Teaching Tolerance: White Anti-Racism: Living the Legacy

by , under All categories, Enrique

Comment: Even if racism comes in different forms in different countries and regions, it’s the same thing. People who work against this social ill face similar problems irrespective if they are in Lieksa, Finland, or in Fresno, California. 

If, for example, we want to see what kind of a threat neo-Nazi groups pose for Finland, it would be good to turn our attention to Germany to see what they have done on this front. If we want to see what anti-immigration far-right parties have in store for us, we could look at the impact of parties like the Danish People’s Party.   

There has been dear little public debate in Finland about those who work with immigrants and try to empower minorities to stand up for their rights. Sometimes “well-intentioned” groups may do just the opposite and promote apathy, however. 

The Teaching Tolerance story below asked four women some of the most common mistakes “white anti-racist” activists make when working with ethnic minorities. 

These are some of the issues they brought up: 

  • Not acknowledging that they have power and privilege by the mere fact that they are white. 
  • The most common mistakes white activists make are 1) setting an agenda with the illusion of inclusion, and 2) having to have a franchise on comfort.
  • White anti-racists make a mistake when they shut out the poor and uneducated and keep in those “in the know” to decide what’s good for people of color.
  • “Getting it” is the biggest point, I feel. Getting it means many things: the ability for white activists to understand that they have a space and place of privilege. It really is up to white people to give up their privilege and be okay with that. 
  • I believe that white allies can “get it” if we define “getting it” as becoming attuned to the subtle effects of racial bias in everyday interactions and environments. We can “get it” if we recognize the systemic presence of racism and how race-based oppression is allowed to continue.  

Do we “get it” in Finland? 

Thank you @getgln for the heads up!

___________

What does “white anti-racist” mean? How can guilt get in the way? And what’s all this talk about being “colorblind”? Teaching Tolerance asked community activists to share their thoughts on these questions, and others. Their answers shine light on the concepts of comfort, power, privilege and identity.

Read whole story.

  1. Laputis

    Enrique, Finns however aren´t white Americans or Germans. You are all the time putting into one bag different things. Look at Finnish language alone, is it like any other European language (expect Estonian or Hungarian)? Finnish language is coming from Uralic language family tree, which is unrelated to Indo-European language family tree (containing English, German, Spanish, Swedish, Russian, Hindu and many other languages). Most of Uralic languages are spoken in Russia, not in European countries. I am almost sure, you haven´t ever heard about most of Uralic languages: Mordvian, Udmurt, Komi, Mansi, Hanti, Nenets, Nganasan and other languages. Many speakers of most of those languages aren´t pure “white”, many of them seem to be “Eurasian” mixes leaning to European or Asian side. The Finns too, might have a slight Asian admixture. It is even speculated, that Uralic languages have originated from Asia (although you shouldn´t take this hypothesis for 100% granted).

    Uralic speakers are not only Finns, but also Nenets, look what the Nenets look like: http://foto.ravna.no/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=156&cat=Nenets
    Another distant linguistic “relatives” to Finns are Selkups, here they are: http://foto.ravna.no/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=157&cat=Selkup
    More closely related however, are Komi, and you can see them here: http://foto.ravna.no/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=155&cat=Komi

    Why don´t you take a glance at Wikipedia about Uralic languages, which includes also Finnish language? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uralic_languages

    Besides language, also genetically Finns seem to have vague connections to at least some arctic Asians, like Nenets, Yakuts or Chukchi. For example, Finnish males often have Y haplogroup N1c, which is present in Nenets, Yakuts or Chukchi, but absent in England, Germany, and other European countries.
    Well, I must add, that Y haplogroup N1c is present also in Baltic and Northern Russian, and few other European (who are from Russia anyway) populations. But, as I said, this haplogroup is absent from the majority of European populations.

    Check out map of distribution of Y chromosomes: http://pastmist.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/_medium_y-haplogroups-1500ad-world-map.png

    Finns are “white” but with a twist. Finns have some kind “off-white” connections, which make Finns being “Aryan” or “pure white” unlikely to any western European neo-Nazi. Finns thus aren´t in same category as Germans or even white Americans.

    Finnish racism can be fought in a different way than German or American racism. It´s just enough to remind the Finns, that they have distant arctic Asian relatives, or that they themselves have a tiny amount of non-European admixture. I know that some Finns will get furious about it, but at least you have been tried to tell them truth.

    • Enrique

      Lapitus, I am not speaking of the Finns as if they were “white USAmericans or Germans.” They act, however, like these “white USAmericans and Germans” when they exclude and discriminate. Even an Argentinean “white European” can act like a “white USAmerican” if he or she discriminates and excludes, for example, Bolivians or Paraguayans.

      Do you think that racism is not a problem in Finland? If you don’t, do you think we exaggerate such a social ill?

  2. justicedemon

    Ricky

    The Teaching Tolerance analysis applies to any form of institutionalised prejudice underpinning a political power differential. These points are equally cogent for sexism and cultural intolerance.

    Laputis

    Your comments above are entirely irrelevant unless you can somehow show that those genetic and linguistic peculiarities render the Finns free of institutionalised prejudice. Your understanding of Finnishness has also evidently shifted from the position that you held in earlíer posts in other threads. It remains an essentially exclusive definition, but the criteria for exclusion have changed.

  3. Laputis

    Enrique:

    – “Lapitus, I am not speaking of the Finns as if they were “white USAmericans or Germans.” They act, however, like these “white USAmericans and Germans” when they exclude and discriminate. Even an Argentinean “white European” can act like a “white USAmerican” if he or she discriminates and excludes, for example, Bolivians or Paraguayans.”

    And you think that cause of racism in Finland is same as in USA? Come on, you know that roots of racism in Finland are not same as in USA or even in Argentina. In Finland there has never existed black slavery, there didn´t live many, entirely different ethnic groups etc. And Finns didn´t have Nazi German ideology or something like that, because no historical reasons behind that (unlike in Germany, in Finland didn´t live many Jews, the Finns never were “master people” for objective reasons etc.). Most of that Finnish racism is either based on being simply cautious and defensive against foreigners, especially not so close or well known ones (normal reaction of society), either it is imported, or it is learnt from experience of others.
    You have to look at the roots of the cause, and the you can find the “cure” against it. The “cure” which you offer, this “white anti-racism”, is imported, and not necessarily adopted to local issues. Such kind of “cure” will simply not really work in Finland, unless the Finns truly believe that they are really same people as Americans (with all that black slavery history) or Germans (with all that Nazi history).
    The real “cure” against racism is IMO based on first, and foremost, challenging the general view of society, that foreigners, people from other cultures, with other skin color etc. can be dangerous, that they can be threat to safety etc. Well, try to challenge this one first, I want to see how good results you will achieve! Remember, that there is good reason, why people treat foreigners with suspictions and without trust. The barriers between populations are also barriers to diseases, criminal activities and other bad things, and people want to keep these barriers and borders for safety reason. And there is another additional problematic issue with the foreigners, namely, immigrants. History has shown, the immigrants en masse can acquire so called “wanderer” mentality, when they don´t value local people, items or things of local people (thus steal, rob them, or even destroy things just for fun) etc. There are a lot of sad examples of “wanderers”, including in my own home country, in Russia. For example, if you put flowers in pot outside to the street, then somebody will definately demolish it… The wooden paths in national parks are simply burned for fun. And it is done mostly by “wanderers” – people from immigrant population (unfortunately, the locals have started to borrow their mentality as well). The “wanderers” hate everything that is local and nice. Even though, for example in Russia, many immigrants are even majority in many places, and they are not opressed by locals (well, actually very much like this – the immigrants are supported by government, while locals, which often now constitute a minority, have to fight for their rights).
    People in Finland want to live in safe environment, and they don´t trust foreigners (especially from other continents) for good reason. You should understand, that there is a good reason to be racist, anti-immigrant, and distrusting foreigners. There is a good reason! And try to challenge that!
    Another “cure” against Finnish racism is simply reminding them, that they are “white but with a twist”. That they are distantly connected to Arctic Asian people, for example. But it is secondary issue, even though I brought it here up. I doubt this “anti-racism cure” will help against racism towards such ethnic groups as from Africa or Gypsies, because Finns aren´t related to then in any way. You can maybe “cure” racism against Asians, especially East Asians, but that´s it. But maybe it is at least something? And besides that, the Finns can´t claim then that they are “pure white” if they are not by ancestry. But as I said, it might not work towards accepting Gypsy, African or Middle Eastern minorities.

  4. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    – “Your comments above are entirely irrelevant unless you can somehow show that those genetic and linguistic peculiarities render the Finns free of institutionalised prejudice”

    As I already said in my reply to Enrique, the Finnish genetic or linguistic peculiarities might not help against prejudices against Gypsies, Middle Easterners or Africans, because Finns genetically and linguistically etc. have nothing to do with them. Those peculiarities might help in better accepting East Asian groups, but that´s about it.
    But there are another things, where understanding of those peculiarities can help – they can help against Finnish neo-Nazism, because if Finns are not “pure white” for Nazi understandings and standards, then it´s just ridiculous for Finns to be neo-Nazis. Well, you understand – the Finns can´t be exaggerated racists then.

    Justicedemon:

    – “Your understanding of Finnishness has also evidently shifted from the position that you held in earlíer posts in other threads. It remains an essentially exclusive definition, but the criteria for exclusion have changed.”

    My understanding of Finnishness has been shifted? Where do you see that? Aren´t you another American, to whom ethnic terms are alien and you have lack of understanding in them?
    The Finnish ethnicity is not entirely excluded, and has never been, it is more or less connected to other ethnic groups with culture, language, history etc. For example, culturally Finns are closest to Swedes and Estonians, linguistically Finns are closest to Estonians, Udmurts or Komi, historically Finns are closest to Swedes etc. These connections and ties are already included into the Finnish identity, it is there, ask any Finn! Finns feel affinities with closest neighbours and linguistic relatives, and it is a normal part of identity. Almost every ethnic group in the Old world feels some kind of affinities with their closest neighbours or linguistic relatives.
    In case, if you think that such affinities give reason for Finns to feel affinity with further ethnic groups, such as from Middle East or from Africa, then you are mistaken. Finns distinguish quite well Swedes or Estonians from Somalians or Kurds. Swedes and Estonians are people, to whom Finns feel some affinities, but Somalians and Kurds – people to whom Finns don´t feel any affinity. The attitude towards Swedish or Estonian immigrants must be really different from attitude towards Somalian or Kurd immigrants, and in real life it is often the case.

  5. justicedemon

    Laputis

    You are still contending that racism has a biological basis, and that appeals to biology will somehow influence this. That’s a bit like recognising that light is required to appreciate visual art, and therefore assuming that a study of optics will show that no painting style is intrinsically more valuable than any other.

    A little while ago you were outraged at my contention that immigrants are also Finns. You said that if you, as an immigrant, claimed to be a Finn, then that would be a lie. Now, however, you want to argue that Finnishness is a matter of biological composition and language ability. So if (as someone from Central Asia) you happen to possess those biological characteristics and you learn the Finnish language, then you both are and are not a Finn by your own inconsistent definitions.

    This becomes most evident when you talk about Roma/Sinti and Sámi people, and if you knew even a little about these groups then you would not use them as examples to illustrate your projections based solely on a certain way of viewing your own identity.

    The common feature of your definitions is that they focus on the desire to exclude people from the defined class. You want to be able to point at someone and say “you are not a Finn”, but you can’t decide what justification to give for this exclusion in various cases. My understanding of Finnishness is inclusive. It recognises that many people born in the Upper Michigan Peninsula are Finns, and that Francophone Africans who have come to live permanently in Finland are also Finns. When their Finnishness is sufficiently well-established, we mark this by granting the right of permanent residence and then by enabling naturalisation.

    Being Finnish does not exclude being something else as well. Those Upper Michigan Finns are also USAmericans, and often have some other nationality as well. This is no more unusual than being a fan of both soccer and classical music.

  6. Laputis

    Justicedeamon, I think that we have really different ideas about what “Finnishness” means. And I think that you don´t completely understand what I have been written. And I know about Saami or Gypsies more than you do, I have personally interacted with people from both those ethnic groups. I think you have lost in this debate.
    Really, there is no reason to assume that an African immigrant is Finnish only because he or she got Finnish citizenship and learned the language. It just doesn´t work that way to me, sorry. “Finnish” is first and foremost ethnicity, which is INHERITED. At least one of your parents must be of Finnish ancestry so that you have rights to call yourself as “Finn”. “Finnish” IS NOT synonymous with “American”, thus “Finnish” can´t be as inclusive term as “American” is. The reason, why “Finnishness” is not same as “Americaness” is simply because of historical, geographical, demographical and other reasons. Those two are like apples and pears. It looks strange to me, how hard you try to apply American understandings to Finnish identity. And looks like, even to Saami and Gypsies.

  7. justicedemon

    Laputis

    You have not shown that your exclusive definition of Finnishness (as a discrete characteristic that is either present or absent) is in any way better than my inclusive understanding of this expression (as a generalised characteristic that admits of aspect and degree). Indeed you have been unable to specify the criteria for exclusion consistently. Your latest attempt in terms of heritable characteristics is trivially inconsistent, as there is no way that anyone could become “Finnish” in the first place unless all human beings are Finnish in the same sense.

    Suddenly you know about Sámi and Roma/Sinti, whereas yesterday I specifically asked you the following question in the Racism in Finland (15 November) thread:

    1) What is the source of your expertise on the Roma/Sinti and the Sámi?

    and your full answer to that question posted earlier today was:

    1) I am myself from an ethnic group without own country

    So perhaps I should now ask you how Roma/Sinti from Finland communicate with Roma/Sinti from France or Slovakia? What language do Sámi from Sweden use when they meet Sámi from Russia?

  8. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    – “You have not shown that your exclusive definition of Finnishness (as a discrete characteristic that is either present or absent) is in any way better than my inclusive understanding of this expression (as a generalised characteristic that admits of aspect and degree).”

    Your way, what you want, is artificial and fake. It´s something like a dead horse, that you want to believe to wake up. “Finnishness” is already postulated long time ago before all those multiple immigrants came, who started to want being “Finns”, so that they would feel welcome into Finnish society. Their and your intentions can be good, but artificial, fake to many native people. The question really is – why you want to change postulation of “Finnishness” instead of doing something else for achieving feeling welcome into Finnish society?

    Remember, Finland has been originally nationalistic country, it was created because ethnicity called Finns wanted to govern own territory, and they called this country after their ethnic name – Finland. Now new immigrants come, and they think that Finland must be same as Canada or something like that (ignoring all the history, the country´s ethnic composition etc.). They start to teach natives what “Finnishness” should mean etc.
    I believe part of Finns would agree with your inclusive definition of “Finnishness”, but their idea then is clearly different from idea of “Finnishness” century ago, when Finland was created. The joke is, that with current understanding of society (which is named after country rather than after ethnicity) such country as Finland would never have been even created. A lot of Finnish achievements wouldn´t have come without the exclusive understanding of “Finnishness”.

  9. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    – ” Indeed you have been unable to specify the criteria for exclusion consistently.”

    Oh really? Maybe you just see in my posts what you want to see? Listen, English is not my native language, I can´t write so smart writings as you do (not enough vocabulary, and actually I don´t understand all words what you have been written), but I´ll try to explain. “Finnishness” to me means first and foremost, ethnicity. Ethnicity is something, that is largely inherited. And yes, also biology plays some role. You have to have at least some roots from that ethnicity, or enough close roots to that ethnicity, to have rights for claiming, that you are from that ethnicity. By the way, skin color here doesn´t play role! For example, a half-Nigerian half-Finnish person, born and grown up in Finland, speaking Finnish language as native tongue, will be Finnish, but a Norwegian person, born and raised in Norway with Norwegian language as first language, will be not. Despite first person having dark skin, but second person having white skin! Do you get now what I mean?
    If we talk about immigrants and immigrant second or even third generation (without intermarriages with Finns, and Finnish not being their native language), they can´t be considered Finns. It doesn´t matter what skin color they have, or what is their original ethnicity. As long as they don´t have any Finnish ancestor, and don´t speak Finnish as primary language, they are not Finns.
    The adopted kids is hardest issue. In my opinion, adopted African or East Asian kids aren´t really Finns, because they just don´t have anything Finnish in their veins. The adopted European (f.e. Russian) kids however can be regarded as Finns, because their biological ancestry is much closer to Finnish ancestry. Well, that´s just my opinion. In reality, I feel sorry for the adopted kids from Third world countries, and I am angry to Finnish parents, who adpot such kids. Because there are enough many kids, who need adoption from nearby Russia and Baltic countries. And it is hard for non-white adopted kids to be really well integrated into Finnish society. And they often get confused about their identity. Why one would want so hard life for kids?

  10. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    – “Your latest attempt in terms of heritable characteristics is trivially inconsistent, as there is no way that anyone could become “Finnish” in the first place unless all human beings are Finnish in the same sense.”

    Good example of that you see what you want to see.

    -” Suddenly you know about Sámi and Roma/Sinti, whereas yesterday I specifically asked you the following question in the Racism in Finland (15 November) thread:
    1) What is the source of your expertise on the Roma/Sinti and the Sámi?
    and your full answer to that question posted earlier today was:
    1) I am myself from an ethnic group without own country”

    I answered the most important thing to be answered. I answered as short, as you question was. But it seems that it was not enough for you with my answer, you simply want to discredit me in any way. So that´s why for you is not enough with my simple, yet deep answer. OK. I tell you something. I have had Gypsies as my neighbours in area, where I raised. They were still keeping horses, and exchanging them. They were speaking own Gypsy language. They were Kelderar Gypsies. Their children were not attending schools, instead they were learning literacy, math skills etc. at home by private teachers. In average, those children were educated 4 years. They also married really early, usually at teenage. My brother got some business with them, we were sometimes meeting those Gypsies. we got to know a bit closer look at their behaviour etc. Well, I can tell you, that I haven´t met so unshameful, undecent and unhonest people neither before, nor after. My brother suffered because of them. Well, I can understand them in a way, me and my brother were strangers to those Gypsies (albeit neighbours and living in same town and country, and having the same citizenship!). The Gypsies treat most of non-Gypsies with quite bad attitude and disrespect (although they never stepped over some border – f.e. Gypsies living in our area never “touched” people living there, i.e. never stole from the neighbour gardens etc., because everybody then would know where to seek stolen things). The Gypsies are one of fine examples, that society really works and organises through ethnicity, not through country or town etc. The Gypsies were our neighbours, yet remaining so alien people to us.
    Some years ago many Gypsy families moved out of our area. They moved to another country, I´ve heard that to somewhere in Western Europe.

    About Saami. I have had business with them also. But I can say only the best about the Saami people. They seem to be a bit confused though about their identity, because their identity is associated mainly with pre-industrial things (nature, reindeers, teepees etc.), and they have to adopt to modern industrialised era. In comparision to Gypsies, the Saami identity is not so strong, the Saami assimilate into mainstream society easier.

  11. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    -“So perhaps I should now ask you how Roma/Sinti from Finland communicate with Roma/Sinti from France or Slovakia? ”

    They do communicate, and they do it A LOT. I know that Gypsies from my area contacted Gypsies from Great Britain. In what language they did it though, I don´t know. I know that there exist not only different Gypsy dialects, but also many Gypsies talk in native European languages, which are not understandable to Gypsies from other countries. So I really don´t know how they interact (maybe they know foreign languages?) But there exist international Gypsy networks (albeit not organised). I have been reading also interviews with Gypsies in newspapers etc., some of them have been talking about how Gypsies from one country perceive Gypsies from another country. And it is, they recognise each other as members of same ethnic group. The men f.e. greet with tipping hat up when seeing another Gypsy in foreign country.
    By the way, not so long time ago I saw how Finnish local Gypsies communicating with Romanian (?) Gypsies, who were playing music near Helsinki railway station. They were all talking each to other. I didn´t come close enough to hear in what language they were interacting, but they were seemingly talking each to other. The Finnish Gypsy women were unmistakable in their outfits, and Romanian (?) Gypsies looked like the true Central European Gypsies.

    -“What language do Sámi from Sweden use when they meet Sámi from Russia?”

    I don´t know? One version could be Northern Saami language, which is nowdays the biggest, and most accepted Saami language, and is becoming increasingly international Saami language. Russian Kola Saami language is nearly extinct. I know one Kola Saami guy, who speaks two Saami languages – his own native Kola Saami language, and the “international” Northern Saami language. He also speaks in Russian fluently. I suspect he knows also English language. But I think that he doesn´t know Swedish language at all.

  12. justicedemon

    Laputis

    Long. long answers, but your exclusive definition of Finnishness is still inconsistent. If you cannot be a Finn unless you had a Finnish ancestor, then there is no way for the first Finn to come into being unless all people everywhere are Finns. That should be trivially obvious.

    Your attempts to fit an exclusive definition of Finnishness onto everyday practical examples (children of mixed origin, adopted children, Finnish émigrés and their descendants) only show that you are confused about the very idea of ethnicity. What is so difficult about accepting that Finnishness is a matter of degree as measured along several axes, and that in the most important respects this degree can also change for an individual over time?

    You have now shifted from having no direct knowledge of Roma/Sinti to a long, long screed of racist invective based on a hierarchical social structure in your region of origin. You say nothing about how that structure originated or how it was enforced and perpetuated, but I think Mark can take you up on that. Suffice it to say at this stage that your attitude towards the people that you call Gypsies parallels the attitude of Russians towards you and your extended tribe.

  13. Nikolai

    Essentially, justicedemon argues for a concept of national identity completely divorced from any notions of ethnicity – a definition of identity that has nothing to do with parents and ancestry, and everything to do with language and culture.

    This approach, of course, in which ancestry, family and genes are completely irrelevant, is the necessary moral foundation for encouraging policies that result in the demographic replacement of indigenous populations – a process more advanced in some other European countries than in Finland, but one in which the next 100 years will likely see a replacement of Finland’s population with “foreigners”.

    This raises a number of interesting questions: do an individual’s genes (or family or ancestry – they are all the same thing, at different levels of consideration) actually represent any differential information that might comprise a salient category for understanding human existence over time (in terms of adaptations)? Although many ideologues reject ideas such as evolution and or natural selection, there is strong evidence that suggests that genetic diversity is not arbitrary, and that differences in genes do have consequences for populations.
    Another interesting question is to what extent societies with highly genetically diverse populations are capable of maintaining the sorts of trust- and consensus-based political and social structures that have come to define places like Finland?
    Sure, diversity is “richness”, but if it means that there will be few or no descendents of the people currently living here in 150 or 200 years’ time, how can anyone here be in favor of that? Demographics is destiny.

    It should also be pointed out that justicedemon and Enrique advocate a view that is the dominant, hegemonic ideology in almost all political and academic institutions in Finland and in all Western nations, and that this consensus view is constantly reinforced by all major media outlets, whether state-owned or private, in Finland and all other Western nations. They represent the view of the Guardian, the New York Times, the HS, of YLE, of Goldman Sachs, of the EU, of Tarja Halonen, of David Cameron, of Barack Obama, of the billionaire filmmakers of Hollywood, 99% of all bureaucrats in Finland and elsewhere in the EU, etc. In other words, there’s absolutely nothing “brave” about advocating the views held by the most powerful and influential people in the world. Oppressively enforcing consensus doctrine is not “tolerance” or “richness”, it is more like the attitude of mediaeval inquisitiors.

    • Enrique

      Hi Nikolai, welcome to Migrant Tales.

      Your explanation of acceptance and ethnicity are pretty narrow in my opinion. Certainly people that have lived in an area for many generations have a right to its historicty. However, modern society must be more inclusive. People cannot wait for generation (and be discriminated in the process) for acceptance.

      I disagree totally with the immigration-indigenous argument you pose. In my opinion, that is used by anti-immigration groups throughout Europe trying to make a case against immigrants as if they were the Europeans that conquered the Americas. Culture, like ethnicity, changes constantly. There is no such thing as a “pure” Finn. We are all mixed. Some regions, like the Americas, more recently than in Europe.

      When you speak of Amerindians don’t forget that they “emigrated” most likely from Asia and before that from Africa, like us.

      Nikolai, I thought it was a pretty cheap shot to compare JusticeDemon and me to Goldman Sachs and David Cameron.

  14. justicedemon

    Nikolai

    An alternative explanation is that we hold these views in the same way that we believe that the earth is an oblate spheroid planet orbiting the sun between Venus and Mars at an average distance of 90 million miles. That is also a view held by a tyrannical consensus and preached by powerful interests over the shrill small voices of those brave souls who tell us that the earth is a disk balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle.

    All of that aside, I love it when you do pseudoscience. More please! I’m particularly interested in hearing you expound on the view that a “genetically diverse” population might have issues of maintaining “trust and consensus”. What I think you’re saying – ever so nicely – is we can’t trust darkies, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and look forward to your explanation in terms of some “trustworthiness gene” that we have and others lack, or whatever.

  15. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    -“Long. long answers, but your exclusive definition of Finnishness is still inconsistent. If you cannot be a Finn unless you had a Finnish ancestor, then there is no way for the first Finn to come into being unless all people everywhere are Finns. That should be trivially obvious.”

    You have limited understandings, I see. The first Finn appeared from the proto-Finnish tribes, who, in their turn, were descended from a group of proto-Finnic people, who, in turn, descended from proto-Finno-Ugric people, who in turn descended from a group of proto-Uralic people, who in turn descended from a group of currently unknown “Out-Of-Africa” people etc. Well, I drew very simplyfied scheme, and it is based on linguistics, the real human ancestry can be far more complex than that. But since linguistics is cornerstone of identity, I was basing the scheme on linguistics.

    The fact is, that there existed a group of people, who weren’t Finns, but from which Finns appeared. They were proto-Finnic people, who were ancestors not only to contemporary Finns, but also to Estonians and several other ethnic groups. In other words, an ethnic group (Finns) appeared as a result of diverging from some ethnic group (proto-Finnic people).
    Do you remember I talked about linguistical, cultural and historical affinities? Well, the Finns have affinities to Estonians, because they both share proto-Finnic ancestry and languages, which are closely related.
    As you see, “Finnish” people didn’t appear on empty space, they already had ancestors with predispositions for “creating” Finnish people. So well, even in this case, you can see that “Finnishness” is quite largely inherited thing.

    -“Your attempts to fit an exclusive definition of Finnishness onto everyday practical examples (children of mixed origin, adopted children, Finnish émigrés and their descendants) only show that you are confused about the very idea of ethnicity. What is so difficult about accepting that Finnishness is a matter of degree as measured along several axes, and that in the most important respects this degree can also change for an individual over time?”

    I am sorry to say you this, but I am not confused about definition of Finnishness a one bit. I am sorry, if I make such impression to you.
    The definition of Finnishness is just like any other definition of “ethnicity”. The “ethnicity”, you know, have borders and borderlines, along which ethnicity can be drawn. Ethnicities are not borderless things. Ethnicities fall under some rules and regulations.

    I can tell you some rules and laws. First of all, you must understand, that ethnicities are natural phenomenon in human history. Ethnic groups have existed long before writing systems have been created, government systems implemented, drawn borders between countries etc. It means, that such natural and very old phenomenon as “ethnicity” can’t be told to you by piece of paper, by country you live in, it can’t be changed according to your mood or desires, it can’t be bought or sold and so on. Your ethnicity can’t be Finnish only because you have passport with Finnish citizenship (well, passport is essentially piece of paper), because you live in country called Finland (imagine the case, if Russia occupied Finland, thus Finland one day is simply gone – what is substituting “Finnishness” then??? Aren’t you becoming simply Russian then, according to your logic?), because you want to be Finnish (yes, one day Finnish-wannabe, second day Japanese-wannabe and other mood shifts) etc.

    Ethnicity is thing, what is largely inherited, and which can’t be taken away by governmental shifts, rise and collapse of countries, desires or undesires etc. It’s a way, how to preserve a societal group, and make it to survive under any circumstances.

    -“You have now shifted from having no direct knowledge of Roma/Sinti to a long, long screed of racist invective based on a hierarchical social structure in your region of origin. You say nothing about how that structure originated or how it was enforced and perpetuated, but I think Mark can take you up on that. Suffice it to say at this stage that your attitude towards the people that you call Gypsies parallels the attitude of Russians towards you and your extended tribe.”

    Yet another liberalist victimizing Gypsies. I am sorry, but I haven’t seen A SINGLE ethnic group which would really respect Gypsies (at least those “European” Gypsies). The Gypsies are disliked not only by Europeans, but also by Asians. Go to Central Asia, and ask opinions of local people about Gypsies. You will be surprised to know, how bad reputation have the Gypsies achieved EVERYWHERE, among people of different races, lifestyles, religious beliefs and mentalities! And it’s largely “thanks” to Gypsy “wanderer” mentality and lifestyle, which means “more to take than to give”, “live lazily and exploit resources in fast way” etc.
    My ethnic group is almost entirely opposite to Gypsies in so many terms. My ethnic group and Gypsies are nearly like day and night. The lifestyles are so different, the mentalities are so different etc. Variation of humanity, you know…
    Thanks to modest temper of people from my ethnic group, we were and are able to co-exist with Gypsies in peace (as I told, I grew up in neighbourhood with Gypsies). So I don’t see a reason for you to attack me or my ethnic group.

  16. Laputis

    Enrique:

    -“However, modern society must be more inclusive.”

    I have never understood this statement. Why “modern” society “must be” inclusive?

    -“People cannot wait for generation (and be discriminated in the process) for acceptance.”

    Ethnicity is not something, what can be sold, bought, achieved only because you want acceptance etc. Ethnic group doesn’t work by such rules. It’s just that, period.

    And answer to my question, please – what “Finnishness” to you would mean, if Finland would be occupied by Russia, and country Finland thus wouldn’t exist anymore? And would you be still being “Finnish-wannabe”? Or would you shift into being a “Russian-wannabe”?

    • Enrique

      Laputis, societies work better when they are more inclusive. That’s how Finland is supposed to work. Opportunity is another crucial matter in society. But let me answer your question why I think society’s must be more inclusive: Because societies work better that way. The more discrimination you have the more conflict you’ll sow. It’s that easy.

      And another important point. It’s important too to avoid wars, ethnic strife and other horrible things caused by nationalism.

  17. justicedemon

    Laputis

    Did your “first Finn” have a Finnish ancestor? If so, then he or she was not the first Finn. If not, then it is possible for someone to become a Finn without a Finnish ancestor. Which is it to be? This is the direct logical consequence of understanding Finnishness as a discrete hereditary characteristic.

    How can your alleged progression be based on linguistics, when you require strictly biological origin? If (as you then suddenly and quite inconsistently assert) linguistics is your cornerstone of identity, then this is an identity that can obviously be learned and will certainly not be hereditary.

    I should add that you are completely unable to define the “proto-Finnic” group in the relevant sense except by reference to its Finnish descendants, so this expression is entirely vacuous as an explanation of the origin of those descendants. It amounts to “the Finns came from their forebears”.

    It’s worth pointing out another obvious aspect here: these communities were not and have never been hermetically sealed off from contact with other communities, either genetically or linguistically. More than 90 per cent of the modern Finnish lexicon is of Indo-European origin, including some very old words indeed, and the genetic traits to which you referred above are far from universal in the population of Finland. It follows from this that the Finnish language is not an entirely Finnish invention and that the Finnish people do not have exclusively Finnish ancestors even to a rough approximation. The birds in the flock still sing the same song, but the song contains so many stanzas borrowed from other bird flocks in the forest and there are so many cuckoos and hybrids of various type in the flock that the song itself is now the only thing they have in common.

    You claimed to be setting out “rules and regulations”, yet your explanation of ethnicity became a rambling series of assertions and rhetorical questions, many of which were inconsistent with your earlier comments on émigré Finns, immigrants to Finland, adopted children and children of mixed origin. Your vague remarks are also all about EXclusion. With the exception of the highly questionable assertion that ethnicity is biologically heritable, we are still waiting for the rules and regulations that define INclusion.

    I’m sure that a Russian in Moscow can and will most readily spin a view of your tribe that will justify a sustained policy of exclusion, discrimination and disempowerment. Nor are you in a position to object to this by appeals to your supposed basic decency, as anyone can play that game and the decision has already been made that you are intrinsically untrustworthy. Your view of the Roma/Sinti is based purely on age-old prejudices amplified by the media in Russia and Eastern Europe (and you are very much a victim in this respect). The first stage in breaking free of this prejudice is to understand its mechanism and the selective perception that it requires, but as I said – this is one for Mark to deal with.

  18. Laputis

    Enrique:

    – “Laputis, societies work better when they are more inclusive. That’s how Finland is supposed to work. Opportunity is another crucial matter in society. But let me answer your question why I think society’s must be more inclusive: Because societies work better that way. The more discrimination you have the more conflict you’ll sow. It’s that easy.”

    So Japanese society, which is more exclusive, than Venezuelan “inclusive” society, works worse than Venezuelan society? Is it really so? I see hundreds of examples, where exclusive societies are doing well, extremely well, and hundreds examples of inclusive societies, who are doing quite badly, actually really, really badly. Sorry, you made a weak argument.

    -“And another important point. It’s important too to avoid wars, ethnic strife and other horrible things caused by nationalism.”

    If there will not be nationalism, there will be something else causing wars, strife and other horrible things. In many South American countries without all that nationalism is a lot more strife, unsafety and killings than in Europe with all that nationalism. Life in Venezuelan town Caracas is many times more usafe than life in Finnish town Tampere, despite my belief, that in Tampere live percentually more nationalists than in Caracas.

    And by the way, you didn’t answer to this question: “And answer to my question, please – what “Finnishness” to you would mean, if Finland would be occupied by Russia, and country Finland thus wouldn’t exist anymore? And would you be still being “Finnish-wannabe”? Or would you shift into being a “Russian-wannabe”?”

    • Enrique

      –So Japanese society, which is more exclusive, than Venezuelan “inclusive” society, works worse than Venezuelan society?

      How inclusive is Venezuelan and Japanese society? How long has Japan been in recession and how is its aging population threatening its economic prosperity.

      Ever wonder why countries like the US, Canada and Australia don’t implode despite the fact that they receive millions of immigrants? Because they at least understand what inclusion means. It would never work if people of different ethnicities were rushed to ethnic concentration camps.

    • Enrique

      –“And answer to my question, please – what “Finnishness” to you would mean, if Finland would be occupied by Russia, and country Finland thus wouldn’t exist anymore?

      You have the answer in history and it depends on the period. One matter it would bring out is nationalistic fervor.

      Finland will always exist no matter who takes it over.

  19. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    -“Did your “first Finn” have a Finnish ancestor? If so, then he or she was not the first Finn. If not, then it is possible for someone to become a Finn without a Finnish ancestor. Which is it to be? This is the direct logical consequence of understanding Finnishness as a discrete hereditary characteristic.”

    It’s just funny how you don’t want to understand things, which are so obvious to many people. “First Finn” had proto-Finnic ancestor. Evolution of ethnicities can be parraleled to evolution of species. Let’s say, first humans evolved from primates, who, in turn, evolved from proto-primates etc. So Finns as well evolved from proto-Finnic people, who in turn evolved from proto-Finno-Ugric people etc.
    But what didn’t happen, is that Finns didn’t evolve from f.e. proto-Turkic speakers, and humans didn’t evolve from carnivores (common cat, dog and bear ancestors). So heredity here is very much in play, as you see!

    -“How can your alleged progression be based on linguistics, when you require strictly biological origin? If (as you then suddenly and quite inconsistently assert) linguistics is your cornerstone of identity, then this is an identity that can obviously be learned and will certainly not be hereditary.”

    I am not “requiring” strictly biological origin, you are shooting wrongly. What “I require”, is at least partial biological ancestry. And I said that linguistics is ONE OF cornerstones of ethnicity (read my texts more carefully, please). So not only linguistics alone, also biological ancestry can be counted as cornerstone of ethnicity, but as I said, biological ancestry can be partial (which also in reality works in many, many cases).

    -“It’s worth pointing out another obvious aspect here: these communities were not and have never been hermetically sealed off from contact with other communities, either genetically or linguistically. More than 90 per cent of the modern Finnish lexicon is of Indo-European origin, including some very old words indeed, and the genetic traits to which you referred above are far from universal in the population of Finland. It follows from this that the Finnish language is not an entirely Finnish invention and that the Finnish people do not have exclusively Finnish ancestors even to a rough approximation. The birds in the flock still sing the same song, but the song contains so many stanzas borrowed from other bird flocks in the forest and there are so many cuckoos and hybrids of various type in the flock that the song itself is now the only thing they have in common.”

    I do not agree about Finnish vocabulary, because it’s not 90% Indo-European, but since, this is not thread for linguistics, I will not argue with you about that.
    Justicedemon, I am trying to tell you, how ethnic groups, how their inclusion or exclusion REALLY WORKS, how things look like IN REAL LIFE, I am just trying to explain you the things, educate you, but you argue all the time against me! No wonder you struck upon many misunderstandings. When I say, that it is enough with partial ancestry (which in many cases in real life really is like that), then you continue bashing me with your “strictly biological origin”. I can tell you, that it is common, very, very common, for children from mixed marriages to choose one of parent’s ethnicities. The mixed child thus is not “lost”, he or she can be included into one of parent’s societies. It has been working like that since immortal times.
    But one thing you should consider – ethnicity is hereditary, whether it is through one or two parents. I am telling you common rules, which exist from Atlantic ocean in the west to Pacific ocean in the east. It is just funny, how you want to remain blind to the reality.
    And by the way, nobody here has been talking about “purity” or “pure-bloodeness”, it’s all your own invention. As I said, you see what you want to see.

    -“You claimed to be setting out “rules and regulations”, yet your explanation of ethnicity became a rambling series of assertions and rhetorical questions, many of which were inconsistent with your earlier comments on émigré Finns, immigrants to Finland, adopted children and children of mixed origin. Your vague remarks are also all about EXclusion. With the exception of the highly questionable assertion that ethnicity is biologically heritable, we are still waiting for the rules and regulations that define INclusion.”

    I was telling you not my rules, but universal rules of such society model as “ethnicity”. The inclusion is provided by accepting into ethnicity the children of mixed marriages (one of parents must be of the exact ethnicity), or adopting children (except maybe such children, whose biological origins are too visibly different). This inclusion system works and has been worked from Finland till Japan.
    But I am telling you inclusion into the “club” called “ethnicity”, it doesn’t give you any information about inclusion into general society in the country (which can consist from different ethnic groups etc.). It’s not necessary to be included into Finnish ethnic group to gain acceptance in Finland. In my opinion, it is enough with that you gain overall acceptance of immigrants or foreigners, or minorities in the country, I think it is perfectly enough. Your children can become ethnic Finns, if your spouse is ethnic Finnish person.
    What you want however, acceptance of foreigners and recent immigrants into Finnish ethnicity, is already too much asked, no ethnicty works by such rules. Ethnicity is bit too closed system for that. Why don’t you look at more open system, such as country? The problem is, however, that country is not same as ethnicity. And problem with Finland is that it carries same name as ethnicity Finns. That’s why all those ridiculous problems with calling yourself “Finn” when you are recent immigrant or foreigner in Finland, because word “Finn” is usually perceived first and foremost as ethnic term. And second problem is that Finland has been originally nationalistic country, it was created by nationalistic reasons (“ethnicity has to have own country”). As I said before, Finland wouldn’t have been even created and existed, if there weren’t Finnish nationalists. So term “Finn” is after all very nationalistic, whether you take it from ethnic, or state aspects. That’s why it is so hard to call you as “Finn”, if your ethnicity is not Finnish.
    And I wonder about one thing – why do you think that calling yourself after name of one ethnicity means “acceptance”?

  20. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    -“I’m sure that a Russian in Moscow can and will most readily spin a view of your tribe that will justify a sustained policy of exclusion, discrimination and disempowerment. Nor are you in a position to object to this by appeals to your supposed basic decency, as anyone can play that game and the decision has already been made that you are intrinsically untrustworthy. Your view of the Roma/Sinti is based purely on age-old prejudices amplified by the media in Russia and Eastern Europe (and you are very much a victim in this respect). The first stage in breaking free of this prejudice is to understand its mechanism and the selective perception that it requires, but as I said – this is one for Mark to deal with.”

    My view on “Roma/Sinti” or simply speaking Gypsies, are not age-old prejudices by media, you are truly laughable here (sorry for saying that). First of all, in media they are not portrayed that bad (usually opposite – media try to create a positive image about Gypsies). Second, you forgot that I told you, that my brother had business with them, where he suffered because of untrustworthy partners Roma, Sinti, Gypsies or whatever they are called. My brother wanted to do some music business with them, he was interested into Gypsy music, he had an open mind and heart towards Gypsies. He was then spammed from the Gypsies like 24h per day, no peace from them all day long (imagine, you mobile phone is ringing after every 5 minutes, ringing in 2 a.m., 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., so he couldn’t sleep normally, then he was simply switching the phone off for most of the day etc.). My brother provided them with music instruments, and guess what happened? The music instruments dissapeared with no return! And so on. and so on. That music business story is so crazy, that I don’t know, whether to laugh or be angry.
    I would never in my dreams imagine, that Gypsies are people like that, that they are really as bad as people have been talking around all the time. Before my brother’s adventures I had neutral view on Gypsies, after all they were our neighbours, who had no business with us whatsoever, they were horse exchangers to us, and we had no idea about the rest of their daily activities. They were not treating us badly, nor we treated them badly, we just co-existed in silent ignorance of each other.

  21. Laputis

    -“How inclusive is Venezuelan and Japanese society? How long has Japan been in recession and how is its aging population threatening its economic prosperity.”

    Venezuelan society is way more inclusive than Japanese society. You should know that. And which country has better life standards, more safety etc. – Venezuela or Japan? Where are those favellas – in Venezuela or in Japan?
    And now let´s make another comparision, which country, monocultural or multicultural has done better – Finland before 90ties, or Soviet Union? Which country gave better life quality to it´s citizens? We talk about neighbour countries, which lie in approximately same temperate zone. Why Finland, being monocultural, prospered, but Soviet Union, being multicultural, crashed? Why Finnish society, being more exclusive, has achieved better life than Russian society, which has been more inclusive? Have you forgot that current high standarts of life in Finland have been achieved in years when Finland was socially relatively homogenous country with very small amounts of immigrants?

    Please stop hanging spaghetti on ears. You can´t convince me that more inclusive society works better than more exclusive society. Look at Russian society – it has been made to be inclusive (everybody can become Russian, if he or she knows Russian language, it doesn´t matter, what kind of ancestry person has etc.). Does it make Russian society now to prosper? Nope, it doesn´t. It has had more like opposite effect. A lot of right-wing extremism in Russia is largely a counter result of “all-inclusive” identity of Russians.
    I have been reading theories in internet, that the most suffering ethnic group in Russia were and are Russians. Because they were made to lose their ethnic borderlines, and make own group very “inclusive”, which would include all the Russian-wannabes, immigrants or whatever. Which lead to erosion of historical meaning of “Russianess”, which made ethnic Russians to loose their identity etc. And loss of identity, do you know where this leads? To a not very happy people.
    I personally don´t really agree with that Russians would have been the biggest sufferers and loosers in Russia, but I can see, why right-wing extremism in Russia has so fertile ground there. I see a lot of Russians complaining about that their ethnic identity has been eroded, damaged and even “destroyed”, and that Russian “real” identity must be protected at any cost.

    In Finland situation is not so bad yet, because Finnish identity hasn´t received so strong pressures to erode and become more “inclusive”, like it happened to Russian identity. In Finland is not yet solid ground for so extreme right-wing organisations like in Russia (who really injure and even kill people). But people like you, Enrique, are trying to push Finnish identity and Finland into this dangerous path. Your ideas of ethnic “inclusivity” in the Old World are not just utopia, they also can be really dangerous, and bring counter-results to those, what you wish for.

    You love so much to provide USA and Canada examples, but there exist also other examples of multiculturalism and “inclusivity”, and one of those examples are right next to Finland, namely – Russia. Look, Russia is better example than USA and Canada, because Russia is located on “Old World”, just like Finland is. Russia is still inhabited mostly by local population, just like Finland is. The tendencies in Finland might work the Russian, not American way.

  22. justicedemon

    Laputis

    You have now shifted your ground yet again. Keep doing so and I’m sure we will soon be in agreement.

    1) You seem to be abandoning the idea that Finnishness is a discrete heritable characteristic and you now agree not only that a Finn can have non-Finnish ancestors, but also that all Finns ultimately have non-Finnish ancestors.

    To reinforce that point, I’d like you to tell us exactly how you tell the difference between your “proto-Finnic” and “proto-Turkic” individuals without referring to their descendants and then explain what happens over a few generations when a “proto-Turkic” family moves into your “proto-Finnic” community (and vice-versa). This should finally clear your head of confusion concerning the limits of any alleged biological basis of ethnicity.

    2) There was an article missing from what you said:

    But since linguistics is cornerstone of identity, I was basing the scheme on linguistics.

    I won’t quibble with you when you now clarify this by telling us that you intended an indefinite article, but please don’t accuse me of careless reading when this was obviously an example of inaccurate writing. Aside from anything else, you intended to say “language”, not “linguistics”, and it is quite self-evident that a common language is a diagnostic feature of a human community. However, the point remains that languages are acquired, not inherited, and so this cornerstone is something that an individual possesses irrespective of ancestry. You also clearly wrote cornerstone of identity, not cornerstone of ethnicity. Could it be that you cannot distinguish between identity and ethnicity?

    3) You also omit the indefinite article in the further assertion:

    biological ancestry can be counted as cornerstone of ethnicity

    but the context now settles this question. However, it’s not clear why you soften the assertion in this case from “is [] cornerstone” to “can be counted as [] cornerstone”. Can be counted by whom and under what circumstances? Above you claimed:

    a half-Nigerian half-Finnish person, born and grown up in Finland, speaking Finnish language as native tongue, will be Finnish

    but now you seem to regard this assertion as open to dispute. To answer the “by whom” part of the question, there are certainly some people in Finland who would claim that Lola is not ethnically Finnish, and to answer the “under what circumstances” condition, these people fasten primarily on skin colour to justify their claim. We call these people racists.

    4) You will find it very difficult indeed to find lexical items used in modern Finnish that are derived from lexical items used by Finnish speakers even 2,000 years ago. Words as common and Finnish-sounding as leipä and hammas are of indoeuropean origin and it is only relatively recently that deliberate efforts have been made to coin pseudo-Finnish expressions for novelties in everyday life. Words beginning with sähkö are a successful example of this, insofar as most native speakers are unaware that this prefix was invented to avoid the influx of equivalent expressions beginning with el. Keitto is also a late invention, but Finnish speakers have remained quite happy to say soppa – and we can observe that boiling is something that you should normally avoid when making soup. Open a copy of Helsingin Sanomat from a century ago and you will find that the advertisements give telephone numbers with tel.. The longest straight road in Helsinki, essentially running from the German Church directly to Kallio Church over some very rough terrain is called Unioninkatu, and the underlying concept of political integration was a key factor in deciding that Euroopan Unioni would be used in Finnish instead of Euroopan Liitto. The mere fact that the Finnish alphabet has enlarged to include letters like b, c, d, f, g, w, x and z should give you a very loud clue that a huge amount of foreign assimilation has been going on for a very long time. Ask yourself why the thickest section of the Finnish dictionary comprises words beginning with k, whereas very few words begin with g-, sk-, etc.. Then look at the k section for words like kartta, katu, konkurssi and koulu and ask where these words came from.

    Putting all this together, we find that there are certainly Finnish “communities” identifiable in terms of some convergence of strictly contingent features, with heredity playing a relatively minor role and language a very major role, and with community self-identity and history somewhere in-between. These communities have very fuzzy boundaries and leak like a sieve, insofar as elements (i.e. people and cultural units such as words and ideas) become detached and begin to evolve in varying degrees of isolation from their source, but also insofar as other elements are integrated into the community with varying degrees of impact on the character of the community. Tino Singh and Ben Zyskowicz are every bit as Finnish as Lola or, say, Marko Ahtisaari and Neil Hardwick, but then again so are many staff and students of Finlandia University who have never set foot in Finland.

  23. justicedemon

    Laputis

    So your brother tried to do business with people that your family had previously and systematically shunned, even though they lived right next door, and he came off badly. What a surprise!

    What was the other side of this story? Surely you aren’t basing your conclusions on the views of one side only? That would be (gasp!) prejudice.

  24. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    -“You have now shifted your ground yet again. Keep doing so and I’m sure we will soon be in agreement.”

    I have not been shifting anything, stop phantasising, please. You simply “translate” my words under your own understanding. Yet again – you see what YOU WANT TO SEE. You are not able to be objective.

    -“1) You seem to be abandoning the idea that Finnishness is a discrete heritable characteristic and you now agree not only that a Finn can have non-Finnish ancestors, but also that all Finns ultimately have non-Finnish ancestors.”

    Your ideas about my writings since the beginning were weird, you were claiming things that I didn´t even write or mean. You literally put words into my mouth. For example, if I wrote that ethnic belonging is largely hereditary, you them afterwards added, that I meant, that ethnic belonging is strictly biological “by my opinion”, even if I didn´t mean so! You are the one, who is changing my ideas about Finnishness, not me. My ideas have been constant since the beginning.

    -“To reinforce that point, I’d like you to tell us exactly how you tell the difference between your “proto-Finnic” and “proto-Turkic” individuals without referring to their descendants and then explain what happens over a few generations when a “proto-Turkic” family moves into your “proto-Finnic” community (and vice-versa). This should finally clear your head of confusion concerning the limits of any alleged biological basis of ethnicity.”

    Unbelievably, how you don´t get simple things. If some proto-Turkic people move to proto-Finnic area, and make intermarriages with proto-Finnic people and adopt proto-Finnic language, then their descendants, the Finns, are largely descendants of proto-Finnic community! The lineage of proto-Turkic society would have stopped in that proto-Finnic area, but proto-Finnic lineage has continued and passed on. The move of proto-Turkic people into proto-Finnic area didn´t stop the passage of proto-Finnic ethnic identity in almost biological way down the generations! That process in whole actually is called “assimilation”.

    But there are cases, when, if proto-Turkic people would settle down in proto-Finnic area, it would lead not to assimilation, but to co-existance of two different ethnic groups in same, or neighbour territories, because proto-Turkic people would form enough strong and independent community to not mix with proto-Finnic people in enough large scale for assimilation . Those communities would co-exist not just for centuries, but for thousands of years. They would exchange genes, of course, and learn lots of things each from other, but they would keep seperate identities, languages etc.

    The thing with ethnicity is that it is inherited from generation to generation, which can be almost compared to biological heritage – from parents to children (that´s why you and Enrique love to compare ethnic heredity to biological heredity). But ethnic heredity is not same as biological heredity. It was Enrique and you, who started to talk about biology, not me. I almost started to talk about biologic heredity, but stop – it´s not my understanding, it´s yours.

  25. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    -“I won’t quibble with you when you now clarify this by telling us that you intended an indefinite article, but please don’t accuse me of careless reading when this was obviously an example of inaccurate writing. Aside from anything else, you intended to say “language”, not “linguistics”, and it is quite self-evident that a common language is a diagnostic feature of a human community. However, the point remains that languages are acquired, not inherited, and so this cornerstone is something that an individual possesses irrespective of ancestry. You also clearly wrote cornerstone of identity, not cornerstone of ethnicity. Could it be that you cannot distinguish between identity and ethnicity?”

    Oh sorry, that I didn´t write precisely with all those commas and dots. I should have been writing ETHNIC identity, happy now?

    -“To answer the “by whom” part of the question, there are certainly some people in Finland who would claim that Lola is not ethnically Finnish, and to answer the “under what circumstances” condition, these people fasten primarily on skin colour to justify their claim. We call these people racists.”

    LOL call me as racist, if you wish. I am not European, and my facial features are not European. Actually, I have received some dose of racism in my life, especially in Eastern Europe, so I know how much racism can be painful thing. I am against racism, but I am also against those colonisator way of understandings, that everything native must be destroyed, that everything must be globalised, like what you express. I understand Finns, who are against immigrants and multiculturalism, I will defend them, and I applaud to Perussuomalaiset. I know and see what is racism, because I have myself experienced racism in my life. I know where ethnic identity, nationalism and patriotism ends, and where starts racism, hatred and other negative things. I know where the border lies. You don´t. You are imagining racism there, where it doesn´t exist. And I can see it.

    -“4) You will find it very difficult indeed to find lexical items used in modern Finnish that are derived from lexical items used by Finnish speakers even 2,000 years ago. Words as common and Finnish-sounding as leipä and hammas are of indoeuropean origin and it is only relatively recently that deliberate efforts have been made to coin pseudo-Finnish expressions for novelties in everyday life. Words beginning with sähkö are a successful example of this, insofar as most native speakers are unaware that this prefix was invented to avoid the influx of equivalent expressions beginning with el. Keitto is also a late invention, but Finnish speakers have remained quite happy to say soppa – and we can observe that boiling is something that you should normally avoid when making soup.”

    Jeez, buy to yourself a book called “Nykysuomen etymologinen sanakirja”, there you will find DOZENS of words with truly Finnic, Finno-Ugric or Uralic origins. You will be surprised to see, that Finnish language contains so many such words.

  26. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    -“So your brother tried to do business with people that your family had previously and systematically shunned, even though they lived right next door, and he came off badly. What a surprise!”

    You are really trying to dramatize. You talk as if my brother or my family would have been somehow guilty about this. My brother didn´t have possiblities to get friends among the neighbour Gypsies simply because my family and the Gypsy families had so different lifestyles, because we were integrated into different societies etc. Remember I told, that Gypsy children didn´t go to schools (even if they had possibilities!)? They were home-educated, usually something like 4 years. People from my family everybody attended school, and then university. You know that children spend a lot of time in schools. If there were not any Gypsy, how we could get any Gypsy friends? Also, Gypsy children for some reason never came to courtyard or streets to play together with other children, I don´t know why. We got friends from school, sections etc., but not from from some neighbours, who seemingly lead a bit closed way of life. I saw those Gypsy kids many times in busses etc., but we didn´t interact. Well, there was simply no reason for interaction, that´s it. Not because we didn´t want or something.
    My family had established links with other people mostly from our own ethnic group, and it was seemingly enough with those links. We had enough many friends and acquitances, we got enough support etc., we just didn´t need for any cost the Gypsy friends or something.
    You are dramatizing things when there wasn´t really any big drama. We just lead different lives, and we didn´t treat each other badly. So how would my brother “deserve” bad attitude from the side of the Gypsies?

  27. Laputis

    And by the way, Justicedemon. I want to add something in the “Gypsy case”. My own ethnic group has been treated badly, but yet we don´t treat badly other people because of that! Most people from my ethnic group are poor, but my ethnic group is not known for thieving or robbing! My ethnic group doesn´t have the same reputation as Gypsies have. Why don´t you once open your eyes, and see whether Gypsies aren´t at least little bit guilty about that they are disliked everywhere?

  28. justicedemon

    Laputis

    So now it’s not “identity” or “ethnicity”, but “ethnic identity” – yet you also say that you haven’t been shifting your ground? I think everyone can see that you have.

    I was careful not to suggest that the “proto-Turkik” immigrant family would “make intermarriages”. That is an addition of your own. What is evident is that in order to become part of the new community, it would have to acquire the necessary cultural elements. Any assertion of exclusion after those elements have been acquired is simply racism. It is an assertion that a person is not part of a community simply based on biological origin.

    In point of fact, the immigrant family could certainly be indistinguishable from the rest of the community after a couple of generations to anyone but a genealogist or molecular geneticist. I refer you to this video clip, especially from time reference 1:30 onwards. How would you respond if you find out that you have “absolutely the typical dna of a Romany”? How do you know that you haven’t?

    To find “dozens” of words of Uralic origin in the modern Finnish lexicon sounds like a lot until we ask how many words there are in total. I’ll give you a clue: there are nearly 100,000 headwords in the second edition of Suomen Kielen Perussanakirja (Edita Oyj, 2004).

  29. justicedemon

    Laputis

    Your observations concerning Roma/Sinti are almost a textbook example of mature institutionalised racism, including all of the elements from selective perception to evident prejudice, overgeneralisation and mischaracterisation by proxy. The only really remarkable thing is that you can express this racism so overtly, but it’s not surprising that you have decided to seek certain company as an immigrant in Finland.

  30. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    -“So now it’s not “identity” or “ethnicity”, but “ethnic identity” – yet you also say that you haven’t been shifting your ground? I think everyone can see that you have.”

    Everybody can see that you are becoming really ridiculous. “Ethnicity” is one of “identity” things. “Ethnicity” is such identity, which is largely inherited.

    If I were ethnic Finnish person, one of my main identities would be Finnish identity.

    It´s like “red” and “color”. I say in one moment “red” and in other moment “color”, and another moment “red color”, but you start to shun me, that “red” and “color” are two different things, that I have to choose one of those.

    -“I was careful not to suggest that the “proto-Turkik” immigrant family would “make intermarriages”. That is an addition of your own. What is evident is that in order to become part of the new community, it would have to acquire the necessary cultural elements. Any assertion of exclusion after those elements have been acquired is simply racism. It is an assertion that a person is not part of a community simply based on biological origin.”

    Racist this and racist that. You really have no idea what “racism” means. And it is told to you by a person, who has experienced racism, and knows what racism means. Once again, you have ridiculous claims.

    -“In point of fact, the immigrant family could certainly be indistinguishable from the rest of the community after a couple of generations to anyone but a genealogist or molecular geneticist. I refer you to this video clip, especially from time reference 1:30 onwards. How would you respond if you find out that you have “absolutely the typical dna of a Romany”? How do you know that you haven’t?”

    What a bizarre person you are, truly. I have never been talking about pure-bloodiness, it´s all your own invention. I was already notifying to you this, but you have just ignored it. Re-read my posts again.

    -“To find “dozens” of words of Uralic origin in the modern Finnish lexicon sounds like a lot until we ask how many words there are in total. I’ll give you a clue: there are nearly 100,000 headwords in the second edition of Suomen Kielen Perussanakirja (Edita Oyj, 2004).”

    Finnish language contains MANY words of Uralic or Finno-Ugric origins, and many of those are such, which you use everyday (ovi, käsi, koti, juoda, poika, suu, syödä, syksy, talvi, sydän, lintu, minä, mennä, panna, number words etc.).
    Those 100 000 words include very rarely used words in physics, medicine etc., which maybe even not all native Finnish speakers know. There must be many of those rare words.
    You are so obsessed with proving that Finnish language is Indo-European. But no, it´s not worth trying, it´s already long time established that Finnish language is Uralic. Finnish grammar is largely Uralic (f.e. lack of future tense in verbs), sound system is mostly Uralic (f.e. consonant harmony). In overall, Finnish language is Uralic language. This is why it is so hard to learn this language for Indo-European speakers. Even if in Finnish language are loanwords from Indo-European languages, it does not make a tad easier to learn this language. The loanwords often undercome such vowel and consonant changes, that it can be sometimes hard to recognise them.

  31. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    -“Your observations concerning Roma/Sinti are almost a textbook example of mature institutionalised racism, including all of the elements from selective perception to evident prejudice, overgeneralisation and mischaracterisation by proxy. The only really remarkable thing is that you can express this racism so overtly, but it’s not surprising that you have decided to seek certain company as an immigrant in Finland.”

    And you are an example of a person, who is out of touch with reality. I wonder how much contacts with Gypsies you have had. And with which Gypsies.

  32. justicedemon

    Laputis

    In among all that verbiage, I can see that you have now entirely shifted away from the view that Finnishness is a discrete characteristic. Indeed you now concede that an individual may have more than one identity.

    It follows directly from this that Finnish Americans in places like Hancock, Michigan have a Finnish identity, as do the people of Colonia Finlandesa in Argentina and many other places where Finnish expatriates have settled. These individuals have dual or multiple identity, insofar as they are also USAmerican, Canadian, Swedish, Argentine and so on. Now exactly how do you get to deny that immigrants to Finland do not acquire a component of Finnish identity in the same way?

    The point that 90 per cent of the modern Finnish lexicon is of Indo-European origin still stands. This has nothing to do with syntactic features of the language (although some of these are also essentially borrowed – for example active second infinitives like katsoen and nähden) or with the frequency of lexical items. Nor is the notion of subjective difficulty for adult learners or alterations accompanying word assimilation in any way relevant. It is impossible to carry on a conversation in modern Finnish without using a majority of words of Indo-European origin.

    The point about racism also stands. Your reactions to this in relation to the Roma/Sinti are absolutely typical of a person who is steeped in institutionalised racism.

  33. Laputis

    Justicedemon:

    -“In among all that verbiage, I can see that you have now entirely shifted away from the view that Finnishness is a discrete characteristic. Indeed you now concede that an individual may have more than one identity.”

    I have never said that an individual can have only one identity. And identities can be not only ethnicity, but also gender, age group, music what you listen etc. The individual can have multiple identities at same time. Some of identities you can have practically only if you are born with it, like gender. Yes, of course, you can make also gender operation, but it is achieving identity in artificial way, isn´t it so? You have to understand, that some identities are subjects to your free will (like music what you listen, thus rapper, metalhead etc.), and some are not (like gender, age group or ethnicity). Ethnicity is not entirely biological thing, unlike the gender, thus you can be person with two ethnicities, or choose one of them, if you are mixed. But ethnicity is largely inherited, at least some your parent must have roots from the exact ethnicity (or then you have to be an adopted child, who preferably doesn´t look too different or exotic). The national identity however is something different than ethnic identity, you seem to all the time mix those two. National identity is something, what you can acquire yourself during your life.
    I told you already, that term “Finn” includes two different identity meanings – one is ethnic one, another is national one. And I told that problem with that term “Finn” arises from that it applies to those two different identities. Many people find trouble calling foreigners or immigrants as “Finns”, because to many people word “Finn” means first and foremost ethnic identity.
    Maybe solution to this problem would be, that ethnic identity would be called as “Finn” or “Finnish”, but national identity as “Finlander” or “Finlandian”? That would solve some part of this confusion IMO.

    -“It follows directly from this that Finnish Americans in places like Hancock, Michigan have a Finnish identity, as do the people of Colonia Finlandesa in Argentina and many other places where Finnish expatriates have settled. These individuals have dual or multiple identity, insofar as they are also USAmerican, Canadian, Swedish, Argentine and so on. Now exactly how do you get to deny that immigrants to Finland do not acquire a component of Finnish identity in the same way?”

    Finnish Americans have preserved their ethnic identity, thus they are Finns. But in same time, since they hold American citizenship, they have national identity, which is American. Is it clear to you now?

    -“The point that 90 per cent of the modern Finnish lexicon is of Indo-European origin still stands. ”

    And you are wrong. Finnish vocabulary is not 90% Indo-European, I was once reading somebody debunking this myth. Don´t worry, I am going to ask professional linguist right now.

    -“The point about racism also stands. Your reactions to this in relation to the Roma/Sinti are absolutely typical of a person who is steeped in institutionalised racism.”

    You show me once again that you have no clue what racism means. Gypsies are disliked not because of their different skin color or facial features, but because of their actions and lifestyle.

    Your head is really, really messed up with what “racism” means.

    • Enrique

      Laputis, have you ever heard of cultural hybridity? One of the problems when some look at different cultures they think they people live the same was they did in their home cultures. Hybridity means in general terms taking your learned culture and adapting it to the new one. You create a hybrid by mixing the both. Contrary to urban tales, this suggests that immigrants start the adaption process immediately after they move to a new country. They take things from their former cultures and mix them with the new one and, presto, the adaption process begins. Some are more able at this than others.

  34. Eduardo

    “The point that 90 per cent of the modern Finnish lexicon is of Indo-European origin still stands.”

    Sorry, but it doesn’t stand. I invite you to look at Swadesh word lists in order to convince yourself that the Finnish lexicon does not consist entirely of borrowings from IE. Alternatively, you could compile a representative corpus of Finnish language texts from various genres and calculate the total frequency of lexical items that are borrowings from IE languages. Alternatively, take a look at any etymological dictionary of Finnish, and check if 90% of the lemmas are indicated to be IE borrowings.
    By making a ridiculously false claim, obviously untrue to anyone with even a basic education and familiarity with Finnish, you arouse suspicion that most if not all of your claims are similarly fabricated.
    Oh, to save some time, here’s your response: “bla bla bla borrowed morphosyntax, word frequencies, all words borrowed, ‘languages’ don’t exist bla bla bla, ‘identity’ is a construct, ‘race’ doesn’t exist, etc. etc.”

    • Enrique

      Eduardo, what is the point? It’s like those that state that we have genes from one region. Do those genes still guide us and tell us how to look at the world? No. They are just information that could be used for medical purposes and prevent diseases.

      Globalization has brought a lot of negative things but it has forced us for better or worse to be part of a greater world. In that world, inclusion is ever-important because people move around more. This trend will continue to rise. Some countries want to meet this challenge by building high walls, which is unfortunate and ineffective.

  35. Laputis

    Enrique:

    -“Laputis, have you ever heard of cultural hybridity? One of the problems when some look at different cultures they think they people live the same was they did in their home cultures. Hybridity means in general terms taking your learned culture and adapting it to the new one. You create a hybrid by mixing the both”

    I know very well what cultural hybridity means. My own ethnic culture is great example of cultural hybridity – it has arised from mix of two different cultures, because people of different origins met each other in same territory. It happened long, long time ago, many centuries ago, maybe even thousands of years ago, but the “duality” of my native culture is still visible. The things, what once was “hybrid”, now are parts of solid monoculture. The culture of my ethnicity nowdays is culture of itself, unique culture, which you can´t mistake with any other culture in the world.
    What I see in Finland now happening however is not hybridity, it is erosion. IMO you can´t create hybrid culture from mixing hundreds cultures (immigrants from different parts of the world) at once not harming the main local culture, it´s just not possible.

    -“Contrary to urban tales, this suggests that immigrants start the adaption process immediately after they move to a new country. They take things from their former cultures and mix them with the new one and, presto, the adaption process begins.”

    The history teaches us, that many immigrant groups have not been adapted or integrated, quite the opposite actually. The best known examples are Gypsies and Jews. They are in Europe for centuries, but they have remained as “strangers” there, never really integrated into local societies. Of course, Gypsies and Jews overtook many European culture traits, but they didn´t integrate into local societies, and local societies didn´t adopt almost nothing from these “old immigrants”. Gypsies and Jews were also targets for frequent opression, persecution etc. The Gypsies are especially sad examples of what happened to non-European immigrants, even though they lived in Europe FOR CENTURIES. And you call all of that urban myths??? It´s quite stupid to ignore history lessions.
    But not only Gypsies or Jews were not accepted. You know, in the Old World have been so many reasons for that people wouldn´t hybridise, accept each other etc. And one of those reasons have been religious differences. People with different faiths simply didn´t intermix, they were often enemies each to other, or in the best cases tried to ignore each other etc. Like my ethnic group, it was shunned from the side of our neighbours, who hold different faiths than my ethnic group hold.
    So it´s not “urban myths” when somebody is saying, that there would be difficulties with integrating f.e. the Muslim minority into mainstream society, they have grounded reasons to say like that!

    But you might be confused about why then my native culture is said to be hybridised, arising from two different groups of people, what would have been reasons for two different cultures to hybridise, instead of conflicting? Yes, this is good question. Nobody knows what really happened so long time ago like thousands years ago without any written evidence. Maybe the relationships between the two different ethnic groups were dramatic, maybe they were conflicting each with other, before any hybridisation happened. What do we really know? We know only that both ethnic groups were pagans, thus there was no major religious border between them, and, they likely had similar lifestyles, which made it easier to hybridise each with other.

    • Enrique

      –What I see in Finland now happening however is not hybridity, it is erosion. IMO you can´t create hybrid culture from mixing hundreds cultures (immigrants from different parts of the world) at once not harming the main local culture, it´s just not possible.

      That is a subjective point of view. Hybridity happens all the time. If you think of it, all that you are has been copied from somewhere else. I am not as pessimistic as you about cultural diversity. In such societies you need mutual acceptance, respect and equal opportunities.

  36. Laputis

    Speaking of hybridity, by the way…I just remembered that my ethnic group until the 19th century practised kidnapping women from neighbour ethnic groups. Male relatives of those women, were, of course, killed. The women themselves were taken with force, often raped etc. Well, some of our neighbours were not much better, they were kidnapping our women and killing our men too. Few neighbours, who had too different faith from ours, however did not kidnap women, they often simply killed everybody, whether men or women…

    So this is how hybridity thing might have been working – it arised simply from conquerors fathers, and defeated mothers. The children from such unions were raised into the father ethnic group, but no doubt mothers had some influence also, of course. The ethnic heritage worked patriarchal way. And I strongly suspect, that also Finnish “hybridity” (mix of Finnic and Indo-European cultures) could have often worked exactly that way. Interestingly, the dominating Y chromosome haplogroup (Y chromosomes are present only among males) in most of Uralic speaking populations is N1c, which can indicate, that Uralic languages were passed down the patriarchal line. Haplogroup N1c is dominating haplogroup in Finland.

  37. Laputis

    Enrique:

    -“Globalization has brought a lot of negative things but it has forced us for better or worse to be part of a greater world. In that world, inclusion is ever-important because people move around more. This trend will continue to rise. Some countries want to meet this challenge by building high walls, which is unfortunate and ineffective.”

    Globalisation is part of consumerist lifestyle, worldwide destruction of environment etc. My belief is, that after “nuclear winter” or some large meteorite has fallen into the earth, the best survivors will be people, who were the least globalised. And my belief is, that globalisation leads to short-term development, whereas local cultures often lead to long-term development.

    We talk so much about economics, but we talk so little about nature, environment. We, humanity, are part of nature, and economics actually also are part of nature. Without nature economics would collapse, and nature does a lot of things, that economics can´t do (produce oxygen, for example). Destruction of nature will inevitably lead to destruction of economics. And destruction of nature will lead to extinction of humans. The globalisation makes to destroy nature even more than ever, “thanks” to all that consumerist lifestyle. Globalisation doesn´t teach people what local cultures do – respect what you forefathers have already created, don´t live over your limits, respect your native land, be creationist, not consumerist etc. Globalisation IMO will lead to extinction of whole human species due overuse of natural resources, because globalisation goes hand-in-hand with consumerist lifestyle and lack of touch with earth and nature. That´s why I am not in favor of globalisation, and also immigrants, who are in most cases simply out of touch with local nature (look where majority of immigrants in Finland live – in Helsinki metropolitian region, don´t they?).

  38. Laputis

    Enrique:

    -“That is a subjective point of view. Hybridity happens all the time.”

    Yes, but such hybridity, what you mean in FInland, usually dissapears after generation or two. It doesn´t stay long. The exceptions are cases, when reasons for hybridity are prolonged and in wide scale.

    -“If you think of it, all that you are has been copied from somewhere else.”

    Of course. But there is a borderline between where hybridisation ends, and where starts erosion or assimilation.

    -“I am not as pessimistic as you about cultural diversity. In such societies you need mutual acceptance, respect and equal opportunities.”

    Dream on about mutual acceptance and respect! If the views on same things in different societies differ, it can lead to clash, disagreement and disrespect. For example, if a young girl from one culture wears short skirt, which means “provocation” for a guy from another culture, then it leads to trouble. Views on women wearing short skirts in different societies can differ. In one society, short skirts can be acceptable, in other society, completely unacceptable. If such two societies with different average opinions meet each other, and live in same country, there will definately arise clashes between them about those “short skirts”. They will simply disagree each with other, what clothes young women should wear. Of course, these two societies can learn to accept each other´s views on clothes, so that the women from one social group will wear long skirts, whereas women from other group will wear short skirts. But in such case two societies will be simply ignoring each other. Or, one possibility, is that one social group will take over the views of another social group, but it is then most likely sign of process called “assimilation”. The assimilation in this case will be the only way to gain mutual acceptance and respect. But not everybody want to assimilate, there can be underlying reasons such as religious beliefs etc.

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