Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism will be updated separately. To see other examples of opinionated journalism in Finland about cultural diversity, please go to this link.
What’s wrong with this story? For one the headline suggests that the first refugees that came to Finland was over 40 years. Wrong. The first big group of refugees that came to Finland was about 94 years ago in 1921, when some 6,500 Russians fled the Soviet Union from the island fortification of Kronstadt, located near St Petersburg. By not investigating enough the reporter, Jukka Harju, reinforces some of the myths about Finland like so few have come here and so recently. What about during World War 2? Where the Ingrians that fled the former Soviet Union to Finland refugees like the 420,000 Karelians that were forced to abandon their homes after their lands were ceded to the USSR?
The Vietnamese, Chileans and Somalis that came here as refugees were just one out of many groups that moved to Finland after independence. They’re not the first. Another careless claim and generalization that the reporter claims is that the Vietnamese “adapted” while the Somalis faced “prejudices.” If the reporter would have done his work more carefully, he’d discover pretty rapidly that it wasn’t only prejudice that the Somalis faced (and still do) hostile endemic racism. Prejudice is, in my opinion, a too light word to describe the Somali experience in Finland. Didn’t the Vietnamese face any “prejudice?” What about the Chileans? A little digging would revealed that these groups faced racism in Finland as well.