Comment: Two polls published on last Saturday and Thursday by Helsingin Sanomat have raised quite a stir in Finland. So much so, in fact, that President Tarja Halonen commented on the one published on Saturday, which showed that two thirds believed that there is much or a fair amount of racism in Finland.
Some right-wing populist Perussuomalaiset (PS) party were outraged by Halonen’s statement in light of the poll: Said President Halonen: “People who recognise racism in themselves have ended up voting for the True Finns. The True Finns have been seen as their way of reacting to some problems which they consider to be truly serious. I have said that the questions and problems can be the right ones to some degree, but the answers are wrong.”
A new poll on Thursday gave more fuel to Saturday’s poll, when it showed that over half interviewed said they would take a negative view of the idea of marrying a member of the Romany minority; 32% said they would not like the idea of marrying an African. Over a third responded that they would not want a Somalian family to be their neighbor.
Despite the result, the vast majority of those polled said they had no problems marrying a white USAmerican.
Do you agree as the headline by Helsingin Sanomat that the road to acceptance of minorities in Finland will be a long one?
In my opinion, the length of that road depends on us. If immigrants and Finns with multicultural backgrounds, together with other members of our society, take leadership on this front the journey will be shorter.
Modu Sidibeh, a 46-year-old Gambian-born youth worker who works in Kauniainen, is shocked, but not really surprised, to read the results of a poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat.