By Enrique Tessieri
Ever wonder why immigrants and minorities are seen as outsiders in Finland with no history? Why do the majority of Finns, when speaking of these groups, usually talk in the present and future tense but rarely in the past tense? What are they really saying when they deny that racism isn’t a major problem in Finland?
Some like Perussuomalaiset Party (PS) MP Reijo Tossavainen, one of PS MP Jussi Halla-aho’s staunch defenders, are a good example of how Finland’s most anti-immigration party deals with the “foreign question.”
Tossavainen, who suggested earlier this year that Finland should effectively shut its borders to asylum-seekers, sees Halonen’s words as an attack voting judgement of a half a million of Finns.
I am always amazed in Finland on how some PS politicians like Tossavainen, who are white and come from small towns like Savitaipale, are the first ones who claim that racism isn’t a major problem in this country.
Stating that racism isn’t a major problem in light of what happened in Norway is as ridiculous as affirming that alcoholism isn’t a major issue in Finland. Certainly racism isn’t a major problem for Tossavainen because he is white and a Finn.
Even so, Tossavainen’s affirmation is more revealing than what meets the eye. By denying that racism is a major problem he is effectively saying that we have so few immigrants and minorities in this country that we don’t have to deal with them. Since they don’t effectively exist, they cannot place any demand on us.
That is Tossavainen’s message in the raw: there is no problem I deny you exist.