According to the Danish Human Rights Institute, there have been an alarming number of discriminatory assaults since the outbreak began. According to them, the epidemic has increased hate crimes against minorities and the LGBTQ community in Denmark.
The institution used social media to send polls to various minorities as research. They got 2,000 answers and spoke with ten individuals who shared their stories. Respondents stated that they have been subjected to a broad spectrum of discriminatory acts, ranging from strangers screaming “go home” to individuals of Asian ancestry being referred to as “disease spreaders.” Importantly, all interviewees stated that the hate crimes occurred when they were strolling, buying, or riding public transportation.
The research also discovered that minorities in Denmark reported feeling more self-conscious in social places due to government limitations imposed to stop the spread of coronavirus. Many people thought that they noticed in the smaller units that COVID-19 lockdown procedures had generated.
The organization advises the Danish government to create racially motivated action plans “that expressly address reasons of ethnicity, ethnic background, gender, sexual preference, gender identification, gender expression, and handicap.”
Tinne Steffensen, a co-author of the paper, said Vice News that the institute has witnessed assaults change from mainly targeting Asians to minorities, with many incidents remaining unreported. The conclusions in the research, according to Jamila Versi, a housing rights activist and filmmaker, are accurate to her personal experiences throughout the epidemic, and prejudice has “risen tenfold.”
“It is extremely hard to define something as a hate crime in Denmark legally,” Versi adds. “I know very few BIPOCS living in Denmark, particularly queer and trans people, who have not at some point been threatened [or been] victims of a hate crime growing up in Denmark.”
She further said, “I am not sure how much the number has risen over the past few months, but I know people who have had their Hijabs ripped off. I know East Asians who have felt scared to walk on the street without being accompanied by a white friend. I have seen a rise in police arrests and stop and searches of brown and Black youths.”
Versi claims that the number of police searches and seizures of black or Asian teenagers has increased. She claims that Danes are afraid of disrupting the hygge atmosphere by speaking about racism. The word “hygge” refers to a way of living that emphasizes comfort and pleasure.
“All in a 30-minute conversation, and nobody around the table batted an eyelid,” she claims.
However, persuading the entire public to accept such changes may be challenging. According to a recent poll conducted by the Danish daily Politiken, 51% of Danes believe that racism is a prevalent issue in the nation. The results, however, will be familiar to some of the institute’s poll respondents. Many people said they’ve never felt comfortable in public places in Denmark, and the outbreak just confirmed their worries.