The US is literally “a nation of immigrants” so the immigrant experience here is pretty common. Heck, we don’t even have an “official” language. We use English as the default language but one can hear dozens of languages if one opens one’s ears. It upsets some natives who “think” English is our official language. Of course, if an immigrant wants to integrate, he will learn English.I agree that this sense of unease is a pan-Western phenomenon, and I think it might even be smaller in Sweden for various cultural and sociological reasons than it is in say France, Germany or even Finland. But I think that the problems in Sweden which people are reacting towards are very severe. We seem in some ways to be at the far end of the scale. In other ways we are a lot more fortunate (or a lot better than many other countries, one might perhaps say without becoming too patriotic) but broadly speaking: I think we are heading into a perfect storm.
As for your description of the actualities, you are not wrong, but I think you are drawing a false line of equivalence here. 20-30 years ago coincided with a home-grown economic crisis that was the worst we had seen since, what - the 1930s? I think there was a shock factor back then which is missing now, although admittedly I'm not old enough to have experienced that period in any meaningful way.
As for "right-wing nutters" shooting immigrants in the streets: we had as far as I know one right wing nutter in the form of Lasermannen, who succesfully killed one person. While certainly tragic, and I agree, the neo-Nazi movement in Sweden was surprisingly pronounced at that time, let's not overstate things. Yugoslavs and Greeks might have been wasting each other but by any objective metric the problem was much lesser. When the Social Democrats decided to shut the border then ("Luciabeslutet") the number of people coming into the country wasn't even half of what it was in 2015, and then the macro-economic circumstances were much worse. Back in the 90s there were, what - three "Ghettos"? How many utanförskapsområden are there today? 60-something?
When you say trade union reps were being murdered and journalists getting their cars blown up I am not sure what you are talking about. I know of exactly one case of a trade union rep being murdered in the 1980s (I am guessing it is the one you are referring to) and I know of also one case of a journalist getting his car blown up from the 80s-90s, I think (but I am less sure there, but I have no doubtyou are correct that it happened). It just seems to me that these phenomena are so much less serious, and from mine albeit limited knowledge constitute obvious outliers at the time. How many bombings were there last year? For the first three months of this year we have over 48 bombings. This just wasn't the case in the 1980s, not even in the same order of magnitude (if I can hazard a guess, without knowing exact crime statistics from the 1980s). It's about scale, and proportions.
As for guncrime being the same level as the 1980s, how do you measure that? Is it really the number of shootings that are the same today or the number of people (or proportion) killed in shootings that is similar? Medical technology has advanced a bit since the 80s after all, that's hardly thanks to Swedish politicians...
It's not the end of the world, but I think the kind of demographic change (EDIT: Not yet social, hopefully never social) we are going through as a country are approaching perhaps those that took place at the end of the Roman Empire. Among teens the amount of men per woman was reportedly close to 120/100 in 2015 (I saw an article that it reached 123/ 100 in early 2016, but I have not been able to find it), something Hans Rosling went out and wrote an article about just before he passed away, bless the man. What are the implications of this? How do you "fix" the societal consequences of something like that? Wait for them to become middle aged and loose vitality and agression?
Look, I don't want to be a doomsayer or something, but from where I'm sitting the reality seems to be that we have somewhere between 5-15% of the population who 1) don't identify with the country and often dislike it, to put things mildly 2) are not identified with as belonging to the country and nation, if we're being honest about these things 3) are in practice either financed/ subsidized by the tax-payer, or through petty crime, small businesses owenership which only goes around through tax-evasion/subsidies. EDIT: Even if they're great, how much value and innovation do they add to our incredibly competetive and tech/knowledge itnensive economy?
How do we deal with this as a country? How does any country deal with this? How many people are we talking about that fit at least 1 of these categories, but not all 3 of them? 20% of the population? 25%? EDIT: How big will this group be in 10 years?
Well, what we've done, and what I've experienced my entire life growing up is that we obsess about racism, we obsess about "fairness" and "justice" and how modern and post-national we are, and yet - nobody likes to hang out with Ahmed at the schoolyard. Nobody will tell him that there is anything like "Swedish culture", let alone invite him into this post-national wonder we've created. So people like Ahmed (this is a real example, from one of the most prestigious high schools in the country during the early 2010s when I was going there) will of course fall for all this bullshit that we teach ourselves pretending that we don't have an identity, so he could say something like (in broken Swedish) "Of course there is no real Swedish culture", while laughing at all the 25 other students, 85% of which were ethnic Swedes/ Europeans - none of which said a word, but just bascially sat there and felt the entire situation was a bit stel. He and his friend from Syria, who are both clever, "integrated" kids will tell themselves "jokingly" in the corridor that "I can't wait until we take over", being overheard by lots of Swedish students, none of whom of course said a thing, even to just "joke" back.
I have partial migrant ancestry, and I once talked about this with my dad (born here to Estonian parents in the 50s) about a lot of these tiny, everyday observations, and he was absolutely shocked by the casual disrespect so many of these "New Swedes" seemed to show, and the complete lack of backbone that most people seem to demonstrate when faced with that kind of at best provocative and at worst dominance-seeking, aggressive behaviour. He would never have dreamed of behaving in such a way. Why would he say such nasty things, about a country which took in his parents and allowed him every opportunity to succeed - and which he hoped to become a part of? Is that how normal human beings behave in normal historical and social circumstances?
Do you not feel that this is sick? Do you not understand how absurd and batshit insane it is that a country conditions its population to feel this schizophrenic mixture of shame and pride in itself - all the while being too shy and afraid of conflict to actually do anything about it either way? I'm sorry if I'm being impolite, and I'm sorry if this is not representative of your lived reality, but this is the way I genuinely experience our country - and to me it has become especially clear when you spend some time outside of Sweden that everything is not quite right with it, even judging by the standards common to the modern West.
I’m thinking of historic immigrant ghettos in New York - Hell’s Kitchen? - which absorbed tens of thousands of immigrants, many of whom eventually moved to other parts of the country. I know Jews who immigrated here from Russia who came in through Galveston, Texas, of all places, much as others did to settle in Belgian, German, Czech and Polish communities here as well.
If you’re going to make an omelet (America), you’re going to have to break some eggs and mix them all together.