Amongst current debates about Norway’s multiculturalism, King Harald V has sent out a clear message by paying a visit to youths in Groruddalen, an academic believes.
Professor of Anthropology, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, told Dagsavisen about the King’s fourth visit to the area in less than a month that, “Groruddalen has long been considered as a stepchild in Norwegian society.”
“The fact the King is travelling here at this time is a clear message from the Royal family about the kind of society they want. One might quote the King's grandfather, King Haakon, who said, ‘I am also the Communists’ King’. King Harald is doing something similar. In this way, he is showing that he is king for all people.”
Many ethnic Norwegians have moved out of Groruddalen in search of whiter areas. Bjerke Upper Secondary School has also seen rows about dividing classes according to ethnicity. At the same time, a recent poll has shown the average Norwegian in Oslo welcomes future high immigrant numbers.
HRH has endorsed multiculturalism previously. During his speech at last year’s memorial service in Oslo Spektrum, King Harald said, "The tragedy has reminded us of the fundamental that binds us all together in our multicultural and diverse society. Let us take care of this recognition, and let us take care of each other. Let us as individuals be clear about what we stand for, and use our opportunities to influence the society we live in a positive way.”
Professor Eriksen continued, saying some people “may term this [the King’s priorities] as left-liberal political correctness and question whether the King has forgotten what are the actual national values when he experiments with multiculturalism."
He added, “The Royal Court has calculated this risk. Nevertheless, the King has chosen to send this strong signal. It's exciting.”
"It is no longer about where we come from, but where we live, which is important for who we are, and whether we are Norwegian or not. It’s something that probably cannot be said too often in light of the trial that is currently underway,” concluded the professor.
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