Why aren’t we surprised and shocked by what we see today in Europe? Populism, racism, bigotry, ultranationalism, isolationism, and fascism spread thanks to the media and the tacit support of many who nod in approval and silence. Colonialism, wars, and exploitation of non-white Europeans through slavery are some of the windfall profits that gave us our present standard of living that is guarded by populism, fascism and bigotry.
We shouldn’t bite the hand that has fed us for so many centuries, right?
Our implicit gratefulness to slavery and colonialism for our high standard of living today exposes why racism and bigotry in Europe and elsewhere remain largely unchallenged.
A story by Helsingin Sanomat about the Estonian members of the Soldiers of Odin in Finland is a good example of how the media gives tacit support to white privilege, or doesn’t challenge it strongly enough.
While the reporting appears sound, there is one problem with the story. Helsingin Sanomat doesn’t follow up the article with an editorial.
Too often the Finnish media may write about a far-right group like the Soldiers of Odin. It may express some objection but we don’t see often enough editorials condemning such groups and how they pose a threat to our society.
How many editorials have you read about the rise of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* and how it threatens our Nordic welfare state?
The classic pipedream in Finland is that somehow racists and fascists can “debate” and come to an agreement about “the problem.” Certainly white people debating between themselves could do that but it’s more complex if you included migrants and minorities in the debate.
And have you ever seen a visible migrant or visible minority being interviewed by the media about the Soldiers of Odin?
Should we be surprised that reporting by the Finnish media of far-right vigilante and anti-immigration groups is so selective and one-sided?
If we went to a mirror as a society what would we see staring back at us? That would be far-right and right-wing anti-immigration populism, fascism, ultranationalism, racism and bigotry to name a few.
The fact that we live in denial about our history and the present is the fuel that feeds our selective and bigoted worldview.
Even if a person in the picture below may shock some of us, too many authorities like the police service and politicians don’t consider the person in it a threat.
If that person were a Muslim, alarm bells and sirens would start to scream.
Finland is one European country where far-right groups have grown. Source: Daily Mail.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We, therefore, prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”