By Enrique Tessieri
Everyone needs to think, first of all, of themselves when it comes to education like an immigrant. How does an immigrant think? He thinks, nothing is owed me. I don’t have a place waiting for me at Harvard. I better understand the world I’m living in and boy, I better work harder than the next guy because I’ve got nothing else going for me. Thomas L. Freidman
The level of debate in Finland concerning immigrants and cultural diversity is still far from Freidman’s quote. Politicians who denigrate and insult immigrants and refugees as “welfare shoppers” hide the real motive behind their ludicrous claim: They are shopping for your vote.
What has happened to some of us? Those very values that made our country a good place to live in weren’t certainly built on greed. I personally enjoy being a member of my community and helping others. Many people in this country feel the same way as I.
One of the matters that I have noticed in the ongoing one-sided debate in Finland on immigrants and immigration is that some take criticism personally. They may ask: “How dare this person, who isn’t even a white Finn, dare criticize my country?!”
Nothing could be further from the truth. People who debate openly and question a social ill like racism and prejudice are should be seen as this country’s true “patriots.” Since when was apathy and spreading racism a constructive society-building process?
Such attitudes not only reveal the person’s low self-esteem but their arrogance. Some of them picture Finnish culture and Finland as something frail ready to wilt and die if it comes in contact with the outside world.
The crucial matter that stops some from overcoming their reactive arguments is acceptance of “others.” As we have stated on this blog previously, acceptance should be a mutual process.
A warning to all those that continue to spread urban tales about immigrants and minorities. What they write today will be read in the future. Do some of them want to look like a Finnish version of the Klu Klux Klan or someone who had a vision of the future?
We at Migrant Tales have chosen the latter route.