Koko Hubara is a young energetic woman who founded a few weeks ago on Valentine’s Day a blog called Ruskeat Tytöt, or brown girls. The interest that her blog has received in such a short time surprised her.
Why would anyone be interested in a blog about Other Finns? Is it because there are already so many of them but so little attention is paid to such people?
Koko Hubara founded Ruskeat Tytöt blog on Valentine’s Day.
For anyone like Koko, who has had the courage to make that long and difficult journey to her own identity, requires patience and courage. Her sojourn is like building a bridge across a body of water with no banks in sight. Is it a river? A lake? Or, possibly, it could be a vast and endless ocean.
How long will it take to reach the other side, if ever?
Visit Koko Hubara’s blog here.
With Ruskeat Tytöt Koko has built that bridge and others too can now travel on it, especially those that are tired of being labeled, even harassed, by others because of their background.
“I am a Finn even if some may disagree,” she said. “What else could I be if I grew up in Finland and in Vantaa? I feel like a Finn.”
Koko’s awakening didn’t happen overnight but took place little by little. It slowly took shape through Hip Hop music and familiarizing herself with Afro American culture and history.
“I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from [US] American writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen and Joan Didion,” she told Migrant Tales. “Both of my grandmothers, with whom I grew up, told me what it was like to be seen as different in their own country.”
Koko said that both of her parents played as well important roles in her upbringing and taught her to speak up for her rights.
“When people ask me if I’m half Jewish or half Finnish I respond to them by telling them that I’m not half of anything but a full person,” she continued. “People can choose their identity on their own terms.”
Even if it’s tough to be a dark-skinned Finn in a country that still sees itself as predominantly “white,” Koko is optimistic about the future.
“Fifty years from now ethnicity won’t be an issue like it is today,” she said. “There are a lot of good things in this country that we can help us build a more tolerant nation with tools like solidarity and democracy.”
Koko blames the media and politicians for fostering a climate of fear against migrants in this country.
“Even I sometimes feel fear when I read the news and hear politicians,” she said. “These two institutions, the media and politicians, play a big role in shaping people’s attitudes about migrants [and minorities].”
Koko said that the traditional way of dealing with fear in this country has been through silence and pretending that everything is fine. Since there is no problem we don’t need to react to it, according to her.
“Racism is in my opinion a problem in Finland that we must collectively face and challenge,” she concluded. “We must give intolerance and discrimination against sexual minorities and the disabled as well much more attention.”
Hear Koko’s interview on Radio Helsinki (in Finnish) here.
* Migrant Tales will begin to publish some of Koko’s writings.