(Racism Review) Our post-truth culture: institutional and individual consequences

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Maria Chavez

This presidential election has become the perfect storm of “post-truth” politics and racism. It is reflected by the fact that an unqualified “know-nothing” like Trump could be nominated as the Republican presidential candidate. Trump’s disregard for ethics, extreme egoism, and racist solutions to complex policy problems, which include banning all Muslims, building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and bombing our enemies into the stone age, will have institutional and individual consequences if he is elected as the next president.

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In an article entitled “Why We’re Post-Fact,” Pomerantsev states:

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Juha Sipilä and Petteri Orpo: The sad Finnish tale of spineless politicians

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In the United States, a lot of Republican politicians who should know better still haven’t withdrawn their support for Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump despite his ultranationalistic, racist and misogynistic comments. The latest row involves Trump insulting the parents of Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim who was killed in Iraq.   

Writes The Guardian: “Donald Trump’s attacks on the family of the army captain Humayun Khan, who died in combat in Iraq in 2004, have inflamed the candidate’s already poor standing with the Muslim American community, with many saddened and frustrated by his recent remarks.”

While some leading Republicans have denounced Trump’s disgraceful comments of the Khans, they fall short of withdrawing their support for his candidacy. A good example of the latter is Senator John McCain of Arizona, a decorated Vietnam War hero, who criticized what Trump said to the Khans but fell short of taking away his support for him.  

Even if politicians like McCain are painted by the media as the voice of moderation, he’s anything but that.  Let’s not forget that when he ran against President Barak Obama in 2008, his running mate was Sarah Pailin.

Some may ask how is it possible that a person like Trump can get the nomination for the highest office in the United States and why, in Europe, far-right politicians like Marine Le Pen of France and parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* of Finland grow thanks to their vengeful and racist narrative?

The only answer to the latter that I have is spineless politicians. Those that have helped extremist populist parties to power aren’t voters per se but politicians from mainstream parties that have permitted with their silence for such parties to grow.

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Migrants’ Rights Network: Byron Hamburgers: When employers fail to do right by migrant employees

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Don Flynn*

What else could Byron’s have done? The social media world was awash with attempted defences of the hamburger chain after it collaborated in the arrest of 35 of its migrant workers earlier in July. Our answer is they didn’t have to go along with the shabby act of entrapment of its staff, and they could have done so much more to push back against punitive, anti-worker rules.

The operation directed against migrant employees of the fast food chain, Byron Hamburgers by Home Office Border enforcement officials on the evening of 4th July has sparked a lively discussion about the extent to which employers should be held to any sort of standard why it comes to a duty of care towards its workers.

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Finland’s shameful asylum policy should be changed

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Some Finnish politicians from parties like the Swedish People’s Party, Greens and Left Alliance have expressed concern about the government’s ever-tightening asylum policy and a recent decision by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) to deny an Iraqi asylum.

Writes YLE News: “According to the decision, first made public when it was posted on social media Wednesday, the [Iraqi] man was able to successfully prove to the Finnish Immigration Service that his home in Mosul had been bombed, the army had tortured him and that ISIS was persecuting him.”

Even if some may seem surprised by the latter, it’s “business as usual” considering that the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party are calling the immigration policy shots in government.

The PS shares power in government with the Center Party and National Coalition Party (NCP). In exchange for its support for the Center Party’s and NCP’s austerity policies, the PS has been given a virtual free hand to tighten immigration policy as it sees fit. As long as the PS remains in government the plight of migrants and minorities in Finland will worsen.

Tighter family reunification laws is one sad example of the latter never mind the party’s near-constant racist comments that continue to poison the atmosphere for migrants and minorities in this country.

One question that tighter immigration policy raises is if they are constitutional. According to Section 6 of the Finnish Constitution guarantees that “everyone is equal before the law.” Moreover, the EU Convention of Human Rights (Article 8) and Article 16 of the UN Declaration of Human rights guarantees that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”

Professor of Public International Law Martin Scheinin also criticized the decision, saying that he has reason to believe that Finland’s tougher asylum policy may be in conflict with the country’s constitution.

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Even if some Finns correctly point out that we were the first country to grant women the right to vote in 1906, we were the last country in Europe together with Romania to grant Jews political rights in 1917.

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Facebook: Argentina in context and the struggle for social justice

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One of the matters that Argentineans can be proud of is its history, especially those that never gave up their hope for social justice. Reading Argentinean history especially from the 1880s to the present is like reading a novel of an ongoing and never-ending struggle.

What does that history tell us? It reveals to us of a people who have won and lost and won and lost again in their hope to build a country that is based on social justice.

One of the biggest instigators of change in Argentina were the millions of immigrants who came here like my great grandparents.

In light of the latter, it is surprising that the present discourse in Finland tends to show that immigration and immigrants are “a problem.”

That is how off base the debate is in Finland is and how little we know about our own immigrant history. Over 1.2 million Finns emigrated between 1860 and 1999. They

Over 1.2 million Finns emigrated between 1860 and 1999. They

They too led the way and gave us roots, which, unfortunately, aren’t still acknowledged in Finland.

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The PS claws to racism and bigotry because it has lost its vain hope to keep Finland white

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The Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party is fuming attempting to get the maximum political mileage from its recent racist and bigoted outbursts by playing down such social ills and by propping up its poor standings in the polls.

Vice-president of the PS parliamentary group, MP  Kike Elomaa, stated that we shouldn’t get so touchy about racism, while MP Laura Huhtasaari said that criticism of the party’s racist comments by others should stop and equated them to “childish sandbox games.”

On July 25, National Coalition Party (NCP) MP Ben Zyscowickz reacted to a suggestion by PS MP Teuvo Hakkarainen that Muslims should be kicked out of Finland.

“The question is for how long the Perussuomalaiset party, which is a member of the government and has agreed to oppose racism [while in government], continuously offers the opportunity to political figures who incite people’s views against Islam and who are guilty of outright racism,” he said.

That was followed by the chairman of the Center Party parliamentary group, MP Antti Kaikkonen, who echoed Zyzkowickz’ concern.

The PS shares power in government with the Center Party and NCP.

As far as I can tell, the racist outbursts of the PS are a clear sign that the party is irreversibly dying. It is also the best indication yet that the anti-immigration party has lost, like Don Quixote chasing windmills, to do away with its demons and keep Finland white.

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This painting by Pablo Picasso shows Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. The PS’ lost attempt to keep Finland white is as futile as when Don Quixote attacked windmills. Source: Google.

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The Finnish Perussuomalaiset and their poker-face-racist remarks

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Why would a television station like MTV3 invite a person like Perussuomalaiset (PS)* Youth leader Sebastian Tynkkynen to a talk show about the racist and bigoted statements he’s made about Muslims and migrants? Why would a journalist, who appears to be in the dark about what racism is, treat such a politician with a degree of understanding?

The only answer I can come up with is that the national media continues to be lost about a social ill like racism. It is not only lost about how adversely racism and bigotry impact our society but gives such social ills its tacit approval.

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Offering bigotry, racism and stereotypes the opportunity to showcase themselves as something “normal” is like being a surgeon. Say the patient has a heart condition but instead the surgeon decides to castrate the person. It’s the wrong diagnosis for the problem. Inviting Tynkkynen to give his opinions about cultural diversity is similar to the example of the surgeon.

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