How to tell a Finnish politician that he or she sounds racist

by , under Enrique Tessieri

The atmosphere for migrants and minorities in Finland is going to get worse as parliamentary elections near in April 2015. Two recent cases, Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Tom Packalén and National Coalition Party MP Pia Kauma, reinforce that matters are going to get worse before they improve. A good way to uncover these opportunistic politicians’ motives and statements that sound and look racist is their pattern. 

Sensible people condemn violence but what about if politicians spread suspicion and lies about migrants and minorities that are not true. As a result of their statements, which raise passions,  society and some people become hostile, even violent, towards migrants and minorities?

The only service that Packalén and Kauma have done for Finland by their lowly comments is to show us that there is a racism problem in this country and that we must find ways to deal with it. Finland has the means to put prejudice and discrimination on the defensive but does it have the will?

Politicians like Packalén and Kauma and the silence of the political parties suggest that there is very little will at present.

Näyttökuva 2014-10-11 kello 19.13.13
PS MP Tom Packalén on A-studio Friday with a poker smile and no facts to backup his claims. See program here.


When debating about intolerance with a person who sounds racist, the last thing you want to do is accept an invitation to discuss such a topic on his or her terms. In order to avoid such a mistake, one has to separate two matters: the person and what was said.

We don’t know if Packalén and Kauma are racists but that’s not the point. The point is what they said and wrote.

Here’s a good video by Jay Smooth on how to tell someone they sound racist below.

Is what Packalén wrote racist? Certainly it sounded pretty racist. Is he a racist? Not interested in discussing that point because that’s not the issue. It’s what he wrote.

What did he write?

He claimed that only migrant gangs are terrorizing and beating white Finns in Helsinki.  One of these victims was 10 years old child. The PS MP claimed that he had information from the police that some gang members were racist because they wanted to hurt white Finns.

Police Superintendent Tuomo Lotta flatly denies Packalén’s claims about the gang members’ racist motives.

Just like Kauma pictured Finnish mothers as responsible victims because they bought used baby carriages, Pakalén is doing the same thing by pitting migrants against white Finns.

We have found out now that these so-called migrant gangs comprise of white Finns that Packalén forgot to mention.

Kauma is another sad example. She used the same strategy as Pakclén. She made an incredible claim that migrant women buy new baby carriages with social aid while Finnish mothers buy used baby carriages.

She was never able to back up her claim and even shown by social workers that what she said just isn’t true.

Here is the pattern of how statements that sound racist are made:

  • Make an outrageous statement no matter if it is a lie;
  • Your aim is to get media attention;
  • Even if experts and the media prove what you say is wrong, stay calm and deny it;
  • Those who believe what you said because there is some conspiracy theory will love you and probably vote for you in the next elections;
  • Nothing will happen to you because everyone will eventually forget the incident.

This same method that Pakclén and Kauma used to get attention was used in England by the xenophobic National Front in the 1980s.

Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech is a case in point. The politician claimed in 1968, when more Commonwealth migrants were moving to the United Kingdom, that it would be a question of time when England’s rivers will end up ‘foaming with much blood.’

Those ‘rivers of blood’ he warned us of never happened but the media sure loved it.

Even if many will forget what Packalén and Kauma said, Migrant Tales won’t.

* 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.

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