Anni Marquard, Head of centre, CfDP

The grant is targeted towards the voices of non-ethnic young Danes

Therefore, we are extra pleased that the municipality of Aarhus has recently granted funds, via their “Participant budgets and prevention of online radicalisation”, helping us to further develop and support inclusive work. Our work towards creating further inclusion and community among non-ethnic Danes will unfold on Cyberhus.dk as well as on Mitassist.dk – both counsellings are managed by Centre for Digital Youth Care.

The grant is allocated from the municipality of Aarhus’ pool, “Participant budgets and prevention of online radicalisation” – part of an anti-radicalisation strategy of the municipality of Aarhus. The strategy of this pool is to prevent radicalisation through several citizen-driven initiatives. It is important to emphasise that we focus on very early prevention rather than specific anti-radicalisation efforts.

Centre for Digital Youth Care has applied for funds from the above mentioned pool with an aim to include more young people of different cultural backgrounds and also, giving non-ethnic Danes a voice on equal terms with other young people in Denmark. We would very much like to start a good few stories and debates on what it is like to be a young person in Denmark – regardless of whether someone is an ethnic Dane or a non-ethnic Dane. The focal point is that young people share stories which other young people may know from their own personal lives. It is important that they speak freely, and Cyberhus is able to provide an encompassing space within its pedagogical framework.

Everyday images of love

The grant is targeted at young people who will be blogging on the counselling sites, Cyberhus.dk and Mitassist.dk. They will communicate with other young people about how they live their lives in Denmark, for better or worse. They are not (!) to appear as someone who speaks against radicalisation. They are not (!) to be selected from the crowd and appointed as non-ethnic Danes because exactly this would exclude them from the community in which we seek to include them. Rather, they are just to be ordinary young people on equal terms with other young people who share their lives on Cyberhus. It is about everyday images of love, education, and other issues prevalent to young people.

Distortion in the media creates exclusion

Along with the inclusion of young people, Centre for Digital Youth Care notices another important aspect of the project which is the importance of creating counter-narratives on the many negative stories present in the press and on social media. To Centre for Digital Youth Care it is crucial for inclusion that young people are able to find positive stories when they google the internet. At the time of writing, there are many stories on xenophobic people and poor integration. Reality is different.

A big percentage of non-ethnic Danes do very well, and xenophobic people are a minority, however, young people may not always be able to locate these stories, and with this project, we would like to make an effort to change that. The distortion on various social media contributes to exclude young people from the community, and this has to change.

Disquieting tendency – let us, instead, create a democratic debate

At Centre for Digital Youth Care, we worry about a tendency to highlight the negative stories on the subject of non-ethnic Danes, both with the press and as private individuals. Often, radical opinions on non-ethnic Danes are voiced, while others are not heard. This contributes to create a distortion of reality, and therefore, the democratic debate is under pressure.

The referral of this project in the press represents such an example. In their approach of the news of our allocated funds, the press has extracted that we intend to combat extremism and radicalisation. However, this is not the message and purpose of this project – and pool.

With this project and pool, we merely wish to work on creating inclusion and collaboration across gender, religion and age by letting young people share their positive stories. Also, we hope that those stories may challenge the negative ones…no more, no less. This nuance is not mentioned in the press, but fortunately we have our own voice on this blog. The same goes for our young people on Cyberhus and Mitassist..non-ethnic Dane, or not.

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