One of the matters that has always surprised me in Finland is that if you speak out against intolerance and racism, you are sometimes seen as the rude one, not the one making the inappropriate comment. Apart from playing down a social ill like intolerance, we too often lose sight of the real issue: the victim.
There are many factors that make us play down racism. One could be that we don’t want to rock the boat and get involved because intolerance doesn’t affect us directly. The issue is too complicated and hairy.
Take for example a recent case in Lieksa where parents don’t want their children to be taken to and from school by Somali drivers because they ‘don’t speak Finnish well enough.’
Read full story here.
The taxi owner, who hired the Somali drivers, claims that the parents’ motives are racist. The parents deny that their actions have anything to do with the drivers’ skin color or nationality.
But what about if both have some complicity in the matter and that we’re losing focus on the real problem?
‘I highly doubt that the man who hired the [Somali] drivers did so because he’s a good Samaritan,’ a Joensuu source told Migrant Tales. ‘Certainly there are racists among the parents but then again has anyone asked if the man who hired the drivers pays them less money [than white Finn driver] in order to maximize profit?’
While we still don’t know all the facts, white privilege appears to be written all over the most recent case in Lieksa: Parents can demand one thing and the owner of the taxis can say another. Nobody asks the Somali drivers their opinion.
Thus white privilege permits us to miss the real issue at play: suspicion, prejudice and exploitation of migrants.
It’s not always an open-and-shut matter. White privilege permits you to lose sight of the real issue because it is convenient. It allows you to forget the victim, or the taxi drivers, as is the case in Lieksa.
- Defining white Finnish privilege #1: I have it and you don’t
- Defining white Finnish privilege #2: Third culture children versus “pupil with immigrant background”
- Defining white Finnish privilege #3 No history, no doctrine, no heroes and no martyrs
- Defining white Finnish privilege #4 Holding the short end of the stick
- Defining white Finnish privilege #5 It’s ok to be a racist
- Defining white Finnish privilege #6 Not having a voice and the media
- Defining white Finnish privilege #7 A definitive guide
- Defining white Finnish privilege #8 Underrated and less intelligent
- Defining white Finnish privilege #9 Mohammad Ali’s insight
- Defining white Finnish privilege #10 I can victimize and make up any story I like about migrants because I’m white
- Defining white Finnish privilege #11: Case Teuvo Hakkarainen
- Defining white Finnish privilege #12: Case Tom Packalén
- Defining white Finnish privilege #13: Case Matti Putkonen
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.