The language of “keeping Finland white”

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

The ongoing debate on the role of immigrants in Finnish society boils down to one big issue for the right-wing populists: How to keep Finland white and curtail non-European immigration.  The view, that Finland must remain white, is as racist as a white man’s claim in the United States during the Civil Rights era that blacks don’t have a place in society. 

The language that some parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) use to hit home their racist and exclusive message is cannier: “We are against multiculturalism and certain groups like Muslims are incompatible with our culture and way of life.” 

The real message behind that line of thinking is: “Finland must remain white.”

By “remaining white” they mean there is very little room for diversity in our culture.

Those who preach an ethnically homogeneous Finland that never existed will rarely tell you the fate they wish those who aren’t white in our society. Is our place in this society eternal exclusion confined by the walls of racism and prejudice?

Due to Finland’s minuscule foreign population and Finns’ little contact with immigrants in the past have created an opportune breeding ground for spreading urban myths and racism. Only after the horrific events that hit Norway and the world on July 22 are we now beginning to awaken to the potential of racism to inflict grave harm to our society and values.

We must understand that at least a part of the PS are a serious threat to Finland. If we allow their “keep-Finland-white” ideology to get the upper hand in this country, it will end up impoverishing us as a nation. The more we fail to incorporate all the parts of our society into the mainstream the more we will blame others – the further we will sink in that abyss of our failure.

Those Norwegian Labor Party representatives and common people who died at the hands of Anders Breivik would have certainly wanted us to speak out for them.

Their message comes in loud and clear: Don’t forsake us with your silence against those who are intolerant and spiteful of others.

  1. Mark

    A serious problem with anything that smacks of ‘keep Finland white’ is that it ignores the fact that Finland is no longer ‘white’. It has citizens, born and bred here, that are not white. Anything that fails to acknowledge their right to Finnish heritage is a complete hypocracy. You cannot harp on to foreigners about their need to assimulate or integrate if behind that is the idea that actually, you will never be accepted because Finland still holds to the notion that it is a ‘white’ society.

    Of course, what Finland is and what some people claim it to be are very different things, as I’ve argued many times.

    Any political party that constructs its ‘identity’ on some notion of ‘pure Finnishness’ is not fit to govern. Period. It smacks of complete intellectual, ideological and moral corruption.

  2. Laputis

    I honestly don’t understand all those wishes and attempts to make Finland “not white”. What is wrong with “being white”??? Finland has been “white” many thousands years, Finland never had “black” slaves, any connections to East Asia or whatever. Why should country suddenly turn “non-white”?
    And what are those stupid claims that being “white” is something boring? The “white” cultures can be diverse, and different. Just like “white” (European) languages can be different etc.
    I can show you what “white” culture can mean f.e. in some Eastern European ethnic groups, which are not yet too much touched by “Americanisation” (Finnish culture has been destroyed quite much already, I can tell you that). Those Eastern Euroepan ethnic groups can have 90% of population blue-eyed and 50% of population naturally blonde. Yet they have cultures with traits remarkably different from American.

    • Enrique

      –I honestly don’t understand all those wishes and attempts to make Finland “not white”. What is wrong with “being white”???

      There’s nothing wrong with being white as there is nothing wrong with being black. You seem to have a problem with the latter group, not me.

      I agree: “White” culture is as diverse as any other culture.

  3. Laputis

    Enrique, I am not even “white” person. You don´t know to whom you talk here, keep that in your mind please. You seem to have imagined me as “white” European immigrant here, but no, I am not.

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