Difficult times bring forth exceptional people. One of these is Pastor Ansku Jaakkola of the Adventist Church in Jyväskylä, who believes that racism in her Central Finnish city is far worse than many think.
”Our new [foreign] friends have told us that yelling and harassment happens on a daily basis,” she was quoted as saying on Keskisuomalainen. ”It happens at stores, in the streets and at school.”Jaakkola admitted that it’s difficult for white Finns to understand what racism is if they have never experienced it.While she admits to having been treated well when she lived abroad in England, Marshall Islands and other countries, she states that our society should speak out more against intolerance.
”It shames me when I hear about people treating others unfairly because of their ethnic background,” she told Migrant Tales. ”It surprised me how general and how much it occurs [in Jyväskylä].”
Jaakkola says that fear and ignorance are the causes for racism in our society.
Jyväskylä has been in the national spotlight recently because of an attack by neo-Nazis against a book presentation in January. In the same month there was a story in the local newspaper about a young dark-skinned woman who was in a toilet.One of the white Finnish women standing in line exclaimed upon seeing the black woman: ”I’m not going to [sit on the same toilet bowl] as that n-word,” she told a woman behind her. ”You go ahead if you dare.”