Do we write too little or too much about a social ill like racism?

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

A friend of mine recently said that one of the reasons why some don’t like Migrant Tales (MT) is because we write too much about racism.  Do we treat a social issue like racism fairly on MT? Do we write too much or too little about it?

Certainly I would be happy if there were no reasons to write about such a social ill in this country. I even hope that what I write on this blog isn’t true.

Having written a lot about this topic, given talks and debated with many Finns for a number of years, there’s one matter that must be taken into account:  Some Finns feel offended if a foreigner tells them that there’s racism in their country.

Our aim on MT is certainly not to offend anyone but to debate an issue openly. If we can identify the problem, we can take  steps to challenge  and correct it.

Racism, xenophobia and hatred are greater threats to our values and society than some may believe.  Apart from ruining lives and holding back the  potential of a country, these social vices have been the smoking guns behind almost all the wars that have ever taken place in Europe.

Why do we still write about Nazi Germany if the fall of Berlin took place 67 years ago?  Why would we even want to bring to justice, never mind write about the crimes committed by Bosnian Serb wartime commander, Ratko Mladic, whose trial began Wednesday in The Hague?

Among the many war atrocities that Mladic is believed to have been responsible for are the deaths of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in July 1995.

You may correctly ask why crimes like the Final Solution or ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia took place?  Haven’t we learned from our past wars and mistakes?

Even if our collective memory is too short for comfort, those same phantoms of xenophobia, racism and hatred that spooked us into war in the past continue to roam those same streets inhabited by our fear and ignorance.

But let’s return to the original question: Do we write too little or too much about racism on MT?

There’s probably no consensus, but there are two answers:  Those who are most affected by racism believe too little attention is given to the issue, while those who are least affected by it claim the contrary.

Whatever the case, we should never give refuge to a social ill like racism through our silence.






  1. Sasu Xinkang

    Hyym hyvä pohdinta. Itse katson, että jos yritämme olla loukkaammat niin emme voi kuin olla hiljaa. Jos pidämme meteliä, olemme ylitunteelisia tai vainoharhaisia. En tiedä mitä ajatella ihmisistä, jotka eivät halua puhua rasismista tai tuntevat olevansa henkilö kohtaisesti loukattuja.

    Värillisten pitäisi jättää nämä kieltäjät omaan arvoon ja edetä eteenpäin. Kieltäjät eivät ole ongelmista suurin. Suurin ongelma on sisäistettyn rasismin pyyhkiminen värillisten keskuudesta ja näköalattomuutta vastaan kamppaillu.

  2. JusticeDemon

    The shortest complete conversation that I have had illustrating racism in Finland went something like this:

    Jussi: We don’t have racism in Finland.

    JD: That’s not what I’ve heard from the Roma.

    Jussi: Oh, you know you can’t trust what they say!

  3. akaaro

    Absolutely, we need more than this, racism problems are quite huge and prevailing widely in our society so that we need clear action and urgent cure of this social illness.
    If we don’t talk about this matter openly we can not correct it-those who want to slow down our writing, want to cover the smoke of the racism.

    • Enrique

      I agree, Akaaro. Speaking out is a million times better than remaining silent.

  4. gloaming

    The question is quite irrelevant. When you have 52 copies of the same card in your deck, your play is kind of predictable.