I think Colbert’s stunt itself was incredibly annoying especially as his satire is often based in a smug ironic whiteness–and yes, smug people, I get that it’s a character and that’s how it’s being presented. This doesn’t mean that as a person of color I have to like it or that I can’t feel that it’s problematic or alienating. Regarding the #cancelcolbert campaign I have felt that much of the Asian-American critique of the racism managed to completely ignore Native Americans and original context which was frustrating and disappointing.
It is, to a surprisingly large extent, a story that’s been going on since the Second World War. Sweden–it is said–is different from the rest of Europe. After all, “The world’s conscience” (as newspapers in the West would usually describe Sweden in shorthand) had never been properly colonialist. As historian Gunlög Fur explains: “Colonialism was defined as control over other territories, and Sweden, it could claim, was a marginal player at most. It was made believable internationally that Sweden was not part of any mechanisms of oppression, and it could avoid being seen as a colonial power. Instead, Sweden saw itself as the moral equivalent of a great power, building up its sympathy with the marginalised and oppressed.”