Social change in Finland: Leading by example

by , under Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

 This blog entry is dedicated to D4R and Sasu. 

No matter how you look at those immigrants and visible minorities in Finland that face prejudice on a daily basis, we hold the key to change. Nobody can change our reality in this country for as long as we don’t take the initiative. 

We need lots of people, good people, people with new ideas, people who are examples of our community, people from all walks of life. Since we live in a globalized world, those heroes that will make our country a better place to live for everyone may come from faraway countries.

One of them that changed history with her humble example was the late Rosa Parks, who showed that guts and convictions can go a long, long way.

In segregated Alabama Parks refused to relinquish her seat to a white person on a bus on December 1, 1955. Her arrest led to a community boycott by black people and a landmark Supreme Court decision that ruled segregation was illegal.

Another landmark case similar to Parks’ is the Greensborough 4. These were four young brave black men became national heros at a Woolwoorth’s department store lunch counter.

I have always had deep respect and admiration for people who have had courage to stand up for their rights and fight for social justice despite the overwhelming odds. For me Sacco and Vanzetti were one of these great childhood heroes that showed with their examples the ugly face of the U.S. justice system.

One does not need an army to create social change. All you need is yourself, your example and a firm conviction. Society, like culture, changes constantly.

Some who became examples to others through their struggles were: Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, John Brown, Väinö Linna’s “Rokka,” Ernesto Che Guevara, Mahatma Gandhi, Nat Turner, Aung San Suu Kyi, Alvaro Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, one of my favorite heroes, to name a few.

Cabeza de Vaca’s life is nothing more than the story about a man who learned to travel between cultures during his long sixteenth-century sojourn in Texas and Southwest United States. Some consider him the first American (I don’t mean USAmerican) because he learned to live among the Amerindians.

Despite the great things these people did it all comes down to the same matter:  leading by example.

How do we stand up against prejudice and improve the plight of immigrants, visible minorities and Finns with international backgrounds in this country?

We cannot change the world but with our example we can change what is around us.

  1. Allan

    Cabeza de Vaca was a conquistador. We can go deliberate on his exploits, but my question is, what have any of these people got to do with the current situation in Finland?

    Is there racial segregation? NO
    Is there apartheid? NO
    Is there slavery? NO

    Actually, the only example you bring here today I would say is is worth bringing. If Alvarado Nunez Cabeza deVaca would comne to our shore, what would he do? He would – INTEGRATE – learn to live with the Finns.

    • Migrant Tales

      Is there racial segregation? Yes, but in a different context than in nineteenth century US.
      Is there apartheid? That was an extreme form of apartheid in South Africa up to the early 1990s.
      Is there slavery? Depends on how you define slavery. What about if you are an undocumented immigrant and get paid a bowl of rice as part of your daily wages?

      I’ll spell it out for you, Allan: institutional racism with strong dashes of colorblind racism made possible because there is little acceptance of other Finns and immigrants as equals. This is a very general conclusion I have made but I think it hits the right nerve.

      Where did Finnish racism come from? It came from its history and its hatred of those that oppressed them. Our independence is an ethnic thing against the Russians. Our efforts as a nation up to 1939 are based on our hatred of the Russians. How can you build any ethnic understanding if there is so much mistrust?

      Times have changed. We are in a new century that is globalized where we need totally different values that molded us initially into Finns. Being Finnish in this century is a totally different thing than it was before.

  2. BlandaUpp

    As what normally happens in these threads, I expect a long list of complains from “critics” who will find all the bad things ever said or done by Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, John Brown, “Rokka,” Ernesto Che Guevara, Mahatma Gandhi, Nat Turner, Aung San Suu Kyi, Alvaro Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, and plaster them in the comments.

    In response to your question: “How do we stand up against prejudice and improve the plight of immigrants, visible minorities and Finns with international backgrounds in this country?”

    For me the best way I know of is to directly challenge the “critics” with facts and figures.

    They like throwing around crime and unemployment statistics yet as we know, the real official government statistics paint a very different picture to the one they paint through lies and deception. Only when they are exposed publicly the way our tabloids like to expose the amount of income and taxes that celebrities pay, can we see the real picture.

  3. Allan

    “For me the best way I know of is to directly challenge the “critics” with facts and figures.”
    haven’t seen you do that, I am still waiting you to elaborate how Auscwitz museum is a holocaust denial site.

  4. BlandaUpp

    Allan

    Have you integrated and learned to live with the English? How integrated are you in England if your head is in Finland 24/7? How integrated are you if you, living in England, are thinking of spending your old age back in Finland in a care home paid for by Finnish tax payers?

    Integration is not a problem in Finland. This can be seen even older Somali refugees and how they’ve adopted Mölkky as their own. http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Somali+immigrants+defeat+Finns+in+traditional+throwing+game+in+Helsinki/1135261518325

    All kids go to the same schools and learn the exact same language and culture. As we hear countless stories either from the news or from people like D4R about how they are harassed and attacked simply for being black then you’re missing the point. Those attacking them are for segregation. Integration is a two way street.

  5. BlandaUpp

    Allen

    This is what I said:
    “Freddy Van Wonterghem used the same argument used by Holocaust deniers that the numbers are inflated and that the Holocaust was nothing but Soviet propaganda. This is a common tactic employed by Holocaust deniers on the internet.

    http://www.iltalehti.fi/vaalit/2011040513383802_vl.shtml

    This is James Hirvisaari and Jussi Halla-Aho’s good friend and colleague, a fellow member of Suomen Sisu, an organisation that stands against “unnatural mixing of the races with each other.” and he is cosigner of the PS Vaali manifesti http://vaalimanifesti.fi/index.php/allekirjoittajat

    And this was your response:

    “BlandaUpp – so you are denying the well-known fact that post-war Soviet propaganda inflated the numbers of Auschwitz? So this then means the people running the Auschwitz museum are holocaust-deniers because they are not using the Soviet propaganda figures?”

    You’re a Holocaust denier and I called you out on it. Now you’re trying to drag it into every unrelated thread.

    The ADL has an official definition of a Holocaust denier and you fit it 100%: http://www.adl.org/hate-patrol/holocaust.asp

    “Holocaust Denial is an Anti-Semitic propaganda movement active in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe that seeks to deny the reality of the Nazi regime’s systematic mass murder of six million Jews during World War II. It generally depicts historical accounts of this genocide as propaganda, generated by a Jewish, or “Zionist,” conspiracy.”

    Another definition of Holocaust denial from the Holocaust history project: http://www.holocaust-history.org/denial/abc-clio/

    “Holocaust deniers contend that the death toll of European Jews during World War II was well below 6 million. Deniers float numbers anywhere between 300,000 and 1.5 million, as a general rule.”

  6. Allan

    “Have you integrated and learned to live with the English? How integrated are you in England if your head is in Finland 24/7? How integrated are you if you, living in England, are thinking of spending your old age back in Finland in a care home paid for by Finnish tax payers?”

    good questions, blandis, I’ll actually have a rain check on this, I need to go get abuse from the locals in the pubquiz

  7. Allan

    Yes Enrique, I do agree with all your points. So why are you making me your enemy?

    “What about if you are an undocumented immigrant and get paid a bowl of rice as part of your daily wages? ”

    And that is done by the Finns or his brothers 3rd cousin that got him his Residence Permit?

  8. Farang

    Migrant Tales:

    “Is there slavery? Depends on how you define slavery. What about if you are an undocumented immigrant and get paid a bowl of rice as part of your daily wages?”

    Are you seriously talking about Finland now? And then you wonder why people think you are a liar 😀

  9. Farang

    BlandaUpp, don’t you understand anything? Those wages are paid by some foreign company, not any Finnish company. So if you are telling that in Finland Finnish companies pay that kind of slave wages, you are lying.

  10. Farang

    And actually all cases where in Finland and employee has been paid illegally low wages (if paid at all), the employer has been an immigrant (not actual Finn).

  11. BlandaUpp

    Farang

    I gave you an example that proves you wrong then you look for technicalities like it’s a “foreign company” paying the workers. The fact is that these people were employed in Finland and received slave wages. Perhaps we should push our government to ratify the UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights to avoid the exploitation of migrant workers by natives and immigrants alike but I don’t think we really care enough if it doesn’t affect us personally. It’s an EU-wide problem.

  12. BlandaUpp

    Farang

    Here’s another example that proves your claim of “all cases””has been an immigrant” wrong:

    “A middle-aged couple in Lahti are being investigated in a case of organized prostitution and human trafficking. According to police, dozens of women from a number of different counties were exploited by the couple, who took in hundreds of thousands of euros from the operation.”

    “One local man and this Thai-born wife have been arrested. A number of male clients have been identified and are to be questioned by police.

    Police say that some of the women were treated like slaves, forced to work 14-15 hour days, and kept in near prison-like conditions.”

    http://www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/2011/12/dozens_of_victims_in_human_trafficking_investigation_3076672.html

  13. justicedemon

    Farang

    And actually all cases where in Finland and employee has been paid illegally low wages (if paid at all), the employer has been an immigrant (not actual Finn).

    Jouni Soramäki of Iittalan Kivijaloste Oy may be surprised to learn that he is an immigrant. As would the former MD of Matkaliikenne Koivisto Oy, who wound up getting a four-month suspended jail term, a three-year business ban, and an order to pay nearly €100,000 in back wages to two Russian bus drivers.

    This is before we get into all the cases of dummy corporations with addresses c/o Tallinn law firms that have been established in the Baltic countries by Finnish entrepreneurs purely in order to post cheap workers to Finland.

    Sorry if this rattles your prejudices.

  14. D4R

    M.T, thank you for dedicating this thread to me and Sasu, our journey of fighting injustices has just begun, like you said on this thread we need more participants, alot of people aint doing the work that’s need to be done, so hopefully we will receive more people in the itchy discussion we constntly facing in Finland.

    • Migrant Tales

      D4R, you guys will be the ones to see the future change and you should be a part promoting that change. I am certain that you can play an important role in bringing about such change. You are already doing that on Migrant Tales.

    • Migrant Tales

      Here is an interesting debate going on in faraway Singapore about racism on the net. Check out this link. Same problem, different country.

      The editor of the blog, TR Emeritus, makes an interesting point: “Even though I’m away from Singapore at the moment (studying in Perth), I came to hear about these issues of racism in our ”supposedly” multiracial society. How will people from other countries respect Singaporeans if we don’t respect our own culture and beliefs?”

      Thus how will we Finns be respected abroad if some don’t respect our Constitution and the protection it gives to cultural diversity and against discrimination?

  15. D4R

    Our blog is really being attacked, the racists who feel us a threat found away to deal with us, they come here and put our massege against us, so everytime we try to discuss something important and seriouse they start to put it against us, for instance if we talk about racism they come and call us a racists, thus they have found away to prevent us having the discussion, we must find away to deal with these people who come here and disturb the discussion.

  16. D4R

    Farang: BlandaUpp, don’t you understand anything? Those wages are paid by some foreign company, not any Finnish company. So if you are telling that in Finland Finnish companies pay that kind of slave wages, you are lying.

    But it’s happening i the Finnish soil.

  17. Allan

    Yes, its happening on Finnish soil done by foreigners. It is the EU law that approves this. EU is the good thing, remember?

  18. D4R

    Allan: Yes, its happening on Finnish soil done by foreigners. It is the EU law that approves this. EU is the good thing, remember?

    LoL you’re a joke.

    • Migrant Tales

      In many respects, Allan is using the same arguments that the police used to justify Finland’s former Draconian stance on immigrants in the 1980s and before: We are making sure that criminals don’t get in. Sounds familiar? Criminals in the past other types of criminals now.

      This view is deeply embedded in history our our prejudice of other people, our then real and imagined enemies.

  19. D4R

    Allan: Yes, its happening on Finnish soil done by foreigners. It is the EU law that approves this. EU is the good thing, remember?

    So are you saying that what happens in Finland is not Finlands responsabilty?

  20. Farang

    If organized crime by criminal happens in any country’s soil, it doesn’t mean that is something that country approves. If someone kills people in Finland, you can’t say that Finns are killers and that’s the way things are done in Finland.

    And about these slave wages, Migrant Tales used that as an arqument for Finland’s racisms. So that was very outrageous of him.

    • Migrant Tales

      Farang, all the time you are trying to avoid the issue: If there is a social ill like prejudice and racism that affects our society, how to we rid ourselves of it? That’s the question not nitpicking.

      Seriously, do we have to tell you in writing that we disapprove crime?

  21. D4R

    Farang: If organized crime by criminal happens in any country’s soil, it doesn’t mean that is something that country approves. If someone kills people in Finland, you can’t say that Finns are killers and that’s the way things are done in Finland.

    Farang, so why many Finns generalize all Somalis or immigrants when one of them is not workin or commits a crime? why then all Somalis and other immigrants are blamed of the wrongdoing of few? you don’t want Finns to be generalized but how about when many Finns do generalize and label immigrants?

  22. justicedemon

    Allan

    Yes, its happening on Finnish soil done by foreigners. It is the EU law that approves this. EU is the good thing, remember?

    Lying again, Allan?

    Please explain how “foreigners” were anything other than victims in the Iittalan Kivijaloste and Matkaliikenne Koivisto cases noted above.

    Please also explain how Community law made any difference to these cases, given that the victims were Chinese and Russian nationals.

    Do you seriously believe that you would have your present job in the UK without Finnish EU membership?

  23. Farang

    D4R:

    “Farang, so why many Finns generalize all Somalis or immigrants when one of them is not workin or commits a crime? why then all Somalis and other immigrants are blamed of the wrongdoing of few? you don’t want Finns to be generalized but how about when many Finns do generalize and label immigrants?”

    That is clearly wrong. It is not acceptable to blame all somalis and immigrants if someone does something wrong. Every human being should be treated equally, no matter what his countrymen has done.

    And what comes to people who generalize, I don’t consider them very intelligent. Or if they do it deliberately then I’d consider them dishonest.

  24. Farang

    Migrant Tales:

    “Farang, all the time you are trying to avoid the issue: If there is a social ill like prejudice and racism that affects our society, how to we rid ourselves of it? That’s the question not nitpicking.

    Seriously, do we have to tell you in writing that we disapprove crime?”

    I’m not trying to avoid anything. IF there are prejudice and racism, then I agree that we should try to get rid of it. But in order to fix a problem, we first need to know what the problem is. And because you keep inventing more and more problems (which actually doesn’t exists) it makes it very hard to find the actual real problems.

    So far, what we know: There are racist individuals in Finland, who behave racist against immigrants and dark coloured people. As long as they don’t break any laws, there’s nothing that can be done for it. They have their right for their own opinion. And if they break the law, then we have system in place to handle those.

    But: Like you and others try to claim is that there is some institutional etc. racism in Finland. That I disagree with. You have been asked about that and yet you have failed to give even one single example of this kind of racism. If that kind of racism would exist in Finland, we should act accordingly and do everything we can to fix those. But if we can’t find any problems with that kind of racism, then there is nothing to be fixed. Discussion goes nowhere if someone just says “Hey there is racism, how can we fix it”.

    So please, I’m asking you: Give one example of the racism in Finland, and then we can continue the discussion that was should be done to it.

  25. justicedemon

    Farang

    That is clearly wrong. It is not acceptable to blame all somalis and immigrants if someone does something wrong. Every human being should be treated equally, no matter what his countrymen has done.

    And what comes to people who generalize, I don’t consider them very intelligent. Or if they do it deliberately then I’d consider them dishonest.

    Wow.

    I’m not trying to avoid anything. IF there are prejudice and racism, then I agree that we should try to get rid of it.

    Wow!

    So what was it that you claimed above?

    And actually all cases where in Finland and employee has been paid illegally low wages (if paid at all), the employer has been an immigrant (not actual Finn).

    This was a generalisation, n’est-ce pas?

    This generalisation has been firmly refuted. The employers in the Iittalan Kivijaloste (Chinese stonecutters) and Matkaliikenne Koivisto (Russian bus drivers) cases noted above were as Finnish as you can get.

    So in your own estimation are you “not very intelligent” or are you “dishonest”?

  26. Mark

    Farang

    But in order to fix a problem, we first need to know what the problem is. And because you keep inventing more and more problems (which actually doesn’t exists) it makes it very hard to find the actual real problems.

    Are you and Göran doing study classes together?

    Let’s get one thing clear, you two goons would be the absolutely last people in Finland to be given the job of solving the problems of racism in Finland.

    However, I can understand what you are trying to do here. Demand to be told examples of racism, and then a bit of jiggery pokery, abracadabra, and lo and behold, the racism has disaapeared – problem solved!

    Cheers, lads, thanks for fixing that for us. What would we have done without you!

    Good old Farang the Fixer and Göran the Trickster – to the rescue!

  27. Farang

    Justicedemon:

    “This was a generalisation, n’est-ce pas?

    This generalisation has been firmly refuted. The employers in the Iittalan Kivijaloste (Chinese stonecutters) and Matkaliikenne Koivisto (Russian bus drivers) cases noted above were as Finnish as you can get.

    So in your own estimation are you “not very intelligent” or are you “dishonest”?”

    Either you don’t understand or you can’t read.

    Generalisation means that if one Finn does shit, someone generalizes that all Finns do shit. I didn’t say that. I only said that all the cases I know of about paying slave wages are done by non-Finns. That is not generalizing that “all non-Finns are paying slave wages”. Go and learn to understand what you read.

  28. Farang

    Mark:

    “However, I can understand what you are trying to do here. Demand to be told examples of racism, and then a bit of jiggery pokery, abracadabra, and lo and behold, the racism has disaapeared – problem solved!

    Cheers, lads, thanks for fixing that for us. What would we have done without you!”

    The reason we ask for these examples is because to our knowledge the racism doesn’t exist. So it’s not point in discussing about something that doesn’t exist. And the fact that you can’t provide single example just proves that it doesn’t exist.

    If you could provide just one example, the we could go on with the discussion. But if it doesn’t exist, then what is there to discuss?

    It feels somehow mentally ill thinking that “let’s keep all the racism in secret place and don’t let anyone know what it is”. As long as you can provide any proof, the claims about racist Finland is only lies and slagging.

  29. D4R

    Farang:I’m not trying to avoid anything. IF there are prejudice and racism, then I agree that we should try to get rid of it. But in order to fix a problem, we first need to know what the problem is. And because you keep inventing more and more problems (which actually doesn’t exists) it makes it very hard to find the actual real problems.

    Well to you racism doesnt exist but to us it does, that’s why this blog was invented to tackle the problem, it’s funy that you’re here a person who is not a target of racism, telling us that racism doesnt exist, i say your laughable and doesnt make any sense

  30. D4R

    Farang:So far, what we know: There are racist individuals in Finland, who behave racist against immigrants and dark coloured people. As long as they don’t break any laws, there’s nothing that can be done for it. They have their right for their own opinion. And if they break the law, then we have system in place to handle those.

    Farang, so you don’t care for the people whom racism effects, the ones who suffer of it, the people who gets ridiculed and labeled, the people who start to get sick of social anxeity disorder because those who who pressure them socially causes them to receive that desease, because of social anxiety disorder many off them can’t just leave out of their houses. Farang, do you even care for these people?

  31. D4R

    Görän: So please, I’m asking you: Give one example of the racism in Finland, and then we can continue the discussion that was should be done to it.

    Im a victim of racism and i can tell you that, it has happened to me in the apartment application, job application, in the streets physically, sometimes in my aprtment, racism has many faces and it effects you either mentlly or physically. Görän, if you want evidence if there is racism in Finland or not then i suggest you go to Iltalehti chat room and see for yourself what’s going on in some of the threads , there you can see pretty much what a lot of Finns think of darkskin people of africans especially Somalis.

  32. Göran

    yeah, most of the people saying like that are people you should try to ignore as much as possible. I knew one black guy who never talked of racism, or very rarely but when he did I realized how sensitive it was.

    You have been here a while right? How do you see the evolution in this racism stuff, has it gone worse or better since the 90’s?

  33. Allan

    “Im a victim of racism and i can tell you that, it has happened to me in the apartment application, job application, in the streets physically, sometimes in my aprtment, racism has many faces and it effects you either mentlly or physically. ”

    I think that sounds like anything that happens, especially anything you don’t like what happens is racism. OK, so if racism is everywhere and all the time, what exactly could be done? As far as iltalehti and other suoli24 sites go – well, that is a problem that people dare to have opinions. What would force people then to like somalians? Can they take a magic pill? Lots of problems, but I can’t really come up with solutions to things that can not be proven. “Bad vibes” is not enough to work on.

  34. D4R

    Görän: yeah, most of the people saying like that are people you should try to ignore as much as possible. I knew one black guy who never talked of racism, or very rarely but when he did I realized how sensitive it was.

    You have been here a while right? How do you see the evolution in this racism stuff, has it gone worse or better since the 90′s?

    Before you ask me any question, i want to ask you if you believe there exists racism in Finland or not?

  35. D4R

    Allan: I think that sounds like anything that happens, especially anything you don’t like what happens is racism. OK, so if racism is everywhere and all the time, what exactly could be done? As far as iltalehti and other suoli24 sites go – well, that is a problem that people dare to have opinions. What would force people then to like somalians? Can they take a magic pill? Lots of problems, but I can’t really come up with solutions to things that can not be proven. “Bad vibes” is not enough to work on.

    Allan, nobody says everything that happens to immigrants is due to racism, but a victim of racism knows when racism hapens to him, for instance someone jumps him while calling him eff you Somalian or eff you N-word, then we can assume that racism is involved. Allan, people can for sure have an opinion, but it’s not just an opinion when situation gets threatening a whole group of people just because of their ethnicity, or false statistic are created to they’re labeled as rapist or thiefs, you ask what you can do about it, well i say talk to them, tell them it’s wrong of what they’re doing, labeling and and threatening their lives is wrong, these immigrants have a hardtime already with their lives, they don’t deserve native people to make them receive more of a hardship. when you see wrongdom you make it right, right?

  36. D4R

    Görän: I think that sounds like anything that happens, especially anything you don’t like what happens is racism. OK, so if racism is everywhere and all the time, what exactly could be done? As far as iltalehti and other suoli24 sites go – well, that is a problem that people dare to have opinions. What would force people then to like somalians? Can they take a magic pill? Lots of problems, but I can’t really come up with solutions to things that can not be proven. “Bad vibes” is not enough to work on.

    Racism has been a wave like in Finland, for sometime it gets high up and then it gets down, it depends on what kind of people are in the parliament, right now, racism is in it’s peak, you can tell it just by see a politicial enouraging citizens to hate on certain groups or to call them a degrading names like the N-word, so i say racim is at it’s peak right now, if you’re a dark skin tones pwrson you ca feel the heat just by getting in to bus or metro by the hostile stare at some Finns, even if i ask a radon Finn in the streets a direction i get ignored or yelled at Fuck off!!! if you’re a white Finns you can barely see racism, unles you’re seeing a blak perso being attacked physically.

  37. Farang

    D4R:

    “Well to you racism doesnt exist but to us it does, that’s why this blog was invented to tackle the problem, it’s funy that you’re here a person who is not a target of racism, telling us that racism doesnt exist, i say your laughable and doesnt make any sense”

    This is exactly the problem which prevents us having civilized discussion. We both have different baseline to start from. To my knowledge the racism doesn’t exist and to your knowledge it exists. There is a conflict, which needs to be solved before the discussion can continue.

    In order to solve that conflict you need to update my knowledge so that I can be on a same page with you. You just need to point it out to me what kind of racism it is that you experience. You’d be surprised to see that I oppose racism as much as you do, I hate racists.

    My purpose is not to deny any facts, I just need to know what we are dealing with. If you just tell me that “there is racism” how can I even start to comment on that when I have absolutely no idea what we are talking about.

    The only racism in Finland that I am aware of is the racism by individual idiots. And I despise those people. It would really help me to understand the level of the problem, if someone would just educate me on that and tell me what it is.

  38. Göran

    D4R

    I consider this skinhead behaviour rather low. DO you know what happened to the skinheads in Itis that were active ten years ago? Did they grow up?

  39. Farang

    D4R:

    “Farang, so you don’t care for the people whom racism effects, the ones who suffer of it, the people who gets ridiculed and labeled, the people who start to get sick of social anxeity disorder because those who who pressure them socially causes them to receive that desease, because of social anxiety disorder many off them can’t just leave out of their houses. Farang, do you even care for these people?”

    I care more than you think. As long as those individual racists don’t break any laws there’s nothing much we can do legally. I have intervened in a situations where I have seen white Finns harrassing dark skinned immigrants. They left peacefully and let the immigrants alone, but it doesn’t always end so easily. Sometimes the racists may start to use violence and knowing the Finnish law, it would propably be me who ends up jail because of giving those racists a beating.

    One thing that could be done is to change the law to make verbal racial abuse criminal. But I’m not so sure how easy it is to follow it up. How to get proof of such abuse/harrassment? Ofcourse in internet it is easy, since those idiots would post the proof online themselves 😀

  40. Mark

    Farang

    The only racism in Finland that I am aware of is the racism by individual idiots.

    Farang – my first visit to the labour exchange in helsinki nearly a decade ago, I went into the room, smiling at the official and she smiled back and asked me where I was from. I said the UK. She smiled with satisfaction and immediately she started complaining about the immigrants to Finland from outside Europe, how they were so difficult and how they shouldn’t come to Finland because they don’t fit in. I had barely sat down. Why she thought she could tell this to me, I really don’t know. Us Europeans together, I guess.

    Was she just expressing an opinion? Maybe. But she was talking to an immigrant and she was serving in her official capacity as a representative of the state. She certainly broke the code of professionalism. Were her views racist? it depends how you define racism. She certainly had some strong prejudices, but they are prejudices held by a great many Finns (60% in some studies have said they do not want immigrants from outside Europe in Finland, 78% have described themselves as slightly racist). Perhaps they are considered merely opinions, and that she can perform her work satisfactorily. I’m not convinced.

    Additionally, if an immigrant worker needs good Finnish skills to get work, then it is an obligation of the state to provide those services. If those services only go a small way to developing those skills, or if the courses are expensive (only up to a certain level are they free) or they are at inconvenient times and places, then this acts as a structural obstacle to integration. If this obstacle is there because of a general lack of political or administrative will to serve immigrants and give them the opportunities and skills they need, then this is institutional racism. Why? Because the effect is to disadvantage certain groups in the labour market by not giving them the training and education they need. Finnish citizens get that education, society furnishes them with those language skills. If it is lack of funding for the same, then it also amounts to institutional racism. Understand please Farang that this is not about hating anybody or even necessarily about targeting a particular ethnic group. It is simply that the lack of adequate services disproportionately affects particular ethnic groups, and as such disadvantages them. The obligation of the state with immigrants is to provide opportunities for immigrants to enter the labour market as equal candidates. If the state fails to work hard enough or to invest in immigrants in this way, then it constitutes institutional racism. There are no perpetrators, there are no individuals responsible for the disadvantage that accrues. But the effects are real and tangible for immigrants.

    Another example is when someone goes to the authorities for help, with e.g. social or psychological problems. But rather than be properly referred, reassured and dealt with in a dignified way, what can happen is the immigrant is seen as ‘demanding’ the services in way that appears alien to the staff. The frustration and despair that the immigrant shows in such a situation is misread as agitation, not as a sign of their need. The staff can simply have too little insight into the isolation and difficulties experienced by some immigrants. Also, when some see a black person getting agitated, they think that violence will follow – they threaten to call the police. This escalates the tension further. Then they call the police. The police ask the person to leave, but the person is saying ‘I need help’, and is insisting, confused at why there are police there. Maybe they don’t understand that in Finland, you really have to do what the Police tell you, whether you think you’ve committed a crime or not. The police arrest this person, being quite heavy handed in the process. The staff do not intervene, because this would be a crime to obstruct a police officer, even though some staff clearly see this has got out of hand. The end result is an immigrant with a criminal record for disturbing the peace, when in fact, they approached the authorities looking for sanctuary, support and advice. One could say this is merely a misunderstanding. But what of the criminal record? Who lost out in the situation? Whose needs were completely overlooked? Is this the level of service that a Finn would get? The end effect is that the coming together of small prejudices, assumptions about the ‘intentions’ of a black person who is agitated, and a lack of empathy result in an escalating situation. The police can be heavy handed. Then the immigrant might resist arrest, feeling that they have done nothing wrong, leading only to further heavy handidness. This is a typical example of how public services might not be properly geared to serving All citizens. The end result? Immigrants receive a different level of service to natives. The result can be called institutional racism. No perpetrator, no single individual who is responsible, no hatreds as such, just a series of ‘misunderstandings’ and fears that lead to ‘protective’ behaviour when the more appropriate response should be ‘supportive’ behaviour. The immigrant doesn’t know how to ask in a way that makes sense to Finns, and Finns do not make sufficient allowances for the circumstances and tensions of being an immigrant. The idea that it is like arriving in a hotel in a foreign country is laughably naive.

    No doubt you will chop these examples to pieces. But I offer them as examples of racism that is not ‘individual’, even though it stems from a lot of collective decisions by individuals, which on their own don’t necessarily appear as racism. What further consolidates the problem is when the institution refuses to see there is a problem or refuses to change or make ‘special concessions’ for the ‘foreigners’. That’s when we really get down to the intransigence and the prejudice. All it takes is some goodwill and some openness to recognising immigrants as a vulnerable population.

    When I was in London, the charity I helped found worked with health care personnel helping them understand what specific groups of immigrants would be expecting, based on their own experiences at home, where differences could lead to serious misunderstanding, and where language difficulties, cultural differences etc., would lead to a qualitatively different relationship with health care services. In the UK, many local authorities made an effort to engage immigrant groups and charities like ours to help get a handle on things. This allowed us to act as a bridge, making referrals and doing seminars for immigrants to help them understand what they should expect too. A willingness to seek education on both sides. Not both sides arguing over who was going to ‘make the first move’ towards integration.

  41. D4R

    Farang: This is exactly the problem which prevents us having civilized discussion. We both have different baseline to start from. To my knowledge the racism doesn’t exist and to your knowledge it exists. There is a conflict, which needs to be solved before the discussion can continue.

    In order to solve that conflict you need to update my knowledge so that I can be on a same page with you. You just need to point it out to me what kind of racism it is that you experience. You’d be surprised to see that I oppose racism as much as you do, I hate racists.

    My purpose is not to deny any facts, I just need to know what we are dealing with. If you just tell me that “there is racism” how can I even start to comment on that when I have absolutely no idea what we are talking about.

    The only racism in Finland that I am aware of is the racism by individual idiots. And I despise those people. It would really help me to understand the level of the problem, if someone would just educate me on that and tell me what it is.

    Ok, to your knowledge racism doesnt exist, in other words you seem to not believe that racism exists, how can i then update you something wich you don’t believe it to exist or cannot see it cause YOU’RE NOT THE TARGET? the test you wrote kinda seem abit contradictory to me, in saome parts you seem to cplaim to not believ racism to exist and in some parts you do see racism and seem to believe in racism beause you unknowledge that there are racism commit on a individual level, so im asking you ARE YOU CONFUSED? im glad that you despise racist, if you honestly despise them then you’re in the right place, M.T is for that reason to tackle racism and you’re welcome to be part of it 🙂

  42. Farang

    Thanks Mark, you provided exactly the data I was asking from D4R. There was some much info I need to read in more thoroughly. But about that labour office worker, that person was totally out of line. She was in no position to give that kind of comment. She should express her opinions for example to her friends after work, but not there, while working. There’s one thing that could be done. There should be somekind of education how to behave while working. But even that feels stupid, since every person should know how to behave even without extra education. Some people are just stupid…

  43. Farang

    D4R: I’m not confused, I have said many times that I know there are individual racists in Finland, so therefore that kind of racism exists.

    But what I’m unsure of is this all kind of institutional racism etc. that people here seems to be talking about. Things that would make us say that Finland as nation would have racism built in here. For that I need more info, otherwise I can’t discuss about it, since I don’t know what it is because I’ve never seen it and nobody tells me about it.

    Mark just gave me good pack of information, which I’m now trying to understand. I don’t want to comment about that until I have understood it, so I won’t make a fool out of myself commenting about something I don’t understand.

  44. D4R

    Farang: D4R: I’m not confused, I have said many times that I know there are individual racists in Finland, so therefore that kind of racism exists.

    But what I’m unsure of is this all kind of institutional racism etc. that people here seems to be talking about. Things that would make us say that Finland as nation would have racism built in here. For that I need more info, otherwise I can’t discuss about it, since I don’t know what it is because I’ve never seen it and nobody tells me about it.

    We’re not claiming that whole Finland pracitices institutional racism but sure there for sure happens, Farang, you seem to believe some type of racism to exist, im confused about this, can you explain it for me, also if you kno there’s racism on a individual level then why would you doubt a instituitional racism?

  45. Allan

    Yes Mark, nice try:

    ” She smiled with satisfaction and immediately she started complaining about the immigrants to Finland from outside Europe, how they were so difficult and how they shouldn’t come to Finland because they don’t fit in.”

    So she had had personal experiences dealing with these immigrants. Why are you dismissing her right to do her work without difficult customers?

    “She certainly had some strong prejudices,”
    Yes, probably just “invented”, nothing to do with the daily life in the employment office.

    “Perhaps they are considered merely opinions, and that she can perform her work satisfactorily. ”

    How about the fact she could perform bedfore the immigrants started being trouble? Who is here at fault causing this trouble?

    “Additionally, if an immigrant worker needs good Finnish skills to get work, then it is an obligation of the state to provide those services.”

    Exactly why? Its the immigrants own handicap he doesn’t know the language, so its his own obligation to study the language. At conveient time or inconvenient times or paying it all out of his own pocket.

    “The obligation of the state with immigrants is to provide opportunities for immigrants to enter the labour market as equal candidates.”

    The immigrants home state you mean? Your argument would be valid, if the Finnish government would import immigrants against their will or invite them to the country. the immigrants make their own free choice to come here.

    ” This is a typical example of how public services might not be properly geared to serving All citizens.”

    Where this this person become a citizen all of a sudden. if a person is a citizen, they should know how to act and operate in the Finnish culture.

    “The immigrant doesn’t know how to ask in a way that makes sense to Finns, and Finns do not make sufficient allowances for the circumstances and tensions of being an immigrant.”

    “refuses to change or make ‘special concessions’ for the ‘foreigners’. ”
    Do the native Finns get “special concessions”? Can we be angry and agitated and demand help and the police not be called? Do I need to apply bootpolish to get service?

    “When I was in London, the charity I helped found worked with health care personnel helping them understand what specific groups of immigrants would be expecting, based on their own experiences at home, where differences could lead to serious misunderstanding, and where language difficulties, cultural differences etc., would lead to a qualitatively different relationship with health care services.”

    Yeah, instead of explaining to the immigrants how the NHS works and how “everyone else” is expected to operate, pointing out that “this is London” and not where they came from. No wonder this is a Bendoveristan.

  46. D4R

    Görän, D4R

    I consider this skinhead behaviour rather low. DO you know what happened to the skinheads in Itis that were active ten years ago? Did they grow up?

    They grew their hair so no one can tell who they’re, they got smart to grow hair. Atleast back then people could tell skinheads, nowadays skinheads are invicible.

  47. Mark

    Allan

    So she had had personal experiences dealing with these immigrants. Why are you dismissing her right to do her work without difficult customers?

    Well, I knew you would jump to her defence.

    Yes, probably just “invented”, nothing to do with the daily life in the employment office.

    Yep, this is your typical response to people’s racism. It must be justified.

    How about the fact she could perform before the immigrants started being trouble? Who is here at fault causing this trouble?

    Well, let me see, who will you blame, a racist Finn or an immigrant looking for work?

    Exactly why? Its the immigrants own handicap he doesn’t know the language, so its his own obligation to study the language. At convenient time or inconvenient times or paying it all out of his own pocket.

    Allan, you cannot have your cake and eat it. You cannot starve the horse that is immigration and then complain it isn’t fit to work! And it is an obligation of the state to provide services in a way that does not discriminate, and that includes employment and educational services. So, if Finnish taxpayers have a choice, to provide proper language learning services for immigrants or suffer high unemployment, which do you think they would choose?

    Where this this person become a citizen all of a sudden. if a person is a citizen, they should know how to act and operate in the Finnish culture.

    What a wonderful idealist you are. And that is why the Finnish government spends millions every year ‘informing’ citizens about things. People need information to function in society, Finns included, and especially immigrants.

    Do the native Finns get “special concessions”? Can we be angry and agitated and demand help and the police not be called? Do I need to apply bootpolish to get service?

    If you mean are Finns treated by the state in many respects according to their specific needs, then absolutely the answer is yes, some Finns get special concessions. If you have diabetes or heart disease, you get a higher rate of reimbursement for medicines, for example. That is very clearly an example of ‘special concessions’ based on specific needs for some Finns that is not necessarily shared by the whole population.

    Yeah, instead of explaining to the immigrants how the NHS works and how “everyone else” is expected to operate, pointing out that “this is London” and not where they came from. No wonder this is a Bendoveristan.

    Read what I wrote Allan: Our charity did educate immigrants about the NHS system. It was a two-way street.

    Keep sneering Allan. I love to showcase your opinions on this blog! You’re my favourite troglodyte. 😀

  48. Allan

    OK, so in other words you are in fact stating that “being an immigrant” is a handicap, like diabetes or heart disease? That immigrants are sick somehow? That they can not learn, like you can not learn out of diabetes or heart disease? You can learn a language, you can learn customs and manners. You can even learn to live with your handicap, like diabetes and heart disease, following a diet etc. but what you are then saying that the immigrants are not “equal”? Very nice Mark.

    Theres hundreds of thousands of languages and cultures in the world. If we start to catering to them all, where will that lead us? Where do we make the choice of catering to culture X while not catering to culture Y? Or do you also say that there are different cultures that can be evaluated so X gets special support and Y is left to fend on their own? Is that your own thought Mark, or did you actually read that off Halla-aho?

    Everyone in Finland is and should be on the same line. If you live here and go to school here you are. If you have not, then its your own problem to get yourself up to par with the rest instead of “damanding” things. If the government provides you the means to do so, then you should take them instead of demanding special recognition as you do not have a disability that makes it impossible.

  49. I am

    Hi Enrique,
    With respect for all of you,Foreigner like me, Finns, Immigrants and all, best to all of us
    Dear Enrique thanks for this blog, free speech is agreat gift for humans., so am trying to use my freedom of speech now in this moment.

    TO ALL with respect and love,

    Racist is not looking to our colour, for a racist person who lives with anger and sad my face, colour, or my weight is not important, h/she has hate and just want shows it to me, H/she wants to show apower of negative minds that h?she cant control it , so a racist human needs education for repair his/heslef because hate is not good for our health.
    The best is love.
    Love to u all from my deep heart.
    Love to our planet, we all deserve a good life, we r all human being, we r one.
    But about racist in Finland, its true, a fact, a sad fact, i am my witness,ofcourse racist, its not coming only from Finns, all of Finns are not racist, Its coming form foreigners, immigrants too, again am my witness.
    I did obey law here one by one, but happened to me so hard things, so racist is not looking only for a lazy human but also is able to attact a human like me who was working here all the time for free, i say for free because i was working like Finns but i got not even 200 euro per month.
    I accepted to learn Finnish language, i worked on day by day, step by step, i been very success about, but still am workless, why??? I truested system but system destroyed my life, made a jail for me and closed my mouth, its not freedom, so i have not freedom in Finland, please understanding me what am talking about, please dont be fanatical.
    Slavery system is what is working here, am not a slave, racist needs to know, that am intelligent and have talents, if i work i can be very useful for me and all, so its not wise for racist for keeping me in a jail that is hide and not clear, in a jail that looks like a real life.
    Life is sweet please let me to taste it, please dont punish me more, am a human look at mirror u can see me there.

    • Migrant Tales

      Hi I am and welcome to Migrant Tales. I’ve sent you an email.

  50. Mark

    Allan

    OK, so in other words you are in fact stating that “being an immigrant” is a handicap, like diabetes or heart disease? That immigrants are sick somehow? That they can not learn

    Hmm…now, let’s see, did I mean that?

    Actually, diabetes is largely lifestyle related, so you could argue it’s related to learning. The point is not health specifically, but that you are treated according to your needs in a great many ways by the government. This is not a big deal, Allan. Except for you.

    but what you are then saying that the immigrants are not “equal”? Very nice Mark.

    I’m saying that very clearly immigrants have specific needs and that if no effort is made to meet those needs, including at an institutional level, then those immigrants will not get the same level of service. It’s really very simple. However, and I know you will present it like this, because you already have, it does not and should not be a one-way street. Immigrants must and do make efforts. However, if they are met with institutional obstacles, and idiots like yourself who absolutely refuse to understand what could possibly be the problem, then God help em.

    Theres hundreds of thousands of languages and cultures in the world. If we start to catering to them all, where will that lead us?

    And the misrepresentation and intellectual diarheaa over very simple ideas continues. Where did I say that Finland has to cater for hundreds of thousands of languages?

    Where do we make the choice of catering to culture X while not catering to culture Y?

    Well, that’s a good question. You could start with your larger immigrant groups for a start. And you are not necessarily ‘catering for a culture’. You are educating staff about the specific needs of immigrants, sometimes just to the point of saying, you need to be more patient.

    Is that your own thought Mark, or did you actually read that off Halla-aho?

    ???

    Everyone in Finland is and should be on the same line.

    Sounds good, but fairly meaningless statement. Not everyone is the same, the line is not always in the same starting place. Equality is met with equity.

    If you have not, then its your own problem to get yourself up to par with the rest instead of “damanding” things.

    This attitude is at the heart of the problem. It’s a ‘sod you if you cannot swim’ attitude and it gets us nowhere. And yet you have the energy and the cheek to constantly, constantly complain about immigrants. Some people, eh!

    • Migrant Tales

      Göran, here is a white guy (Tuomas Enbuske) trying to sound funny but at the end of the day he only humors people who think like him. The person with him, Arman Alizad, may look like a foreigner but in fact came to Finland when he was nine. He’s playing the role of the stereotypical foreigner. Some immigrants, or second generation Finns or children of immigrants can be more conservative than some Finns concerning their views of immgrants. That’s ok because our society is made up of different people with different views. However, in my opinion, the whole talk show is disrespectful and shows little respect for immigrants who may be having a difficult time in Finland.

  51. D4R

    M.T: Göran, here is a white guy (Tuomas Enbuske) trying to sound funny but at the end of the day he only humors people who think like him. The person with him, Arman Alizad, may look like a foreigner but in fact came to Finland when he was nine. He’s playing the role of the stereotypical foreigner. Some immigrants, or second generation Finns or children of immigrants can be more conservative than some Finns concerning their views of immgrants. That’s ok because our society is made up of different people with different views. However, in my opinion, the whole talk show is disrespectful and shows little respect for immigrants who may be having a difficult time in Finland.

    Exatctly this is how i see at this video, to me this video insulted me, this Alman doesn’t represent me at all, he seem to think that foreigners whine aboutr racism and that racism doesnt happen except some drungards once and a while, this is flawed, i think Alman is trying to please God knows who, but i didn’t like Almans presentation about immigrants, this show is very disrespectful, Enbuske appears to be very ignorant, he says that he looks “normal” ?

  52. D4R

    I am: Hi Enrique,
    With respect for all of you,Foreigner like me, Finns, Immigrants and all, best to all of us
    Dear Enrique thanks for this blog, free speech is agreat gift for humans., so am trying to use my freedom of speech now in this moment.

    TO ALL with respect and love,

    Racist is not looking to our colour, for a racist person who lives with anger and sad my face, colour, or my weight is not important, h/she has hate and just want shows it to me, H/she wants to show apower of negative minds that h?she cant control it , so a racist human needs education for repair his/heslef because hate is not good for our health.
    The best is love.
    Love to u all from my deep heart.
    Love to our planet, we all deserve a good life, we r all human being, we r one.
    But about racist in Finland, its true, a fact, a sad fact, i am my witness,ofcourse racist, its not coming only from Finns, all of Finns are not racist, Its coming form foreigners, immigrants too, again am my witness.
    I did obey law here one by one, but happened to me so hard things, so racist is not looking only for a lazy human but also is able to attact a human like me who was working here all the time for free, i say for free because i was working like Finns but i got not even 200 euro per month.
    I accepted to learn Finnish language, i worked on day by day, step by step, i been very success about, but still am workless, why??? I truested system but system destroyed my life, made a jail for me and closed my mouth, its not freedom, so i have not freedom in Finland, please understanding me what am talking about, please dont be fanatical.
    Slavery system is what is working here, am not a slave, racist needs to know, that am intelligent and have talents, if i work i can be very useful for me and all, so its not wise for racist for keeping me in a jail that is hide and not clear, in a jail that looks like a real life.
    Life is sweet please let me to taste it, please dont punish me more, am a human look at mirror u can see me there.

    This is trully a sad case wich happened and still happens to me, i too have been used, promised a study but tricked to work for free for months, i was working hard and hard just to please and show people that what’s being sad about us is wrong, but little did i know that i was being used without mercy, they saw i was vulnarable and trusty, in that they used me, i got in to my senses once i saw that im being used, how can you work and work for no money? is that not slevary? There is need to really be checked what’s happening in Finland if Foreigners are being used or not, because i may suspect that something fishy is going on.

  53. Farang

    Well, the fact that you find that show disrespectful just proves the point that you try to invent racism everywhere.

    Arman is a very good example that Finland is not racist country. And that’s why you try to slag him, because he proves that your agenda is wrong and you are hunting down an invented enemy. That’s sick.

    • Migrant Tales

      –Well, the fact that you find that show disrespectful just proves the point that you try to invent racism everywhere.

      In my opinion, Tuomas Enbuske’s show with Arman Alizad was shameful. Everyone has a right in our open democratic society to be an Uncle Tom or make a fool of himself. But I sure wish that they’d stop using people like Alizad as an example of an “immigrant.” We have wrote about second-generation Finns with international backgrounds. Certainly whatever Alizad considers his identity is his own thing.

      But what is the point of the show? White humor at the cost of immigrants and visible immigrants that may be facing a tough time in this country? We could look at Rebecka Holm and compare it with Ensbuske’s and Alizad’s view of “humor.”

      Immigrants can be more conservative than some Finns and have serious issues with racism. Their “otherness” doesn’t absolve them of that just like traveling abroad doesn’t make you less racist, according to JusticeDemon.

      But you know what? At least there is a blog like Migrant Tales that speaks out and can give a second opinion on things like that video clip showed.

  54. Mark

    Farang

    Arman is a very good example that Finland is not racist country.

    No-one is trying to say that Finland is a racist country.

    How many times does that have to be said before it gets through your thick skull?

    It is about racism in Finland, not Finland being or not being a racist country.

    We don’t try to ‘invent’ racism on Migrant Tales, but to acknowledge it, discuss it and understand it. Maybe that is just too smart for you?

  55. justicedemon

    It is hugely amusing that Allan thinks he understands what that spoof interview was about and what its point was, as Allan and his hommaforum buddies are quite clearly the butt of a joke that they cannot see. Arman Alizad was introduced as an “immigrant specialist” invited “to discuss a serious issue, because we cannot always speak only of superficial matters”. The specialist “isn’t actually from Africa, but is anyway from somewhere far far away, born in Iran or Iraq, one of them anyway, it doesn’t matter, they’re both the same”. This is really laying on the spoofing with a trowel and what follows has to be understood in that context.

    Anyone who has seen the comedy work of Omid Djalili will recognise what is going on here. Alizad is deliberately playing the hommaforum stereotype and exposing its fundamental absurdity. He has great difficulty playing the straight role (04:33) and the entire episode degenerates into silliness with a metal detector and a wresting match.

    The spoofing stops after the break, but so does the pretence that Alizad is talking with “expertise” about anything other than his own experiences and views, which are largely inherited from his parents, as a very middle-class Bahai with a Christian background from a majority Muslim country. All in all, an interesting interview – but there is nothing here to support the views of our neofascist chums.

    And indeed Alizad apologises at the end for his conduct in the initial spoof scene.

    And if you needed further clues, then there was this little gem at 02:47:

    Uhkaus ilman sanoja on Jussi Halla-aho ihan kokonaisuudessaan

  56. D4R

    M.T: –Well, the fact that you find that show disrespectful just proves the point that you try to invent racism everywhere.

    In my opinion, Tuomas Enbuske’s show with Arman Alizad was shameful. Everyone has a right in our open democratic society to be an Uncle Tom or make a fool of himself. But I sure wish that they’d stop using people like Alizad as an example of an “immigrant.” We have wrote about second-generation Finns with international backgrounds. Certainly whatever Alizad considers his identity is his own thing.

    But what is the point of the show? White humor at the cost of immigrants and visible immigrants that may be facing a tough time in this country? We could look at Rebecka Holm and compare it with Ensbuske’s and Alizad’s view of “humor.”

    Immigrants can be more conservative than some Finns and have serious issues with racism. Their “otherness” doesn’t absolve them of that just like traveling abroad doesn’t make you less racist, according to JusticeDemon.

    But you know what? At least there is a blog like Migrant Tales that speaks out and can give a second opinion on things like that video clip showed.

    Well said Enrique, Alizad is equivalent to uncle tom.

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