Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

First Swedes portrayed by Africans in state-funded history program

Cultural revolution in the West

Published 28 November 2023
- By Editorial Staff

In the first episode of the Swedish state television’s taxpayer-funded documentary series The History of Sweden, the first people to settle in Sweden are portrayed by African actors. The state broadcaster is now being accused of subversively ideologizing history, with many viewers pointing out that there is no evidence that the first people to settle in what is now Sweden actually looked like Africans.

In what is the most expensive documentary series ever to be produced by the Swedish state broadcaster SVT, we learn that the very first group of people reached southern Sweden about 13,000 years ago, after the inland ice began to retreat. These people are described as hunters and gatherers who came to the area to hunt.

According to SVT, these people were dark-skinned with blue eyes and thus actors of African appearance were used to portray them, something that has attracted strong critizism from viewers. However, SVT has defended its choice of actors by saying that “DNA analysis” shows that the people had “darker skin” than the North Germanic ethnic group we know today as Swedes. Furthermore, the documentary was developed with the help of “hundreds of researchers and experts”.

Critics point out that there is nothing to suggest that “the first Swedes” looked like they do in the series. Photo: Facsimile/SVT

Critics point out that “darker skin” is a vague term, and does not mean that stone age people in Sweden looked like black Africans – but could just as easily refer to how people in southern Europe or parts of the Middle East look today.

There is no evidence presented in the program that “the first Swedes” looked like Africans and researchers in this context usually refer to the 11,000-year-old so-called “Cheddar Man” in England.

The “Cheddar Man” is often presented as proof that Stone Age Europeans had blue or green eyes and brown skin – because an analysis did not find the genes for light skin found in Europeans today. However, no gene variants have been found to prove that the Cheddar Man had dark skin – so skeptics argue that this is speculation and that it is taken for granted that he had brown skin, even though this is not actually proven.

Opinions differ on the color of Cheddar Man’s skin. Photo: Werner Ustorf/CC BY-SA 2.0

The same goes for the “Österöd Woman” – Sweden’s oldest and almost completely preserved skeleton, dating back some 10,000 years. Here, critics point out that her full DNA has not been successfully analyzed, and yet it is assumed or presumed that she had dark skin.

Another criticism of SVT’s venture is that only “the blue eyes” and “the dark skin” are given much attention in the program – while body structure, phenotypes, facial features, and other information about the Stone Age people’s appearance do not receive the same attention.

Overall, many point out that the “first Swedes” hardly looked like the actors in the documentary and wonder if there are ideological or political reasons behind the portrayal.

The second group that comes to Sweden is presented as “lighter-skinned” than the first – and is played, among others, by actors who appear to be from today’s Middle East. Only the third group (the battleaxe culture, from which today’s Swedes have the most DNA) resembles today’s Europeans in skin color, according to the series.

Group number two, the “Stone Age Swedes,” is depicted as more Middle Eastern. Photo: facsimile/SVT

The state broadcaster has also been accused of historical revisionism influenced by postmodern feminist ideas, including showing women participating in hunting and other physically demanding activities on equal terms with men – although this is considered highly unlikely, as members of hunter-gatherer societies had very clear roles.

Another claim that has been criticized as speculative is when a Stone Age woman’s pelvic injuries are explained by her having the physique of a modern elite athlete, and not that this must have been due to frequent childbirth, as previously thought.

In general, The History of Sweden has been harshly criticized for political correctness and anachronisms of various kinds – but has also been praised in several major mainstream media outlets. The series will be broadcast in ten episodes.

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