S. Ukkola’s colorblind racism, white fragility, expose a wider problem of Finnish society

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Sanna Ukkola, a YLE journalist married to Matias Turkkila, the editor of the xenophobic Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party publication Suomen Uutiset,  not only exposes in a column colorblind racism* and white fragility, but wider issues about Finnish society on racism, ethnicity, and identity. 

Writes Julian Abagond about colorblind racism (1970- ): “…also known as aversive racism, is racism that acts as if skin colour does not matter – even when it does.”

Robin Diangelo states that white fragility, which acts as a form of white bullying, functions to take ethnicity off the table and avoid discussing social ills like racism.

Ukkola has gained a reputation in Finland for writing about migrants in a populist and offensive manner. On too many occasions her opinions show her ignorance on the topic.

Even if Ukkola gets away with her views, which are highly contradictory, she sometimes sticks her foot in her mouth big time. One such case was last year, when she put on an Amerindian feather hairpiece that caused outrage from the Saami community and accusations of cultural appropriation.

To add more salt to injury, Ukkola showed a clip of Pekka ja Pätkä blackfaces on the TV program.


Tweets Outi Länsman: “Finnish journalism. The year is 2017.” Read the full story here.

Like with the Amerindian feather headgear stunt, Ukkola does the same thing in her latest column headlined, “Migrants aren’t your stuffed animals.”

One of the biggest problems, apart from her column that reveals colorblind racism, is that as a white person Ukkola is telling how migrants should be identified by Finnish society.

Citing a Nyt-liite article asks why non-white Finns are grossly underrepresented in many sectors of Finnish life, she exposes colorblind racism:

“What the heck? Why should we emphasize skin color if we try simultaneously to do away with it [in order to treat everyone equally (sic!)]? Doesn’t anyone really see a contradiction in this [logic]?

No, Ukkola, I disagree. Who is asking that his or her identity be whitewashed? You and your ideological cronies?

It is easy to see that Ukkola’s arguments are full of contradictions, ignorance, denial, and over- simplification of a complex problem. On the one hand she states in her column that ethnic background should not matter and that her solution is for all of us to become colorblind.

That argument makes no sense. It only serves to take away ethnic background off the discussion table.

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