Helsingin Sanomat: Rotuajattelu elää täälläkin

by , under All categories, Enrique

Comment: Researcher Vesa Puuronen has been creating some waves in Finland as of late with his observations of racism and the rise of right-wing populism in our society.  The Helsingin Sanomat review of his book, “Rasistinen Suomi” (Racist Finland), claims a lot of disturbing matters about ourselves as a society.

He believes that the roots of racism span deep in our history and have been present through our treatment of the Russians and Saami as well as newer groups that have moved to Finland.

Certainly we can blame the rise of the True Finns and xenophobia in this country on the general atmosphere in Europe. If Finland had as many immigrants as Sweden (14.3%) compared with 2.9% now, would some Finns have gone on the rampage as happened to the Reds shortly after the Civil War of 1918?

Even though the xenophobic atmosphere makes us wonder these days, the racism that has inflicted this society is out in the open for all of us to observe.

Silence will no longer make it go away.

__________

Antti Blåfield

Tutkija Vesa Puurosen johtopäätös on karu: “Suomalaisessa yhteiskunnassa vallitsee rotujärjestelmä, ja rasismi tarkoittaa rotujärjestelmän ylläpitämistä”. Kirjassaan Rasistinen Suomi Puuronen etsii suomalaisen rasismin juuria ja tämän ajan rasismia.

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    • Enrique

      FutureMan, I am going to approve a part of your comment and ask you if you post video clips on a certain immigration issue that they are well-balanced. The video clip you wanted to show us was one-sided and racist.

      I guess from what you wanted to show and your view of multiculturalism, we’d be interested to know what kind of solutions or suggestions you would like to give us to make cultural diversity or diversity in general in society work.

      We get a lot of comments here from people who are complaining and being reactive without giving us any proactive solution. Think of writing a comment as a good editorial: statement of problem, background information and, very important, solution(s). This will help you to develop your idea and give some meat to it. You will have said something significant instead of shooting potshots at the problem.

  1. FutureMan

    What was so racist about the video? If you haven’t followed the news, this is quite normal behaviour in many European countries nowadays (not in Finland yet). Malmö is the trouble city of Sweden and it has been noted several times in different media, you can’t denied it. I really wish multiculturalism could work and it probably works in small doses, but I think we have noticed what is the reality… same kind of issues are also in Denmark, Netherlands, UK etc.

    • Enrique

      –What was so racist about the video? If you haven’t followed the news, this is quite normal behaviour in many European countries nowadays (not in Finland yet).

      Stop being such an alarmist. You know better than I do that it isn’t. The video was one-sided and aimed to reinforce a certain attitude. Who did it anyway? Could you tell us the source? When we find out the source we find out the motive.

      FutureMan, we need to make things work. It is our only hope. Multiculturalism may not be in vogue these days but it is a way to approach diversity. If you offer people opportunities and acceptance, they will reciprocate. If you offer them exclusion you will have a lot of social problems.

  2. FutureMan

    CBN News Senior Reporter Dale Hurd made the video. So, you probably can tell what was his motive? You can find same kind of news all around the web.

    Why it is so that only Muslims are protesting violently in Sweden and other European countries and can’t do it civilized? If we believe in freedom of speech and liberty, why Muslim protesters are allowed to physically hurt other people and police doesn’t do anything? I really want to understand, so maybe you can enlight me.

    • Enrique

      –CBN News Senior Reporter Dale Hurd made the video.

      CBN stands for the Christian Broadcasting Network. One of our bloggers, Tony García, used to post stuff from this organization. Do you listen to Christian news agencies in Finland? Do you trust them for the impartiality. Who do you read for the news Kotimaa or YLE? Nobody is denying that there aren’t problems, but why not try to find out what Al Jazeera, BBC or France 24 may have reported. Did I answer your question?

      If you look at a EU report on terrorism, you will find that the vast majority of such violent acts are committed by separatist group in Europe. Didn’t we hear of a car bomb that went off in Northern Ireland? What about ETA? So, yes, we have a lot of home-grown terrorism in here. If you are fair and understand how our societies work, I doubt that people can go around assaulting others at will.

      FutureMan all violence should be condemned. We do that here on Migrant Trales but we don’t lose sight of ALL types of violence coming from ALL sides. If you speak of Palestinian violence against Israel we can point many examples of Israeli violence against the Palestinians. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. Even so, we have to look at history as well to understand the issue. You just can’t show a video by a biased CATHOLIC broadcasting company and expect it to raise our knowledge of the problem.

  3. Klay_Immigrant

    Enrique surely you have to concede that there are immigrants that are positive and contribute to Finland and there are those that are negative and are a burden. You justify this situation by saying there are Finns who don’t want to work and are on benefits.

    No country especially one which has a generous welfare system will you get 100% of the population wanting and willing to work. No one on here has ever given that impression. But if any of those unemployed Finns wanted to emigrate and live in another developed country needing a permit let’s say the US or Japan, I would use the same arguments as I do with certain immigrants coming to Finland that they should not be allowed in as they would be a burden as they have a history of long term umemployment. You see the consistency, it has nothing to do with race, religion or nationality.

    It’s only because the average immigrant from Europe is more educated and has more useful skills and language than the average immigrant from Africa that it may seem that particular groups are being picked on and singled out but in reality that really just isn’t the case.

    By having a reckless immigration policy that allows anyone in no matter what they have to offer, parts of Helsinki will resemble Rosengrad in Malmo or East London where unemployment and crime is at it’s highest. Is that what you really want? In one of your recent posts you mentioned that the employment rate of Somalis that came to Finland in the early 90’s is 70%. Is that what you call a success? An unemployment rate of 30%, more than 3 times the national average, for people that have been in Finland for 20 years or so. In that time period there is absolutely no excuse for not being fluent in Finnish, integrating into society and know how the job market works. You also forget the financial cost of housing and feeding these people, not to mention integration and language classes they have received and yet still more than 3 times more likely to be unemployed. That just isn’t good enough and the state cannot be blamed. Who is footing the bill for all this expenditure? The Finnish tax-payer who never got a say on whether they wanted them there in the first place and then you wonder why there is a backclash and revolt against the established main political parties. Surely you cannot be that naive.

    You say Finns are racist against immigrants and blame them for everything, are they also racist against Greeks, Irish and Portuguese as the Finnish public didn’t want to bail out their economies due to their reckless spending whereas Finland has the highest credit rating apart from the Netherlands in the whole Euro zone? It’s simple people just don’t want to have to pay for others that are deemed unbeneficial to themselves from their own pocket especially in an economic downturn when they themselves that kept things in order and have been financially prudent. This applies to social welfare for immigrants and bail outs for other European countries. Success shouldn’t be punished by the government. That is the real reason behind the rise of the True Finns, not racism, prejudice, or xenophobia by the public that by in large has been unchanged by the one that gave only 4.1% of the vote to the True Finns 4 years ago.

    • Enrique

      –Enrique surely you have to concede that there are immigrants that are positive and contribute to Finland and there are those that are negative and are a burden.

      In every group there are all types. Even among the natives there are some who will never adapt to society. But they are a minority. There is no such thing as a perfect society, not even a near-perfect one.

      –By having a reckless immigration policy that allows anyone in no matter what they have to offer…

      Could you elaborate? So you mean the Finnish immigration authorities as well as those in other EU countries are a bunch of incompetents? What does”reckless immigration policy” mean? That, as you know, is a fav adjective of the populist right.

      –You say Finns are racist against immigrants and blame them for everything..

      Hey, let’s make a deal: don’t put words in my mouth. I have never said that ALL Finns are racists. Some are. If I blamed, as you alleged, Finns for all of the immigrants’ problems, nobody could work here. Nah, Klay, you got it all wrong. Read carefully what I write. I think Alien also pointed this problem out to you.

    • Enrique

      –That is the real reason behind the rise of the True Finns, not racism, prejudice, or xenophobia by the public that by in large has been unchanged by the one that gave only 4.1% of the vote to the True Finns 4 years ago.

      That’s your opinion. When I started writing this blog four years ago some people said I was barking up the wrong tree. Racism is a minor problem in Finland, they said. Look at today, look at this blog and look at “Am I a target of racism in Finland?” All these things suggest the contrary. Let me make one matter clear: The majority of Finns are very nice people and don’t have problems with racism. There are, however, some that are pretty challenged in this department.

      The populist right, even in Denmark, is going to find its end. You cannot build a society on hatred of “them” versus “us.” You end up blasting your head off, politically speaking.

  4. FutureMan

    Thanks for your reply Enrique. I do agree with you that all types of violence coming from all sides should be condemned. But the thing I wanted to understand why police doesn’t do anything for this violence, if the person who are doing these violent acts are Muslims? Wouldn’t it give better reputation for the rest Muslim community, if these huligans would be arrested? When Danish cartoonist draw the Muhammad cartoon, Muslims were outraged. They had violent protests all around the world, even in Europe. They said that he should DIE and Danish people should DIE. What was the police or governments reaction? They did nothing.

    If I would make protests group that we should kill all Swedish or gays in Finland, they would throw me to the jail in a minute. Is this democracy that some group of people can threat other people with violence, but other people are thrown to jail? I know that in Finland there was attack against Gay parade in Helsinki by some small group of redneck skinheads, but it can’t be compared to this because they were arrested.

    So, what would I like to change? I would like that all violent protesters, may they be Christians, atheist, Muslims or Scientologists, would be arrested. If we want to have civilized democracy and have liberty in Europe, we can’t let some specific group of people act this way. This would send a message to other countries as well that we don’t support violence and we won’ tolerate this kind of behaviour. If you still wonder the rise of True Finns and xenophobia, this is one reason… injustice.

    • Enrique

      FutureMan, if you stop labelling a whole group maybe that is it the first important step in healing poor relations. We can look at “European” communities that act violently. Check out the anti-semitisim in Hungary through the ultra-nationalistic Jobbik party. Am I going to label all Hungarians as racist? Of course not. That would be stupid.

      With respect to the burning of the Koran in Florida, this is what US General David Petraeus had to say about the manner: “This was a surprise. (It was) hateful, extremely disrespectful and enormously intolerant.”

      Do you think that insulting other people’s religion is the right path? Is this how we debate issues in society or is it an effective way to shut the door on them?

      Denmark and specifically the DPP are in my opinion a disgrace. The DPP represent one part of society. I am certain that people there will notice that xenophbobia is counterproductive. It is a social illness. Denmark will be the biggest loser socially, politically and, very importantly, economically.

    • Enrique

      –So, what would I like to change? I would like that all violent protesters, may they be Christians, atheist, Muslims or Scientologists, would be arrested.

      I think we have pretty good laws already concerning this. The rise of the True Finns and xenophobia (other far-right parties) in Europe are a great threat to our societies and democratic values. You cannot preach justice while handing out injustice with the other hand. This, I believe, explains prefectly well the agenda of these populist far-right parties.

  5. JusticeDemon

    FutureMan

    Why it is so that only Muslims are protesting violently in Sweden and other European countries

    So the 400,000 people who attended the protest march in London on 27 March were all Moslems?

    I have another theory that concerns selective perception…

  6. JusticeDemon

    Klay

    But if any of those unemployed Finns wanted to emigrate and live in another developed country needing a permit let’s say the US or Japan, I would use the same arguments as I do with certain immigrants coming to Finland that they should not be allowed in as they would be a burden as they have a history of long term umemployment.

    Long-term unemployment has overwhelmingly been the principal reason for emigrating from Finland since the middle of the 19th century. Over 20 per cent of the descendants of people living in Finland in 1850 now live abroad because at some stage their ancestors had no prospects of finding work in Finland.

    Of course the basic error is in your attitude. “X is unemployed” does not mean “X is work shy”. It only means “X doesn’t have a job”.

  7. Jaakko

    Finland has 4.7% (2010) immigrants instead of 2.9%.
    http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suomi#V.C3.A4est.C3.B6ryhm.C3.A4t

    Enrique: “If you look at a EU report on terrorism, you will find that the vast majority of such violent acts are committed by separatist group in Europe. Didn’t we hear of a car bomb that went off in Northern Ireland? What about ETA? So, yes, we have a lot of home-grown terrorism in here.“

    Vast majority maybe, but most of those separatist etc. attacks had little or zero victims:

    “Looking at all people killed by terrorist attacks in Europe and North America during the last 10 years, 97% was committed by Muslim terrorist, or 4703 of 4873 killed. Most of this is September 11 alone.

    Still, even if we exclude the September 11 attacks, the share of casualties due to Muslim terror is 91%.”
    http://super-economy.blogspot.com/2011/02/islamists-caus-overwhelming-majority-of.html

    Enrique: “The Denmark and specifically the DPP are in my opinion a disgrace. The DPP represent one part of society. I am certain that people there will notice that xenophbobia is counterproductive. It is a social illness. Denmark will be the biggest loser socially, politically and, very importantly, economically.”

    Well, Denmark still is the happiest place on earth
    http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/14/world-happiest-countries-lifestyle-realestate-gallup-table.html

    …and ranks 9th on competitiveness (has dropped from place 3 of 2008), also Denmark ranks 2nd on political stability and has 5th highest GDP per capita

    Danes have become more tolerant towards immigrants
    http://news.ku.dk/all_news/2011/2011.1/peter_gundelach/

    • Enrique

      –Finland has 4.7% (2010) immigrants instead of 2.9%.

      By derfinition naturalized Finns are Finns. Or what do they still have to do be accepted by some Finns? Either way the population is small.

  8. Jaakko

    They are still foreign-born. Of course they have the same rights as the Finnish-born citizens but still, a person that has lived in Finland for 12 years and speaks fluently Finnish may not have the citizenship whereas another may be a citizen after living in Finland for 6 years and not being able to buy tomatoes in the market. If a Finn moves to Congo and gets the passport on the first day, he would still be A. Finnish-born B. Unable to speak French C. uneducated about the customs D. Having a potatonose. He would still be ‘that Finnish guy’ and the Congolese would know that he isn’t born there and there might be some troubles adjusting and being accepted by some people. If you talk about Finns’ troubles with adapting to the presence of immigrants, you need to talk about all the people that are foreign-born and who Finns notice being not-Finnish. Erkki from Punavuori doesn’t know if one immigrant is having a citizenship or not, and notices if somebody speaks Finnish with an accent even if that person waves his Suomi-Finland passport in front of him.

  9. JusticeDemon

    Jaakko

    There is no reliable way of estimating the percentage of visible immigrants in the sense that interests you. Foreign birth is an unreliable guide, as quite a few Finns are born abroad to Finnish parents, whereas an even greater number of the visibly different are born in Finland. Some Ingrian returnees learned Finnish as their first home language, but speak it in an odd way. The same goes for certain second-generation returnees who have regained their citizenship under a declaration procedure.

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