port of harlem magazine
champion services travel - group travel
A Snapshot of Black Denmark
Feb 23–Mar 08, 2023
african empowerment center denmark

In Denmark, national statistics do not collect data on ethnicity, leaving groups like People of African Descent (PAD) inadequately represented. However, the recently released PAD 2021 Survey sheds some light on the experiences and perspectives of the PAD community in Denmark.

Most PAD respondents (53%), including Port of Harlem magazine subscriber and social media contributor Victor Bennet, have lived in Denmark for more than five years. More than half of the respondents (53%) identified as Black, followed by African (41%). Other popular identities included Afro-Danish and Danish with (27%) and (22%) respondents, respectively.  

Racial discrimination was the most common type of discrimination reported in all areas of daily life investigated in the survey. This was followed by religious discrimination, specifically against those identifying as Muslim.

While asserting that many aspects of Danish life is “fairer” for the typical person than in the United States, he feels it was a blessing to have grown up in a town like DC.
Similar to Africans living in other majority European dominated nations from Australia to the United States, 72% of the respondents reported having “The Talk,” with their kids. “The Talk" refers to a parent having a conversation with their child about the impact their skin color might have on their life experiences. Most respondents (91%), say themselves were victims of a microaggression.

Despite the racial and religious discrimination Black Danes experience, the survey also revealed that PAD parents generally feel safe raising their children in Denmark, that their needs are met by the healthcare system when expecting a child, and that educational institutions are meeting or somewhat meeting their child's needs. Bennett, who is also author of the “Afrodane” added, “People get paid to go to school here.”

Their education system, according to Denmark.dk, “is tax-financed and free of charge for the student .  . .  even people who have obtained a degree sign up for extra classes to boost their professional skills or pursue a hobby.” In Denmark, according to the Borgen Project, “All citizens in Denmark enjoy universal, equal and free healthcare services.” 

Washington DC born and raised Bennett has lived on and off in Denmark for about 20 years. He says he was traveling with musical groups when he first landed in Copenhagen, the capital city. “I ended up meeting my now ex and having kids,” he continued.  While married, he says, moving back to DC was not an option, “Basically, I had to stay because she in the end didn’t want to move to the USA.”

While asserting that many aspects of Danish life is “fairer” for the typical person than in the United States, he feels it was a blessing to have grown up in a town like DC. He expresses pride in DC’s homegrown Go-Go music and asserts, “The fact that we have our own music form speaks to that experience.”

However, he scorns the city’s present state. “The city today acts as if it has arrived when really it marginalized racialized Washingtonians and pushed them out after making the city what it is culturally.”

Note:  The survey claims to have had random respondents and include 354 adult respondents. However, other information on the survey’s statistical methods were not revealed to fully answer its validity.
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