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Do these images disturb you as much as they do me? These were taken at the Gay Pride Parade in Stockholm, Sweden. I did not take these pictures, a friend of mine who lives in Sweden sent them to me. The one up top was from a few years ago and the one with the woman in Black face was taken from this years parade. There are so many things wrong with these two pictures I almost don’t even know where to start.


I am not gay but from what I understand, the gay community is constantly fighting to be treated equally and respectfully around the world. I thought the gay community was an inclusive one, one that didn’t discriminate against anyone because gay men and women do not appreciate being singled out and picked on for their sexuality. If that is true, how can what the people in these pictures are wearing possibly be considered appropriate, respectful, and non-discriminatory?

One of the things I truly appreciate about traveling is that I am able to be exposed to things that are totally different than what I am accustomed to. I have eaten things that at first I thought strange but now I love. I have experienced customs and cultural differences that while I may not agree with them, I can appreciate the differences and respect them. There is nothing respectful about the above pictures. They are blatantly racist, overtly sexual and down right nauseating.


As a Black American woman, it takes a lot to offend me. I have pretty tough skin and the reason why is because I have traveled so much I have learned not to let the little things bother me and to take life as it comes. I enjoy my life and try my best not to sweat the small stuff. But these pictures have struck a chord in me that is ringing so loudly I can barely hear. I am absolutely and completely offended by the unmitigated gaul of the organizers of this parade and the people depicted in these pictures.  How they could possibly think that dressing up as a parody of a Black couple with their sexual organs on display or dressing up in Black face was appropriate is beyond my comprehension.

I am not going into the history of Black face and why it’s offensive. If you do not understand, please do some research and find out why.  I get that Sweden doesn’t have the complicated history that America does with slavery and Black/White relations. I also understand that many countries around the world don’t quite understand what may be offensive or not to Black or African people because they are not accustomed to being in the presence of people of color. But you will never convince me that the people in these photos could be that daft that in any realm of reality they would think that their behavior is appropriate and not offensive.


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If this was a gay pride parade, what do either of these pictures have to do with gay pride? How are these pictures representing the pride that gay people have for their lifestyle? The picture up top is of a heterosexual couple, how is that representing gay pride?  How is this picture showing pride at all for the Black/African people being represented?

No one should be discriminated against. No one should be made fun of for what they are or for how they look. It is 2013 and it is still a fight to get people to understand that being disrespectful is never funny. That making fun of a whole race of people in the worst way possible is ugly, disgusting, and just plain wrong.



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Some people travel. Roni IS travel. For over 20 years she has been traveling the world and now shares her unique insight with her worldwide audience on her blog, Whether you have never gotten on a plane or are a seasoned traveler, the expertise and insider knowledge she shares on her blog will help you make your travels an adventure. No where else can you find the uniquely helpful ins and out given to you by someone who has lived overseas for 4 years, speaks fluent English, French and Spanish, and works for a major airline. And guess what? She’s also a licensed elementary teacher and has an MBA.


  1. As a white woman, I typically try to avoid getting angry about things where I don’t completely understand how it would feel for a person of colour to see that – but this… WTF! How do these “costumes” have ANYTHING to do with Gay Pride? Where’s the queens and the glitter and all that? Sigh. Every time we think we’ve come so far from discrimination, images like this remind us that we haven’t. Thanks for posting.

    • I think these images would disturb all races. And you are so right about about thinking we’ve come far. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • I am not sure what the significance of the dark colored paint on the people in the photos but I think it might be a stretch to assume they are in “blackface” and are also “racist”. Although there have been incidents of “drag” shows at gay events that were “blackface” comedy routines–So you might be onto something there. But you might want to figure that one out before fueling a possibly unwarranted race fire. That said, your pictures do say a great deal about the gay pride events–that they glorify all things deviant and want to add shock to an otherwise presumably peaceful cause…But they are not peaceful. What was not reported–and I was in Stockholm–were all of the angry protests at the Russian Embassy just because their government has decided that it is best for children not to see homosexuality and all the gay pride perversion as normal. I see nothing wrong with that. We could use some of Putin’s government in the USA. I never thought I would say that!

      • I’m not discussing the gay pride parade as far as a moral issue so any protests aren’t a part of what my problem was with the pictures. Even if the woman with the dark skin wasn’t in blackface, the couple with the horrible costumes can’t possibly be explained, as fas as I’m concerned. I don’t think my post can fuel a race fire (I don’t think my blog has that much power!), but I do hope it sparks a discussion between the organizers of the parade and the Afro-Swedish community. There should be a dialog and action taken because that type of disrespect shouldn’t be tolerated by anyone against anyone. Thank you very much for taking the time to comment.

    • This is one white person speaking to another white person: avoiding getting angry about something that is clearly oppressive and indicative of colonialism at it’s finest is not helpful in racial dialog. I understand that perhaps your fear is that you are speaking over people of color- this is the right direction, you shouldn’t speak over people of color. But when looking at these issues, you must look at it from the WHITE perspective, the colonist perspective, the person of privilege and deliberate oppression perspective.

      You should say,

      “This is more evidence of our culture of oppression and white supremacy.”

      You should call out your peers, your fellow white people, for their oppressive culture just as I am doing now. It’s not the job of the oppressed to point these things out- white people should be blogging about this naturally, as the oppressor, we should point out and condemn our own race’s actions of oppression and white supremacy. I hope that this gives you more confidence to speak in the future about these issues, and more guidance about how not to speak over people of color.

      As Malcolm X said,

      “Whites who are sincere don’t accomplish anything by joining Negro organizations and making them integrated. Whites who are sincere should organize among themselves and figure out some strategy to break down prejudice that exists in white communities. This is where they can function more intelligently and more effectively, in the white community itself, and this has never been done.”

  2. Hi Roni – I have to agree with you…can’t for the life of me figure out what those costumes have to do with celebrating Gay Pride. I usually give a little leeway for foreign countries who may not have the same past as we have when it comes to race relations, but this has gone beyond an honest misunderstanding of culture. I had similar feelings when I saw pictures a friend posted of Carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro where some people in their group were made up in black face. But at the same time I wonder what things we Americans do that might offend other nationalities or cultures that we are not even aware we are doing.

    • Oh boy, do I even want to see those pictures in Rio? I was there a few years ago and we had no issues with racism but visiting is totally different than living there. Thanks for reading my blog!

  3. It seems like we’re always in a constant battle to fight our image whether its in America, or abroad. Where these images come from is a whole other issue that you pointed out comes from the legacy of slavery in the Americas as well as the media’s role in projecting “how we are.” But I agree, what does this have to do with gay pride at all? Tsk tsk, Sweden.

  4. Those images are definitely concerning. My question is how did the majority react to it? That often says more about a place or community than the simple minded backward oaf that did such things. When people who are marginalized, try to do so to others, whether they realize it or not, they just set themselves back in mentality and in the way that others view them.

  5. You have to take in to account that these are two pictures of three people out of all the thousands that walked there. It is hard not to find thee idiots in a gathering that large.

    • You are right. But even if it was just those few they shouldn’t have been allowed to display such disrespect. Thank you very much for commenting and please come back.

  6. As a swede it fills me with great shame and embarrassment to see this. At the same time I am not surprised. The amount of ignorance that surrounds the race issue in Sweden is more often than not mind blowing. People in general have very little knowledge about the old minstrel and vaudeville shows and how black people were personated in them, mostly because black culture in general didn’t exist there until quite recently. So it seems many people there think it is all just a joke when a white person dresses up as a black person like this. It is an ignorance that, for some reason, is being kept alive and nothing is being done about it, not in the school system, not on a political level… Not at all. It is heart breaking and, for what its worth, I am very sorry. Not that it changes anything, but I still feel it needs to be said. Shit just never seem to change.

    • Please understand that I in no way think that the people pictured represent Sweden. I understand it is just a few people that were acting badly and not a whole country. Your apology is really sweet but it’s not your fault. I understand what you’re saying about Black/African culture not existing there until recently, I think that has a lot to do with what is going on. MY Afro-Swedish friends say the exact same thing you did and they say the racism is overwhelming. Thank you so much for commenting, and I hope you come back.

  7. Come to Cape Town Pride in South Africa before pulling the racism card. Africans do attend festivals without Western clothes. I don’t think all Africans are being racist when marching for gay pride “whith their sexual organs showing”. This article offends me as I am African and rathers than understanding African Culture you think it must be a statement set out to offend black Americans.

    • Hi there, thanks for commenting.

      These weren’t Africans marching, they were White people in costumes representing Africans or Black people. I don’t think these pictures have anything to do with African culture. I think the people shown are making fun and disrespecting African culture.

      I hope you come back, I write about lots of cool things!

  8. I am a black woman from America and I find this so incredibly offensive. I know there are some racist gay white people out there, but from a group who has been through such a struggle to be treated just like everyone else I am honestly shocked to see this. I would love for it to be exposed all over the world. I think they are setting themselves up because, when and if they cry out about discrimination and bigotry this little situation right here will be the gun that shoots them in the foot. In America I have never seen or heard of these kinds of things happening in gay parades. You would expect to see it here, in places like Texas or Florida, but it hasn’t happened so far. I think they know better with all the struggle they have faced. I honestly doubt it will and I know there are some gay white folks down south who are not fond of blacks.

    • Hi Nina, thanks for commenting! Even though I agree the pics are completely offensive I don’t think we can say these are representing the worldwide gay community. I don’t think the actions of a few can dictate a whole community. I can’t IMAGINE this happening in America, I just don’t think it would have been allowed because even though our country has its issues, people know better than to stoop that low. And the problem at this parade is that no one acted better and I’m sure they knew better.

      • I don’t think it represents the worldwide gay community at all. Its just that even with a few doing this it doesn’t help the gay community, when they are trying to live a life like everyone else. This doesn’t help at all, it may not hurt much there or even touch the gay communities of the rest of the world, but it shouldn’t have been done in the first place. Its really sad and insensitive as all hell. You know Roni that’s my issue with grown folks, people knowing better but not acting better. Some of these people are raising children. I just feel that sometimes when people look on and do nothing we fail as human beings.

      • Thank you for writing the article Roni. Don’t worry it doesn’t ruin my image of Switzerland and it definantly doesn’t cause me to have any ill feelings toward the gay community. I still stand with them and their struggles.

  9. Can we expect more from a predominantly white country?…….we’ll I guess Sweden is not as sophisticated as they think they are……just plain ol backwards….

  10. This is, old but I’ve just have to point this out:

    As a Black American woman, it takes *nothing* to offend you. If I say “nigger”, you’re offended. If I say “cunt”, you’re offended. As a straight white man, there is literally nothing you can say to offend me. I cannot be offended, and any attempt to offend me would probably just end up with me admitting, “Yeah, I guess we’re kind of white devils, racial oppressors, dominators and violators of peoples and natural resources. Eh, you have a point.” But “offended”? Lol.

    What is nauseating is indignation; your indignation, for example. I understand why you’re indignant, and it’s still nauseating. Your indignation takes on an almost religious aspect–you will never, ever stop being indignant. Like the Jews, whom are always waiting for a messiah that will never come, and if He does come shall never be accepted as their messiah, you will be waiting for some “equality” that ultimately will never come, and if it does, you will never accept because [oppression]. I’m so tired of this shit. So tired of it. Sweden, one of if not *the* most free state in the world, with 0 Africans publicly lynched there in their history, and they fuck around and have some racial humor, and HOLY SHIT I AM INDIGNANT HOW DARE THEY?!

    For fuck’s sake. You are an enemy to logic, reason, scientific, and cultural progress, and I hope that your children will not carry on this legacy of indoctrinated paranoid oppression. It’s fucking Stockholm, not fucking Birmingham or Atlanta. Fuck off.

    • I’m not really understanding why you chose such disgusting words to convey your sentiments. I have no problem with you disagreeing with me and I have no problem debating an issue but I can’t have a discussion with someone who chooses to express themselves in such a vulgar way. Your points are not valid and I stand behind my piece.

      • Because you lied. Why are the words disgusting? Why are they just not “words”? It’s because you said it takes a lot to offend you, and such a proclamation is one of the most absurd and hyperbolic lies I had ever read. It takes nothing to offend you.

        “No one should be discriminated against. No one should be made fun of for what they are or for how they look. It is 2013 and it is still a fight to get persons to understand that being disrespectful is never funny. That making fun of a whole race of persons in the worst way possible is ugly, disgusting, and just plain wrong.”

        Firstly, no one is being discriminated against. There was no legislation passed which enacted a statute which limited or prejudiced a racial minority because of this gay pride parade. Secondly, your normative claim, regarding using the looks of others for entertainment, is an aesthetic choice. You attempting to make a normative claim using your aesthetic preferences is an insult to freedom of thought. Disrespect is ridiculously entertaining. I’m sure you cry yourself to sleep when you think of Republican rednecks and their Redneck Olympics. You don’t crack a smile or chuckle at the stupidity and ridiculousness of such “games”. You cry that their culture is so misunderstood and not appreciated by the rest of the world, that they’re disrespected because…well, let’s face it–so fucking stupid.

        Lastly, when that one Cali girl made fun of those Asian students in her library by saying “Ching chong ting tong ling long”, I fucking laughed and laughed and laughed. Making fun of entire races is good stuff. You know how I know blacks like watermelon and chicken?

        Because everyone likes watermelon and chicken. HEH!

        You’re so full of yourself. “Your points are not valid and I stand behind my piece”. Oh, my points are not valid? Cool. I hope that while you’re standing behind your piece you’re at least giving it the courtesy of a reach around, because the circle jerk going around in the comments regarding your piece is a sad state of affairs. It’s so easy to be indignant.

        By the way, you should let Nina Simone know that Switzerland and Sweden are not the same thing. It’s been a while but maybe she still doesn’t know the difference. Can you really take the risk that she learned it in the meantime?

    • I do not believe in Transracial. And me a bigot? My whole life shows that statement to be untrue. And privilege? I think maybe you should check what that means before accusing me of it. Thank you for commenting.

  11. I think the top photo is genuinely how this lesbian couple identifies the nature of their relationship- pimp daddy and his main old lady. Abroad, idolize such stereotypes may not be as politically incorrect.

    The bottom photo suggests some variation of modern warrior princess fighting for equality. REALLY poor choice of costume. She just comes off as someone glorifying ISIS.


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