Forging healthy ethnic relations in Finland

by , under All categories, Enrique

The ongoing debate on labor immigrants and refugees goes much further into the schizophrenic relationship that some Finns have of the outside world and diversity.On the one side, you have people who have no issues with cultural and ethnic diversity because Finland is already such a country. It is a normal and welcome characteristic of our society. But then you have others that see themselves as the last Mohicans defending “Finnish values and race.”

Here is a list of observations I have made during the past months concerning the ongoing immigration-refugee debate:

(1)Debating openly the role of immigration and refugees is healthy. When has Finland debated so openly issues like racism and diversity? Despite all the hysteria and xenophobia, some believed that racism did not exist or was a minor issue. Today we know that it is a visible  sore spot of our society.

(2) The core of the debate and the schizophrenic view of other cultures offers us a good opportunity to attack such deficiencies at schools. Our educational system has failed because it has never paid enough attention to what diversity means in our society. In 1870, 15% of the population of Helsinki was foreign-born. Why have we intentionally forgotten such facts about ourselves and that we are officially a bilingual country? How many of us come from other cultures? Why do we sidestep such historical facts about Finland?  ANSWER: It isn’t mentioned enough because some, intentionally or unintentionally, have pretty closed and racist views of the outside world.

(3) Change in our educational system will come when immigrants and their children have decision-making power and influence over how things are taught and what values are strengthened at school and in society generally.  This is what we call equal opportunity in the labor market and participatory democracy.

(4) We need new historians to take a fresh look at Finland and to not echo what has been taught and continues to strengthen stereotypes and old suspicions of others.  For example, the Russians are “bad” people because they attacked us in 1939. True, it was the Communist government, but that was over 80 years ago!

(5) Our perception of ourselves as a nation is outdated as well and seated in many respects in the 1930s, when eugenics helped find our identity through race. In most of the Western world, these types of “theories” have been disproven and are nothing more than boloney. This type of education is crucial since the immigrant population is growing. Some 4% of people who live here come from other cultures.

(6) Since some of us don’t have a clue what racism and discrimination is because they feel that they can treat newcomers anyway they wish, we defend such questionable values by portraying some ethnic groups like demons. Education should stress and encourage healthy ethnic relations among people who live in this country.  The ongoing debate and Finland’s stance on immigrants, which has changed slowly, reveals that too many Finns have no idea what it means to live in a society with people from other cultures.

(7) The aim of this country in this century should be to create healthy ethnic relations and pathways of incorporation into our society. Today, unfortunately, some of us are busy building walls on those pathways.  The road to good ethnic relations is a two-way street, where there is a generous amount of give-and-take on all sides.

  1. Chiva Congelado

    What drives me crazy is that all immigrants are put in the same bucket: work-related, family-related, refugees, students… Tilastokeskus can tell you exactly how many people live here and from where, but the info is conveniently ignored in order to stoke the fears of society.

    Just yesterday wrote a post on why do I believe that Urpilainen and Heinäluoma are misguided, and why Finland deserves a better quality discourse than this.

    • Enrique

      Hi Chiva Congelado, very nice post indeed in your blog, which I warmly recommend others to visit http://www.chivacongelado.com/. You are not the only one who is being driven up the wall. But hey, don’t worry, Heinäluoma and Urpilainen tell us that their comments have nothing to do with xenophobia and racism. They are made to improve ethnic relations and create harmony in this country. Incredible, no?

  2. Tiwaz

    Biggest issue are multiculturalist bigots who refuse to accept that immigration and multiculturalism have serious issues which must be first solved before anyone starts dreaming of importing more people into Finland in name of diversity.

    Diversity destroys unity in society, and society without unity is one which self destructs. Proven by history repeatedly.

    -“In 1870, 15% of the population of Helsinki was foreign-born. Why have we intentionally forgotten such facts about ourselves and that we are officially a bilingual country? How many of us come from other cultures? Why do we sidestep such historical facts about Finland? ANSWER: It isn’t mentioned enough because some, intentionally or unintentionally, have pretty closed and racist views of the outside world.”

    1870 Finland was victim of foreign control and oppression. Finns were not permitted to run their own nation, instead foreigners were brought here to rule Finns. Foreigners being preferred over natives.

    No wonder we do not kindly look at that piece of history.

    Finland is officially bilingual, yet another example of past crimes against Finland, but Swedish speakers are steadily diminishing as group. That language is steadily becoming more and more irrelevant.

    By the way, how nice of you again to show double standards and “forget” that Swedish language came to Finland with Swedish empire building. When it was imported here, Finnish language was pushed down. You did not receive service in Finnish, only Swedish. You could not study with Finnish, only Swedish.

    Today such actions would be practically atroticies. Yet fruits of these crimes are hailed here as some kind of crown jewels!

    -“Change in our educational system will come when immigrants and their children have decision-making power and influence over how things are taught and what values are strengthened at school and in society generally. This is what we call equal opportunity in the labor market and participatory democracy.”

    Bullshit again. Immigrants are unlikely to ever become statistically significant group.

    But again you show your bigoted opinion. You are here gloating how Finns will lose power and right to tell how things in Finland should be.

    You would nicely fit into role of imperialist overlord treating their native “savages” like cattle, because your attitudes towards Finns, our culture and society are like copypasted from manual for imperialist occupiers.

    Pity you were born into wrong century.

    -“Our perception of ourselves as a nation is outdated as well and seated in many respects in the 1930s, when eugenics helped find our identity through race. In most of the Western world, these types of “theories” have been disproven and are nothing more than boloney. This type of education is crucial since the immigrant population is growing. Some 4% of people who live here come from other cultures.”

    Here you are again proving yourself an idiot. YOU are only one stuck up on genetics.

    Finns identify themselves through CULTURE as I have repeatedly said. Our nation is defined by our CULTURE.

    And those who come from other cultures have to accept that Finland has it’s own culture and you foreigners should respect that.

    -“Education should stress and encourage healthy ethnic relations among people who live in this country. The ongoing debate and Finland’s stance on immigrants, which has changed slowly, reveals that too many Finns have no idea what it means to live in a society with people from other cultures.”

    Actually, problem is that we know it too well. We see fruits of multiculturalism in UK, France, Sweden, Norway and plethora of other countries.

    Your problem with Finns is that we refuse to accept your lies that multiculturalism is all flowers and happy faces. Instead of crime, violence and misery.

    -“Today, unfortunately, some of us are busy building walls on those pathways. The road to good ethnic relations is a two-way street, where there is a generous amount of give-and-take on all sides.”

    Bullshit. Our way of life, culture and society are not some petty baubles to barter. They are foundation of our very identity. If you can’t handle Finland as Finnish, I recommed leaving. Free country permits you foreigners to leave.

    • Enrique

      Tiwaz, why this rage? Nobdy attacks a whole group of people like you do. If you toned down your words and stopped being so hostile and absolute, maybe people would start to listen to you. What do you think people abroad think of Finland when you act in such a hostile fashion? It is also not healthy to blow your top in such a manner. Do you feel that threatened? If you do, I fee sorry for you.
      The mark of a leader is to keep his cool and not let hatred to overtake him. If you think of it, those type of people have a lot of guts. Anyone can rage and order people to think like him/her. It does not take too much brains.

  3. FIN?

    Hei Tiwaz

    First learn propper English and not what you know from your great FIN school.

    You are just a good example what happens every day in FIN. It does not every matter whether a non-national pays taxes, has job etc. he/she will be the FOREIGNER and therfore BAD.

    Please stay behind your wall and never sneak-peak over it. There is no space for you in this world. Stay in your sauna and grill your (aweful) makkara, beat your wife and pass-out on the lawn when you come back from the pub (all cultural stereotypes!).

    BTW: LIDL is not Finnish…but better in pricing and quality!

  4. Tiwaz

    -“First learn propper English and not what you know from your great FIN school.”

    Are you aware that word “proper” has letter-p only twice?

    You really should shut up before giving people advice on matters you are totally incapable of speaking of.

    -“Tiwaz, why this rage”

    Why your stubborn refusal to accept that immigrants must take responsibility of their own failures? You and this blog are always blaming Finns for shortcomings of foreigners.

    -“What do you think people abroad think of Finland when you act in such a hostile fashion?”

    I do hope that those who assume they have everything catered for them and those who think they do not have to change if they immigrate go to some other nation.

    As I have repeatedly said, I for one welcome immigrants who want to integrate into Finnish society, not those who want Finnish society to integrate to them.

    -“The mark of a leader is to keep his cool and not let hatred to overtake him.”

    Where is hatred? I do not hate anyone. I simply tell people to look into mirror if they want to see racist who is responsible for their failure in Finland.

    If that face belongs to person who does not speak Finnish, understand how Finnish society functions and refuses to adjust to Finnish way of handling things…

    Then in that mirror there is a racist who is begging to fail.

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