Migrant Tales insight: Our newest associate editor, Marhsall Niles, is very outspoken about migrant rights. We are happy that we have a person like Marshall on board since it makes sailing in Finland’s sometimes turbulent waters easier.
What he has one important message: Silence won’t be our language.
“Kato neekeri” (Look n-word), a group of idiots commented when I was in an ABC gas station. If people don’t know the difference between black, brown, yellow and white, and use the term neekeri ( n-word) to mean anyone of darker skin and foreign background, then, parents what the hell are you teaching your kids?
Months ago, a fat old drunk in our village’s only bar/restaurant called Petra, openly said how Somalis and immigrants deserve to be thrown out of the country. I was standing right in front of him when he said that. There have never been any Somalis in or around our village, and I can count about 3-5 immigrants amongst the 5000 Finnish inhabitants who live here. Yet, he seemed to enjoy stating loudly how immigrants and Somalis need to be thrown out (of the country).
Few months ago, a car drives by with some young idiots, yelling at me to “Get out of Finland!” Again..does everyone understand just how mixed up this situation is getting? I’m not a Somali, I’m not here to steal your welfare, I’m not a rapist, I’m not a Muslim, I’m not a terrorist.. I’m a fuckin’ Indian-born Canadian Christian turned atheist. I’m not as dark as my African brothers yet the term neekeri has started to be spread around to include anyone of color. Really, Finland?
I study Finnish, raise a child, have a loving relationship with my Finnish wife, enjoy Finnish culture for what it is, respect the laws, respect the people, have amazing relationships with my wife’s family and friends, and have many Finnish friends of my own and yet, the same treatment that is given to actual criminals, is given out to innocent immigrants who want nothing more than to make a new life and create a good future for themselves. I live in a small village of 5,000 people with about 3-4 colored immigrants. Yet, somehow, racism has managed to seep into the very pores of some people here to give them courage to say, “kato neekeri.”
What about tomorrow? Will a bunch of people get together and beat me up?
Tomorrow when my daughter goes to school, will she be called a neekeri too for having black hair, brown eyes? My daughter is half Finnish, half Canadian.. Will she still be called a neekeri just because she doesn’t have blonde hair and blue eyes? Parents, teach your kids to love and accept the world as a family. Stop this racism. I’ve got courage to swallow this kind of bullshit, but there are people who experience this EVERYDAY in Finland….believe me..it can break a person’s heart.