While we hope that the perpetrators of Jimi Joonas Karttunen’s death will be speedily brought to justice, there is one worrisome question we should ask in light of what took place: What kind of a country have we turned into?
The answer to that questions has, I believe, its roots in colorblind racism, which acts as if skin color does not matter even when it does.
In the context of what happened to Karttunen, I call it neutralizing a social ill or problem. A good example of neutralization is when people justify racism, or find an excuse to do nothing about it, because it occurs in other countries.
Not only do the police neutralize ever-growing social ills like racism and far-right violence by justifying that “there is also left-wing violence,” it is an effective way to not challenge the racism and extremist ideology found among their ranks.
Why does the police have only one, yes one, black police officer?
Why does a survey of the police service in Finland reveal that about 50% of those surveyed voted for the National Coalition Party and anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset* party? What does the survey tell you about police attitudes of cultural diversity if close to 80% of the police who were surveyed see asylum seekers as the greatest threat to Finland?
How come a former police chief, Mikko Paatero, fear-mongers with the publishing of a new book called “Faltering internal security?”
Finland’s parliament and the government do a lot of neutralizing as well in order not to challenge too strongly the racism, bigotry, and social inequality they promote directly or indirectly but doesn’t affect them firsthand.
How come far-right anti-immigration sentiment, racism, and bigotry have not retreated even if one of the aims of the government’s program is to challenge racism? Is it because groups like SVL are white and at the end of the day “are one of us because they also defend our privilege?”
The hostility of this government against our ever-growing culturally diverse community is clearly evident in the recent laws they have passed tightening, for example, family reunification requirements.
Let’s hope that Karttunen’s death will not suffer the same fate when Labor MP Jo Cox’s death caused initial outrage before the Brexit referendum but was later forgotten.
Migrants, minorities, and white Finns must all rise up and challenge the menace that Finland faces and which is right under our noses.
* 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.”