Why isn’t anyone labeling Estonians?

by , under Enrique

If I belonged to a certain anti-immigration party in Finland, how would I use the following information to score brownie points with the voters: 700 out of 1,200 suspected drunk-driving cases in Finland are by Estonian nationals, according to tabloid Ilta-Sanomat.

Even if such a high number of Estonians were caught driving under the influence of alcohol during the first half of the year – 60% of all DUI cases by foreigners – you don’t hear any politicians demanding that Estonians should be barred from driving in Finland.

Remember a A-Studio documentary that insinuated that the “high” amount of rape convictions in Finland were by immigrants who came from war zones? YLE based its claim on 25 convictions during the first five months of the year!

Why isn’t anyone labelling Estonians with the same enthusiasm as the A-Studio documentary if we are speaking of a much higher 700 suspected DUI cases?

The answer is obvious: Estonians are white, certain non-EU immigrants in Finland aren’t.

  1. JM

    Enrique, the thing is it’s not just about being white. Look at this for example:
    http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Poll+Majority+of+Finns+see+Finland+as+racist+country/1135269860316

    The article states that Finns are open to Chinese people and I’ve read elsewhere that the Chinese (actually East Asians in general) are a very respected minority group among Finns, even more so than some Europeans. I’ve also read up on that Finns tend not to have negative viewpoints towards South Asians (like Indians) or Latin Americans. It’s generally the Roma and Muslims (yes I know “Muslims” is a terrible generalization as there are quite large cultural differences between say a Bashkir and a Somali but bare with me) that receive the most negative attention. Certainly the media isn’t helping things.

    Regarding Estonians, it would be hypocritical of Finns to label them since Estonians are quite literally Finns who speak a slightly different (but related) language. The cultural similarities are profound and even more to the point Estonia is a member of Schengen and Finland’s neighbour to the south. I think I read somewhere that 80% of Helsinki residents have visited Estonia so they are quite familiar with the country and its people. I know many Estonians and have visited Estonia on quite a few occasions. They are a great people, Enrique.

    Sometimes playing the race card is not the way to go about highlighting a point.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      JM, all people are great. In no way was my intention to show the contrary but to bring forth how statistics are used incorrectly to reinforce some people’s prejudices. We have the 25 convicted rape versus the 700 suspected DUI cases. That’s my point.

    • Happy

      JM “I know many Estonians and have visited Estonia on quite a few occasions. They are a great people, Enrique.

      Sometimes playing the race card is not the way to go about highlighting a point.”

      Wow, could you be further from the point!! I suppose it is okay to label “other” foreigners because, yes, you don’t know them and they are not “a great people” right? Not only did you miss the point, you completely ignored it. What do you think of “other” foreigners, sorry foreigners, since Estonians “are quite literally Finns…” and “80% of Helsinki residents have visited Estonia”. I suppose we should criticise bigotry, racism, and all other forms of prejudice after over 50% of Finns visit some of these muslim, or predominantly non-white countries, and yet, reports such as the one by A-Studio are broadcast, right? You are certainly one of those individuals who would see someone been abused for their race and say “moi” to the abusers because when they look at you, they will see another white person who belongs…, who is of the “right” race. They will let you go because you are “literally” alike and either you or they could “visit quite a few times”. Bigot!!!

  2. Marco

    nice argument that had missed the mainstream.

    But it is literally impossible to ban Estonians of driving in Finland. Schengen enable this very well for instance.

  3. JM

    JM, all people are great. In no way was my intention to show the contrary but to bring forth how statistics are used incorrectly to reinforce some people’s prejudices. We have the 25 convicted rape versus the 700 suspected DUI cases. That’s my point.

    Fair enough, Enrique. Thanks for expanding beyond your article.

  4. D4R

    The reason why Russians and Estonians are not mentioned by politician is becus they’re WHITE! no if and buts. Have you ever heard any Perussuomalainen politician mention any other ethnicities but muslims or Somalians? it’s obviouse by now that the reason Somalians are constantly at attack is becus of their race nothing else.

    • JM

      But D4R, there are about as many Chinese and Vietnamese combined in Finland as there are Somalis. Not that race is an issue for me but Chinese and Vietnamese are certainly not white. Chinese have been the fastest growing (or one of the fastest) minority group in Finland for a few years now and I’ve never heard any ethnic Finns or Perussuomalainen politicians as you say complain about Chinese or Vietnamese people.

      Furthermore, a few years back there was a major recruitment of Indian workers for Nokia, many of whom were openly Hindu and settled in the Helsinki metropolitan area with their families who they brought over. I haven’t heard of any backlash or racism against these Indian Nokia workers either.

  5. pitiful

    I dont think any of this guys have balls to attack Estonians or Russians or any european for that matter.It just too big a fight to get into. Like the hyena they will rather attack the weak and the helpless in the society who has no one to speak on their behalf.

    • JusticeDemon

      This brings to mind the behaviour of right-wing thugs in the UK back in the 70s and 80s. The preferred victims of their violence tended to be Pakistanis, as they had learned from experience that immigrants from the West Indies tended to hit back.

  6. JM

    JM “I know many Estonians and have visited Estonia on quite a few occasions. They are a great people, Enrique.

    Sometimes playing the race card is not the way to go about highlighting a point.”

    Happy wrote:
    Wow, could you be further from the point!! I suppose it is okay to label “other” foreigners because, yes, you don’t know them and they are not “a great people” right? Not only did you miss the point, you completely ignored it. What do you think of “other” foreigners, sorry foreigners, since Estonians “are quite literally Finns…” and “80% of Helsinki residents have visited Estonia”. I suppose we should criticise bigotry, racism, and all other forms of prejudice after over 50% of Finns visit some of these muslim, or predominantly non-white countries, and yet, reports such as the one by A-Studio are broadcast, right? You are certainly one of those individuals who would see someone been abused for their race and say “moi” to the abusers because when they look at you, they will see another white person who belongs…, who is of the “right” race. They will let you go because you are “literally” alike and either you or they could “visit quite a few times”. Bigot!!!

    Wow, for someone with the name “Happy” you sure don’t sound like it. If you want to call me names without provocation, that’s fine, don’t worry as I would never sink to that level with you. I merely tried to provide points as to why Finns aren’t labelling Estonians. Finns are more familiar with Estonian culture since they are so close to each other than with other cultures (even most European ones save Scandinavian), hence part of the reason they don’t label them or act xenophobic towards them. I was merely pointing this out, if that’s a problem for you then I am sorry.

    I was under the impression civil debate was the norm here. Free from name-calling and prejudice, evidently I was wrong.

    By the way, I wasn’t even born in Finland so it’s quite telling that you assume otherwise based on my comments. I don’t even speak the language as easily as a native speaker! Perhaps you should rethink your name calling and apply it elsewhere, I heard the mirror is a good place to start.

    • Happy

      Wow, for someone with the name “Happy” you sure don’t sound like it. If you want to call me names without provocation, that’s fine, don’t worry as I would never sink to that level with you. I merely tried to provide points as to why Finns aren’t labelling Estonians. Finns are more familiar with Estonian culture since they are so close to each other than with other cultures (even most European ones save Scandinavian), hence part of the reason they don’t label them or act xenophobic towards them. I was merely pointing this out, if that’s a problem for you then I am sorry.

      I was under the impression civil debate was the norm here. Free from name-calling and prejudice, evidently I was wrong.

      By the way, I wasn’t even born in Finland so it’s quite telling that you assume otherwise based on my comments. I don’t even speak the language as easily as a native speaker! Perhaps you should rethink your name calling and apply it elsewhere, I heard the mirror is a good place to start.

      The piece written by Enrique should be read as an analogy to the documentary by A-studio. Yes, Finns are quite similar culturally to Estonians, and may be less inclined to condemn them. My continued annoyance is with your statement that you visited Estonia and they are quite nice. Give me a break!! I suppose it is right to label foreigners, or I should say non-whites when 25 immigrants commit rape because they aren’t nice? Even when the article clearly states that over 700 DUI cases are committed by Estonians? Do you know that any instance of drunk driving is more likely to result in several casualties, especially when one considers that travelling by road is more dangerous than traveling by car? Rape is a terrible act. I think you know that. However, and unfortunately, you are basically arguing that we should understand, Finns like Estonians. The point by Enrique was never about Estonians, it was about DUI by some Estonians. That makes a significant difference. Got the point? I hope so.

  7. JM

    “My continued annoyance is with your statement that you visited Estonia and they are quite nice. Give me a break!!” – Happy

    There’s plenty of personal accounts on here, so I’m sorry if one little sentence that I threw in without much thought annoyed you or sounded cheesy. I could’ve expanded more on the sentence and gone into much more detail but that it was not the point of my comment, hence that one sentence’s brevity.

    “I suppose it is right to label foreigners, or I should say non-whites when 25 immigrants commit rape because they aren’t nice?” – Happy

    Of course not. I never said that. You sound like you are hearing what you want from me rather than what I actually said.

    Glad you at least stopped the name-calling. Have a good evening!

  8. Mark

    Furthermore, a few years back there was a major recruitment of Indian workers for Nokia, many of whom were openly Hindu and settled in the Helsinki metropolitan area with their families who they brought over. I haven’t heard of any backlash or racism against these Indian Nokia workers either.

    Funny. You’ve obviously never watched this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PulTgXGy3cQ

  9. Mark

    JM

    I merely tried to provide points as to why Finns aren’t labelling Estonians.

    The way I saw it is that you were trying to pick holes in Enrique’s approach and also to imply that there is too much emphasis on colour, which is a point you’ve made several times since visiting the site. The implication of this appears to be that you think we are actually the racists for drawing so much attention to ‘colour’. At least, that would be my reading of it. And it certainly wouldn’t be a new argument.

    The problem with your stance here JM is that you appear to offer a rationalisation of prejudice, a normalisation. What Happy was trying to do was to get you to see the underlying negative implications of this ‘explanation’, how describing Estonians as great people and yet not really having much positive to say about blacks leaves a hole in the argument. You might be articulate in describing the framework behind prejudice, but until you do more work to get outside that framework, I can fully understand why Happy or many others are going to take you to task for it.

    • JM

      Hi Mark, I’ll try and address your concerns one point at a time:

      Regarding your 1st paragraph, I do find quite an over-emphasis on colour here, I understand that it goes with the territory of anti-racism, but let me just leave you with one example. I’ve lived in Canada for many years. Canada is one of the most multiracial countries in the Western World. Basically, I’ve learned that just because someone says they are not racist or don’t care about colour or are anti-racist it doesn’t have to be true. For example, in my home city, there was a local Liberal party politician of South Asian (specifically Pakistani) origin (BTW, I’m not a conservative). He was a very vocal anti-racist and “anti-bigot” as he called it, “trying to expunge hypocrisy in society.” He wrote and compiled many articles and journals about racism in Canada and what needs to be done. However, this fellow (I’m not going to say his name because I’m not here to slander anyone) owned a car dealership. And EVERYONE of the employees at his car dealership were Pakistani Canadians (he was responsible for hiring). There was not one Chinese-Canadian, White Canadian or Black Canadian. I know this because I didn’t live far away and one friend I went to school with (a Cameroonian, actually) tried to get work there and was turned down (he was qualified too and they were looking for new employees). I know this is just one example (I have more if you’re not convinced), you can make of this what you will and please understand I’m not trying to put you or anybody on the offensive, but what assurance is there that this site is not merely something similar to the perceived hypocrisy of that politician? If you can refute such a claim, I’m happy to hear it.

      For your 2nd paragraph: I’m sorry if you interpreted my posts as “a rationalization of prejudice, a normalization” because such an interpretation is a misunderstanding or maybe even a subtle superciliousness at hand, I don’t know.

      “And it certainly wouldn’t be a new argument.”

      All the more so. I’m not trying to criticize you or anybody else but if others have brought up the argument in the past, perhaps there’s some semblance of truth to it? Of course, I don’t know the nature of what these arguments where. If it was just an unsupported accusation of racism, than that is little better than an ad hominem.

    • Mark

      JM

      Basically, I’ve learned that just because someone says they are not racist or don’t care about colour or are anti-racist it doesn’t have to be true.

      Enrique has made exactly this point (not caring about colour) in several nuanced ways many times on this blog, but refers to it as ‘colour-blind’ racism.

      He was a very vocal anti-racist and “anti-bigot” as he called it, “trying to expunge hypocrisy in society.” He wrote and compiled many articles and journals about racism in Canada and what needs to be done. However, this fellow (I’m not going to say his name because I’m not here to slander anyone) owned a car dealership. And EVERYONE of the employees at his car dealership were Pakistani Canadians (he was responsible for hiring). There was not one Chinese-Canadian, White Canadian or Black Canadian.

      I read this with interest. But I cannot take it at face value. First, if he is an established activist in the field of anti-racism, then the value of that work must be judged in itself. Simply seeking some reason to imagine him a hypocrite (very typical criticism leveled at social reformers, by the way) as if this somehow dismisses or invalidates that work doesn’t wash. Second, the thing that comes to mind is how many people work in the dealership and whether or not they are members of his wider social network, as it is very common in Asian families to employ from large family networks. Second, it might be that he is deliberately practicing positive discrimination on behalf of Pakistani Canadians knowing that they are disadvantaged in the mainstream workplace. None of this necessarily demonstrates that his is NOT an anti-bigot. In fact, because you offer this rather anecdotal example as if it contained some kind of streetwise wisdom in regard to the immigration debate rather reflects what I would regard as a typical layman’s naivety about the issue – a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

      I don’t think it’s our job to first and foremost set out to ‘prove’ that we are not hypocrites. In fact, generally speaking, people who come here trying to put us in that position are given generally short shrift. Why? It’s changing the subject, usually from social issues that are NOT being properly addressed in the mainstream media. Second, there is no way to ‘prove’ we are not hypocrites, and for those that follow a specific immigration-skeptic viewpoint, we are ‘by definition’ hypocritical, simply because to accept otherwise would require taking seriously the points we want to raise, and that is usually too damn difficult for your average common-and-garden bigot. Third, I at least, start from the point of view that of course we (humans) are bigots, to an extent, and that true regardless of race. The question is, how do we feel about that and are we prepared to challenge ourselves over it. Also, all things being equal, all races/groups/ethnicities are capable of bigotry, but the real question is ‘where is the significant power, who holds it’ in any one particular society where bigotry is a problem. So ‘proving’ I’m not a bigot rather goes against my own starting point in this debate.

      All the more so. I’m not trying to criticize you or anybody else but if others have brought up the argument in the past, perhaps there’s some semblance of truth to it? Of course, I don’t know the nature of what these arguments where. If it was just an unsupported accusation of racism, than that is little better than an ad hominem.

      I’m not particularly into ad hominem, unless someone starts going after me or someone else who contributes to the site. The reason most have brought up the point is simply because it fits the political discourse of the Far Right. Of course, we should take any criticism seriously, whatever the source, but these criticisms are more like mantras that work effectively to shift the focus and to blur the moral landscape. I say that knowing full well that those on the Far Right do not actually KNOW they are on the Far Right, and it’s only the fact that at the end of the day, they are a minority and that the vast majority of people are ‘to the Left’ of them that really illustrates the point. I’ve never seen an extremist that knows they are an extremist. And on that point, I certainly don’t suggest that clarity is the monopoly of Migrant Tales. However, the question is really one of values. I know the values that Enrique and others here eschew, and they are repeated, demonstrated and supported time and again.

      What is your position on immigration in Finland? In a nutshell (or longer if you are inclined to write more)?

  10. Happy

    But D4R, there are about as many Chinese and Vietnamese combined in Finland as there are Somalis. Not that race is an issue for me but Chinese and Vietnamese are certainly not white. Chinese have been the fastest growing (or one of the fastest) minority group in Finland for a few years now and I’ve never heard any ethnic Finns or Perussuomalainen politicians as you say complain about Chinese or Vietnamese people.

    Furthermore, a few years back there was a major recruitment of Indian workers for Nokia, many of whom were openly Hindu and settled in the Helsinki metropolitan area with their families who they brought over. I haven’t heard of any backlash or racism against these Indian Nokia workers either.

    I have not read the response to which you (JM) are responding to and it is deliberate. I can however, say your arguments continue to be based on your own prejudices against Somalis and blacks. Moreover, you are in complete denial. One can infer from your writeup that since Chinese and Vietanese are not white and Finns including the extreme right are not critical of them, therefore their criticisms of Somalis or blacks in general must be justified. This particular ethnic group must have a problem, and that problem is simply that they are blacks or Somalis. Worst still, this problem is based on some preconceived notion that your race defines who you are. I continue to believe that you are that person who would therefore see any Somali looking person or black been beaten at a street corner and conclude that he must have done something wrong, they must have stolen, there must be some justification, otherwise, why don’t I (you JM) see Asians been beaten. You certainly do have some serious issues with Somalis and blacks. You are looking for all sorts of rationalizations to justify your stance, unfortunately though, not only are not based on reason, you don’t know how to articulate them. However well you articulate them, they will smell…and it is sad. I do feel sorry for you.

    • JM

      Hello Happy

      I have no bias against Somalis or Blacks. You do not even know my skin colour so it is not very nice of you to assume things about me. I know I cannot prove my lack of prejudice to you so if you don’t want to accept it it is beyond my problem. I use the Asians as an example because I have legitimately heard some people say they like certain groups of immigrants over others. Is this racist? Yes. Do I share this view? No. You can feel sorry for me but I can assure you your pity is in vain. 🙂

  11. JM

    Mark

    Thank you for the well argued, honest and detailed response. You’ve covered pretty much all the points I was concerned about and I appreciate the devil’s advocate stance on a few issues you raised. I don’t really have too much to add so I’ll just tackle your final question.

    “What is your position on immigration in Finland? In a nutshell (or longer if you are inclined to write more)?”

    My position on the immigration debate (and I speak not just about Finland, but in general) basically corresponds to my relative stance on the political spectrum. First of all, I prefer Nolan’s political chart or square to the traditional “left wing vs. right wing” one dimensional (ok, from a mathematical perspective it’s technical two-dimensional) political spectrum. That being said I’m really more of a libertarian at heart, libertarian is a bit of a generalization and I certainly don’t agree with each and every libertarian advocate. That being said, there will always be people who migrate be it between cities, municipalities, counties or countries for whatever reason (or in the absence of any political order, ie from an anarcho-primitivist or nomadic point of view, migration between geographies). Individual or collective migration happens and has happened throughout human history. Is it morally correct, therefore, to assume that a political entity existing on a specific geography has the right to dictate whether or not an individual or group of individuals have the right to enter their respective political jurisdiction? In the absence of any political order, let’s say we have a hypothetical village where the local villagers have assembled a permanent habitat for themselves. In the event of an outsider arriving to the village and wishing to live there with the established villagers, do the villagers have a moral right to refuse to allow this outsider to become part of their community? Similarly, doesn’t the outsider, as an individual have the right to pursue personal happiness and safety? If the outsider believes that this village will offer him or her protection from wild animals and he will be able to live at peace without being hassled for who he is, hasn’t he earned this fundamental right?

    As you can see, there is the potential for an argument either way. Unfortunately many people who advocate restrictive immigration policies do not acknowledge such a debate and begin going into the argument of “there are good immigrants and bad immigrants” sure, this could be true and argued for but the problem becomes “how do you judge who is a good and bad immigrant?” Likewise, and perhaps more importantly and less obviously, once somebody is IN your country, how can you determine whether somebody will become a good or bad citizen? (Immigrant, immigrant-background or not) The simple answer is you can’t, at least not without the oppression of human rights which of course implies the erosion of individual freedom and democracy. As a libertarian or a libertarian sympathizer, I cannot stand for the erosion of either.

    I can understand the position of some Finns too. In the event of increasing globalization and use of the English language, don’t the Finns have a right to protect the usage of their unique language (same for the Swedish and Sami minorities)? Next door in the Republic of Karelia which is under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation, the Karelian people have become a minority in their own homeland (Only 7.4% of the population according to the 2010 census, in 1926 by contrast they were 37.4% of the population). Don’t the Karelians have a right to protect their language and heritage in the face of increased immigration from other parts of the Russian Federation and increased Russification?

    Personally, I would like to think that if I would want to move to say, Japan I would be allowed to live in peace there and not be judged for being different from the mainstream population. However, I would not be able speak the language as fluently as a native speaker, I would not “look” Japanese (at least not in what mainstream society perceives as being Japanese). In contrast, I know I wouldn’t run into the same issues in more immigrant friendly countries were I would be more welcome like Canada or Brazil, so I would choose one of these ahead of Japan. Of course, these countries have also reduced their “native” populations to minority status. (Not to say Japan hasn’t regarding the much discriminated against Ainu, but that’s a story for another day). Is it racist on my part to assume Japanese people wouldn’t accept me as Japanese if I am a non-Japanese immigrant? Yes, in a way. Is it racist to assume that Finnish people won’t accept you as one of their own if you are an immigrant? Yes, in a way. Because the fact of the matter is different people are going to treat you differently wherever you go. I’m not trying to “normalize prejudice” quite the opposite, actually.

    People act on racism out of fear of the unknown. They fear a hypothetical takeover of their nations (we don’t even have to get the Nation State into this, we can just say homelands), either culturally or demographically (or both) by a foreign group or groups. They fear becoming minorities in their own historic homelands. I suppose if this fear (or how you perceive this fear) would be proven false or somehow reassured that it won’t happen, racism could potentially vanish.

    Enjoy debating with you, I’m sure we are more alike than different.

    • Mark

      JM

      First of all, I prefer Nolan’s political chart or square to the traditional “left wing vs. right wing” one dimensional (ok, from a mathematical perspective it’s technical two-dimensional) political spectrum.

      Nolan’s idea of ‘personal’ and ‘economic’ are interesting dimensions, but not the only ones, and certainly not discrete categories. Power is another dimension that is rather more relevant to the study of prejudice, for example.

      Is it morally correct, therefore, to assume that a political entity existing on a specific geography has the right to dictate whether or not an individual or group of individuals have the right to enter their respective political jurisdiction?

      Interesting question.

      In the absence of any political order, let’s say we have a hypothetical village where the local villagers have assembled a permanent habitat for themselves. In the event of an outsider arriving to the village and wishing to live there with the established villagers, do the villagers have a moral right to refuse to allow this outsider to become part of their community?

      I think it’s useful that you try to process this issue from the ground up, but the dangers are oversimplification and also failing to take account of our current society’s already detailed and long-developing framework on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, constitutional freedoms and human rights.

      For example, you ask do the villagers have the right to refuse entry – in practical terms, how do you canvass the whole village every time a stranger arrives? Do you do it for short-term or long-term visitors, where do you draw the line. Must it be a majority? Must it require some investigation of the individual’s circumstances? Before too long, you arrive at an immigration system that probably looks a lot like Finland’s administrative system, where refugees are vetted, where there is already a commitment to preserving the rights of refugees, both while and after processing their asylum claims. So, by going back to basics, I’m not sure you have taken us very far forward in this debate. I’m not even sure you’ve arrived at ‘first principles’. You ask about ‘moral rights’, but really, where we are now in Finland is already to have a framework of human rights, and it’s a question of trying to preserve that against a populist/fascist onslaught.

      If the outsider believes that this village will offer him or her protection from wild animals and he will be able to live at peace without being hassled for who he is, hasn’t he earned this fundamental right?

      🙂 Like I said, it’s amusing to see you casting about for something like ‘first principles’, but I’m not sure you’ve touched on any yet, at least any that ring true with me.

      …but the problem becomes “how do you judge who is a good and bad immigrant?”

      If this is the key question that’s on the table, I would consider it already a complete moral failure on the part of the host country. The fact that the Far Right constantly try to frame the debate in these terms is something I will resist and challenge to my dying day – it’s disgusting and humiliating that an immigrant is faced with this kind of ‘challenge’ the minute they step in the door in Finland – are you a good or bad immigrant? What kind of ridiculous question is that?

      Alternatively, this kind of thing would seem reasonable: Q. Can you contribute something? A. I hope so. Q. Do you require some specific resources to help you transition in the new country? A. Almost certainly yes, and I’d be happy to be given those resources in exchange for my own effort to make use of them. Q. Are you suffering trauma because of the circumstances you now find yourself in? A. probably, how much understanding and support will I receive? etc. etc.

      But to be asked if I was a ‘good person or a bad person/immigrant’ upon entering Finland – that smacks of an intense moral superiority and a complete lack of consideration for basic human dignity. Imagine if you did that that with every new house guest that ever crossed your threshold for the first time? It be would outrageous. And yet PS defend exactly this kind of approach towards immigrants.

      That doesn’t hide from the question of how able immigrants are to make positive contributions to Finland’s economy and communities. Rather, it questions the fundamentally negative and pessimistic starting point for the whole discussion. The basic fundamental realisation is that immigrants are people – a mixed bag, with different needs, and certainly probably needs that are different from your average Finn, simply because they have not enjoyed the full fruits of living and growing within this society. So they need support and they need opportunity. If all they face are demands to behave and function as ‘natives’, then that’s just one hell of a head-fuck for someone that’s just left everything and perhaps everyone they’ve ever known behind!

      I can understand the position of some Finns too. In the event of increasing globalization and use of the English language, don’t the Finns have a right to protect the usage of their unique language (same for the Swedish and Sami minorities)?

      Sorry, cannot see the relevance of this?

      ….Is it racist to assume that Finnish people won’t accept you as one of their own if you are an immigrant? Yes, in a way. Because the fact of the matter is different people are going to treat you differently wherever you go. I’m not trying to “normalize prejudice” quite the opposite, actually.

      This was another long paragraph and I wasn’t quite sure of its relevance. You bring up the question of racism, but the racism that you challenge is ‘your own view of how willing Finns are to accept you as ‘one of their own’. You do say that different people will treat you differently, and that rings true for me. But I’m not sure I can get my head around the notion of being ‘treated as one of their own’, as I cannot see this fitting to everyday life. When Finns meet other Finns, there isn’t a single camaraderie that unites them as Finns, which somehow governs the contact. On the contrary, Finns are quite capable of hating other Finns, often on the flimsiest of pretexts, much like citizens of other nations, I may add. The issue of ‘them and us’ seems to gain the most relevance when we start to talk about ‘visible minorities’ or worse, about anonymous statistics that are somehow supposed to define immigrants in useful ways. Then you might find Finns talking about Finland or Finns as a single homogenous whole, but this is for sure a fiction, and a convenient one at that, because it hides the backlash against prejudice. But the sense of threat is over-inflated and so is the sense that Finns are somehow glued together by this Finnishness in a way that will leave no gaps for ‘foreigners to be treated as our own’. In other words, I don’t think the aim for an immigrant or the expectation of a Finn is this ‘being treated/accepted as one of our own’, simply because this has no true reference point, for anybody. The key thing for me is that people are treated as people and with dignity.

      People act on racism out of fear of the unknown.

      For some, that would be a generous appraisal. Many racists are thugs. They bully, and if that can be legitimised in some way, all the better, because they can enjoy their power-driven sport of oppression with a modicum of social acceptance – perhaps even drawing themselves as heroes – much the same as football hooligans do.

      They fear a hypothetical takeover of their nations (we don’t even have to get the Nation State into this, we can just say homelands), either culturally or demographically (or both) by a foreign group or groups.

      Well, that’s what they say, but this appears to me a convenient smokescreen and a way to achieve some kind of moral ground to defend what is otherwise obvious prejudice, i.e. call it cultural self-defence. Funny, though, because you don’t have too many cultural icons coming out of the seedbed of fascist politics. I guess different bigots believe this argument to greater or lesser extents.

      Fact of the matter is, it’s a damn sight easier to be a Finn in Finland than it is to be a Bangladeshi and that would appear to be the case for the foreseeable future, so all that moaning and complaining about ‘takeovers’ and ‘losing their identity’ sounds fake to me.

      They fear becoming minorities in their own historic homelands.

      Well, I guess they know that minorities have a hard time (they know because they’re busy dishing it out…) and God forbid that that would ever happen to them. Shame they didn’t work to protect the rights of minorities, as this would go a lot further to making their possible future positions within society safer. Gosh, the irony of it!

      I suppose if this fear (or how you perceive this fear) would be proven false or somehow reassured that it won’t happen, racism could potentially vanish.

      I don’t agree, it’s not merely about fear or reassuring people about their history. I think racism is a lot about power and groups and how groups operate to protect their power. This is an insight that all the early founders of democracy were well aware of, the power of the majority to potentially terrorise the minority through sheer force of numbers, and that is why the protection of minority rights is considered one of the key pillars of a healthy modern democracy.

      Another point, history doesn’t change (assuming that we have an accurate picture of our history). When you move to a new house, the memories of the old are not somehow changed. The old house will remain what it was, and you are free to take stuff from the old house to the new or to reproduce what you had in the old house. The idea that a different demographic mix in Finland somehow takes away the rights of Finns to do what Finns have chosen to do for centuries is absurd. It’s like being afraid of shadows. I guess you agree with this.

      Enjoy debating with you, I’m sure we are more alike than different.

      Probably. But I haven’t formed a strong impression of you yet.

  12. Iam

    Hi JiM,
    How r u tonight?
    People act on racism out of fear of the unknown…. yes right very true, actually am still unknown for myself he he he, so people r right in this case, he eh eh
    but this is my question that whats my sin as a refugee?
    Where is law of acceptance then?
    UN sent me here because Finland accepted me easily with respect in there, but here i cant improve my life, doors are close, okay whats wrong UR idea JiM??
    And please
    Hi MT,all
    How is dear all?
    Wish UUU all useful debate 🙂
    Peace and joy to our planet darling earth
    Good night pretty night

  13. Happy

    Hello Happy

    I have no bias against Somalis or Blacks. You do not even know my skin colour so it is not very nice of you to assume things about me. I know I cannot prove my lack of prejudice to you so if you don’t want to accept it it is beyond my problem. I use the Asians as an example because I have legitimately heard some people say they like certain groups of immigrants over others. Is this racist? Yes. Do I share this view? No. You can feel sorry for me but I can assure you your pity is in vain.

    I can only judge you based on what you write in this forum. How you articulate your arguments and the basis of those arguments. You must read what wrote again. When we are talking about race issues and someone makes the statement you just made: Chinese are not white, no one including the Perus…is complaining about them. Then an independent observer asks: why are Finns including Perus… complaining about Blacks or Somalis. What do you think a possible answer would be? Think about it, an extreme right person who should hate anyone not white does not mind the presence of Asians because they come here to work for Nokia, etc. But he complains about Blacks or Somalis…why? I can provide you possible answers: they are lazy, they steal, they are dirty, etc. I have you ever worked across Helsinki and Tampere to see who does the dirty jobs Finns won’t do in Finland (newspaper delivery, cleaning, dish washing, they are largely blacks or Asians). You don’t need to be white to hate blacks. You only need to be racist because even Blacks, as written somewhere here “exceptional immigrants” can engage in self hate. If you don’t want to labeled as a prejudiced individual (your writeup clearly shows grave prejudice against an ethnic group) watch your arguments on this forum. I won’t relent in tearing them apart. I do know you are black and I do think based on what you write here that you are married or involved with a Finn. As such, you sound to me more like an exceptional immigrant who engages in self-hate (may be unknowingly) in order to be accepted…I have been accepted by many Finnish families as a close friend and I have never stopped been objective – giving praise where it is due and criticizing when the need arises. So can you. All you need is confidence.

    • JM

      Happy, I can understand how your opinion of me based on some of my comments in this forum led you to believe I am a racist, bigot, anti-immigrant or whatever else you want to call it and I will try to sound more like myself in future posts. I guess it only goes to show that not everyone who questions things on here is a neo-nazi. 🙂

      “Have you ever worked across Helsinki and Tampere to see who does the dirty jobs Finns won’t do in Finland (newspaper delivery, cleaning, dish washing, they are largely blacks or Asians)”

      Yes, I know I have seen it for myself. Many of such individuals doing the “dirty” work are also well educated. The reason most Finns won’t do these jobs? There has always been a stigma against working-class jobs, amongst many youngsters nowadays more than ever. There has virtually become an expectation to be a CEO or U-boat commander right out of High School. Be glad you at least don’t live in 19th century Victorian England! Back then working outdoors was considered very low on the class ladder and nobody would dare sport a tan because it would imply they had been exposed to the sun – hence worked outdoors!

      “(your writeup clearly shows grave prejudice against an ethnic group)”

      To be honest, I wrote that as a devil’s advocate more than anything else, I was curious what people here would make of such an argument but you already answered it for me.

      “As such, you sound to me more like an exceptional immigrant who engages in self-hate (may be unknowingly) in order to be accepted…I have been accepted by many Finnish families as a close friend and I have never stopped been objective – giving praise where it is due and criticizing when the need arises. So can you. All you need is confidence.”

      Well thank you for the kind words and I am pleased to hear many Finnish families have accepted you as a close friend. The majority of people are truly good at heart, at least I believe so.

  14. JM

    Thanks for the response, Mark. I’ll try to address your answer a few points at a time.

    “So, by going back to basics, I’m not sure you have taken us very far forward in this debate. I’m not even sure you’ve arrived at ‘first principles’. You ask about ‘moral rights’, but really, where we are now in in Finland is discussing about the human rights of immigrants AND Finnish citizens, regardless of origin.”

    Fair enough.

    “For some, that would be a generous appraisal (‘people act on racism out of fear’). Many racists are thugs. They bully, and if that can be legitimised in some way, all the better, because they can enjoy their power-driven sport of oppression with a modicum of social acceptance – perhaps even drawing themselves as heroes – much the same as football hooligans do.”

    Well yeah, I guess I wasn’t thinking of the flat-out hooligans and quasi-psychopaths. I think many people who exhibit racist tendencies merely view outsiders or people who aren’t like themselves with suspicion based on lack of experience, some negative experience they use to justify a whole or something else. Then again, maybe they are just bullies, I think it really depends on the individual, though.

    “Another point, history doesn’t change (assuming that we have an accurate picture of our history).”

    True.

    “I haven’t formed a strong impression of you yet.”

    Perhaps it just means I don’t fit any convenient stereotype like a glove. Sorry, I don’t mean to flatter myself. 🙂

  15. Iam

    Hi JM,
    Many hi to u
    Wish all is perfect for u JM
    I know why u did not answer me,but no worry, all is okay for me yes yes.
    Truely and from my deep heart wish u a happy day my friend JiM 🙂

    • JM

      Sorry for not answering, Iam. Thank you for the kind words and I wish you all the best. 🙂

  16. Iam

    Oh its okay, no sorry no worry be happy, and U r always welcome JiM,
    I know u been busy on MT, u love debate i know,
    and i wish u all the best plus millions happy thoughts.

    Hi MT, all
    Have a sweet afternoon UUU all plus me he he :)am i belong to all, dont know?

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