When I wrote my blogpost No place for racists in Valhalla, I had no idea it was going to cause such massive controversy. It’s been a few months now, and still people are having heated discussions about this blogpost. I think that is great – the foundation of democracy and freedom of speach is that people voice their opinions. However, many seem to miss a crucial point: I did not write that there are no place for racists in Valhalla because I don’t like racism. I wrote it because it is incorrect to add a «race factor» to that belief system. Sure, the internet educated people can pull that Heimdal myth on me, but when they do, they’re just telling me they haven’t really got the point. And maybe they should look more into how your skin would appear after a few years if it was your job to light the fire with flint and steel, or by working the embers, every single morning. (You see, this was most often the slave’s job, and it tends to make your skin brownish after a while.)
We also know that the Norse were not a nationalistic bunch – they were a people of many clans. And they certainly did not stay and breed among themselves and their own «folk», as some seem to think. On the contrary, being connected to the British Isles and continental Europe by the sea, they were used to dealing with lots of different ethnic groups. This probably was one of the keys to their success, as they were never victims to interbreeding, which they would have been if they only stayed at home at the farm, marrying a cousin. From the sagas and contemporary writings, we know that they did not look anything like the blonde bodybuilders on the nazi posters (the nazis tried to steal your Norse heritage during WWII), and they certainly didn’t look like that Thor character from the Marvel comics. They were much more diverse than that.
I do understand that the Vikings and modern Asatru have been adopted by neo-nazis and white supremacists, but it’s a twisted image they have, and quite frankly, they’re pissing on my ancestry. This makes this personal to me. Also, I have been studying the Viking Age and Norse mythology for many years, it’s part of my job. I am a Norwegian, and I live literally among the grave mounds of Norse chieftains. So when people try to lecture me on these matters, they better have a university degree in archeology or Iron Age history. And to those keyboard warriors who felt the need to make threats and tell me that they’re going to chop my head off, they were all invited to come to my home to try that, but of course, nobody showed up…
For the record, I do not like racism. It’s the ideology of idiots. Also, I’ve seen what racism can do. Growing up in a conflict area in Norway, I have family and friends who’ve been physically attacked by gangs of immigrants from muslim countries, just for being «white». Believe me, those who think that it’s mainly dark skinned people who are victims to racism are just as idiotic as the racists themselves. I know that some don’t like to hear that. According to their worldview, racism is a «white» problem. But racism hasn’t got a color, which is plain to see when you look around you without political or social prejudice.
My ancestors wouldn’t judge a man or a woman by the color of his/her skin, and neither should you. Their relations to you would have been based on your words and actions. Can you be trusted? Are you honest? Do you stand by your word? Will you be loyal to your family and friends? Are you kind and generous? The answers to those and other questions matter to me, as they did to my ancestors. The color of your skin does not.
-Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen
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