Defining white Finnish privilege #38: Cultural appropriation and racism are quaint discussion topics between white Finns

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Sanna Ukkola is a YLE journalist who has stuck her foot in her mouth a number of times. Hosting Pressiklubi on Friday was a clear example when she put on an Amerindian feather hairpiece and showed a clip of Pekka ja Pätkä blackfaces to the audience. 

While she excused herself for wearing the hairpiece, the whole talk show was a fiasco and an embarrassment to YLE. Is cultural appropriation ok? We don’t know because the talk show didn’t take a clear stand on the issue.

Two of the guests, Matti Virtanen, a Talouselämä journalist, and conservative National Coalition Party councilman, Tere Sammallahti, added more injury to pain with their comments about cultural appropriation. The other guest was Left Alliance chairwoman Li Anderson, who disagreed with almost everything that the two other guests said.

Virtanen claimed that it was ok for Miss Helsinki candidates to wear the hairpiece because it was a copy and therefore didn’t insult anyone.

Yes, right, Virtanen. You have privilege and power to make such a point but not the moral authority because you are white.


Meet the candidates who are vying to be crowned Miss Helsinki. Source: Tämä päivä.

If Virtanen and Ukkola stuck their foots in their mouths, Sammallahti ended up with a Frankenstein shoe in his.


See original tweet by Outi Länsman here.

“Now that I have a 1.5-year-old boy child at home,” he said, “I hope he won’t have to grow up in a work where he’s made to feel guilty for being born white and, probably, heterosexual.”

Sammallahti is a prime example of a white Finn who doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand that what he fears for his boy is what some minorities face every day of their lives. They are degraded and constantly reminded that they are outsiders.

Finnish white privilege #38

When you are white, you can air a television talk show and debate whether cultural appropriation is ok. All of your guests are white and they, apart from Anderson, can have a quaint discussion about cultural appropriation.

They have the power and the privilege to do and say as they please. Even insult minorities with their statements if they wish.

Like Outi Länsman tweeted with a picture of Ukkola wearing an Amerindian feather headpiece: “This is Finnish journalism. The year is 2017.”

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