way of selective breeding. A term which is nowadays very closely associated with scientific racism and white supremacy. This obviously also calls for a desired vs undesired set of traits, resulting in a categorization where some people where classified inferior and others superior. Sort of. Initially it just started with the breeding, see the core idea (selective breeding), precedes the wider movement and field of study (where we know it from) that came later. Plato, famous philosopher, and all mighty wasp father (pre-wasp times), presented in his work The Republic, what his ideal society would be. The small philosophical ruling class were to be paired of with each other, highly intelligent men and women with desirable aptitudes. Selective breeding was essential, not only to continuously increase the quality of the ruling class, but also to keep undesirable lower class genes out. Fast forward a couple hundred years to the beginning of the 1900’s, this core idea has taken on new names, (eugenics is on of them), along with more detailed concepts and scriptures and developed in to a full fledged set of beliefs. Eugenics had been the talk of the town for a while, funny enough, if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ve probably already noticed that the field of eugenics clearly grew and peaked along side racism, transatlantic slave trade and divisive theories of the evolution of the human race. It’s almost like there’s a pattern here. A system of separate (supposedly unrelated) entities (scholars, workers, merchants, politicians, royals etc) all working together (by chance?) to reinforce their place of power and shape the world to their ideal eurocentric white haven, Sweden included.

We got so involved our leaders founded an institute in 1922 to map and document these racial and ethnic differences. They listed traits and ranked people from desirable to undesirable and deemed what was supreme. The results from this research was then used to set up our own selective breeding program, starting with systemic oppression and genocide to clear out the undesirables. In our case, those who ended up suffering the blow was our trans-population and some of our minorities (specifically Romani, Tornedalians and indigenous Sápmi).

Herman Lundborg – Sweden’s face forward in the field of eugenics, the first headmaster of the institute and one of the driving forces behind the motion to establish it. Fun fact for the Suedis’ reading this, the same people (representatives of present day Centerpartiet and Socialdemokraterna) who backed the motion to establish this institute also passed the motion for compulsory sterilization of ”undesirables” a little later. But back to Lundborg, this man worked incredibly hard to push eugenics in Sweden, urging the government invest in their research and take serious action against the degeneration of our population, I imagine in his mind maybe he felt he was saving the world. See him and his people were concerned that poor people with undesirable traits (a supposed knack for alcoholism, crime, mental illness and dark hair/skin) were having more children than rich people with desirable traits (well educated, cultured, white and blond). So they photographed, measured, interviewed and studied the communities of Romani, Tornedalians and Sápmi. After studying over 100 000 Swedes by 1926, Lundborg gathered the institutes initial research in the book The Racial Characters of the Swedish nation: Anthropologia Suecia (Svensk raskunskap). The book was full of nude pictures of various body types of different ethnicity, lists of ethnic/race based traits and a part which covered the ideal ”Swedish-Germanic racial type” traits with a picture to go with, depicting a naked white blond man who previously won the beauty pageant of the same name.

For anyone who’s still not convinced that this was an institute created to promote and support systemic racism by means of scientific racism, here’s a quote from an old professor from the time of the institute sharing some thoughts: ”I believe that the Nordic tribes, that formed the indoeuropéans, should’ve been acutely aware of their their psychological and physiological supremacy and should not have tolerated of any mixing. See even a drop of gy*py blood, in an otherwise strong host tends to ruin their morals (less of an effect on intellect). Initially, sadly (the field of) eugenics (racial-hygiene) can’t do much other than to keep the worst degeneration that is already in motion at bay”.

I’ll get into the details of the grander consequences that this government funded ”unofficial” breeding program had in next weeks post. I call it unofficial, because it was never referred to as a breeding program per say, however the laws and regulations were there, restricting who’s allowed to reproduce and where some were allowed to live/work. All of this fit rather neatly next to our already existing (also government sanctioned) laws regarding forced assimilation of the indigenous Sápmi (and various other minorities). At this point you might wonder why I keep mentioning them by name so much over the other groups of people, and well, it’s because they were here before present day ”Swedes” got here, yet they’ve been treated incredibly bad. Like horrendously bad. Our government basically tried to wipe them out, and not even in the ”we’ll just shoot and kill you”- kind of way, but in a ”we will erase your identity, existence and your culture, secretly killing your people over generations”- kind of way. So I have to mention them.

But hey, we’re at the conclusion, and by now I imagine you got a pretty good idea what the institute was for and why it was founded. I could get more into detail regarding the research itself, or mention more names of Swedish eugenicists, but I don’t believe it’s vital. What’s important is that you walk away from this remembering that this is something our (Swedish) people did. Legally. With the governments full support. We can’t ever forget it or leave it behind. Because the ripple effect of those actions are present today, and we still greedily ”share” the land with the ancestors of those same people that we literally tried to kill a few generations ago. Many of their elders still remember and still suffer based on our actions and the discrimination hasn’t stopped since, just changed. Swedish eugenicists will be listed in the links below for whoever wants to dive deep, but for you who’s just checking in. Don’t worry about it. Just remember this the next time some random journalist, or your uncle at the midsummer table claims that Sweden doesn’t have a history of racism.

Header: The header for this post depicts the state institute’s first location, known today as ”Dekanhuset” in Uppsala. The eugenics research was carried out here from it’s founding 1922 until 1937 when they moved into a new location (Västra Ågatan 24). Here they stayed until the official end of the institute in 1958 (remaining work was transferred to Uppsala University).



Statens institut för rasbiologi

Compulsory sterilization in Sweden

Svensk raskunskap (bok)

White supremacy


Plato’s Republic

Scientific Racism

Sweden’s History of Racism: Part 1 – Colonies

Ah yes, racism in Sweden. Very much present, and not at all new. In this series I’ll go over why. We’ll start with the colonies.

I have to make this post. Last week we had a Swedish journalist come out with an article claiming Sweden isn’t racist, and that Sweden doesn’t have anything in common with the US thus we shouldn’t try to import their issues and make them our own. The actual truth though which he missed is that black people in America paved the way and shaped what modern black activism is today, and there’s no shame in us adopting their blueprint in hopes of dealing with our own issues with racism alongside with showing solidarity for their struggle. Especially since Sweden’s got quite the nasty history of it’s own which all too often seems to be forgotten. When I was a kid, we didn’t learn about this in school, which leads me to believe that most people don’t have the slightest idea of Sweden’s roll in the transatlantic slave trade. In later parts of this series I’ll go over various major events in Sweden’s history of racism, in this part I’ll briefly cover Swedish colonies. ‘Cause Sweden had colonies. Not for a very long time. Not very large ones, but colonies none the less. We don’t get to act like we didn’t have them. Here’s a list: Nya Sverige, Cabo Corso, Guadeloupe, Porto-Novo and Saint Barthélemy.

First out is Nya Sverige (New Sweden). Located on the east coast of north america, in a small area along the south side of the Delaware river (an area which today is part of the states Delaware, Maryland New Jersey and Pennsylvania), this colony was founded in 1638. The land was purchased by the Company of New-Sweden (Nya Sverige-kompaniet) from the local indigenous Leni Lenape people in exchange for wares, as part of Sweden’s colonization of America and was the first permanent Swedish settlement in the area. So to put it briefly, the settlement was struggling from the beginning due to illness and poverty, however things started getting really bad towards the end of it’s run. When the swedes arrived back in -38 (accompanied by some Dutch people due to a co-operative agreement) the first building they set up was Fort Christina (still there today), a base of defense, named after the Swedish Queen Kristina who was ruling at the time. The Dutch, residing further up the river, also on the south side, weren’t feeling it, so they proceeded to establish a second base of their own 12 km (7 miles) from the Swedish one – to mess with them. Tension was growing between the Swedes and their Dutch neighbors next door. The Swedish settlements’ governor at the time was ruling with an iron fist and seizing property to gear up in case a battle were to break out, this made the settlers unhappy so they started running away to seek refugee over on the dutch side. The governor then hired local Leni Lenape to hunt down the runaway mutinous Swedes and bring them back dead or alive. Fast forward a bit, (past some squabble back and forth), the Dutch governor lays siege to Fort Christina in 1655, the Swedish governor gives up, and so after 17 years since establishment the colony was no more. (Or well, most Swedish people decided to stay, but now the colony was under dutch rule and they renamed the base Fort Altena.)

Then there’s Cabo Corso, with it’s prime location along Africa’s gold coast in present day Ghana. The land was purchased by the Swedish Africa Company (Afrikanska kompaniet) in 1650 after making a deal with the King of the local Akan people (Efutu Kingdom). (It got to keep it’s Portuguese name Cabo Corso after the previous Portuguese settlers.) That same year, the first Swedish ship of settlers, under the leadership of Henrik Carloff arrived and built the base Carlousborg (still there today) and the settlements main export/import was intended to be gold, timber and slaves. The Swedish Africa Company, that was mentioned earlier, was founded by Louis De Geer (ill talk about him more in another blog-post later on, he’s important) after getting a special permit from Queen Kristina to establish a trade post here The queen also granted the company monopoly on all Swedish trading beyond the Canary Islands, aka they we’re making a lot of money. So what happened? They were geared up for success? Well, remember the Carloff guy, leader of the first group of settlers? He was made director of the island, however a few years in, he got accused of dealing in some off-the-record trading of his own and got fired. He left the colony pissed, went to Denmark (whom Sweden recently been at war with), spoke to the King, and the King was like mess with some Swede’s? I’m down. So Carloff returned to Ghana with a brand new gun-heavy ship, hired 2000 local Asafo (Akan warrior groups) and conquered Carlousborg. Now the colony was Danish. Carloff appointed his colleague Schmidt responsible for the settlement, and left for Denmark again taking ships and riches with him. Side note: this was one of the things that sparked Swedens second war with Denmark lol. Later when the Swedish government and King Karl X Gustav dealt with the danish to reclaim what was stolen, Carloff ghosted with the treasure and there’s been no record of him since. So after the Swedish-Danish peace treaty that was signed in 1660, Denmark was supposed to return the colony to Sweden, but uhm, you know Schmidt? Carloffs sidekick? He sold it. He sold the colony to the Dutch and ghosted with the money. Thus, our gold coast settlement was no more after 11 years. The end.

Just kidding, next up is Guadeloupe, an archipelago located in the Caribbean right above the Dominican Republic. This was a short one, it was ours for a whole 14 months, between 1813-1814. When talking about Guadeloupe, we also gotta talk about Napoleon Bonaparte and Jean Baptiste Bernadotte. We’ll start with the last guy here, if you’re Swedish and reading this you might know him as King Karl XIV Johan. So briefly summed up the crown prince, king to be, died abruptly, leaving Sweden with no heir, at least none the nobility liked. So this one guy called Georg Adlersparre made up a story about needing a co-sign from Napoleon to instate this random duke as an heir and convinced everyone to let him go to Paris. The real reason he wanted to go was to fetch a French heir, since he believed the only person who could lift Sweden out of their post-war financial crisis and restore it to it’s former glory was a french guy. French people were very popular (and obviously not popular) in Europe at the time due to Napoleon making a name for himself trying to conquer everyone. So he got there, spoke to a bunch of important generals, and picked out one of Napoleons favorites, Jean Baptiste Bernadotte. He was like – come and be our next king, and Jean was like sure. The old king then adopted him and he was renamed Karl Johan. So, to the Guadeloupe part, the archipelago was under British rule (previously french) and the brits were fighting Napoleon in the ongoing war. Sweden (clearly) sided with the french, so the Brits were like – Hey side with us, help us take down Napoleon and we’ll gift you this colony we got. Sweden was like ok cool. We started putting a crew together to sail down and claim it as our own, but before we even set sail the island had been returned to its french former owners and all promises got flushed. The brits payed us some money instead as a sorry.

Then there’s Porto-Novo. Lol, so uhm. In 1733 Sweden tried to gain a hold in India with the Swedish East India Company, so they started building a factory in the city of Porto Novo (today’s Parangipettai), then got sacked by the brits and the french a month in. That’s it.

Lastly we got Saint Barthélemy (Saint Barts), the most commonly known one and the colony Sweden held onto the longest. Sweden bought the island, (located in the Caribbean, off the coast of Puerto Rico), from France in 1784. A remnant of the ownership can for example be seen today if you look at St Barthélemy’s capital, Gustavia, founded by the first Swedish settlers that docked at La Carénage harbor and named after the Swedish King Gustav III who bought the island. French was kept as the predominant language and Swedish was reserved for the senior officials and wealthy merchants. The island produced a moderate amount of goods, mainly cocoa, cotton, sugar, tobacco and fruit. Slave trade was permitted, and special laws regarding taxation were written to cover slave trade alone. There was also a specific set of rules put together by Governor Pehr Herman von Rosenstein called the Code Noir (the Black Code) which was set to control the life of the island slaves. The code noir split the population into the assigned groups: white people, liberated colored people and black slaves. In the early years, the colony made a lot of money due to it’s favorable position along popular trading routes, but towards the end the colony was losing money due to other routes gaining popularity as well as a series of devastating hurricanes so Sweden sold it back to France in 1878. This was our last colony.

Sweden’s part in the transatlantic slave trade:
I put Saint Barts last, because around the same time as the colony was slowly coming to an end (from 1813 and forward) Sweden also started discussing abolishing slavery in their colonies outside Europe. It was going out of style. On St Barts, as mentioned above, during it’s peak both Swedish and international slave trade was conducted. It was officially abolished in 1847, when the Swedish government bought all the remaining slaves on St Barts and set them free. People like to point out that there was ”only” 10-50 ”documented” Swedish shipments of slaves, and even less so only 10 of which were registered to have been done with Swedish ships. I put ”only” and ”documented” because the numbers aren’t exact, since there hasn’t been a thorough survey of our old documents, there simply hasn’t been an interest. We also paid Brits/Danes/French and American’s to ship slaves for us. We bought people, we sold people, we made deals with surrounding islands. We also had a bonus on St Barts that shipments (of people) straight from Afrika could be imported taxfree if they went through us, all to make St Barts lucrative. – 50 shipments tho? that’s only like 0,1% of all slave trade that took place. That’s like nothing, yeah but then we’re not counting that our economical involvement was far greater. I wish I could find records of the total amount of trips funded by Sweden, all the deals we made money from through tax and what-not, our numbers would definitely go up. Sweden made money off of transatlantic slave trade, it’s part of our heritage and helped fund what we are today, whether we like it or not. We whipped, killed, hot branded ”livestock” and used iron collars, just like the other countries involved.

Fun fact, slave-trade has actually been illegal in Sweden since 1335, however, it obviously was not outside of Sweden. So Swedish people brought their business elsewhere. It’s odd though, because Swedish Kings and Queens were involved in establishing every single one of these colonies, both financially and as acting hands in negotiations, yet here it was illegal… it’s almost as if there was a double standard… It reminds me of how in history class we’d talk about the Holocaust, and how the division of tasks enabled the entire thing to go on as it did, because everyone involved could go – No no I just oversee this or that I’m not really responsible or involved. As in how the real racism and slave trade is going on somewhere else, not on our porch, so Sweden’s hands are not clean. Not only are we not taught about it in school, but whenever you try to look it up or read about it in your own time, the opening-lines to all the texts tend to ring the same with their –First things first, Sweden’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade was so teeny tiny minuscule… I don’t care. I didn’t come to read about it because it was ”less” than other countries involvement, I came to read about it because it should’ve been a part of the school curriculum from the start. Just because it was ”less” doesn’t mean we get to write it out, and bump it down the roster below Magnus Ladulås (Swede’s will get this reference).

Anyways, this concludes part one with a brief introduction of the colonies, I’ll continue with part two next week which will cover some other aspect of our history of Racism. Until then, stay hydrated. (It’s 30°C outside (86°F) in Sweden right now and it’s new to us.)

Some extra links (some are in Swedish and some are available in both Swedish and English):

Svenska kolonier

Det svenska slavfortet

Fort Christina

Cabo Corso

Lätta fakta om Saint Barthélemy – Sveriges sista koloni

Kolonin Saint Barthélemy

När Sverige skulle bli kolonialmakt

Sveriges slavhistoria avslöjad

Svensk slavhandel

The display picture is: Drottninggatan, Gustavia 1840 – by Anton Molander

Abolish the police?

Abolish the police, yay or nay? – A debate more of us should be having and why you might want to get into it.

Personally I’ve previously found it hard to truly stand by the idea of abolishing the police, in part because I’ve been raised to fundamentally believe that the government has every ones best interest in mind at all times (a lie), but most of us have also been told that there’s some things we just couldn’t possibly understand as commoners. For me it’s also due to the fact that I never really heard anyone suggest an option, aside from maybe chaotic anarchy, which was presented as an absurd joke to underline just how important the work of police really is (as in, if we’re left to our own demise we’ll revert back into wild animals and start killing each other). However one of the things these few weeks of heated online debate has taught me is that there’s an entire body of literature dedicated to this very subject. Aka what do you do when the organisation set in place to stop people from hurting and killing each other is doing the hurting and killing? I saw a tweet by @neontaster that read:

And I thought – Or in many black peoples case, something you shout at the top of your lungs when your family and community is falling victim to a government sanctioned body with a monopoly on violence. Nonetheless, whether you’re on the for or against it (or some sauce inbetween) side of this debate, this phrase has turned into an echoe with most of us unsure of what this would actually mean, so here I am writing about this, in hopes of pushing the commoners debate (myself included) past this phrase into actually discussing in real-time what it could mean. Somewhere along the way we settled for ‘humans can’t take care of themselves, they’re stupid and irrational, somebody has to keep them in check, hmm… a group of humans will do’. I don’t know what happened here, I guess it’s like how democracy is the worst way to run a country, except for all the other options.

Let me bring up a classic example touching on human behavior in positions of power, or in any ”fundamentally good vs evil”-debate: The Stanford Prison Experiment from 1971. One of the most well known experiments in the history of psychology. The purpose of the Stanford Prison Experiment was to examine the impact of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. To quote Philip Zimbardo, the psychologist behind the experiment.

”Suppose you had only kids who were normally healthy, psychologically and physically, and they knew they would be going into a prison-like environment and that some of their civil rights would be sacrificed. Would those good people, put in that bad, evil place – would their goodness triumph?”

Philip Zimbardo

To sum it up briefly goodness, did not triumph. The experiment was supposed go on for 14 days, but got cut after 6 days since the guards got abusive and the prisoners showed signs of severe anxiety and stress. Interactions between guards and prisoners were hostile. Guards became aggressive and prisoners became passive and depressed. Even the researchers themselves got dragged in, Zimbardo himself, head of the experiment, posed as warden and overlooked the abusive behavior of the jail guards until a student pointed out the horrible conditions and argued it morally wrong to continue with the experiment. Conclusion, when placed in positions of power, humans tend to behave differently than they normally would, leaning towards the evil, with very few exceptions. It’s worth noting though that the experiment has been criticized for being unethical, and for it’s unrepresentative sample of participants (white middle-class males). These last two factors has made the results difficult to apply to other scenarios and a wider population.

Alright, now let’s talk police, alternative solutions if we were to abolish it and what to do with the unreliability of the human mind.

From what I’ve been able to find out, many of the theories for an alternative to police revolve around changing the way in which we police people, as well as dividing the bracket of responsibilities that the police carry in most societies today. This can be hard to imagine, when I was initially posed with the question, my first thought was what could policing be other than what it is today? However reading through this stuff It became apparent that it’s really not that make-believe at all, especially if we center the question around what the police are supposed to be doing, which is protect people.

So, think of it like this, we have psychologists, to dissect and offer guidance and support for ”lost” human minds, rehabilitation centers for various forms of addicts, cameras, security numbers and systems for surveillance and help lines for victims of abuse. We have specialized people for these tasks, people who study for years in their respective fields, yet a cop is supposed to be able to handle all these various kinds of situations on the daily, preferably without issue or fail. They’re also armed, trained in combat, and expected to be ready on site within minutes of call. A huge responsibility is placed on one single organ of society, as well as a whole heap of physical and legal power in terms of weapons and ”passes”/leaniancy regarding the law they were sent out to represent and uphold.

Let’s be real here, these expectations sound rather unrealistic, inefficient and high-risk in terms of failure. Of course running a society isn’t easy, and there are always details the human factor tends to miss, regardless of if you’re an elected and respected politician or a random woman with some questions and an internet connection. So what do these people who’s work I’ve read suggest we do? Well, simply put, we de-fund the police, and put that funding in all the other organs of society responsible for handling all that stuff I mentioned earlier, these same places who probably suffered from de-funding themselves due to a need for more police, or a summerhouse. As a bonus, when the responsibility is split, so is the power! Or well, it has to be, for it to make sense. (Sidenote: Most people call for de-funding as a first step towards abolition, not as a solution to our current problem, de-funding alone wont cut it since the issues and desired solutions require a full revamp of the our policing-narrative, a clean sweep.)

What else do we need to take into consideration? Well, let’s look at a modern day example of what a society can look like without our version of police: Rojava. This autonomous self-governing state located in the north-eastern part of Syria, has established a system of it’s own where they have two separate groups of people responsible for different instances of safety in society; The Assayish who are responsible for the ”city” and the HPC (Civil defense forces) who are responsible for the ”community”. The Assayish are responsible for watching the borders, arresting criminals, guarding government building etc, whilst the HPC on the other hand consists of volunteers from local neighborhoods who receive basic training in security and only patrol their own neighborhood. The dividing of responsibility, encouraging everyone to help out aswell as proximity to whom they protect reduces the risk of de-humanization and hierarchical behavior. Close-knit neighbors and family protecting each other helps maintain the delicate power-balance.

So we need to take this with us into the equation too, proximity, inclusion and divided responsibility lessens the eventual hierarchical/power-crazed behavior.

Next thing to, connected to what we mentioned earlier, is that people tend to commit crime when they’re desperate, low income, bad housing/healthcare is directly linked to criminal activity, thus some of the money taken out should be re-invested in increasing the living standard for the people at the bottom of society and improving social services. This sounds like some imaginary utopia, and with how our society is built and running today, I absolutely agree, it is imaginary. Personally I fear it’ll get turned on it’s head and provide another market for big companies to capitalize of, like they capitalize of the privatization of prisons and hospitals. Yet, that shouldn’t hinder us from arguing for steps in the right direction. There’s always gonna be stuff to improve, and we shouldn’t normalize calling a cop if the issue is mental health, because then we’d just be overlooking and covering up the actual issue. The people that end up taking the hit for the higher ups falling out are marginalized and oppressed groups at the bottom of society. We can’t have that.

The stuff I’ve read about abolition is based on the american police and prison system, but I’d still urge the Swedish government to push for the same kind of reform, people are having issues with their police everywhere in the world. All because somewhere along the line it went from supposedly serving to protect all lives at any cost to defeating imaginary bad guys and taking your made up law into your own hands by throwing and wrestling a pregnant black woman to the ground over a subway-ticket (Sweden) or rushing into (the wrong) black woman’s house to shoot her in her sleep (USA). Clearly it’s time for something new.

I realize the actual reform is going to be more complicated, and there’s a myriad of ways in which we can implement it, some people have been suggesting everything from drone-surveillance to specialized elite forces and a market for professional assassins, (this is another reason for why you might want to get in on this lol, although if it comes to it, maybe we wont have a say in drone surveillance or any of the other, see Omniscient). Nonetheless, yes, this topic is huge and I’ll be linking some statistics around anti-brutality methods recently implemented that’ve failed ex. police body-cams, as well as issues with the social construct of crime itself – at the bottom of the post. I’ll also link some alternatives to calling the police that you can use in the meantime that can be applied basically anywhere.

Our world is an un-equal and un-just place, but it’s also an incredibly intelligent, globalized and highly technological place, so let’s urge our leaders to reform and improve it whilst also pushing for change individually. The system is clearly long overdue for an update, too many people have died and continue to get killed.

So I agree, abolish the police.

Links I’ve used as sources, plus more info on abolition:

How to Abolish the Police: Lessons from Rojava

Camila’s Abolition Reading List – A collection of texts and information (e-books, articles etc) (by @kuh_mila on twitter) about abolition.

Why is this happening? – Great podcast episode with guest pro-abolition educator Mariame Kaba.

The Reader: Guide to police abolition – Another collection of links and resources on abolition, serves great as an introduction

The End of Policing by Alex Vitale – A book that was linked and referenced in every single thread I found on abolition. I started listening to the e-book (free 30 day trial, a win)

The social construct of crime – an interesting twitter thread from a law school student

A randomized control trial evaluating the effects of police body-worn cameras (plus a this twitter thread with more information/links about other trial methods to lessen police brutality)

The Police Were a Mistake – interesting article about how today’s police have become the standing army the (racist) american founding fathers feared.

Why Ta-Nehisi is hopeful – Podcast episode with author Ta-Nehisi Coates on police violence and protests.

12 Things to do Instead of Calling the Cops – Title speaks for itself


So, I’ve already written about saviourism, white privilege, certain aspects of colonialism, aswell as some neo-colonialism that overlaps with systemic racism. If you’re interested in any of the above, since they’re all branches of racism, feel free to scroll further down for those posts, or to follow the blog since I most definitely will be covering them again. You can also type each of the terms into google to start reading any and everything you find or use the links ill be adding at the bottom. Take note that this post is specifically related to the B.L.M. movement, many of the tips can be applied to other social justice movements, but my intention is for the focus of this post to be on the B.L.M. movement and the fight against racism. Think of it as ”things to keep in mind” when you approach it with a wish to engage if you’re new.

If you, like so many others are hoping to join the fight against racism, or if you claim to already be in it and is reading up to get better at it, below ill be sharing some tips, pointers and links to potentially help you on your way.

The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter that I’ve chosen to use as my title, is also a great source to find information about different aspect of racism, how to actively work against it and un-learn it. To access it, simply type it into Facebook, Google or Instagram. People share experiences, tips, issues, articles, they also use the phrase by itself to highlight the importance of black lives, since there’s a need for it.

I’ll start this post by addressing some questions and thoughts I’ve received from friends and acquaintances:

1. If you (as a non-black) person feel bad about what you’re seeing in the media right now. Good. You’re supposed to. If brutalized and murdered black bodies make you feel sad and outraged, if systemic racial oppression makes you feel overwhelmed, exhausted and unsure about yourself, your actions and what you’ve been (or not been) doing to help… great! Then there’s something here we can work with. See, NEWSFLASH, you’re supposed to feel bad. Because it sucks, all of it, for all of us, and especially for black people. What you’re NOT supposed to do is write to your traumatized/exhausted/depressed/hurt black friends to ask what you can do to make yourself feel better. Because it’s not about you and that’s lesson one on racism as a non-black person. It’s not about you, always remember it’s not about you, and when you’re about to comment on something, mention something, share thoughts or just open your mouth in a racism related context, ask yourself: – Am I about to reshape or center this around myself or my experiences? If yes? Then don’t. (Also, the people that should worry you, are the ones that aren’t feeling bad right now). Take note that some activists/friends of yours or public speakers you follow may have expressed that they’re available for conversations if people have questions and wish to learn. Use these opportunities to ask the questions you might not’ve been able to answer alone through google, and if they have a gofundme/patreon/paypal chip in on the work they do, the same way you’d pay any teacher.

2. Scenario ”I haven’t shared anything or spoken out personally on the issue, but let me share a black picture for #blackouttuesday in solidarity with the black lives matter movement, because I do care! Fighting racism just takes a lot of effort” Hmm alright, uhm. So two things to point out here. First, If you decide to repost or share anything (something you think could be useful information for other people for example), make sure you understand what you’re sharing. Secondly, if you decide to post a black picture, ask yourself WHY you’re doing it and what the desired outcome is, if you can’t answer that, don’t do it. We’re struggling with alot of clutter and alot of mindless reposting. People think they wanna help but they don’t really want to go through the actual trouble it takes, so they settle for a repost of something they don’t understand or truly know why they’re sharing. Notice how there’s nothing wrong with the act of reposting, just make sure you understand. This obviously goes for anyone reposting anything ever.

3. If you’re not initially (and after that still occasionally) completely overwhelmed by the thought of dismantling racism, you don’t understand racism. Simple. The go-to should be learning about all the separate and intricate aspects of racism in part. Because if you think you’re tackling racism head-on and that you’ve figured it out, I’m gonna need you to take a step back. This has been going on for years, if it was as simple as telling people to ”be nicer to black people” we would’ve solved it years ago. Unlearning racism is a journey that takes time, effort and focus. You don’t simply read a 100 books to understand, ‘cause it’ll take you another 10 years to even begin to apply it to your daily life and your line of thinking. To give an example: I check myself every time I do my hair to ask myself why I prefer a sleek bun over a matted one, when my natural hair texture is matted, the desire (and preference) for a sleek bun is internalized racism. The racism isn’t gone until I’m free to wear either without preference based around which one is commonly accepted as ”neater”, and this is just me?! If we’re getting detailed here I’ve got the ”good” texture of the bunch, imagine what it’s like for people with ”heavier” afro-centric features than me (there’s an old system in place judging people favorably based on their proximity to whiteness, I’ll cover that in-depth some other day but google colorism and the paper bag-test for now). Then proceed to think about all the people I meet on a daily who’s gonna see my bun and think to themselves wow like did she even try? She should’ve sleeked it back with gel to make it look straight. Notice how this is also just a minor thing? One. Minor. Thing. That’s how extensive this is. Racism is a system, an indoctrinate teaching, a behavioral pattern and for some a way of life. Racism is mainly subconscious, meaning you won’t really notice that it’s there, making it harder to identify and fight within one self.

4. This is an important one, and I cannot stress this enough. Think for yourself. Please. When you see posts upon posts of people telling you to ”read up” they obviously mean read up, but that also includes this: thinking. I already said this in point 2 but let me repeat it because this is a key-step, PLEASE think for yourself. That’s the work you’re supposed to be doing, apart from showing support and speaking up when it’s needed lawdamercy think. for. yourself. When you see something you don’t understand, don’t just scroll past it and assume you’re good ‘cause you think racism is bad and you’ve got black friends, you’re not good, it’s not fine, figure out why you don’t understand. (Also, if you find yourself motivated to read up but unsure what to read, don’t be afraid to ask, but also, don’t expect a black person to do the work of finding valuable information for you, especially not for free. This is like asking a classmate to do your homework for you. Not cool. >>>Re-read end of point 1 if needed.<<<

5. When somebody goes ”Black Lives Matter”, don’t respond all lives matter, or blue lives matter or my dogs life matters or no life matters (nihilistic edgelord junk). Don’t. Don’t do it. Everybody knows this. Remember what we talked about before? About putting yourself in the center of an issue? May I ask why you feel the need to insert yourself everywhere? Don’t do it. This. This is it. So don’t do it. A great example I’ve seen people use is, if your house is on fire, and you shout ”my house is on fire!” to get it extinguished, and then every other house that’s NOT on fire got a resident stepping out onto the sidewalk shouting ALL houses are on fire, do you realize how stupid that looks? Yes, maybe someday your house too may be on fire, but right now we’re talking about this one. All lives matter, we know this, everyone knows this. However we’re highlighting that black people are unjustly being killed in frighteningly high numbers and systematically oppressed, this is the fire we’re trying to put out. Either you help out or you get out the way. Inserting yourself by asking why not all lives matter, that’s you trying to hijack another movement. If the only time you care about all lives is when somebody else is trying to get their message across, you don’t truly care at all.

This is also what my disclaimer in the beginning of the post is for, I’ve seen that there’s a bad habit in media of making parallels between different social justice movements, between different people or in hopes of making an example to further understand or pick apart an argument. For example, using another gruesome event to try to make the event being discussed seem less bad. Don’t do it. It’s not a competition in who can throw out the most gruesome event or make the most distasteful parallel. If you feel the need to comment on the ongoing violent protests in the USA today, and flip it, switch the colors of the protesters with the people getting hurt or anything like it in hopes of proving your argument, what you’re really doing is erasing the history of the problem itself by isolating one specific event, which obviously will render the event itself nonsensical. The defining history has to be taken into consideration.

6. Last point, this one’s for everyone. A skill you need to acquire when dealing with any and all social justice movements is to be able to step aside and let the people whom the movement is for step forth to speak. Google ‘interpretative prerogative’ or ‘tolkningsföreträde’ in Swedish. This is not just between black vs non black people in terms of the black lives matter movement, but also between black people within the movement itself. For the black people in Sweden taking a stance right now, earlier or in the future and expressing their opinions regarding the actions of black people in for example the US, it’s important to know that at the end of the day it’s not our place to judge their actions. We can comment, share our two cents and debate, but at the end of the day we can’t possibly imagine what it’s like to grow up in America as a black person, even if most of us have our own experiences with racism, identify with the people we see or feel a bond to what could be relatives and even if our own countries are dealing with the same issues, we can’t possibly begin to understand what it’s like to be them because we’re not them. The best we can do is support them in every way we can, share their stories, sign their petitions, donate to their cause, listen to what they need from us and fight our own local issues of racism along side theirs for an overall better future for black people everywhere. (This calls for another disclaimer, take note how I’m NOT saying it doesnt concern us because this is very much our issue too.)

This concludes my list for now, there’s obviously way more I could cover, but we’ll round it up here. Social media is blowing up right now but this is not the first or the last time this is going to or needs to happen, more discussions/fights/protests will be held in the future regarding identity, heritage, cultural ownership and race, it’s needed and long overdue as usual. Buckle up for more, we’re 6 months into 2020 which has come to be the year of exposing everything and everyone.

I’ve personally felt torn about what to write about for this last week. Everyday is history in the making and history is what I do, I naturally cover pro-black topics in relation to that, because, well, I’m black and history needs to be re-written and edited from a non-white western and non-western narrative, this is one of my fundamental beliefs. We need to create our own narrative and space, instead of living in somebody else’s. Thus, I decided to give into my feelings, and sit down, open my brain and write about Black Lives Matter and share some tips on how to approach and assist the movement, because black lives do matter. Everyday. Not just when your feed is a battlefield or my family’s a trending hashtag.

Useful links:

Rachel Cargle’s The Great Unlearn – Currated monthly syllabus to keep you engaged in unlearning racism, and racist behaviour. Self-paced and donation based:

A compiled list of some organizations you can donate to (help with bail, provide support for victims of police brutality, rebuilding etc), petitions you can sign, informative monetized videos who’s revenue will be donated etc:


Why you need to stop saying all lives matter

Black Riot: The difference between riots and protests has more to do with who and where than what


The Armchair Commentary – Commentary on the intersection of race, culture and faith

Rachel Cargle is a public academic, writer, and lecturer. Her activism and academic work are rooted in providing intellectual discourse, tools, and resources that explore the intersection of race and womanhood.

Give it back (part 3)

Alright, so we’re back at it again with the last part under this title. This time we’re talking about supremacy! Specifically white supremacy and the role it played in the history of archaeology. (Aka the role it plays in today’s debate about shadily obtained artifacts.)

First you may wonder why specifically white supremacy? Why not just supremacy alone as a concept?

Well that’s an easy one. Supremacy alone is just a term used to describe predominance, sovereignty or hegemony. It’s literally the state/condition of being superior to all others in authority, power or status. White supremacy however, is the racist belief that white people are superior to other people and therefore should be the ones in power. This birthed a system and a political ideology that perpetuates an institutional domination by white people in every field from politics to culture and history.

From the Cape to Cairo, Udo J. Keppler, 1902

So let’s zoom-in a bit,

White supremacy was absolutely booming from the 1800s to the mid 1900s. Like a real hit. We had scientific racism, race-studies, colonization, apartheid, Jim Crow Laws, the Atlantic slave trade, like there was a lot. Zoom in a little more and we hit a man named Rudyard Kipling, the biggest poet of his time who in 1899 dropped the notorious poem ”The White Man’s Burden”. For anyone that might’ve read some of my earlier posts this isn’t news to you. This poem covers part of the very essence of the ideology that is white supremacy. A desire (and excuse) to take land, raid tombs, forcefully impose Christianity and seize power. To quote an excerpt:

Take up the White Man’s burden—

    Send forth the best ye breed—

Go bind your sons to exile

    To serve your captives’ need;

To wait in heavy harness

    On fluttered folk and wild—

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,

    Half devil and half child

The White Mans Burden – Rudyard Kipling

I’ve linked it above if you’re interested in reading the whole thing, but yeah, there you have it all. The guilt, the part where they’ll receive hate from the people they’re oppressing but must stand tall, the supposed god-sanctioned raids, the ”saving” and the enslaving too.

So how does it relate to the blatant stealing of artifacts you ask?

Here’s three major ways. We’ll start from the top. First of all, colonization provides access, you go and come as you please, you’re the one in charge, you’ve claimed the land, and it’s impossible to steal from yourself so your conscience is clean. Secondly, there’s accountability, fast forward to now, your countrymen literally wrote THE law in the past, and laid the foundation then for the jurisdictional system of today so there’s nothing officially holding you accountable from that time. Thirdly, we cover the saviourism, if you validate keeping an object regardless of history, by expressing concern, claiming you’re more suitable to care for it, who’s going to argue? No one. Especially not, since you ensured it. Colonization enriched your country and crippled others, securing your country’s financial position for generations to come. Besides it’s your burden, your duty, to take it upon yourself as better equipped, to assist in this noble cause of preservation. See It’s a deadlock. A wheel that spins itself.

So what can we conclude from this?

When posed with the argument ”we’re more suited for the job so it’s our duty to help”, highlight that sending money to fund a country to accommodate an artifact also qualifies as help, and that the desire to ”step in” and ”grab hold” smells of (white) supremacy. Another option could be to assign ownership of the artifacts to the country of origin, and set up a ”loan situation” with the current country of residence, until appropriate action towards an ideal housing environment is taken. This way the country of origin can financially and ethically benefit from their own history. The countries that requested independence should be treated as equals regardless of where they’re at in their development and stepping on them isn’t the best way to further the field of history nor cultural preservation.

This part culminates the ”Give it back” piece, and so I’ll be back with something new (and old) next week.