I had an interesting discussion on Saturday with a Perussuomalaiset (PS) candidate for Mikkeli city council. The woman, who claimed that her mother is Russian, stressed that the PS strives to look after everyone’s interests in Finland, including that of immigrants.
Even if such views are hard to find in the PS, they do exist. Migrant Tales wrote in November about Jukka Kotimäki, a PS secretary of Siilimäki near Kuopio, who said that he doesn’t want racists in the party.
Others that have voiced objections to the PS’ hardline racists is MP Pirkko Mattila.
These faint voices within the PS are a positive sign and should be applauded. Even so, they are steamrolled by the party’s inflexible Counterjihadists, populist radical right members and shameless racists.
The discussion I had with another member of the local PS party on Saturday revealed the central issue concerning the problematic view the party has of immigrants and visible minorities.
”You speak Finnish well,” the PS member said.
“But I am Finnish.”
After telling him my family history in two seconds, he stated that I’m ”half” Finnish.
”I’m not half of anything,” I responded. ”I’m Finnish.”
I continued: “There are many types of Finns these days: Muslims, blacks, browns, Catholics.”
The discussion came to an abrupt halt.
Why do some Finns still believe that one has to be white to be Finnish? It’s incredible that a country that saw 1.2 million people emigrate between 1860 and 1999 and whose population is becoming more culturally diverse still claims that one must be white and speak the langauge perfectly to be accepted as a “full” Finn.
Is this what is taught at our schools? Is it what a model Nordic welfare society teaches and reinforces: You don’t fit the ethnic bill if you aren’t white enough?
The good news is that our view of ourselves as a group will change radically during this century.