A racist is an individual, always an individual, who does not like people based on race – must be conscious – and who intentionally seems to be mean to them.
Robin DiAngelo, sociologist
DiAngelo’s definition of racism incriminates the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* with their hand in the racist cookie jar. The whole political message of the PS hinges on consciously being mean to people of color, especially Muslims and Somalis.
There are countless examples of how PS politicians and their supporters consciously say and encourage their followers to say disrespectful things that polarize our society. Several PS politicians, like its leader Jussi Halla-aho, have convictions for ethnic agitation.
Helsinki City Councilperson Abdirahim Husu Hussein’s tweet, claiming that all PS politicians, voters and supports are racist is a long-overdue discussion needed in Finland unless you want the next prime minister to be the leader of a far-right Islamophobic party.
The reaction of the PS and of a Nurmijärvi councilperson to Hussein’s tweet offer a good example of white Finnish fragility.
Halla-aho’s reaction to Hussein’s tweet about the PS was expected. He said in Uusi Suomi, an online publication that gives the PS a forum to spread their far-right ideology: “In a country that abides by the rule of law, it is paramount that the law protects all individuals and groups alike.”
The PS leader, who hears no hate speech/fascism or see no hate speech/fascism, is crying about white people needing the same protection as minorities. Considering that hate speech laws are intended to protect vulnerable groups like Muslims, Halla-aho’s comment has white privilege painted over it.
Halla-aho’s logic is in the same league as one used by his party in the past, which argued that the Finns are “an indigenous group” threatened by immigration.
The biggest threat to the PS’ future is to fail at becoming a “normal” racist far-right party.
Will Halla-aho and the PS succeed at becoming a “normal” party while spouting anti-immigration and far-right rhetoric to its supporters?
It all hinges on what our reaction to the PS’ balancing act (seeming like a “normal” party whose politicians and supporters are consciously racist).
Migrant Tales was quoted in Time Magazine right after the 2011 parliamentary election when the PS gained 39 seats from 5 previously. Back then, former PS chairperson Timo Soini said: “We are not extremists so you can sleep safely,” and we were quoted right after: “Far-right populism is an illness inflicting Europe at present and it now has a beachhead in Finland.”
* The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. In the last parliamentary election, Blue Reform has wiped off the Finnish political map when they saw their numbers in parliament plummet from 18 MPs to none. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.