One of the matters one learns after answering thousands of comments on Migrant Tales and posting near daily on this humble site is the language and arguments used by anti-immigration groups, which are openly against a Finland that is international, multicultural and open.
By multicultural I mean treating everyone in this country, irrespective of their background, with respect and equality.
Those who are for “white power” can say it subtler terms like“we must find work for all of our jobless before we can think about migration.” In plain English it’s known as white privilege.
A common argument used by the anti-immigration camp in Finland, even by well-intentioned socialists, is that “we must find work for all of our jobless before we can think about migration,” or we can only think about migration “when matters for ethnic Finns are optimal.”
If we expose the red herring and decipher the code behind these arguments, the following dangerous message emerges: We don’t want any migration. We are against multiculturalism, cultural diversity and our global integration.
Apart from being a subtle yet dangerous declaration of war against migrants and minorities in Finland, it leaves is with the following critical questions:
- What about those that live here, pay taxes and who aren’t white Finnish-speaking Finns? Do they have to wait for full employment before their situation improves?
- Do you accept discrimination as an effective means to guarantee “that all white Finnish-speaking Finns will be employed?”
- Are you denying who you are, your identity and history if over 1.2 million people emigrated from Finland between 1860 and 1999?
- Have you forgotten the suffering of refugees if we had 420,000 of them from Karelia after the last war?
- Is the United States’ Civil Rights Movement (1955-68) an answer?
Don’t be fooled by the “we must employ ethnic Finns first” argument because such advocates believe in your social exclusion and keeping you, your children and grandchildren as a second- or third-class citizen in this society indefinitely. By denying you a rightful identity other than “migrant” or “person with migrant background,” is a dead giveaway of your social exclusion and unequal place in this society.
It’s crucially important that present and future generations of Finns, irrespective of their ethnic background, learn from an early age that all forms of intolerance is a threat to our values. There’s nothing Nordic or “patriotic” about being racist and socially excluding others.
What is our goal? To be treated with respect and as equal members of society. This is the best insurance of the survival of our Nordic welfare state. Bring in intolerance and you’ll destroy what took so long to build.
I believe in this country and its ability to tackle anti-Nordic welfare state values like social exclusion and racism. But if push comes to shove, we shouldn’t hesitate for one second to use every democratic means at our disposal to drive home our point. And that is what we are doing or should be doing at this moment.
Invovle everyone but especially those who are socially excluded and especially vulnerable.