I just came across an article about the Danish politician Asmaa Abdol-Hamid who runs for 'Enhedslisten', the Danish Red-Green Alliance. I am very impressed by her commitment to improving the rights of minorities and marginalized groups in society. She has, at the age of 26, accomplished quite a lot socially and politically and I am sure we will hear more from her in the future.
This post is motivated by something she has said which pretty much sums up my take on the debate about integration and ethnic minorities:
"I don't like the word integration. Everyone uses it without being able to define it clearly. Ethnic minorities are not a problem in itself. I prefer to talk about social classes and take a look at citizens' class background instead of their ethnic identity when we need to give reasons for the lack of integration in Denmark." (my translation from Danish)
Applying a class view provides us with new explanations and lines of action. If we remove focus from religion and culture we can instead turn to poverty and other class issues as explanations for what we refer to as 'integration problems'. Some of the poorest and most marginalized people in Denmark are found among the ethnic minorities. An example is child poverty - the poverty risk for minority children is three times higher than for ethnic Danish children.