The day will come when cultural diversity will be accepted in Finland

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

Native American Louie Gone asks an interesting question: Why isn’t a person’s “mixed” heritage acknowledged of all places in a country like the United States? How does Finland support identity development and what kind of exclusion or inclusion does it promote?

I visited this week an elementary school in Eastern Finland and saw a bunch of posters hanging on the walls with different names of countries, flags, and how to count up to three in languages such as Arabic, Denga and others.

While I am certain that the teachers’ intention at the school is to promote respect for diversity, one could ask if it actually doest that.

Why doesn’t the school promote the idea that the children can discover, put into practice and celebrate their new Finnish or hybrid identity on their terms?

What is interesting is that these so-called students with immigrant backgrounds have lived most of their lives in Finland.

It would be far-reaching and probably make some Finns uncomfortable if we’d empower children and people with culturally diverse backgrounds the right to belong and influence our culture as equals.  That would require a very strong dose of acceptance, a word that it rarely used by politicians in this country.

The last people to use terms like mutual acceptance and respect for diversity in Finland would be those that are pushing and placing people in different ethnic categories. They do so with the same intention as Gone mentioned: To conquer and rule.

If I were the principle of that elementary school in Eastern Finland, I would have asked the students to draw the flags of their former home countries together with the Finnish one and then mix them together and imagine how fortunate they are.

Thank you for the heads up @getgln!

  1. Mary Mekko

    Let’s face it, even our mulatto Prez doesn’t consider himself, or relate to primarily, the white race, regardless of which parent raised him.

    I can imagine that a Finnish-Arab would consider herself first of all Arabic, born in Finland (or moved to Finland). Her children would then learn from her that they are Arabic, too, especially if her own parents’ language and culture is kept in the home.

    Notice that the commentator in your video identified himself as “one-quarter American Indian” and neglected to mention what the other 75% was! English, Italian, Finnish, Chinese? Thus it will be in Finland, too, that due to many forces, people will stick to their “minority” identity in the greater society. At home amongst “his people” (well, 25% of him), they would be quick to let him know that he is 75% NOT THEM.

    How does he even define this part of him, if he doesn’t know the language(s) or food or customs, music or dance or native dress or ceremonies? If it’s just the genetic quarter of him, as the “black” (African Negro, not southern Indian) is in our president, but his culture is predominantly European, why not admit that? For God’s sake, he’s addressing an Amerindian conference in a European tongue, the tongue of 25% of his ancestors’ oppressors!

    Seriously, I doubt that a local indigenous man or woman of the 1600’s in North or South America would call him/herself “Amerindian” since it’s as meaningless as “white”. He or she would name the tribe and the language, in fact, use the language.

    I never take the label “white” in USA. It’s an empty ragbag word. I’m Scots-Irish regardless in which country I live.

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