The oddly unspoken topic of racism

by , under Enrique

“Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. It seeks to divide and to destroy. It is the enemy of freedom, and deserves to be met head-on and stamped out.”
Pierre Berton (1920-2004)

Many visitors have come and gone on Migrant Tales. Those that jump the MT ship the soonest are those who choose to justify a social ill like racism. Some have gone as far as to claim that there is no racism in Finland.

A recent blog entry by Mark highlights how hate and racism are perpetuated even by the police.

Establishing an autocratic regime is relatively easy in a country with poor infrastructure. In Argentina, where the country’s telephone network was mostly out of order, it was simple to shut the country from the outside world and spoonfeed censored news by the military rulers to the public.

Irrespective of the censorship that was imposed on Argentina in the 1970s, people did have access to newspapers like Le Monde, The Guardian, Washington Post and others that wrote regularly about the human rights violations committed by the military junta.

If we have in Europe enough historical information and evidence that show us beyond any doubt the destruction that xenophobia and racism have caused on our continent, why do we still consider such social ills worthy of our support?

If you are a pessimist, the answer you may hear may shock you: People and politicians support xenophobic and racist behavior because they are xenophobic and racist themselves.  In Argentina, the military regime, which was one of the most ruthless in Latin America in the last century, was able to carry out its crimes thanks to the support it had from the public.

There must be something wrong with our educational system if we’re still influenced so much by xenophobia, racism or autocratic regimes, which are the enemies of our freedom.

A journalist from a local newspaper told me recently that the reason why they don’t write a lot about racism cases is because they don’t want to give racism any attention.

That kind of a stance is exactly what has made xenophobia and racism grow in Finland and Europe. Not noticing it, or ignoring such a social ill, will not help it go away. It will, contrarily, encourage it to become bolder.

We cannot afford to be silent in the face of those forces that aim to usurp our freedom and well-being.

Like Berton pointed out, racism must be faced head-on and stamped out.

  1. D4R

    Halloo Mt. Racism is ignorance and i belive Finns will slowly come to realise that skin color has no correlation with intelligence or superiority. There’s a wide spread belive in Finland that being born as caucasians means a master race, a man who reached evolving point all other races has yet to evolve, and this concept itself is what causing many Finns to be prejudice, racist and disgust with other races especially black africans with their distant looks. I visited my father in law who’se white and everytime he’s trying to teach be stuff i learned when i was secodn grade like how to use batteries and stuff like that.

  2. Farang

    D4R, that is not true.

    In Finland there are only rare ignorant racists, who think that skin colour have anything to do with anything.

    Mostly the prejudism is caused by negative experiences. For example romas in Finland. People tend to be prejudice against them only because they have negative experiences with romas. And all that is because of how romas have behaved themselves. The prejudice against romas have absolutely nothing to do with their skin colour.

    And same goes with other ethnicities. Finns are not prejudice because of skin colour, but because of what their experiences with the people belonging to those groups are.

    Basically you can say that Finns are not racists. We have few ignorant racists, but it’s only a marginal bunch of people. If you compare Finland with other countries, there are lot more racists in other countries. That’s why it’s hard to understand why anyone would blame Finns as being racists.

    • D4R

      You misconstrue what i wrote. I didn’t say all Finns are racist, i said many Finns hold a believe that other races are sub race to them wich is based on ignorance and having direct contact with them, if they had cotact with different races im sure their prejudice would fade away.

  3. Farang

    There was a very good example of the causes of prejudism in today’s Helsingin Sanomat.

    Social office is renting expensive apartments from a private company for housing immigrants. Those apartments are so expensive that ordinary Finns couldn’t even afford to rent them.

    So basically Finns (as taxpayers) are paying for apartments that are given to immigrants. I know it’s not the fault of the immigrants, but among ordinary citizens this is one of the reasons people tend to feel hostility against immigrants.

    Because this is exactly the concrete example how our (tax payers) money is used to give immigrants something that many Finns couldn’t even afford to acquire for themselves.

    Please notice I’m not blaming immigrants for this, they are not making the decisions. I’m just giving you an example of where the prejudice against them is coming from.

    • Mark

      Farang

      I know it’s not the fault of the immigrants, but among ordinary citizens this is one of the reasons people tend to feel hostility against immigrants.

      If you know it isn’t the fault of the immigrants, then why feel hostility towards them? Unless you are a racist.

      Those apartments are so expensive that ordinary Finns couldn’t even afford to rent them.

      Evidence? How expensive, and what do you mean by ‘ordinary Finns’? And why is the social office doing this?

      Because this is exactly the concrete example how our (tax payers) money is used to give immigrants something that many Finns couldn’t even afford to acquire for themselves.

      You mean a roof over their heads? And what about all the other receipients of social housing in Finland? They always get the inferior apartments? These ‘expensive’ apartments are only for immigrants? Evidence please!

      Please notice I’m not blaming immigrants for this, they are not making the decisions.

      Well it’s good that you are not blaming immigrants. And maybe you are right to say that this doesn’t help the situation. But the problem is not really the social or the immigrants – the social have to get the best value for money for the tax payer, if they don’t they should be accountable. But there is no justification for blaming immigrants for these policies.

    • D4R

      So let me get this straight, what you’re telling me is that your fellow Finns took those immigrants in Finland gave them “expensive” housing and that alone is justification for racism against them huh? and you agree with that? you need seriouse help, i don’t think im going to engage discussion with you, your logic is flawed.

  4. Farang

    D4R

    So let me get this straight, what you’re telling me is that your fellow Finns took those immigrants in Finland gave them “expensive” housing and that alone is justification for racism against them huh? and you agree with that? you need seriouse help, i don’t think im going to engage discussion with you, your logic is flawed.

    So, you also have problems to understand what you read?

    I never said it justifies racism. I explained what CAUSES racism/prejudice. And what do you mean I agree with? It was a statement, what is there to agree with? If I say there is snow in the ground, what is it there to agree with? If I tell you how the snow got there, does it have anything to do with justifying the snow? Please try to understand what is said to you.

    You and Mark both seem to have problems with truth. If you find some facts offensive against someone, you want to prohibit that truth. That is not very healthy.

    • D4R

      Farang: So basically Finns (as taxpayers) are paying for apartments that are given to immigrants. I know it’s not the fault of the immigrants, but among ordinary citizens this is one of the reasons people tend to feel hostility against immigrants

      You can’t speak for other Finns for what causes their prejudice against immigrants, to me this what you wrote about taxpayers being racist towards immigrants is your own words and your prejudice. I strongly believe this coming from you and that my friend is a sort of jusitification for racism.

  5. Farang

    Farang, what’s your solution for this whole taxpeyrs money being given to immigrants?

    Easy. We stop giving it. We can house immigrants in big halls, it would be cheap. And when they are able to find a suitable apartment from the market, they can move there. That would be acceptable solution for most of the Finns.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Easy. We stop giving it.

      Farang, I believe your perception that immigrants have it easy in Finland is a bit misguided. The kind of society you want to have in force is one where the Finns have all the rights and the immigrants have few.

      Moreover, you suggest that most immigrants don’t pay taxes. You’re wrong.

      Do you think that is fair?

    • D4R

      To me that doesnt sound equal rights . Your proposal is discriminative against immigrants. Why are you so much against immigrants? don’t you know that immigrants can be productive to Finland and that Finland can find opportunity through immigrants.

  6. Farang

    Enrique, you don’t understand.

    All I’m asking is the SAME rights for immigrants and native Finns. Also Finns have to find their own apartments from market and pay for them with their monthly allowances. Immigrants gets the same amount so that should be enough.

    Now immigrants are getting special treatment as they are getting more expensive apartments and yet they don’t have to pay for it themselves.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Now immigrants are getting special treatment as they are getting more expensive apartments and yet they don’t have to pay for it themselves.

      Could you provide some concrete cases to back up your claim.

  7. Farang

    And I see it as somekind of biased thinking that you don’t acknowledge that there are lots of Finns who live in very poor conditions. You somehow seem to believe that ALL Finns are doing great and everyone has so wonderful lifes that ofcourse we should give immigrants everything they want to.

    Wake up!

  8. Farang

    To me that doesnt sound equal rights . Your proposal is discriminative against immigrants. Why are you so much against immigrants? don’t you know that immigrants can be productive to Finland and that Finland can find opportunity through immigrants.

    Dear D4R

    Could you please read before you post? I already told you: I want same rights for everyone. Somehow you think that immigrants should be given MORE than Finns, otherwise it’s racism. Isn’t that kind of sick?

    If immigrants and Finns are fiven the same amount of social welfare and then each can find an apartment from markets and rent that. Isn’t that same rights?

    Now the reality is that Social office is renting apartments, which are much more expensive than any people living on welfare could afford. Those are given to immigrants, but not for Finns. Is that equal in your opinion?

    In my opinion it’s wrong. And that is causing prejudice and hatred against immigrants. So basically social office is causing racism.

    • Mark

      Farang

      In my opinion it’s wrong. And that is causing prejudice and hatred against immigrants. So basically social office is causing racism.

      That’s a pretty stupid thing to say, Farang. People don’t ‘become’ racists because of things that the social office do. Gosh, you really think racism is a response to social injustice? You’re so fucked up Farang!

  9. D4R

    Stop twisting my words. I asked you what’s your solution for immigrants if you don’t want them to be supprted by taxtpayers money and you suggested to stop giving to and i told you that’s discriminative to immigrants. If you want Finns to receive taxpayers money for whatever support they need and you don’t want same for immigrants that’s my friend is discriminating against immigrants. Many Finns receive taxpayers money, im sure you have received too, If some immigrants receive more money than others that’s not their fault and that’s not even a reason to be hated for immigrants, that’s a mistake by the people who’re giving the money and you should aim your anger towards them. I think you’re trying to play with words and twist everything that’s said, you don’t have solution so i will say bye to you.

  10. Farang

    Stop twisting my words. I asked you what’s your solution for immigrants if you don’t want them to be supprted by taxtpayers money and you suggested to stop giving to and i told you that’s discriminative to immigrants.

    That is totally irrelevant question because I never said they shouldn’t be supported. I said they should not be supported MORE than Finns. There is a difference, can’t you see that.

    And by saying “stop giving it to them” I meant we should stop giving them extra, which is not given to Finns either.

    All I want is that immigrants and Finns are treated EQUALLY.

    • Mark

      Farang

      All I want is that immigrants and Finns are treated EQUALLY.

      You haven’t a clue about the society in which you live. Equality and equity are both important aspects of social justice. Equity means that people that need the help get it. You take equity issues and try to turn them into equality issues and then use the ‘social injustice’ that you perceive to generate hatred towards foreigners. You are scum, mate.

  11. Farang

    That’s a pretty stupid thing to say, Farang. People don’t ‘become’ racists because of things that the social office do. Gosh, you really think racism is a response to social injustice? You’re so fucked up Farang!

    That is the truth in Finland. It is absolutely marginal phenomenon that people in Finland are racist only because they hate people with different colour. Most of the “racism” (and now I mean racism as which is the problem we are facing nowadays) is just prejudice caused by fear that immigrants are making the life of Finns somehow more difficult.

    And that kind of “racism” is caused by either inequal treatment of Finns, or the feeling that Finns are treated inequally.

    And yes, you are correct, that is not the REAL racism as by definition. But you know what? In Finland there is no real racism, all the racism that is nowadays being discussed about, is purely prejudice caused by uncertainty.

    It’s totally useless to try to fight (real) racism, because it doesn’t exist here (except some marginal cases, but that is really not a problem)

    • Mark

      Farang

      That is the truth in Finland.

      That racism is just prejudice. Heck, what would we do without you Farang, to put us straight on things!

      Look, you idiot, you can nitpick over what YOU think is real or not real racism and try to make it all out to be just a sense of justice or uncertainty, but what you are talking about is REAL discrimination that affects the wellbeing and welfare of real people.

      It’s totally useless to try to fight (real) racism, because it doesn’t exist here (except some marginal cases, but that is really not a problem)

      Can you fudge that any more? 😀 1) It doesn’t exist. 2) Except in some marginal cases. 3) But these are not really a problem.

      You are such a total joke on this website Farang, and you cannot even see it. What an apologist!

  12. Farang

    Mark

    Can you fudge that any more? 1) It doesn’t exist. 2) Except in some marginal cases. 3) But these are not really a problem.

    Means there are some marginal percentage of real racists who could be a threat to immigrants. But even if there are violent assault against immigrants, they don’t happen more than any other violent attacks. Ofcourse every single violent attack is too much, but there is nothing anyone can do about these. There will always be violence, we can’t get rid of it totally as long as humans exists.

    • Mark

      Stop talking through your ARSE Farang. You can provide no evidence and no figures to back up your claims about rates of violent assault. And why is it that you suddenly lurch towards the ‘violent assault’ as if that is the only kind of racism that is damaging? Who the hell do you think you are telling immigrants what forms of racism are important and which are not?

      Arrogant and ill-informed!

  13. Farang

    D4R

    If some immigrants receive more money than others that’s not their fault and that’s not even a reason to be hated for immigrants, that’s a mistake by the people who’re giving the money and you should aim your anger towards them.

    Once again you seem to not understand what I’m saying. So I repeat:

    I AM NOT ANGRY AT IMMIGRANTS (is that clear enough?)

    I don’t blame immigrants, because I understand it is not their fault.

    But there are lots of people who don’t think as much as I do or like I do. All they see is that immigrants are given more than what they get and then they get angry at immigrants. It’s just human nature. Same way as in my example of two brothers. Did you read that?

    I repeat that also: A family with 2 sons. The parents constantly treat the other son better than the other. They buy hhim new toys and stuff and the other gets nothing. Eventually the son who gets nothing develops hatred against his brothers even while it’s the parents’ fault.

    Can you understand that?

    • Mark

      I AM NOT ANGRY AT IMMIGRANTS (is that clear enough?)

      I don’t think this has much to do with anything. You refuse to acknowledge and understand problems that affect immigrants. Not only that, but you defend racism and racists again and again. I find it surprising that you would also want to ‘be our friend’ at the same time, just because, well, you are not angry with us or blame us.

      You don’t see your arrogance or condascending tone, do you?

      But there are lots of people who don’t think as much as I do or like I do

      Thank goodness there are a lot of people that think a lot more than you do. You seem to have a very high opinion of yourself for someone that cannot count, cannot see a logical argument, cannot properly paraphrase an opponent’s argument, cannot see contradictions to their own argument and cannot accept that just possibly, racism might be a problem in Finland, even though you are completely unqualified to give any final judgement on this.

      You’re example is a joke and a distortion of how the social system works in Finland. However, if you want to make it absolutely clear that racism is never justified, EVEN when there are problems or inequalities in the system, than I think you will start to make more friends in the immigrant community, Farang.

    • D4R

      Im glad that you in your own words don’t agree or think as those ignorant people who put a blame on immigrants. So if you agree with us and don’t think as those ignorant people then what’re we arguing about? why don’t you go and have a meeting with those people who blame immigrants of everything that goes wrong in Finland and educate them not think that way.

    • Mark

      Why don’t you take a break from Migrant Tales for a week or two Farang. You’ve made this place a platform for your ideas for some time and I think you’ve gone too far now in completely disrespecting the aims of this blog and trying to hold the moral high ground at the same time! It’s really quite depressing, and yet this blog is supposed to be a place for immigrants to air their views. You clearly have no respect for anyone here.

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