Defining white Finnish privilege #1: I have it and you don’t

by , under Enrique Tessieri

In many respects white privilege, or specifically white Finnish privilege, is a good way to understand some of the challenges that migrants and especially non-white Finns face in this country. Migrant Tales invites its readers to share their thoughts on the social ill. 

Please send your comments on the topic to [email protected]

Are the days of white Finnish privilege counted or extended?


Understanding what white privilege is essential if we want to challenge intolerance in Finland. It’s pretty clear that the way white privilege works in the United States or in the United Kingdom shouldn’t differ greatly from white Finnish privilege.

Let’s look at some definitions of this social ill below.

Harry Brod states the following: “It [white privilege] is something that society gives me, and unless I change the institutions which give it to me, they will continue to give it, and I will continue to have it, however noble and equalitarian my intentions.”

Francis E. Kendall defines white privilege:

Privileges are bestowed on us by the institution with which we interact solely because of our race, not because we are deserving as individuals. While each of us is always a member of a race or races, we are sometimes granted opportunities because we, as individuals, deserve them; often we are granted them because we, as individuals, belong to one or more of the favored groups in our society.

Urban Dictionary defines it the following words:

The racist idea that simply being white benefits people in some unexplainable way, and that discriminating against white people is not only okay, but enlightened and necessary. The excuse some extremists use to justify pretty much any level of racism, as long as it is coming from people of color. A young American woman died because in college she was brainwashed into believing that her white privilege would protect her from being run over by a bulldozer.

And Time Wise says:

White privilege refers to any advantage, opportunity, benefit, head start, or general protection from negative societal mistreatment, which persons deemed white will typically enjoy, but which others will generally not enjoy.

If white privilege is detrimental to non-whites, the only way to challenge it is to expose and challenge it. This won’t be easy since who in their right minds wants to give up their privileges?

One way to start is to show the negative impact that white privilege not only has on minorities but on all of society.

A good question to ask if “since when was racism and prejudice good for society?”


Definition #1

White Finnish privilege requires me to near-constantly define my Otherness in order to make me unequal or be identified as a person who does not have full access to those privileges bestowed to white Finns. 


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