I did some field research and asked some real life Danes what they thought the politicians meant by “cannot or will not integrate”. The three main planks we decided were
- Has learned to speak the language within seven years
- Has got a job
- Can answer questions on the citizenship test
Which I think is pretty close to what the politicians are proposing. If you do not meet these criteria, I do not think there will be a lot of choice in whether you can stay if you are from certain parts of the world. There will be choice to start with, to sweeten the moderates and the expats who are safe from these proposals. If you ask someone to do you a small favour, they are more likely to agree to an outrageous one later.
My point was that a lot of Danes do not speak their language properly. Cannot spell, cannot use reflexive and non-reflexive pronouns, do not use the ‘correct’ grammar… A lot of Danes do not have a job and have never paid into the system. A lot of Danes would fail the citizenship test because the questions are not general knowledge.
So, if we are saying that someone who does not meet those criteria are only maladapted or un-integrated because they have a family origin outside of this country… then what is that? Pretty offensive.
Especially since they are proposing that they will apply this system to people who were born here and know no other culture. Not just immigrants but their children. They did not “come” here, they were born here! To somehow say that these people must be better than other people that were also born here or face the consequences… Doesn’t that split people up into arbitrary groups based on where their parents are from? Isn’t that called racism? Or xenophobia at the least?
I am all for learning the language. I think we can agree I love languages. I am all for getting a job. I am all for learning about a country’s history and heritage. (within reason though! I am not learning what year the political parties formed!)
The point is that the system is proposing that we treat people differently according to where their parents are from. That certain people should act differently from others. That certain people have permission to behave badly. And all based on something as crude as when their families got here.
Children constantly grow up, look around and start changing things. They see what they do not like about their culture and they act on it. To say that only some of those children are allowed to be part of that process, that the others are being ungrateful or un-integrated when they do the same thing as their counterparts… that is horrifying.
The money is a trick. It is not to trick the undesirables into leaving but rather to trick the desirables to not kick up a stink. My country offers money to *illegal* immigrants who would like to return home but there is no booby-trap subtext of “because you hate it here don’t you, why don’t you just fuck off you ungrateful BASTARD” which is not aimed at the immigrants but rather to solidify in the mind of the privileged majority that immigrants are ungrateful and a threat.
We need to have our wits about us when we consume the media. None of this is about Maladapted Immigrants or aimed at “them” either but rather a very intolerant and nasty political party making inroads on people who would oppose their plans on moral and ethical grounds.