Does Finland need critical race theory?

by , under Enrique Tessieri


Aminkeng A. Alemanji, a Cameroonian researcher who defended successfully in October 2016 his doctoral dissertation on anti-racism education, is the closest you will get to critical race theory in Finland. 

Even if some link critical race theory to movements like BLM, it has been around for about 40 years.

Critical race theory, like anti-racism education, is vital since we live in an ever-growing diverse society and must consider and give public space through history to other groups.

The lack of anti-racism education has made Finland focus on one group – white middle-class society – at the cost of excluding other groups. Those other groups could even be the Saami and Romany minority.

The rise and normalization of racism in Finland is the best indicator of how starved our education system acknowledges cultural and ethnic diversity.

For me, it means that we live together, and diversity is encouraged, not suppressed and shamed as today.

Apart from giving us a much wider view of our place in Finland, anti-racism education should teach respect for difference and the right of minorities to embrace this country on their own terms.

When we teach our children myths and fables of our history, which usually include the achievements of one group, history is not only the past but the present and future, according to Timothy Snyder, history professor at Yale University.

See full interview here with Timothy Snyder and Basil Smikle.

“If what our classrooms give us is the stuff that makes us feel good,” he was quoted as saying in a recent TV interview, “we are being groomed for authoriatarism.”

It would be naive to believe that somehow Finland would not be vulnerable to such autocratic impulses. It is already happening here before our eyes. Even if Finland claims to have the best education system that caters to white middle-class Finns, it has seen the rise of a xenophobic, far-right, and populist party, the Perussuomalaiset (PS).*

The contradictions on how we promote social equality and equity also tell us that we need anti-racism education in Finland.