Exposing Finnish white privilege #64: The cancer of institutional racism in Finland

by , under Enrique Tessieri


There are many types of social ills that are cancerous, but the one I want to speak now is about institutional racism in Finland. Institutional racism is a racket, a criminal conspiracy, to exclude people by ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.

Institutional racism is a racket that maintains a system that is exclusive and unjust. It destroys lives and robs people of their opportunities that should be guaranteed by law.

Racialization is one of the accomplices of institutional racism.

In Finland as elsewhere, there are many people who stand up to racism. Even so, such people are too few.

Toni Morrison (1931-2019), the novelist, essayist, book editor, and college professor, stated that race is a social construct. If so, why does racism exist?

“It [racism] has benefits,” she said, “money can be made off it, people who don’t like themselves can feel better because of it, it can describe certain kinds of behavior that are wrong or misleading; so it has a social function – r a c i s m.”

In the video below, Morrison makes an excellent point to racists or people who profit directly or indirectly from such a social ill.

“But when you take it away, take your race away, you are all strung out,” she continued. “All you got is your little self, and what is that? What are you without that? What are you without racism? Are you any good? Are you still strong? Are you still smart? Do you still like yourself?”

Finnish white privilege #64

In the same way that Islamophobic parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* claim that immigration costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of euros, we can argue that institutional racism costs Finland hundreds of millions, if not billions of euros.

Where is this money wasted? You will find it spent on many integration programs that don’t integrate and make newcomers active members of society; and in maintaining racist structures that fuel social exclusion and high social welfare costs to name a few.

In Finland, it is easy to give a two-faced image of ourselves. Institutional racism permits us to keep our closet prejudices and racism intact while claiming to help migrants in state- and EU-sponsored programs.

The final judge of the effectiveness of these programs is the results: Did you get hired with a dignified salary? Did the program say a whimper to expose and challenge institutional racism?

It is upsetting to see people who claim to want to advance the opportunities and rights of migrants but are stone quiet.

We are all accomplices if we cover our eyes to institutional and all forms of racism and respond to such cancerous forms with our silence.

See also:

*A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.