Helsingin Sanomat: Kaksi kertaa muita rikkaampi

by , under All categories, Enrique

Comment: Coming from three cultural backgrounds, I personally feel comfortable with an identity like “multicultural Finn” in this country. This is ok as long as I am in Finland but things change if I go to the United States and Argentina, where there is no need to have multicultural before the name of the country. 

Melissa Heikkilä’s column sheds light on the ever-growing number of multicultural Finns that are coming out and who are proud of their background. Some of them grew up in Finland while other ones came here when they were adults. One matter unites all of them: at least one of their parents are immigrants.

If you want to castrate a person spiritually, one sure way of doing it is by forcing the person to deny a part of his or her identity. This is why assimilation cannot and should never be a part of our integration program in Finland.

The good news is that it’s never too late to bring out that other side. In my case it happened when I met a beautiful girl from Colombia at high school. She opened up a dormant world that took me back to one of the places I was once from.

If you accept who you are you will feel new power and strength. That is why those who are critical of multiculturalisn fear us so much.

___________

Melissa Heikkilä

Asun alueella, joka on tunnettu värikkäästä kansallisuuksien kirjosta. Yhdessä kerrostalorapussa voi asua koko maailma. Vieri vieressä ruskeiden ovien postiluukkujen takana elävät harmoniassa Virtaset, Smithit, Nguyenit, Hosseinit ja Rodriguezit.

Read whole story.

  1. Klay_Immigrant

    I completely disagree with what you have written, suprise suprise, and I’m as multicultural as they come with my father from one country, mother another, born in another, raised in another and spent later education in another country, so in theory could lay claim to 5 different countries and cultures. Do I see this as advantageous? Not particular as you are never 100% from one country and natives will never see you as such. This is not racism or xenophobia in the slightest but just a natural reaction as there would inevitably be something about you that is different to the others in each particular country.

    When I have children I will make them as monocultural as possible in the country they live in apart from languages as there is no drawbacks to being a polyglot. But being multicultural just like multiculturalism itself on the other hand has proved to be detrimental unless you are a liberal who thinks diversity AT ALL COSTS including ghettos and all that it entails is beautiful.

    • Enrique

      –I completely disagree with what you have written, suprise suprise, and I’m as multicultural as they come.

      The multicultural background is not only physical but a state of mind so to speak. If you disagree that’s ok. You know the old saying: different strokes for different folks.

      Nobody can tell how a person lives his life. Those are choices made by people in our society. Be careful when you generalize that somehow (a) state tells (b) people to be multicultural and (c) they are. It doesn’t work that way, Klay.

  2. JusticeDemon

    Klay_Immigrant

    The following juxtaposition illustrates that you have absolutely no idea of the depth of acculturation. Remember that culture is everything about you that is not genetic. Only a very tiny part of your cultural makeup lies within your conscious awareness and control. Effectively you can either project yourself to the world as you are or you can project yourself to the world as you are pretending to be. The one thing that you cannot do is effectively pretend to be authentic. The attempt to do so merely projects a person trying to be something else, which by definition is not authentic.

    I’m as multicultural as they come with my father from one country, mother another, born in another, raised in another and spent later education in another country, so in theory could lay claim to 5 different countries and cultures.

    When I have children I will make them as monocultural as possible in the country they live.

    Short of effectively disowning your children by giving them up for adoption, sending them away to be raised by nannies and private schools, or becoming a severely estranged absent parent, there is no way that you can achieve this objective.

    Any attempt to do so will merely redouble the anomie that has made you so resentful in the first place. There is a profound difference between being raised unreflectively by a monocultural parent and being raised by a conflicted multicultural parent who is pretending to be monocultural in a vain attempt to eliminate the same conflict.

    There is a peculiar dynamic whereby the xenophobia of a parent is visited on the child, the grandchild and the great grandchild. The only way to break out of this vicious cycle is to be authentic to your children and allow them to be authentic in turn, acknowledging and synthesising all of the elements of their background.

    I don’t expect you to understand this until it’s too late, but you should always hope that your kids will be smarter than you.

  3. Allan

    Klays kids will have what he was lacking, roots and a sense of belonging somewhere. It means a sense of security which is a luxury in the modern world.

    • Enrique

      –Klays kids will have what he was lacking, roots and a sense of belonging somewhere. It means a sense of security which is a luxury in the modern world.

      Yes, Allan, very credible especially coming from a white Finn.

  4. Allan

    “…very credible especially coming from a white Finn.”

    Any less credible than coming from a racist with an inferiority complex?

  5. Klay_Immigrant

    JusticeDemon as usual you have completely missed my point. I’m not going to pretend to be anything. It’s pretty obvious at first sight and as soon as I open my mouth that I’m not Finnish and no matter how long I’m in Finland will never claim to be Finnish either to myself or to my children. I will tell them I had a multicultural background if they havn’t already figured that out. The difference is and what I meant by raising them as monocultural as possible is to tell them that they are Finns 1st and foremost and should be proud of that, not tell them they are a quarter this, a quarter that and half Finnish. In other words only Finnish not Finnish-Spanish or Finnish-English or whatever other term people may come up with. I won’t encourage them to delve into their background and explore it because it’s not important or pressurise them to get involved in immigrant communities.

    All this means is as they grow up there would not be a confusion of identity where their cultural interests lie in different directions, where there could be a chance of alienation and low esteem for not fitting in. They will be just like any other fully Finnish child in the way the are brought up, attitude, and interests apart from having a father that happens to not be Finnish but as I’ve already mentioned my actions would not be an obstruction to that.

    It’s no coincidence that a large percentage of terrorists or ones involved in extremist activities are not 1st generation immigrants but people who were born and raised in the country they want to commit suicide in killing others. They are the ones that are most vunerable for jihadists to recruit because of their confusion with their parents and family telling them one thing but the society they live in and class mates telling them another so they become lost in a cultural sense.

    On an off-point I would just like to tell Enrique and JusticeDemon that I found employment in Finland suitable to my PhD chemistry education as a scientist in a lab at a biotechnology Finnish firm. So much for all the discrimination and prejudice you guys predicted I would find in the job market. Just goes to show if you have the right qualifications and attitude and are willing to learn the language and assimilate fully then the barriers are non existent even to a non-white person as myself.

    • Enrique

      Klay get off it! You’re too much. You know as well as I do that the one’s that commit the greatest amount of terrorist acts are European separatists. Now be frank: You see your parents getting bullied around by racism and exclusion and how are you, the child going to feel about that. You are going to be pretty pissed off. Certainly this does not justify terrorism but it drives home an important point: the importance of inclusion in society.

      Good for you that you got a job. I wish you the best of luck.

      Does your wife-to-be have the same opinions like you about how you want to educate your children?

  6. Jonas

    “The difference is and what I meant by raising them as monocultural as possible is to tell them that they are Finns 1st and foremost and should be proud of that, not tell them they are a quarter this, a quarter that and half Finnish. In other words only Finnish not Finnish-Spanish or Finnish-English or whatever other term people may come up with.

    I can’t help but think that is somewhat concerning from a parenting perspective. You are denying your children part of their own identity – actively trying to hide part of their own personality. As you are not Finnish, surely they are half-something else? Surely they have family members, maybe grandparents, cousins, in your homeland? Are these not a part of their background? Of course culturally your children will always be more Finnish, they are growing up in Finland. But surely allowing them to experience their other culture will not compromise their Finnishness, which is always going to be the strongest element anyway. They are surely not mutually exclusive factors? Do you really think that the Finnish identity is so fragile that it can’t take it?

    “Just goes to show if you have the right qualifications and attitude and are willing to learn the language and assimilate fully then the barriers are non existent even to a non-white person as myself.”

    It’s good news you’re working in the field you wish to. But, “assimilate fully”, what does that mean? What does assimilation mean? How do you know when you’ve assimilated? What is the benchmark? I have been posted abroad twice in my career (admittedly not entirely the same as searching for a job), and I certainly didn’t stop being Finnish to fit in. If Swedes or Britons did not like that I am going to support Finland in icehockey or sometimes long to eat a Karelian pasty – or for that matter speak Swedish or English with a non-native accent to them – then I think something is more wrong with them than me.

    • Enrique

      –But, “assimilate fully”, what does that mean? What does assimilation mean?

      Jonas, Klay does not know what it means. One day he will.

      By the way, some immigrant families like Russians want their children to “assimilate” by hiding their background. Is this a good thing? I don’t think so. Acknowledging and accepting your identity or who you are is extremely important for some. For me it was very important.

  7. JusticeDemon

    Klay

    I strongly recommend that you take expert advice based on empirical research instead of assuming that you have a magic formula for raising children based on your own experience and world view. Your kids will not thank you for your indifference to their cultural roots.

    Congratulations on finding a job, but your smugness is misplaced. You have yet to experience the glass ceiling that very many educated immigrants encounter. Finding a job is the easy part. The hard part is gaining respect as anything more than the lowest form of intelligent life in your workplace. The one thing that you can usually bank on in any organisation is that its immigrant staff have not yet reached their level of incompetence.

    A word from the wise: remember to join the union and get on first name terms with your shop steward.

    • Enrique

      Klay, take the expert JusticeDemon’s expert advice. You never know when there will be a rainy day.

  8. Mark

    Klay

    Congratulations on the job. But knowing your field, I doubt very much you got it based on your Finnish skills 🙂

    I cannot better Justice Demon’s response, because although you reject his analysis, it was very relevant to what you wrote, in my opinion. I too am in a similar situation to you. It reminds me also of the couple that are trying to bring their child up as gender unaware. You are not so extreme it seems, but there are similarities. I think the key to overcoming gender discrimination is gender awareness, not gender unawareness. Gender will only become less relevant when power is properly distribution between genders – then we can afford to forget about it, and not before. The same applies to ethnic differences. We cannot yet afford to ignore those differences because power (e.g. opportunity) is not yet distributed fairly; but once fairness arrives, then we can truly afford to pay less attention to those differences, or simply celebrate them as bringing diversity and richness to the cultural landscape.

    There was one point that JD didn’t yet pick up on.

    – “When I have children I will make them … monocultural. …But being multicultural just like multiculturalism itself on the other hand has proved to be detrimental unless you are a liberal who thinks diversity AT ALL COSTS including ghettos and all that it entails is beautiful.”

    There are actually quite a lot of liberals in this world, if you hadn’t already noticed. So basically you are going to deprive your children of the opportunity to delelop skills to get on with roughly half of the population? I’m sure they’ll be grateful.

    Of course, speaking as a parent, I can pretty much guess what will happen. All your children will marry liberals. Prepare yourself! 😉

  9. Mark

    Klay

    – “They are the ones that are most vunerable for jihadists to recruit because of their confusion with their parents and family telling them one thing but the society they live in and class mates telling them another so they become lost in a cultural sense. ”

    Gosh, the very opposite is true.

    You assume that confusion of cultural identity means that a person lacks adequate values of the host culture. But I would suggest to you that the instrument of recruitment is the perception of both a power differential and a moral malaise on the part of the majority. The perceived (and often real) mistreatment of a minority, with which the person feels a kinship, fuels a sense of injustice. The fact that injustice seems to be ignored by the majority convinces them that they suffer a moral malaise.

    It’s possible that a stronger perception of the values of people from the majority culture can help offset this radicalisation. But the more hostile, aggressive and prejudiced the host culture is towards the minority, the more likely that that experience of cross-cultural values will not hold much sway.

    The simple fact is Klay that the people who are more ‘multicultural’ are extremely valuable as bridges between cultures.

  10. Niko

    Just passing by and I wanted to share my mind.

    I just wonder how people talk about multiculturalism and multicultural people. Let’s say “Miguel” has a father who is from Mexico and his mother is a Finn. Miguel has lived his whole life in Finland, has never lived in Mexico and doesn’t even speak Spanish. Basically he doesn’t have any connection to this country, except through his father. From my eyes he is 100% Finn and not at all Mexican. So, why does his roots matter at all? Or is a culture genetic? If you think it is, then probably racist father’s son will be racist as well, criminal’s child will be a criminal and so on.

    Same thing if you are adopted. Why does it matter who your biological “parents” are? They didn’t raise you, they didn’t give you the love when you grew up and they didn’t teach you anything. The people who raised you are your parents and family. You wouldn’t suddenly become a different person because of your biological “parents” doings.

    • Enrique

      Hi Niko and welcome to Migrant Tales.

      In answer to your question about a label such as “multicultural Finn,” I believe it boils down to the person. The person decides his identity, which is a complex matter.

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