What are immigrants supposed to adapt to?

by , under Enrique

One of the biggest questions when speaking of the integration of immigrants and visible minorities in Europe and Finland is what are they supposed to adapt to. In theory everything sounds perfect in our law books. What happens on the ground, however, is a totally different story. 

Kuva 79
This abandoned Cadillac reveals the crude face of integration. Great expectations but difficult to fulfill because the car has no engine. The children of immigrants are one vulnerable group.

The shameful xenophobic and anti-Semitic events going on in Hungary and Eastern Europe, Greece and elsewhere are enough proof that the region has some serious issues to deal with.

In my home country of Finland, matters have gotten so bad that in 2011 the Perussuomalaiset (PS), an anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam party, rose from the minor leagues to become the country’s third-largest political force in parliament.

The PS is today the fertile breeding ground for right-wing extremism in Finland.

Two crucial articles of our Constitution should not be forgotten when speaking about integration:

Chapter 2 Section 6  (No one shall, without an acceptable reason, be treated differently from other persons on the ground of sex, age, origin, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability or other reason that concerns his or her person).

Chapter 2 Section 17 (The right of everyone to use his or her own language, either Finnish or Swedish, before courts of law and other authorities, and to receive official documents in that language, shall be guaranteed by an Act…The Sami, as an indigenous people, as well as the Roma and other groups, have the right to maintain and develop their own language and culture).

I am confident that Finnish officials have the best intentions in mind when they look at the integration of newcomers. There is, however, a major obstacle when speaking of effective integration and inclusion of immigrants in our society: lack of funds and not seeing any worth in cultural diversity.

This shouldn’t surprise us. The whole social construct of Finnish national identity is based on narrow terms. We need, however, to change that culture radically. Instead of reinforcing our exclusiveness, new generations of Finns should be taught the importance of inclusion, mutual acceptance and respect for diversity.

Why would anyone want to embrace the culture and values of any society that is outright hostile to them?

You have a choice in Finland: Become an an Uncle Tom (Tuomo-setä).

In Finland the definition of aTuomo-setä could be any immigrant or visible minority who betrays other people like himself by becoming and adopting the same values that exclude others socially.

Taking into account the negative atmosphere and the inability of Finnish society to accept and permit cultural diversity to become the standard, it would be naive if not foolhardy to forget your roots and identity when adapting.

Your greatest asset to our society is your culture and identity.

It’s not being third-rate white Finn.

  1. Farang

    Enrique, you make lot’s of claims here but you present no evidence.

    You claim that immigrants are treated poorly, but there is no evidence of that. Could you atleast present even one single example how immigrant in Finland is treated illegally etc?

    Just to give some concrete examples, so you talking would not be… just talk.

    Funny that you refer to this Uncle Tom stuff… You also say that you are Finnish yourself. So basically you are Uncle Tom yourself. Your continuos posts (like this one) to bad mouth Finland and Finns just proves that.

    You don’t even seem to be ready for real debate, because you are censoring comments from the blog.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Farang, so I’m an “uncle Tom” and a person that bad mouths Finland and the Finns. You accuse me of censoring your comments.

      Do you know how many times I have heard that line on MT? I’ve lost count.

      Now answer the question: Why should a person adapt to another person’s culture and in the process lose his identity? Do you think there’s anything good in that?

  2. Yossie

    Enrique

    You talk a lot about this “right-wing extremism”, but are you not extremist yourself?

    “The whole social construct of Finnish national identity is based on narrow terms. We need, however, to change that culture radically.”

    Dont you find it arrogant to come here and start telling us how to define our identity? You take it as your right to change our culture.

    Also you take it us your right to label any immigrant that appriciates finnish culture and don’t want to start changing it as “uncle toms”, that betrays his race.

    In your Finland, there is one choice: that is “diversity”. But what is this diversity? You talk a lot about it but does it mean in real life?

    How do we benefit from everyone talking their own language and having tens of ways of not understanding each other? How do we benefit for having dozens of cultures(that is different values) around us? How do I benefit if my neighbor is from an “more social culture” that keeps disturbing me with their loud noices and such? How is the culture “more richer” if we have to dumb down our traditions in fear of offending someone.

    How I see diversity is a bunch of people with different values annoying each other. To make it work, you would need to actually cut down the cultures to the tiniest common factors. Does that make a world a diverse place?

    Please explain to me how this diversity is a good thing.

  3. Farang

    Now answer the question: Why should a person adapt to another person’s culture and in the process lose his identity? Do you think there’s anything good in that?

    That is interesting, because Finland IS NOT demanding that immigrants should lose their identity and culture.

    Only when the culture is contradicting with Finnish law, that can’t be allowed. Don’t you agree?

    And while you make this claim, could you provide us with even one example where Finland would have demanded immigrants to adapt to our culture and lose their own culture and identity?

  4. Farang

    Yossie

    Dont you find it arrogant to come here and start telling us how to define our identity? You take it as your right to change our culture.

    Exactly. Enrique is judging Finns because they (allegedly) want immigrants to lose their culture. But at the same time Enrigue is demanding that Finns have to lose their culture.

    So he is contradicting with himself, or then this actually reveals his true intentions, which is to treat people unequally based of their origins.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Dont you find it arrogant to come here and start telling us how to define our identity? You take it as your right to change our culture.

      I thought we lived in a democracy where people can express their opinions.

      I highly recommend that you take a few sociology courses to update your views of culture by a century. Your views of how culture works and what it is sounds like what people thought back in the nineteenth century.

  5. Jssk

    Now answer the question: Why should a person adapt to another person’s culture and in the process lose his identity? Do you think there’s anything good in that?

    Indeed. Why should we adapt to multiculturalism and globalism?

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Indeed. Why should we adapt to multiculturalism and globalism?

      The difference here is a pretty clear one. Certainly you don’t have to but I cannot take away the benefits of these two matters from you. From cultural diversity there’s new blood, new ideas, innovation while from globalism you are able to feel it in your wallet.

      If you have ever read our constitution, it says pretty clearly that other language groups and ethnic backgrounds living in Finland have the right to embrace and develop their culture (Chapter 2 Section 17). There’s something about prohibiting discrimination (Chapter 2 Section 6) as well. Contrary to these two matters you mentioned, multiculturalism and globalism, you are encouraging and promoting anti-Constitutional values.

      Let’s take your usage of the term multiculturalism, which I guess you mean it to signify a culturally diverse society, right? If we are a culturally diverse society now, how do you plan to stop it from being what it is? Are you going to prohibit migrants from moving to Finland and deport those you don’t like? Or enforce an ethnic system that will only permit white people (ethnically and spiritually) from moving here?

      This is where your argument is exposed as a pipe dream. You sound like those that claimed that the world was flat before Christopher Columbus set sail in 1492 to find a new route to India.

  6. Mark

    Yossie and Farang

    Exactly. Enrique is judging Finns because they (allegedly) want immigrants to lose their culture. But at the same time Enrigue is demanding that Finns have to lose their culture.

    That is interesting, because Finland IS NOT demanding that immigrants should lose their identity and culture.

    Well, if this turns out to be the position of you two going forward into the New Year, then we may have actually made some progress in 2012.

    Indeed, the vast majority of ‘multicultural’ facets do not require action or change on the part of either the host citizens or the immigrants. However, the mantra that when in Finland, do as the Finns do is and has been central to this debate and to the fascist politicians that have jumped on teh anti-immigration bandwagon.

    I’ve lived next to loud Finns, Farang, drunk and rowdy, throwing furniture over balconies and screaming drunken abuse at each other at 4.00 am, on an almost weekly basis!!! It is not the preserve of some foreigners to be noisy. This almost mythic representation of both Finnish and immigrant culture is clearly the functioning of lazy and often racist minds.

    The key factor here is that public services must take account of the public that they serve and be sensitive to religious and ethnic patterns. This is not about asking staff to break the law, but understanding that a degree of cultural sensitivity allows them to be more effective.

    The idea that the first thing that you must do with an Immigrant is tell them that they must not break the Law in Finland is demeaning and insulting. There is no justice in it, and while that social injustice is perpetuated many times daily it will only breed contempt for Finnish culture, not respect.

    Enrique is not asking Finns to ‘lose their culture’, unless you want to now claim that xenophobia, racism and fascism are THE culture of Finns. MT is calling for tolerance of culture, and a recognition that ‘multiculturalism’ is in many respects no different to ‘culturalism’, which is already diverse. The enemy here is ignorance, and assuming Finland is some ‘monocultural homogeneity’, while a popular belief among Finns, is simply not true. Let’s face it, at Finland’s not so distant birth, the diversity was such that you were killing each other over your differences! Diversity exists in Finland today among Finns like in any other country, and covers every dimension of cultrual, social and political life. From food, to music, to literature, to sport, to entertainment, to the arts, to politics, to attitudes, to values, to behaviour, to philosophical and religious beliefs Finns are individuals, with no two Finns being completely alike.

    The idea that you can tell people, ‘when in Finland, do as the Finns do’ is a nonsense. And which Finn exactly are we supposed to be copying?

    That is what Enrique is getting at. This kind of mythical notion about what ‘culture’ is really is completely outdated. Perhaps in the days of the 1930s and 1940s, nationalist propoganda had an almost hypnotic power over a populace, but today, people ARE more educated and thereby also more media literate. Yes, there will always be propoganda, but people can at least see that all news channels have their own interests in presenting the news in a particular way. The ‘news’ that Finland is a completely homogeneous country is propoganda, coming unsurprisingly from an ultra-nationalist political organisation that is able to directly benefit politically from convincing people of the ‘truth’ of this news. Clearly, though, not everyone is smart enough to see that they are being sold a line by extremist politicians. Nope, they love the idea of a cultural war where they can live up to some childish vision of manly heroism in service to the Fatherland. And that is where the danger truly lies.

  7. Jssk

    From cultural diversity there’s new blood, new ideas, innovation while from globalism you are able to feel it in your wallet.

    Are you implying that culture is related to blood/genes? And how does cultural diversity cause innovation?. I dont see how diversity is the factor that causes innovation.

    If you have ever read our constitution, it says pretty clearly that other language groups and ethnic backgrounds living in Finland have the right to embrace and develop their culture (Chapter 2 Section 17). There’s something about prohibiting discrimination (Chapter 2 Section 6) as well. Contrary to these two matters you mentioned, multiculturalism and globalism, you are encouraging and promoting anti-Constitutional values.

    Im not denying that right in any way. I think that immigrants should adapt to the native culture. Otherwise it would be suicidal for the native people if combined with high rate of immigration.

    Let’s take your usage of the term multiculturalism, which I guess you mean it to signify a culturally diverse society, right? If we are a culturally diverse society now, how do you plan to stop it from being what it is? Are you going to prohibit migrants from moving to Finland and deport those you don’t like? Or enforce an ethnic system that will only permit white people (ethnically and spiritually) from moving here?

    I have yet to see a truly working multicultural system so i dont know. I dont see how many cultures could exists in same area without conflicts or one culture raising above the others evetually. Im not against immigration nor i think that people should be deported on cultural/racial basis. What comes to “whiteness”, finns could look like native siberians for all i care.

Leave a Reply