Exposing Finnish white privilege #67: Pirkka-Pekka Petelius’ apology exposes deep-rooted white Finnish supremacy

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Helsingin Sanomat carried out a survey asking if Pirkka-Pekka Petelius did the right thing to apologize to the Saami for mocking them in a racist manner in the Hymyhuulet show (1987-88). The survey showed that 57% thought that Petelius was wrong to apologize, while only 29% said that he did the right thing; 14% had no opinion.

The most vigorous opposition to the apology came from the 50-69-year age group. Two-thirds of them considered the apology wrong. Those who were under 30 years had higher education and voted for the Left Alliance, and Green League party were the most favorable.

Read the full story (in Finnish) here.

Petelius, who is a Green League MP, said that he was surprised by the reaction his apology produced.

“I’ve experienced quite heinous accusations, threats, and hate speech for apologizing to an indigenous group [like the Saami],” he was quoted as saying in Helsingin Sanomat. “Incomprehensible. It is my business to convene the Saami and apologize to them for the impact that my sketches have had. ”

Finnish white privilege #67

The Helsingin Sanomat survey is not only an indication of the deep roots of Finnish white privilege but of white fragility as well.

Robin Diangelo describes as white fragility in her best-selling book, “White Fragility.” She states that most white people “are absolutely not receptive to finding out their impact on other people.” She also mentions that the reaction caused by white fragility is nothing fragile but hostile.

If Petelius’ apology can create such a knee-jerk reaction of hate and hostility, ask yourself how many Finns would be ok with living with people of color and treating them as equals.

The reaction to Petelius’ apology also shows the ethnic and racist bubble the country continues to live in and who calls the ethnic-racial shots. Hint: It isn’t the minorities.

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