What is racism?

by , under Mark

What is racism?
Racism entails a combination of fundamental wrongs against a person on the basis that he or she belongs to a group defined by race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origin. It can take the form of actions, a call to action, a behavior (individual or institutional), an attitude, or a belief. The hatred/anger/fear/mistrust that fuels racism often hides behind a belief or cognitive system of justification – the so-called ‘denial of racism’.

What follows is a simplification. But it serves to give an idea of how different attitudes or beliefs relate to racism and how denials are constructed. It might also serve as a stimulus for discussion.

Why is it wrong?
•    It is an abuse of power: a dominant group violates the human rights of a minority group.
•    It is the defamation of a people: our people are good/superior and your people are bad/inferior.
•    It is an injustice. It breaks the Constitutional laws of most societies (including Finland’s).
•    It is immoral. It is valueing people differently based on their ethnic grouping.

How is it justified?
•    It is an abuse of power: – but WE were here first, so WE can suppress THEIR culture.
•    It is the defamation of a people: – but THEY create more problems than THEY solve.
•    It is an injustice: – when THEY break the law THEY should be punished more severely (Finnish Constitution: Ch2 § 6 Everyone is equal before the law).
•    It is immoral: – but WE are more valuable to society than THEM.

Why does it persist?

•    It is an abuse of power: – getting people to admit or give up power is notoriously difficult.
•    It is the defamation of a people: – nationalism says our country is the best. Finns are the greatest.
•    It is an injustice: – we tell ourselves we are just looking after our own (Finnish Constitution: Ch2 § 6 No one shall… be treated differently from other persons on the grounds of…origin, language, [and] religion…)
•    It is immoral: – It is easy to abuse a person and then deny it if you can blame them for the abuse.

Why is it pointless?
•    It is an abuse of power: – it’s stupid. Abuse creates animosity, which creates more problems. These things always come back to bite you in the bum!
•    It is the defamation of a people: – it’s tribalism. You cannot put your foot on a man’s throat and then complain he doesn’t stand up.
•    It is an injustice: – it’s counterproductive. If you take the basic rights of one group away, then society becomes poorer in terms of overall justice.
•    It is immoral: – it’s plain wrong. It hurts people. There is only one species, and it’s human. And they are called HUMAN rights!

What is the appeal?

•    It distracts from the problems at home and shifts responsibility.
•    It generates a feeling of ‘belonging’ for the in-group.
•    It vents generalized anger about an ‘unfair’ society.
•    It’s easy to hide the hatred/fear behind a ‘good morality’.

What are the common denials of racism?

The economic denial: It’s not personal, it’s only business!

The social denial: We never had any problems until they came along!

The cultural denial: But their so different; how can they ever fit in!

The multicultural denial: We are all the same and they are all totally different

The social denial: We never had any problems until you came along!

The historical denial: Immigration never existed and we’ve never emigrated.

The anthropological denial: But of course they are just savages, aren’t they!

The philosophical denial: It’s not immoral to believe races are different.

The biological denial: Biological differences justify us treating them differently.

The anti-philosophical denial: Racial equality is just a philosopher’s pipe dream!

The moral denial: We are just taking care of our own!

The superior denial: We’re just better than them!

The scientific denial: But it’s been proven that we are better!

The sexual denial: I don’t like those foreigners, but I’d shag her (ethnic woman)!

The sophisticated denial: Competition between peoples is normal!

The strategic denial: Imagine if one day they were the majority!

The clichéd denial: Hey, I’ve got friends who are Arab, but…!

The honest denial: It’s them fucking niggers/pakis/arabs/islamists…!

The dishonest denial: It’s not about ethnicity; us Finns just want…!

The comedy denial: How do you make a black man cry? Kill his whole family!

The reverse denial: But why did you ever want to come here?!

The paranoid denial: Everyone knows they’re terrorists!

The simple denial: I’m not a racist, but…!


  1. Enrique

    Mark gives a comprehensive explanation what racism is, where it comes from and why it exists. What is surprising in countries like Finland is that some people don’t know what racism is and why it is a menace to our values. Open racism and populism go hand-in-hand. One cannot exist without the other.

    What you are saying is that our prejudice is acceptable because these are “bad” people.

  2. David

    Is not the definition of “Racism” originally anyone who is aware that differences exists between groups and races. And is is not the liberal pro multiculturalism groups which have turned the meaning into one which is now seen as seeing groups in a lower way. Racism has existed since the beginning of the evolution of man. But “Racism” as we know it today does not because the true meaning of “Racism” has nothing to do with hate towards others. Because if we use the correct term from “Racism” then we are admitting that groups are different, and there is the issue of can they co exist with each other . And if the answer is “No” is this a answer which many do not want to hear.

    • Enrique

      David, honestly can you take the world and paint it black and white? What is the “liberal pro multiculturalism groups?”

      Your arguments are thin and only servie to pay heed and justify such a social illness. One of the problems is that people don’t even understand it. Certainly you can speak and justify this social illness because you are white and live in the country you were born.

      This idea that there are “races” and we go to great lengths to draw lines can have a sinister side. Check out the role of eugenics before World War 2. No, David, it doesn’t work that way. Finns comprise of many ethnic backgrounds. Much of our nineteenth century identity was based on racism.

  3. Mark

    David

    – “Is not the definition of “Racism” originally anyone who is aware that differences exists between groups and races.”

    I tagged this one the philosophical denial (see the list). You slightly misrepresent this idea, in that believing in differences between races is hardly racism, but rather, what are the values placed upon those differences. What you don’t include in your definition is the ‘defamation’ element, and this is really key.

    There is not one definition of racism. The old dictionary definition reflected a simple understanding of racism that was around when slavery was still being battled – that of simple racial superiority. Modern definitions take into account different dimensions, including – power, morality, legality (i.e. state sponsored), and behaviour.

    – “And is is not the liberal pro multiculturalism groups which have turned the meaning into one which is now seen as seeing groups in a lower way.”

    I’m not sure I agree with how you represent modern ideas about racism. First, seeing groups in a lower way is only a small modification of ‘one race is superior to another’. Grouping is generally understood to be ‘the Other’, or a group distinguishable by ethnicity, language etc. Thereby, there can be racism between caucasian groupings. In that sense, racism is understood under the umbrella of prejudice, which can be based on origin, sexual orientation, gender, age etc. We simply have a much better understanding these days of how in-groups and out-groups relate through power relations. Power relations is the one key element that you don’t mention in your definitions that throws a great deal of light on the phenomena of racism and prejudice in general.

    – “Racism has existed since the beginning of the evolution of man.”

    That is an anti-racist theory and also is recognised as a form of denial.It combines scientific, biological and what I call the ‘sophisticated’ denial (competition is natural). This is quite a deceptive statement. Imagine if I was to say ‘murder has existed since the beginning of evolution’, would you still think it was somehow okay? By mixing ‘evolution’ and ‘beginnings’, the temptation is to say that morality does not matter, that it is natural. This can be seen as an attempt to normalise ideas about ‘cultural competition’, and fundamentally, to justify the abuses of power of majority groups.

    It is interesting to ask whether a minority black person can ever be racist towards a majority white person, by calling him a ‘honky’, for example. Intuition says that of course racism can go in both directions, between a minority and a majority, but the problem with this is that it ignores the power relations between these two groups. For example, one might describe the ‘honky’ racism as reactionary. It’s also important never to blind oneself to where the real power lies and where the real and major abuse is. The same is true of arguments about men’s violence, for example.

    There have been evolutionary theories about why racism should exist, but like many socioevolutionary ideas, they are incredibly crude and generally do a disservice to ideas to the theory of evolution. I.e. it conflates genotype, phenotype and races. Likewise, they generally ignore the role of social power and identity.

    – “But “Racism” as we know it today does not because the true meaning of “Racism” has nothing to do with hate towards others.”

    David – please, consider that statement for a minute. Racism has nothing to do with hate towards others!’. Are you trying to tell me that Martin Luther King was killed out of love? Are you suggesting we approach all human behaviour from an ammoral point of view, where emotions don’t matter?

    – “Because if we use the correct term from “Racism” then we are admitting that groups are different, and there is the issue of can they co exist with each other.”

    Well, your ‘correct term’ is rather distorted, a straw man even. It seems so easy to claim that ‘people are different’. It’s also a kind of anti-anti-racism strategy, because anti-racists talk so much about differences and diversity, how could they possibly disagree that people are different?

    The question is difference is moot. Are people different? Yes. Can ethnicities be identified? Yes. Are ethnicities different to each other? Yes. Do all people within one ethnic group conform to a single set of behaviours? No. And it is at this point that ethnicity breaks down as a useful category. So to continue to use it and deem it somehow the ultimate means of defining the rights of people or hwo people should be treated is clearly misguided.

    It is not simply a matter of ‘accepting groups are different’. Racism is all about everything else that goes with it.

    Whether ‘races’ or ‘ethnicities’ can coexist is a seperate issue from whether here are differences.

    – “And if the answer is “No” is this a answer which many do not want to hear.

    The reality of the situation is that inter-ethnic conflicts exist, so clearly it there are difficulties and questions about coexistence. But there is also rather circular argument here. I’ve refered to this before as the ‘man who fucks up the dinner so that he never has to cook again’ argument. I mean, if you or a section of society approach multiculturalism from a racist perspective (I don’t like them foreigners and they should have the same rights as myself – the first is xenophobia, but combined with the second, it becomes racism), then the ‘experiment’ is doomed even before it’s began. And then all the problems that ensue from that racist attitude are held up as reasons why it cannot ever work.

    David, the simply answer is that these are human problems and so can be solved by human behaviour. These are not problems of genes or evolution. That kind of shift in the argument is perhaps the most dangerous of all, equivalent to the eugenics arguments of the Nazis. Be careful how you take your moral stand, David.

  4. Mark

    Sorry correction – David’s idea of racism existing since the dawn of evolution can be seen as an anti-anti-racist argument.

  5. Allan

    Racism is the belief in “races”, that a genotype defines character and that this is hereditary.

    “Racism” is a psychological excuse a foreigner gives in a country he finds his own shortcomings unbearable.

    Discrimination based on culture depends what you define as culture – is discriminating against
    chavs, dopeheads and winos wrong? Rich people In Töölö are racists then.

  6. Allan

    Mark – by your definiition apartheid in South Africa was not racism as it was a minority group weilding power over a majority group.

  7. Allan

    Xenophobia is ” unfounded fear of foreigners” – then we have “white flight” that happens because of “xenosofia”.

    I do not understand multiculturalism. If you want to move to a place you percieve as somehow better, why do you want to make it like the place you wanted to leave in the first place?

  8. Enrique

    Don’t you think Allan that we need a serious and serious debate about racism in Finland? Mark’s input has been to give us a comprehensive view of what it is. But let’s go further and ask why it is important to address this social ill. For one, our values as our society will be compromised. An example: those values that keep your society together will be undermined if you permit some to be treated in a different way. An example: How can we maintain a value like free speech if we don’t allow others to voice their views? How can we ask them to accept our democratic system if it is the one that is excluding them?

  9. David

    The issue is that the word “Racism” does come over as a bit archaic . The word Racism its used many times to describe people who express anti immigration views . But in Europe you will find immigrants from outside Europe who arrived in European countries in the 50s and 60s who share anti immigration views the same as European whites. Would you describe them as also being “Racist”? .Is not the fact that the anti racist groups have not had many victories over the last two decades, where the anti immigration groups are storming ahead, could that be that the anti fascist groups are using the word “Racist” in its old form when it does need to be redefined

    • Enrique

      Well, David, racism is found in all ethnic groups. Racism is racism just like you cannot give a more acceptable name to cancer.

  10. David

    Is questioning Immigration racist or being socially aware?

    This is why in the immigration debate using the “Racist” tag is outdated. As there are apparent problems that come with immigration to to raise them is not racist but being aware of a social issues.

  11. Mark

    Allan

    – “Mark – by your definiition apartheid in South Africa was not racism as it was a minority group weilding power over a majority group.”

    The second part I gave as an example of the principle, the principle being an abuse of power. Therefore, no example will give a complete account.

    – “Racism is the belief in “races”, that a genotype defines character and that this is hereditary.”

    This is not strictly true, presented in this way. Some theories of racism have tackled the ‘belief in races’, but it’s not a prerequisit to racism. Genotypes and theories of hereditary based on genetics are relatively new concepts and were not around when some of the worst examples of modern racism was well under way, e.g. during slavery.

    Clearly racism is not simply a belief in races. Let’s take a case example.

    Imagine a Somali doctor, escaping intellectual persecution in Mogadishu, re-trains in Finland, learns Finnish and attempts to get a job. During one interview, the potential employer, not considering herself to be a racist, nevertheless decides that this doctor, though qualified, sadly would not ‘fit in’ with her department; moreover, she decides it’s better for him if he finds a job maybe nearer the capital, where people are more cosmopolitan and the ethnic mix is more varied. This person doesn’t consider herself to be racist, or to believe in ‘races’, but nevertheless has acted in a very racist way. A

    A consequence of this action, behaviour and attitude combined can be understood in terms of the power relations. The employer has the ‘power’ to give a job, a basic component of modern living, and has chosen not to ’empower’ the foreigner by giving it to them, not on the basis of qualifications, and not because she doesn’t like foreigners or thinks they are different, but rather, because she thinks they won’t fit in. Worst of all, people then complain foreigners are unemployed. I labelled this above ‘the cultural denial’, because what was clearly racist in terms of being prejudicial is justified by a consideration of whether he ‘fits in’ to the existing culture. It is this homogoneous thinking and a blindness to the issues of power and discrimination that make this denial seem perfectly rational.

  12. Mark

    Allan

    – “I do not understand multiculturalism. If you want to move to a place you percieve as somehow better, why do you want to make it like the place you wanted to leave in the first place?”

    This seems to be the nub of your lack of understanding, Allan. First, you imagine that people come here purely as economic migrants and not for other reasons, i.e. of necessity and to escape possible death. Second, why is it an either or in terms of either better or worse?

    I think it’s fair to accept that people prefer on the whole their ‘own’ culture, though a curiosity and willingness to explore other cultures goes a long way to making this world a more interesting and peaceful place. Not only that, but getting to know other cultures also gives a different perspective on one’s own culture. Freedom of expression allows for cultural characteristics to be explored, reconstituted and even abandoned – and it’s a freedom that is enshrined in the Finnish constitution. Why would we not be tolerant towards someone practicing their own culture in Finland as long as it doesn’t contravene Finnish laws?

  13. Mark

    Allan

    – “The issue is that the word “Racism” does come over as a bit archaic . The word Racism its used many times to describe people who express anti immigration views.”

    I understand what you are getting at. The issue is rather similar to gender, where people might think that everyone has the same rights and freedoms, and so really that kind of gender and racial discrimination is a thing of the past. This is a common misconception. If anything, people have become weary to issues of prejudice and simply prefer to believe that all is well with the world. Except that these same people do like to complain about those bloody foreigners.

    You cannot seriously have a discussion about immigration and not take issues of prejudice into account. Prejudice comes in many forms, and of course they are all wrong, though they might not all be specifically racism. I think to understand racism, you have to move beyond thinking about individual cases of foreigners not integrating or behaving badly, and realise that people take individual behaviour and use this to talk about group characteristics. That is very much in the realm of racism. And even simple racist attitudes have underlying them a ‘them and us’ attitude, which though not considering our ‘race’ as superior, nevertheless does defame an ethnicity that isn’t our own.

    – “But in Europe you will find immigrants from outside Europe who arrived in European countries in the 50s and 60s who share anti immigration views the same as European whites. Would you describe them as also being “Racist”?

    It depends what you mean by ‘anti-immigration’ views. It is a well known phenomena in sociology that people who ‘adopt’ a culture/identity can

    .Is not the fact that the anti racist groups have not had many victories over the last two decades, where the anti immigration groups are storming ahead, could that be that the anti fascist groups are using the word “Racist” in its old form when it does need to be redefined

  14. Mark

    Ooops, the post was entered before I’d finished. I’ll carry on from … a culture/identity can…

    have more fanatical views in defence of that culture than someone who was born into it. They may have invested a lot of energy in ‘fitting in’, and so other foreigners who don’t seem so keen on fitting in are giving foreigners in general a bad name. Also, having received some acceptance from the host notion, they don’t want to risk that being overturned.

    – “Is not the fact that the anti racist groups have not had many victories over the last two decades, where the anti immigration groups are storming ahead, could that be that the anti fascist groups are using the word “Racist” in its old form when it does need to be redefined”

    The definitions of racism that I offer here are redefinitions of the ‘old form’. Just out of interest, would you like to offer a definition of racism of your own?

  15. Allan

    I think one of those was for David.

    But Mark – we talk about genotypes in modern science. In olden days races were defined by religion, and even some christian missionaries defended slavery as an institution. Just because ” races” are defined by scientist instead of prophets hasnt changed any of the arguments.

    And what comes to economic migration – I am less puzzled people like that would want to live like at home, but if a person is fleeing from a society which wants to kill him then I fail to see any point in recreating the same society somewhere else.

  16. Mark

    David

    – “Is questioning Immigration racist or being socially aware?”

    I think you would say it’s being socially aware, though I wouldn’t necessarily say that questioning immigration makes one racist. In fact, not anywhere in my article did I make that suggestion. The question of racism is rather more complicated than people seem willing to accept. It is about beliefs and attitudes. It’s extremely unlikely that someone is going to convince anyone that their attitudes are racist; rather, it’s something that you just come to accept. I accept that I am a bit racist at times. It’s not really such a big deal, mostly because I’m happy to question my myself and my attitudes and look at the underlying motivations. There are times when I am pisssed off at all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons, and I’m pretty certain that I’m applying prejudices and some will be racist. The question is, do I recognise them and do what I can to challenge myself and my laziness, or do I construct a belief system such that I don’t ever choose to look at my own thoughts any more critically?

    – “This is why in the immigration debate using the “Racist” tag is outdated. As there are apparent problems that come with immigration to to raise them is not racist but being aware of a social issues.”

    Frankly, the idea that consideriing racism ‘outdated’ when considering immigration is scary. You also have to understand David that this discussion of racism arises because a political party is gaining popular support by claiming that immigration needs to be taken very seriously on the political agenda. In that kind of political environment, it is very important to consider the issue from the point of view of racism. A person that refers to Mohammad as a paeodophile and is an elected MP is extremely worrying if for no other reason than how can they represent their Islamic constituents if they have absolutely no respect for their religious views or freedom?

    I agree David that addressing the problems of immigration is not racist. But focusing only on the problems of immigration and offering second class citizenship and ethnic defamation as solutions almost certainly is.

  17. Mark

    Allan

    – “But Mark – we talk about genotypes in modern science.”

    I have nothing against talking about genotypes. I am a biologist by training. The issue for me is when people start to talk about cultural phenomena in a reductionist way such that the really important issues, such as power relations, rights, and prejudices, are somehow normalised or even trivialised.

    – “And what comes to economic migration – I am less puzzled people like that would want to live like at home, but if a person is fleeing from a society which wants to kill him then I fail to see any point in recreating the same society somewhere else.”

    As if! I mean, you are thinking of a foreign society like some kind of artefact, brought over in the luggage. There is as much variety in foreign cultures and society as there are in our own. People have differing views and so the idea that they would even want to recreate the culture that persecuted them is a little retarded, my friend.

  18. Allan

    Thats exactly what I feel about “multiculturalism”.

    And culture is not genetic, it is learned.

    Discriminating on the basis on something a person can not change is a bit different than discriminating due to persons choices. Neither are allowed in modern societies, except The latter when a society discriminates against lifestyles against its values.

  19. Mark

    Allan

    – “Discriminating on the basis on something a person can not change is a bit different than discriminating due to persons choices. Neither are allowed in modern societies, except The latter when a society discriminates against lifestyles against its values.”

    Well, if you only want racism to mean discrimation based only on skin colour, you might be satisfied. But it is no accident that Western societies have expanded on the legal definition of discrimination to encompass race, origin, citizenship and ethnicity. Each of this can give rise to what many people understand to be a form of racism. You can argue the semantics of ‘racism’, but the fact of the matter is that equality of opportunity is considered a basic human right in todays age. I’m sorry if that disappoints you.

  20. Mark

    David

    – “Using the word racism can not be used in the immigration debate anymore.”

    Good luck with that one David, but somehow I don’t think people are going to stop bringing the subject up just because you don’t like it. Racism, racism, racism…there you go, it quite clearly can be used in ‘today’s world’.

    – “With many non whites sharing the same views as white people being opposed to people who are white and non white What ever “Iism” being anti immigration is its not racism one because it can not be broken down into separate groups divided by race”

    Well, it’s the same tired point I’m trying to make with David. There is more to racism than skin colour. For example, are you suggesting that there is no crime called racism because there is no such thing as race? Now wouldn’t that be convenient!

  21. Allan

    Well, at least in the Finnish law there is no crime called “racism”, ideologies can not really be banned, as how to prove a thought crime.

  22. Mark

    Allan

    I’m sure you’ll split hairs over this, but:

    Under Rikoslaki 1995/578, ethnic agitation is a crime:

    “A person who spreads statements or other information among the public where a certain national, ethnic, racial or religious group or a comparable population group is threatened, defamed or insulted shall be sentenced for ethnic agitation to a fine or to imprisonment for at most two years.

    Likewise, under crimes against humanity Rikoslaki 212/2008,

    “A person who, as part of a broad or systematic assault on civilian population, … engages in racial discrimination or persecutes a recognizable group or community on the basis of political opinion, race, nationality, ethnic origin, culture, religion or gender or on other comparable grounds, shall be sentenced for a crime against humanity to imprisonment for at least one year or for life. An attempt is punishable.”

    And also, a racist motive for a crime can be regarded as aggravating circumstances under Rikoslaki 515/2003

    where “committing a crime against a person, because of his national, racial, ethnical or equivalent group” an aggravating circumstance in sentencing. In other words, it is grounds for increasing punishment.

    Under section 11 of 212/2008, discrimination is also crime:

    A person who in his/her trade or profession, service of the general public, exercise of official authority or other public function or in the arrangement of a public amusement or meeting, without a justified reason

    (1) refuses someone service in accordance with the generally applicable conditions,
    (2) refuses someone entry to the amusement or meeting or ejects him or her, or
    (3) places someone in an unequal or an essentially inferior position

    owing to his/her race, national or ethnic origin, colour, language, sex, age, family ties, sexual preference, state of health, religion, political orientation, political or industrial activity or another comparable circumstance shall be sentenced, unless the act is punishable as extortionate industrial discrimination, for discrimination to a fine or to imprisonment for at most six months.

    Under section 302/2004, it is also a crime to discriminate in work:

    An employer, or a representative thereof, who when advertising for a vacancy or selecting an employee, or during employment without an important and justifiable reason puts a applicant for a job or an employee in an inferior position

    (1) because of race, national or ethnic origin, nationality, colour, language, sex, age, family status, sexual preference or state of health, or
    (2) because of religion, political opinion, political or industrial activity or a
    comparable circumstance

    shall be sentenced for work discrimination to a fine or to imprisonment for at most
    six months.

    Add to this Section 6 of Chapter 2 of the Finnish Constitution, which states:

    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.

    So, exactly what facet of ‘racism’ do you think would be legal under Finnish law?

  23. Allan

    And where exactly does it read “racism is a crime” in those paragraphs? Racism is an ideology. Discrimination is a crime, and the motive for that discrimination may be an ideology, but the ideology itself is not a crime.

  24. Mark

    Allan

    I’ve heard that Panten ProV is very good for split hairs!

    Really Allan, is that all you can say about defining racism, that it’s an ideology?

    Where in the Finnish penal code does it say ‘murder is a crime’? Let me help you. It doesn’t. Do you also think that murder is not a crime?

    You are in quite a muddle, I think. Let’s be absolutely clear here: Discrimination on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, nationality, colour, language, and religion (among others) is a crime. It’s so funny how you conveniently leave that bit out when trying to differentiate discrimination as the crime rather than racism.

    You really are splitting hairs here. Do you really expect people to believe you when you say racism is legal in Finland? Most people understand racism to be more than just ‘ideas’, or even ‘an ideology’. I do accept that some people can be racists without committing crimes. Though i really don’t see how that furthers this discussion one little bit.

  25. Mark

    Allan
    If you prefer, I wil concede that racist acts are criminalised in Finland, but not necessarily racist thoughts, unless they are communicated in a particular way.

    My point in writing the article was not to define the criminal aspects of racism, but rather to give an explanation of racism that reflects modern understanding of it, and in a way that counters many of the myths and irrational denials that accompany a defence of what clearly is racist.

    Sorting the wheat from the chaff, as they say, is a tricky business. It does need to be said that being critical of immigration policies is not in itself racist. However, defaming a population grouping clearly is, and the line is often crossed without people even realising there was or should be a line.

    You seem to think racism is irrelevant, if I understand you correctly. That’s all very well, but it really doesn’t say very much about the definition of racism, and neither does it further our understanding of it.

  26. Maria

    Hi Mark, I only have a tiny remark, could you correct:
    “The honest denial: It’s them fucking niggers/pakis/arabs/islamists…!”

    Islamist is “Political Islam” is a set of ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system; that modern Muslims must return to the roots of their religion, and unite politically. Islamism is a controversial term and definitions of it sometimes vary. Leading Islamist thinkers emphasized the enforcement of sharia (Islamic law) on Muslims; of pan-Islamic political unity; and of the elimination of non-Muslim, particularly western military, economic, political, social, or cultural influences in the Muslim world, which they believe to be incompatible with Islam.”

    You should use Muslims, Islam followers but not “islamist”, I don’t think anybody, not even other Muslims, want to see islamists roaming free in the world….

    Just saying…. it might lead to controversy…we should be careful with the words we use….

  27. Mark

    Thanks for your comment Maria, and point taken. It doesn’t fit the structure of the list I gave and Muslims would be better there. I know people refer to Islamists and in that phrase the lump Muslims as well, and that I probably what I was getting at.

  28. Mark

    Maybe Enrique will be kind enough to change that, as I agree that it does invite misunderstanding.

    Maybe also an e.g. could be added after the key principle in ‘Why is it wrong?’, as this has also caused some misunderstanding.

    And I also noticed that social denial appears twice. 🙂

  29. Maria

    Yes, I agree, actually I have a friend from Tunisia and she has been posting on Facebook how some islamists want to turn the country into well that, an islamist republic, so she’s been advocating for a democratic country where people can choose whether or not to exercise their faith, and calling for people to go voting on the elections on the 24th of July.

    Have you seen this: Persepolis.

    I highly recommend it…

  30. Hannu

    A person that refers to Mohammad as a paeodophile and is an elected MP is extremely worrying if for no other reason than how can they represent their Islamic constituents if they have absolutely no respect for their religious views or freedom?

    So what you call fucking 9y old then? “multucultural love”? And have you red his text where you clearly see that it wasnt even point of that text.

    • Enrique

      –So what you call fucking 9y old then? “multucultural love”? And have you red his text where you clearly see that it wasnt even point of that text.

      Why is this such an issue with you Hannu? Do you belong to an anti-pedophile organization in Finland? If you do, I commend you. Tell me how Maria had Jesus and was a virgin? Does this suggest sex in some unthinkable and amoral way? Let’s make a big deal about it?

  31. Allan

    Where in the Finnish penal code does it say ‘murder is a crime’? Let me help you. It doesn’t.

    Actually it does. It defines what murder is. Nothing in the law book defines “racism”, it is just a term you invent your definition for.

    Racism is as legal in Finland as multiculturalism is a crime. No law makes ideologies criminal, but actions.

    • Enrique

      –Racism is as legal in Finland as multiculturalism is a crime. No law makes ideologies criminal, but actions.

      Allan, you better think this statement over. Does it show that you may have a difficult time understanding what racism is?

  32. Mark

    Allan

    Actually it doesn’t. As you say, it does define an crime called murder, but nowhere does it say ‘murder is a crime’. Have you have actually read the Rikoslaki?

    If it makes you feel better to think of racism as racial discrimination, go ahead. But please don’t try to convince me that because ‘racism’ ends in an ‘-ism’, it is an ideology like ‘communism’, ‘marxism’, ‘Thatcherism’ etc.

    Actual, the etymology of -ism is from Ancient Greek:

    From Ancient Greek -ισμός (-ismos), a suffix that forms abstract nouns of action, state, condition, doctrine.

    Note: racism refers to actions. If you wish to use racial discrimination, go ahead. I won’t complain. Maybe then we’ll get back to actual debate, not that you’ve really made any useful points in my opinion in the debate so far.

  33. Mark

    Hannu

    Hahaha. Nice way to smear multiculturism. There was something very nasty in your response, but be that as it may.

    There are lots of things in Christianity’s ancient and not so ancient past that we would all condemn today as barbaric and completely unacceptable (the Inquisition, stonings etc). But do you think that all Christians should be barred entry into Finland on that basis? Do you think we should start a debate asking all Christian churches to defend that practice? I doubt it.

    My objection to the topic being brought up by someone seeking to hold public office is that it was hijacking a genuine human rights topic for personal political gain; it nothing to do with protecting the rights of children; it was not said as part of a their work in a campaign to stop child marriage in parts of the world; it was not said in response to calls by Muslims marry and have sex with children in the West.

    No, it had everything to do with defaming a religion and defaming the people of a religion. Context is everything. Blind yourself to that, Hannu, by all means, but don’t ask me to.

  34. Mark

    Enrique

    Allan really has a difficult time understanding why it’s even necessary to define racism, and would much rather consider it an ideology and therefore it remains beyond the law. The reality is totally different. He is right in saying the law sanctions actions, not ideas. But he is wrong in saying that Racism is ONLY an ideology. It’s not even an ideology in the sense he implies. The people who actually advocate racism as a political or social belief system are few and far between and even then, they don’t call it racism, but more likely racial purity and would likely deny they are racists – they would probaby say they are patriotic.

    Racism is the pejorative word to describe acts and behaviour. It’s not an ideology in any sense of the word that he seems to want us to understand it.

    I guess he thinks that if the word racism can be shown to be problematic, then it would have to be abandoned, in favour of something like racial discrimination, and that would seem like some kind of victory. But I really don’t think that people in general are that uncomfortable with the meaning of ‘racism’ to want to have it changed.

    The most important change in the meaning of racism was to understand it was not simply about racial superiority, thinking one race better than another, though that remains at the heart of the idea. It was simply too easy to deny actual racism on the basis that the person did not have any supremicist thoughts, but was nevertheless discriminating on the basis of race (or ethnicity, as it’s nowadays referred to).

    Allan doesn’t seem to want to engage in a constructive discussion about what racism is. Nope, he turns the victim into the perpetrator:

    – ““Racism” is a psychological excuse a foreigner gives in a country he finds his own shortcomings unbearable.”

    But, Allan perfectly illustrates why the discussion about what racism is needs to happen. It cannot be allowed for people turn victims into supposed perpetrators and no-one stands up to say, this is wrong.

    Racism hurts people. It hurts them personally, it hurts them economically, and it hurts them socially.

    • Enrique

      Allan, I believe that racism is pretty well defined in our laws. Take a look at our Constitution and our Equality Act. If you discriminate because of race or ethnic origin, which is named specifically in those two laws, that is discrimination. They don’t say it is racism but it is discrimination, which is illegal by the state.

      The same goes with Eero Hakkarainen. Did he break the law? Not really but apart form his racist outbursts, can he ever be a minister because his values are against our laws?

      One matter is clear: the laws of Finland clearly prohibit discrimination.

  35. Allan

    You can go ahead ” changing the meaning of racism”, fact remains my definition is as valid – i base my definition on facts.

    The only need for you to have this discussion is that you have not realised the only racist here is you.

    In general this kind of obsession is surely detrimental to anyones quality of life if you
    create a paranoia that everything that happens to you is “racism”.

  36. Mark

    Allan

    I made it quite clear that there are different interpretations of what racism entails. I offered a definition that I think is a synthesis of the most useful ideas. You offered the idea that racism was an ideology or something dreamt up by unhappy foreigners. Then we get to arguing about whether it is legal – upon which I offered you a half dozen instances in Finnish law where racism, or if you prefer ‘discrimination based on ethnicity, race etc.’ is a crime. Instead, you ignore that and continue to claim that it is somehow legal – as if it exists only and purely on the level of ideas and never in the form of ‘acts’. In fact, we don’t disagree here because I included ‘acts’ as one of the manifestations of racism in my definition.

    You say you rely on facts. What facts are those? Your opinion that racism is an ideology or your opinion that foreigners dream up racism? I have to say, I missed the facts that you allude to.

    You create these absurd realities – that everything that happens to one is racism. No-one, myself included, has suggested that racism is ‘everything that happens to you’. On the contrary, we have given a concrete and detailed description of what racism is. Not only that, but that definition is reflected in the Finnish Constitution, the Finnish Penal Code, the laws of all EU countries, the UN and the USA.

    And your final resort is to call me a racist. Well, surprise surprise. And I’m a racist based on whose definition? Yours or mine or someone else’s?

    You even went so far as to say there is no racism in Finland.

    Keep going Allan. You have already eroded any shred of credibility you might have had.

  37. Mark

    Allan

    Where did I change the meaning of racism, by the way?

    When I first wrote my definition, I expected to edit it several times to make the ideas consistent and tight. Indeed, I did edit it several times. I also thought that I might have to revisit the definition based on comments from the blog. I expected that those comments might help to improve the definition. As it is, nothing has been offered that convinces me to change anything substantial, except to make it clear that second part of the maxim is offered as an example to illustrate the first part.

    So, I see no change. I think that even if I conceded that racial discrimination is an okay synonym of racism that might satisfy some people who want to obliterate the word racism, that in no way changes the definition I’ve offered.

    So, where did I change the meaning? Or are you referring to some imaginary external definition of ‘racism’ that exists beyond human language in the fabric of the universe (or our genes) and which only you have access to?

  38. Allan

    Exactly – whose definition? Even the UN has not defined “racism”, so any definition as valid as the other.

    You have no credibility as you can not understand the difference between acts and ideology.

    OK, I call all that you defined there ” multiculturalism” and by your examples multiculturalism is criminal.

    And Mark, you really should go to any office or service dealing with immigrants. Every single day you have someone not getting what they want and its ” racism”. You get kids running amok in the library, the librarians can not say anything because the kids yell ” racism”… Its multiculturalism in action, so really if anti-racism means allowing this then I wonder why giving everyone equal treatment is so wrong.

  39. Allan

    Mark – if ” ideology” is too big a word, maybe “belief” is better.

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines racism as the “belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races” and the expression of such prejudice,[8] while the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines it as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority or inferiority of a particular racial group, and alternatively that it is also the prejudice based on such a belief.[9] The Macquarie Dictionary defines racism as: “the belief that human races have distinctive characteristics which determine their respective cultures, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule or dominate others.”

    As you believe in races, you are a racist. First step you should take is to stop categorising people like that.

  40. Mark

    Allan

    I think you are seeing differences between us that don’t exist.

    I defined racism as many things, including a set of beliefs and specific actions. Your desire to consider racism as an ideology, even though it hasn’t been used as part of an ideology since before WWII. To most people’s minds, racism means acts of discrimination based on race. Indeed, the UN does define racism as ‘racial discrimination’.

    As racial discrimination more specifically implies acts rather than attitudes or beliefs, I quite understand why the UN charter focuses on this wording rather than using the word racism. The same can be said of sexism and equality legislation.

    You are suggesting that ‘racism’ is only about ideology, but you do not make the connection between racism and racial discrimination, when in fact the vast majority of humans I would suggest are perfectly capable of seeing the two as more or less synonymous. But, I guess it makes you feel good to say that racism is not illegal.

    I laughed like a drain when you mentioned noisy [foreign] kids running around libraries shouting racism as an example of multiculturalism in action. I’ve had plenty of brassy kids telling me to fuck off, so by your logic, that means that sex is a cultural failure? And you know, even if people, immigrants or non-immigrants cries racism when there isn’t any, it doesn’t mean that you then have to abandon any real or meaningful concept of racism simply because it gets abused, now does it. Of course, people are going to argue about what is and what isn’t racism, as we are doing now. By offering a definition, as I am here, I don’t expect for one minute for that arguing to stop.

    I cofounded a charity in London in 2000 that served a population of 170 000 immigrants and I had constant dealings with them, Allan. Have you worked in any form of immigration service?

  41. Allan

    Enrique, racism is not defined in the legislation. It is something that you made up in your head – discrimination is a crime, not racism. The equality applies to everyone.

    If you denied Eero Hakkarainen a service because of his percieved racist views, that would make you guilty of discrimination. That is, because you label him and act upon these beliefs you attribute to that label.

    You can define racism however you want. It still is not any more illegal than multiculturalism, even several people agree both ideologies are harmful and lead to discrimination, segregation and all kinds of other nastiness.

    • Enrique

      –Enrique, racism is not defined in the legislation. It is something that you made up in your head – discrimination is a crime, not racism. The equality applies to everyone.

      So that would make racism more acceptable? Racism is real. In the law it is treated differently through discrimination, which is illegal. Just because it isn’t treated as “racism” per say it does not apply that it does not exist. You are right: equality applies to everyone.

      –If you denied Eero Hakkarainen a service because of his percieved racist views, that would make you guilty of discrimination.

      Just because he made a general statement doesn’t mean he is off the hook. For example, how can a person represent people in parliament if his behavior and ideas are against our Constitution and laws?

  42. Allan

    Mike, why is it you want to argue? Is it because you are unable to fit into the society? Are you creating a niche for yourself becoming a racism-apostle? Looking at a nice lucrative quango job? No wonder you get worried of Hakkarainen, the multiculture budgets will be cut.

    • Enrique

      –Mike, why is it you want to argue? Is it because you are unable to fit into the society?

      I believe it is the opposite: It is because he can debate such a difficult thing in Finland means that his is not only a proactive person but well adapted.

  43. Mark

    Allan

    I worry about you Allan.

    Discrimination, with no qualifier, is not a crime. You discriminate between coffee and tea, between black and white. To discriminate is simply to make a distinction between things. THAT is hardly a crime. Only some forms of discrimination are crimes. And discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnic origin, language etc. are crimes. Now people with any modicum of sense and awareness of society understands that kind of discrimination to be something called racism.

    So far, you have not acknowledged something called a racist act. How about that, can you agree that there is something called a racist act? Now can you understand that racism includes racist acts as well as beliefs, attitudes etc., as described above?

    We are not talking about racism as an ideology, like Thatcherism. And even if we were, just to satisfy your very sensitive feelings about a word with -ism, there was more to Thatcherism than simply IDEAS. It involved several acts of government, changes in legislation, and debate within the Tory party and within Parliament.

    Wake up and smell the coffee, my friend.

  44. Mark

    Who is Mike, Allan? Had a few to drink?

    I want to argue because I went to the trouble to write an article that might contribute some useful ideas on the question of what is racism and how denials of racism are commonly constructed.

    You replied to that article by spouting nonsense as if it were a genuine criticism. So, I will argue until you go away, it’s as simple as that.

    I guess this switch to ad hominem attacks means your intellectual abilities are exhausted?

  45. Allan

    Racism for you two is daily, racism coming in the windows and doors, and dont forget to feed the little racism under the kitchen sink.

    • Enrique

      Allan, do you think racism is a problem in Finland? What are your feeling about it?

  46. Mark

    Allan

    – “Racism for you two is daily, racism coming in the windows and doors, and dont forget to feed the little racism under the kitchen sink.”

    Gosh, that’s almost witty, Allan. So you’ve given up debating and now you’re just out to entertain? You needn’t have gone to the trouble though, you always came across as a bit of a joke!

  47. Mark

    Allan

    – “There is no racism in Finland. There is a need to create “racism” to have a racism- debate though.”

    You have said some very stupid things on this particular article, Allan, but this one was perhaps the most outrageously complacent.

    I want to quote the personal experience of a Tunisian living in Joensuu:

    “Sometimes when I go by bus, all seats but the one next to mine are taken. It never fails to surprise me that no one will sit next to me. Sitting there alone, occupying the seats intended for two people, I feel that I am disturbing other people’s lives. The behavior of the other passengers makes me feel unwanted. I am diseased; I am a leper.

    My experiences are not as bad as those of some other foreigners, because in order to avoid trouble, I do not go to places where the risk of becoming the object of racist hatred is great. […] In the current situation, I don’t see any future for myself in this country. I live like an animal; get up in the morning and go to my miserable work, come back home and go to sleep, only to repeat everything the next day.

    I was married. […] My wife talked about Finnish values and cultural viewpoints all the time, but did not care at all what I and my culture represent. The way I see it, she was convinced, like many Finns, that she is right and represents the best, and that I am wrong and my culture is worthless. […] The best self-defense is self-exclusion, being separated from others. This is a way for me to find inner peace. […] It is best that I draw away from Finns for my own sake, in order to save my mental balance and cultural identity. (in Sabour 99, 101-102)”

    I guess you will say that it’s all his own fault! And the Skinheads that took over the streets in Joensuu during the 1990’s openly expressing neout -Nazism and attacked foreigners didn’t exist. And Darryl Parker the basketball player returning home to the US after a physical attack by skinheads didn’t actually happen, because there is no racism in Finland!

    I quote this piece because it expresses very well how racism is experienced in the everyday, and even in personal relationships with some Finns. Having said this, I do believe there is a great deal of tolerance in Finland. But, the problem needs to be addresssed now because the election of PS is a dangerous watershed. It’s not about being open about the problem of immigrants, it’s about allowing racist attitudes to be justified and barely challenged publicly. These new attitudes are not about helping foreigners integrate better, they are about stopping immigration and imposing an assimilation policy rather than cultural tolerance. If not challenged, these attitudes WILL become like a cancer. The problems of multiculturalism, which are largely the problems of the poor and disenfranchised parts of the population, will not be helped by this openly hostile attitude.

    • Enrique

      Allan, this blog is a good way to measure how some feel about racism in this country. This blog has grown every year and its most famous post, Are you a target of racism in Finland, has got over 19,000 hits and over 1,400 comments. Are we making this stuff up? I don’t think so.

    • Enrique

      –This is written with humour, but however I do agree that immigrants should follow these rules

      You must be joking Niikko! Humor? Maybe you think it is. This guy is a well-known PS who has very strong ideas against immigrants. I think he is a good source to show how narrow-minded some Finns are about immigration.

  48. Allan

    That post is exactly showing you are making it all up.

    And Mark, that example is exactly his own imagination, nobody sits next to strangers in a bus if they can avoid it. And what comes to his wifes advice – he is living in Finland not in
    Tunisia. Nothing he encountered was racism.

    I recommend you go enlighten those skinheads, you deserve each other.

  49. Mark

    Allan

    – “That post is exactly showing you are making it all up. Nothing he encountered was racism”

    Wow, your denials are nothing short of fucking staggering. So, you had nothing to say about the infamous skinheads of Joensuu.

    Yes, IT IS racism if people avoid sitting next to a foreigner on the bus. That’s not a crime, but it clearly is racism. Some avoidance is xenophobic, some is from a specific sense that that people of other cultures are ‘less’.

    Yes, it is racism if you consistently ignore or devalue another person’s ethnic cultural and cultural values. There is a very thin line between ethnocentrism and racism.

    His self-exclusion from social places is a good example of how a real fear that might arise from a few visible attacks leads to changed behaviour and self-censorship/self-exclusion. It then happens that attacks on foreigners go down and people imagine racism is disappearing.

    And when a foreigner does mention that they are too afraid to visit certain social places, idiots like you get to gloat about the fact that foreigners are not actually encountering racism.

    So, deny the neoNazis of Joensuu, Allan. Tell me they didn’t exist!

  50. Mark

    Thanks Enrique – up to date as well. So Allan, what’s the story this time? It happened on a boat going to Tallinn, so it wasn’t ‘in Finland’?

  51. Klay_Immigrant

    It’s funny how if I said black men know how to dance, run fast, and have a large private area no one including liberals would object to this.

    But if on the other hand I said black men are not as intelligent, more prone to crime, and are more promiciuous all hell would break loose and would be branded racist by those same liberals.

    The problem is that those two statements are stereotypes, one positive and one negative, so ofcourse do not apply to all black men yet we are told labelling groups are wrong, but as been shown this only applies to one end of the spectrum. As usual consistency, equality and logic fails on liberals in their flawed mindset.

  52. Mark

    Klay

    – “As usual consistency, equality and logic fails on liberals in their flawed mindset.”

    Well, that would be convenient for you if it were true. Of course it isn’t. This, Klay, is a classic case of STRAW MAN. You make out that your ‘opponents’ [Liberals I presume] believe something this is self-evidently wrong, and than proceed to bash them for it.

    First, lots of ‘liberals’ WOULD complain that you are applying any stereotypics at the racial level, whether they are good or bad. I’ve seen many people against discrimination complain about this.

    Second, it has been generally acknowledged by those that write about racism [liberals I presume] that stereotyping is a pretty normal thing for humans to do, but which is mostly harmless. When it does become harmful, then it is the responsibility of those that lead us to do something about it. That is why stereotypes about black men being more criminal or less intelligent of course will be criticised, especially if they are not true [intelligence] or only tell half the story [crime] and especially if these stereotypes are used to justify a different treatment, whether it is blocked immigration or discrimination in the job market, or even higher stop and search and arrest rates for blacks.

    Labelling groups is not right or wrong, it’s just what we do because it’s useful [in the same way you label me a liberal, I presume]. It is not something we can stop doing completely. However, we can make an effort to see when that labelling becomes harmful, to ourselves and to others.

    No doubt because you think I’m a liberal, you will still feel the need to show me the flawed nature of my ways, even after this perfectly reasonable defence! 🙂

  53. Mark

    Allan

    – “There is no racism in Finland. There is a need to create “racism” to have a racism- debate though.”

    Registered racist crimes through the PATJA database in Finland:

    The year 2003: – 387 crimes
    The year 2004: – 400 crimes
    The year 2005: – 412 crimes

    These are crimes that were prosecuted and does not include crimes investigated and were in most case assaults. As immigrant numbers have increased since 2005, one might expect the statistics of racist crimes to have increased also, but I don’t have them, so I cannot say for sure.

    This does not include statistics for verbal abuse and threats not reported to the Police.

    Discrimination cases brought to the attention of the Ombudsmen for Minorities in 2005, totalled some 300 cases. For the National Discrimination Tribunal, over a two year period 2004-2005, 100 claims against public officials were processed, while injunctions were used in 6 cases.

    So Allan – care to back up that comment that there is no racism in Finland?

  54. Allan

    Mark, go explain your theses to these skinheads of Joensuu. If you can find them, they should be in old folks home by now.

  55. Mark

    Allan

    So, nothing to say about the statistics from the last few years I quoted above? And nothing to say about interpretations of possible reductions in assaults as also being symptomatic of racism having become endemic?

  56. Allan

    The statistics are quite well “made up”. Back when Brax became the justice minister she demanded “more racism” so the police started to classify every incident where the receiving party was a foreigner or a mainority as “racism” if the perpetrator was a native. So basically, if two finns fight or two foreigners fight thats not racism, but if a finn and a foreigner fight, thats always racism if the Finn wins, if the foreigners mug the Finn, thats not racism.

    The minority ombudsmans office is a joke, and they actually had what – six actual cases? No wonder they want to find more racism.

  57. Mark

    I think that Finnish Police are quite capable of deciding for themselves what the Law is. The seperation between the Judicial and Executive branches of government are very strong in Finland, and no Police chief likes to be told how to interpret the law by a politician.

    The truth is you will come up with any kind of crackpot argument to deny what to most other people is glaringly obvious. Allan, you are tiresome beyond belief.

    Injunctions in six cases, but over 300 processed. I don’t know that that means as much as you do, but from other statistics I’ve read, it definitely is not just six cases. The ombudsman is also charged with protecting citizens who make a complaint from victimisation (after lodging a complaint), so I imagine the injunctions are to do with that.

    The Police Authority did their own survey their own survey a couple of years ago and about half of those minorities interviewed said they had experienced racist abuse and threats in the previous twelve months, though only a third of those had made any official complaints. That was a sample of about 3500.

    But really, you don’t take any foreigners word for it, do you? And you don’t trust the Police statistics, unless those statistics point to crimes by ethnic minorities, and then you believe them.

    The only joke here is you Allan. How can you refer to the ombudsman for minorities as a joke? Because they serve a completely different set of goals than you subscribe to?

    So Allan. Time to fess up. What qualifications do you bring to the table, my friend? Are you a productive citizen? How?

  58. Mark

    Allan

    – Mark said: “So Allan. Time to fess up. What qualifications do you bring to the table, my friend? Are you a productive citizen? How?”

    So that brought the conversation to an end? 🙂

  59. Allan

    I’ve not been paying taxes to Finland in a while working offshore, and I’m a productive immigrant where I currently live at, though I still can’t understand cricket. The council elections are up, so Mark, which one I should go for, BNP or Monster Raving Loony?

  60. Mark

    Okay, that’s half the question.

    – “while working offshore – I’m a productive immigrants where i currently live?’

    Rikers Island, by any chance? 😉

    Qualifications?

    I’ve no idea who you should vote for. I’m sure you’ll follow your convictions, unless you choose to vote tactically.

  61. Allan

    Tactical? I think it is diabolical, my voting for local councils has always been to vote in someone who will piss off the people who sit there year on end as if with a mandate from God.

  62. Mary Mekko

    Interesting to consider that if blacks are in the minority, and insult whites with words like “honky” (well, it was “white bitch” the males usually slung at us in San Francisco, 60’s/70’s), then that is not racism, since the whites are in a position of power. This overlooks a simple fact: many of the so-called “whites” were new European immigrants, including Finns, who had no financial power whatsoever, were as poor as the racist black males slinging their filthy attitudes towards us, and never was the economics of a black racist considered, only his nasty attitude and hatred. Once a black male professor of UC Berkeley’s Sociology Department came as a guest lecturer to our girls’ Catholic high school. Tuition was low, the girls were lower-middle-class and mostly immigrants’ children, the building old, the supplies used, etc. etc. The man came in, looked at us 15-year-olds and declared us “Lily White” with no apology. Later, at the end, with questions allowed, I asked him: If you ARE a professor, you surely would know that in San Francisco the grand majority of Catholics are from Europe or Mexico, where no blacks usually live, so for you to have expected otherwise is the mark of a very poorly educated man. If I go to a Baptist Church and say, “Pitch black!” then surely you’d take offense and find it odd I hadn’t expected the Southern WWII transplants to be black Americans. Or would you take no offense, as we take none when you called us “Lily White”?

    Of course, it was we WHITE GIRLS who were considered instigators of trouble for challenging a priviledged and educated black male, although financially we were below him. Yet we had learned to think and defend ourselves, and I hope that Finns can think for themselves too, when accused of such silly tags as “racist”. Learn to throw the word around, as blacks in USA call themselves “nigger”. This loosens up the sting of the word, makes it a low-impact word, like calling everyone a Nazi or racist no matter what he/she ever says. Make words meaningless by overusing them, it’s a great technique!

  63. Mark

    Mary Mekko

    Thanks for your useful contribution. I asked the question whether it would be racist for blacks to call whites by ‘racist’ names. I didn’t say the answer was yes, I said that it’s important to look at the underlying power relations.

    Mark said: “It’s also important never to blind oneself to where the real power lies and where the real and major abuse is.

    I think your example is a very good analysis of the power relations in those circumstances that you describe. It might be that the professor saw ‘white’ and then also assumed privilege, thus justifying what he probably thought was reactionary racism on his part, or ‘ironic defensive racism’, as if it was justifiable.

    – “Make words meaningless by overusing them, it’s a great technique!”

    Why would we want to make the word meaningless? Because we don’t like the meaning or because it’s too complicated to agree on the meaning, or something else?

  64. eyeopener

    @ Mark You can go ahead ” changing the meaning of racism”, fact remains my definition is as valid – i base my definition on facts.

    What I have read in Mark’s comments reflects exactly the vision of a man called Anders Behring Breivik. A firend of yours, Mark??

  65. eyeopener

    @Mark. Setting yourself apart (higher,better,stronger etc.) from others seems the only goal in your life, isn’t it?? Even if your level of reasoning is lower, worse, weak etc. Poor guy that have only skin-heads, rowdies and red-necks as friends. Must be absolutely boring!!!!

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