I write about racism and social exclusion in Finland because it affects me and those I care about. I should know because I used to live marginalized from this society for decades.
I didn’t live marginalized because I was maladapted. I was marginalized because I was well-adapted.
Too many didn’t consider me a “real” Finn for a number of reasons. Was it because I wasn’t white enough or was it because the name I carried made me stick out ethnically like a sore thumb?
But what could I have done in 1978, when I moved back permanently to this country? There were so few immigrants never mind people of my ethnic background that you were culturally and ethnically unimportant and out of the loop.
It is a paradox, but the very matters that I loved and admired the most about this country back then were the very things that marginalized and excluded me from this society.
The prototype Finn is a case in point. This social construct of the so-called model Finn that was taught and reinforced in the last century is being challenged as our society becomes more culturally diverse.
Finnish society’s lack of inclusiveness was and still is the main obstacle to equal integration and acceptance.
If you want to find where racism grows its roots in this society, you will find it in the arguments that some white Finns use to exclude you from society. If you want to challenge Finnish racism, the best place to begin is to contest the arguments and actions that reinforce white Finnish exclusiveness.
I write a lot about racism and social exclusion on Migrant Tales. I write about this topic because Finland is my home and because I want a better future for visible and invisible minorities. In cultural diversity we will find strength.
I am grateful that I have found such a platform and opportunity to be a part of an ever-growing national debate and social movement that aims to make our society inclusive to all groups.