By Enrique Tessieri
It is a nice idea when some people assure immigrants that “we are all Finns.” I am certain that the person who makes such a statement has the best intentions in mind. However, isn’t it our right to choose who we are on our terms? Affirming that “we are all Finns” is as ludicrous as claiming “we are not Finns.”
The more I encounter these types of views of how Finland’s newcomers should be accepted into Finnish society the more I believe some Finns still don’t get it.
Would it be better to state that we are all equal members of Finnish society?
One of the important matters that our Constitution and the spirit of our laws show us is the right of people to make their own lifestyle and identity choices.
I still believe what I wrote about two years ago about the importance of having such a choice: “What will our new identity be like in the present century as our society becomes more ethnically and culturally diverse? Will immigrants be clumped into one group and called New Finns, or will they prefer a hyphenated identity such as Iraqi-Finn?”
At the end of the day the only person who will decide what you are is yourself.