By Enrqiue Tessieri
The critical players in the struggle to expose and challenge racism and all type of discrimination in Finland will not be only with the help of the laws but by immigrants and refugees. They, if anyone else, are going to have to show strong leadership in this area.
There are already many good examples of how immigrants and refugees are challenging age-old prejudices and stereotypes in this country about themselves. One of the most important matters is that they are challenging these myths.
In this struggle we must not forget those Finns who consider all forms of prejudice shameful and unacceptable.
One of the biggest challenges confronting racism are our prejudices. This is not a simple task but not an impossible one either to tame and keep under control.
The favorite argument of those who see immigration as a threat to Finland is that some of these newcomers are incompatible with our culture. When these people move here the attacks get fiercer and is done with the complicity of stereotypes.
Politicians and future anti-immigration MP wannabes not only insult hardworking immigrants that live in this country, but use provocative adjectives to maintain and service the general atmosphere of suspicion. Be always suspicious of those that claim “I am not a racist.”
People who spread steretypethat immigrants are” lazy” have no idea what an immigrant is and are exposing their ignorance. A person does not leave everything behind in his home country to start anew if he weren’t ambitious. Take a look at the millions of emigrants that left for the New World from Europe. Were they all lazy and failures?
My International Finland published a list of some common stereotypes about immigrants in Finland.
Check them out and tell us if you agree.
Some of my favorite on the list are:
1. They move to this country and cause a recession. (Stereotype #1)
2. Immigrants are not entitled to the same citizen and basic rights as Finns? (#5)
3. Immigrants are responsible for fuelling unemployment and poverty in Finland. (#7)
4. Immigrants are more criminal than Finns. (#8)
5. They move to this country and don’t want to learn Finnish. (#11)