When in Finland do as the Finns do…

by , under All categories, Enrique

I read an interesting post in Svenskfinland titled, “When in Rome, do as the Romans,” and it set me thinking.

The post continues: “…in other words, that integration should mean that migrants to Finland so quickly as possibly forget their own background and take on entirely a Finnish lifestyle – essentially abandoning or replacing their own cultural values and taking on ours completely. This argument comes up in comments to Migrant Tales and in many other online and offline debates on immigration and integration policy.”

While there are many Finns such as Svenskfinland who think differently, I would like to ask those who believe this form of “integration or bust” to tell me how it works. How do you integrate non-Finns to become 100% Finns and throw away their culture(s)?

I wonder what my late father would say about so-called 100% integration? He never learned to speak English well not because he did not want to, but because he did not agree with many US values. Not speaking flawless English was his way of protesting against other values. Have you ever wondered why Blacks, Mexicans, Finns, Italians speak a foreign language differently in a foreign country? Possibly it is a way to identify with a certain national group.

I’m also thinking of the hundreds of thousands of first-generation Finns that moved to the Americas. I remember in my own study on the Finns of Argentina, where there were first- and even second-generation Finns who had lived almost all their lives in Argentina but never learned to speak Spanish like the majority culture.

A question: Why do some think that it is OK for a foreigner to give up his culture but consider it “high treason” if that Finn living abroad threw away his culture? Why hasn’t Finland done away with the Saami, Swedish-speaking Finns and other groups?

The answer: My father grew up in the United States and educated himself by going to university WITHOUT giving up his culture and values. The United States gave him an opportunity and he made the best of it. Southern Californian society was also tolerant enough of people who came from different cultural and national backgrounds.

The argument that foreigners should give up their cultures to become Finns is preposterous. It would never worked and is doomed to failure. It is the answer to a segregated society full of complex rules of exclusion and inclusion.

What IS an effective way of integrating people? In my opinion, you cannot force integrating anyone. But one can inspire others to integrate, if they want.

If a society expresses outright suspicion, hostility and places a bunch of impossible so-called “integration” tests on its new inhabitants, it will have very few people wanting to become a part of it.  Immigrants are people and, like the inhabitants of the host country, work to help create economic growth.

  1. DeTant Blomhat

    You move to a country you need to adhere to or atleast accept the values. Ypou can’t go picking the raisins from a bun. Maybe in the USA you can handicap yourself like that – being Hispanic of course the reason is different – California and Mexico were “spanish” before the gringos came over. However in Finland we have no baggage with other nations we conquered – so there is no excuse. You do not want to live here – go live elsewhere. Nobody brings people to Finland by force – it is a voluntary choice. And in Finland you have always been able to do whatever you please, as long as you don’t give the majority a grief.

    And what Svenskfinland is saying is that in other words he is promoting the IKL and True Finns agenda and that Swedish language can and will be run over so there is no artificial need to support it. Quid pro quo.

  2. Enrique

    Hi Detant, here you go again with your pessimistic views on migration. You give the image that immigrants only come to a country for a joy ride, pick the raisins from the bun, as you put it. Is it so?
    What about if I told you that it is the other way around: migrants usually do more work for less pay?
    While I agree with you that it is highly recommendable that you learn the ways of the host country in the same way that the host country learns about your culture, I don’t understand what you mean by handicap. Whether California was a part of Mexico, or before was inhabited by indigenous groups, that is not the point. Using that argument, the only foreigners that have a right to live in Finland are Russians. My father and many other foreigners that lived in California did not feel handicapped because they were not “white, protestants from the United States.” When more foreigners came they created more variety and more consumers. That translates to jobs and tax-paying individuals.
    You have not answered my first question a while back: If Finland needs foreigners, what is your recipe for integration? Should they throw away their culture and become “Lutheran, white Finns?” Aren’t there already Finns of different national and religious backgrounds? There is a movie in the 1960s of an Italian that migrated to Switzerland. In order to integrate he dyed his hair white. It was a comedy.
    I agree that the laws of the land have to be followed. Isn’t that a normal thing?
    I agree with you about putting a language on life-support as well. But culture is not an item that we marvel in a museum. It is a dynamic tool that changes, brings in different customs and is in constant evolution. That ensures it that it won’t become a so-called culture on life-support. The Finland of the 1930s is very different from today and It will continue to change. The English language has influences from over 300 languages. Has it become poorer as a result? Certainly not. It has become richer and stronger as a result.
    Finnish culture is not endangered nor is its culture.

  3. Jonas

    Hello again flower hatted auntie one. Supporting PS and IKL etc is probably the exact opposite of what my constructed “When in Rome, do as the Romans” argument is saying. It’s in fact designed to be saying exactly the same as you, and others, do so often – including just now at 18.48. In other words, it’s designed to expose how unrealistic (not to mention hypercritical) the “you must 100% integrate or else” argument is.

  4. Enrique

    Hi Jonas, welcome back. Thank you very much for your interesting thoughts on the topic. That is a very good question and I’ll ask it one again: how does 100% integration happen? Part of the answer is ELECTION. People decide for themselves how much they will integrate. Moreover, the children and grandchildren of the first generation ARE Finns. They may not speak Finnish like a person from Etelä-Savo and have different values, which is a part of ones culture, but one matter is for certain: they are Finns.
    People who use the 100% integration argument believe that people only adapt to the majority culture. It happens in the following manner – a person integrates to the society and retains his cultural values. How much he keeps or loses depends on him, and the circumstances. Why did not Barack Obama change his name to John Doe? Why does he talk about his Black roots? Because he is proud of it and has a right to retain his culture and identity. We can be Finns from different background, cultures but we are all united by one common matter: the blue-white cross waving in the sky. That is the point. So far, too many Finns do not understand this and that is what is hindering matters.

  5. Tiwaz

    100% integration? No.

    But integration? Absolutely. It DOES mean that when you leave your house, where you can live in your own cultural little bubble if you wish as long as you do not break any laws, you are in FINLAND. It works the way Finland works, it is not like home so stop trying to pretend you can live as if you never left home.

    As for your dad and his “statement”.
    Go ahead, don’t learn Finnish. But do not come whining how awful we Finns are when we make our own statement and refuse to hire your ungrateful foreign a**.

    What you do not grasp, Enrique, is that blue-white cross does not mean jack shit in the end. It is what it REPRESENTS which matters, and that is Finland, Finnish culture and Finnish society.

    Else it is just a cloth with some colour daubed in. And as we see with USA, unity through something so superficial and artificial is weak. Americans have to beat their own chest 24/7 and stick their flag everywhere and sing “America, ameerica!” everywhere to try to maintain some sort of unity.

    We Finns do not need to. We have tradition, origins and centuries upon centuries of history which bind us together. These things come together in forming Finnish society and culture.

    By trying to destroy that unity through common cultural norms you are trying to destroy whole Finnish society. This is not USA, so do not pretend same things apply here Enrique.

    If you find USA so wonderful… MOVE THERE! For f**** sake… Do not remain in this horrible country with so horrible people if your paradise is one flight away.

    Because I damn sure will not tolerate you trying to turn Finland into new USA or Argentina. Because I would not want to live in either one. I want to live in Finland.

    • Enrique

      Insults, insults on top of insult.

      Your hang up is that you do not tolerate anybody who thinks differently from you.

  6. Tiwaz

    Ah yes, your infamous “You are racist nazi something!”-defence.
    Specially since I did not insult you there. But of course, since you have no actual argiment you try to use the immigrant automatic defence and scream “RACIST!” and hope that everyone is shocked and does not pay attention to how you have no arguments. Only useless drivel.

    It is weak and pathetic.

    I tolerate difference, I enjoy travelling and seeing different places. I simply do not have a wish to import them here, to my home which I want to remain as my home. Like huge majority of Finns.

    We might like to visit Mallorca or USA or India or whatever. But those who want to live there, MOVED THERE. Rest of us want to live in Finland.

    If you imbeciles can’t handle living in Finland as it is, leave! Don’t try to force us to live in one of your beloved multicultural hellholes because you are too stupid to learn to act properly.

    • Enrique

      No, it is the other way around: You use the accusation to justify your ignorance and intolerance of others. You belittle serious social problems because they undermine your myopic view of the world.

      We can handle living in Finland very well. You cannot handle difference.

  7. Tiwaz

    Or are you perhaps already insulted by people not liking things which you hold so dear? Might be that. I gave you critical look on your beloved USA, and how it is in my eyes a colossal failure where I would never want to live.

    And you saw it as an insult, as you think that everyone should just drop on their knees and worship your vision of the world. You are the racist here Enrique, who does not tolerate others saying that they do not want what you try to sell.

    • Enrique

      I answered you many times and told you that no society is perfect — not even your myopic view of it. You should go to live in Mayberry. Maybe you would find some piece of mind.

      –And you saw it as an insult, as you think that everyone should just drop on their knees and worship your vision of the world. You are the racist here Enrique, who does not tolerate others saying that they do not want what you try to sell.

      Again you use “reverse racism” to hide your racism. It is like accusing the Jews in concentration camps of being SS guards because they are against their mass murder. Your accusations leave a lot to be desired.

  8. Tiwaz

    -“No, it is the other way around: You use the accusation to justify your ignorance and intolerance of others. You belittle serious social problems because they undermine your myopic view of the world.”

    Bullshit. You are racist here Enrique. And bigot to add to it. I give you arguments, and then you just go “LALALLALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” and top if off with “RACIST! NAZI!” and pretend you just won an argument.

    You NEVER answer anything. You just make yet another bigoted post whining how bad Finns are and how good and noble immigrants are and how multiculturalism is the Only Good Thing.

    And when we point out to you flaws of your claim, you do not try to come up with arguments. Because you have no facts or arguments.

    It is again “LALALLALALALA I DO NOT HEAR YOU! RACIST NAZIS”-rubbish.

    You cannot handle living in Finland, that is why you demand that Finns must change this and that and Finns must accept those and these. And that problems caused by unintegrating immigrants are not there.

    If you can handle living in Finland so well, why you always whine?

    -“I answered you many times and told you that no society is perfect — not even your myopic view of it. You should go to live in Mayberry. Maybe you would find some piece of mind.”

    Which Finnish problems would be solved by dragging in unintegrating immigrants?
    Would home violence somehow disappear if immigrants came and formed their own ghettoes all over Finland where they only speak their language and follow their culture? And whine about how rasicst Finns are.

    I’ll answer. NONE. No problems that exist would be solved, but new problems would be introduced through undoing social stability and unity. Stable Finland would devolved to variety of different cliques of different cultures fighting one another.

    -“Again you use “reverse racism” to hide your racism. It is like accusing the Jews in concentration camps of being SS guards because they are against their mass murder. Your accusations leave a lot to be desired.”

    This is rich coming from guy who has NO arguments. You just try to evade arguments. And here we see you pull nazis into equation again, trying to present yourself as innocent jew and we Finns as horrible nazis.

    You are racist Enrique, you cannot stand Finnish way of life. The way we FINNS like to live in OUR country. So you want to destroy it. You are despicable creature which comes to another country and starts insulting people living in it. Demanding that they must do as you say or they are racist nazis.

    Your words are ones that carry racism in them. I have repeatedly said that if you guys do not want to integrate. Then don’t. But NEVER whine that you are not treated like Finns or that you do not get a job, if you do not want to learn the language and culture.

    And I have warned you, that if you keep up what you do. You will suffer. Every action has equal and opposite reaction. You have spewed your hatred of Finns, Finland and Finnish way of life for a long time, and you are not alone. Sooner or later Finns will get tired of you bitching and your immigrant friends causing problems and committing crime. That is when reaction comes.

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