Kat Zhou, an American transplant in Sweden working in tech, shared a scathing account of her struggles with racism in the country.
On Friday, Zhou, a product designer and master’s student at Cambridge University, opened up about her experiences in a lengthy Twitter thread, denouncing the Scandinavian country as “xenophobic as hell.” She explained that since moving to Stockholm, Sweden, she has been “subject to countless microaggressions” and “verbal attacks,” including racially motivated taunts like “Asian trash.”
Zhou expressed fears of carrying out basic tasks like walking alone in a country with an “absurdly right-wing government” that she feels has failed to protect her from the racial oppression she regularly endures.
In February, two men allegedly cornered her outside of a train station and berated her with “obscene gestures” like “flipping [her] off” and “mocking [her] eyes.” Though she reported the specific incident to authorities and supplied them with evidence, including photographs and timestamps, the police purportedly swiftly dropped the case after two months without conducting a thorough investigation.
Zhou made it a point to clarify that she is not lobbying for an increase in policing, rather she is using her privilege to speak up against the injustices of a “white Swedish hegemony” that refuses to consider her as “a victim deserving of help.”
Zhou acknowledges her status as a “good immigrant” because of the “proximity to whiteness” her high salary grants her, expressing empathy toward “people of color with less privilege” subjected to similar forms of racism as she has experienced.
“It is crucial to note, the ‘good vs. bad’ immigrant framing is harmful,” wrote Zhou. “All of us are worthy of a safe home.”
The Twitter thread has since gone viral, racking up over 140,000 likes and 22,000 retweets. Many responded to the thread with their own experiences with racism in Sweden.
“Pure facts,” one user wrote. “I’m born and raised there but have never been accepted nor considered myself to be Swedish. What’s damaging about Sweden is the gaslighting that they will do to avoid talking about these issues. I moved away a few years ago and already am far more accepted in England.”