Exposing white Finnish privilege #52: Having no privilege is dangerous

by , under Enrique Tessieri

A report commissioned by the Finnish ministry of the interior revealed that migrants are 2.5 times more likely than white Finns to be assaulted, reports YLE News

Another study published in 2014 by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), showed that first-generation immigrants at school are more likely to experience bullying, physical threats and sexual harassment than white Finns.

Even if violence and harassment of migrants are too common in Finland, the report published by the ministry of the interior claims that “very little is known about the relative security of different groups in society.” In its survey, THL admitted in their study that there has been up to know very little information about this groups of minors who have foreign-born parents.

While it is a good matter that Finland wakes up to the ogre of racism and the violence it sows in society, that the results of these studies “surprise” officials reveal, in my opinion, a heavy dose of denial and the unwillingness to do anything effective to challenge the problem. White privilege must numb and discourage them to act effectively.


Read the full story here.

White Finnish privilege #52

While Finnish privilege not only permits you to keep your social entitlements, it guards you better from violence unless you are a woman.

Finland places much emphasis on gender equality but still women in Finland, after Denmark and Latvia, experience the highest violence in the EU. While the study by the ministry of interior cites immigrants, it is pretty clear that the ones that experience the greater violence are migrant women.

The study states that migrants from Africa and the Middle East are the most likely to face assault in Finland.

The first step we must take to eradicate violence towards migrants and women is to deal with society’s denial and exceptionalism, which are supported by white Finnish privilege.

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  1. intternetnetsi

    So when migrants assault migrants is somehow white priviledge?

    ” Huomioitaessa uhrien ikä- ja sukupuolijakaumat, maahanmuuttajien
    osuus kantaväestön uhreista vastasi väestöosuutta. Kantaväestön tekemät
    pahoinpitelyt eivät siten olleet kohdistuneet maahanmuuttajiin useammin
    kuin väestöosuuden pohjalta voitiin ennustaa.”

  2. Mark


    You have a point. But you also ignore others.

    If we are talking about victims, then immigrant women are a vulnerable group and should be supported. Immigrant women are an especially vulnerable group, and compared to native women, are more at risk.

    When it comes to the domestic violence perpetrators, Finland has twice the average EU rage of domestic violence and is the second most violent country for women. Do you think it is wise to draw attention ONLY to violence committed by immigrant men?

    White privilege implies to a different level of treatment and status for those who are not part of the white majority, and this discrepancy is either actively ignored or dismissed by that white majority.

    Are you actively working to dismiss the specific problems faced by immigrant women? It certainly seems that way. If you are, then you are defending ‘white privilege’.

    The first step to giving up that privilege is to recognise the vulnerabilities of that migrant group, rather than getting sidetracked trying to blame that situation on migrant men.

    There are two parts to this, supporting women, including immigrant women, and tackling the problem of male violence. The first is the most important. When it comes to the second, it is a disingenuous argument and position if you focus exclusively on immigrant men and then ignore the problems already endemic in Finnish society of men’s violence against women. Yes, work can be done to educate immigrant men and to prosecute them when they break the law.

    One final point – if we find that levels of violence committed by immigrant men is high, it is not necessarily a sign of cultural differences or cultural superiority of Finnish culture. And I’m not talking about high levels of existing violence by Finnish men against women, but rather the simple fact that some migrants have experienced violence and suffer post traumatic stress disorder, a symptom of which is itself violent behaviour.

    When it comes to finding answers to these problems, it’s clear that racism doesn’t help, because it tries to make it a cultural superiority issue, that Finns are just better, when evidence shows that Finnish men on average are themselves more violence to women. Second, if you blame the ‘inferior culture’, you are not taking steps to address the PTSD, which would go some way to reducing violent behaviour in vulnerable groups. And yes, strange as it may sound, some perpetrators are ‘vulnerable’ themselves, even if they are breaking the law and hurting others. This doesn’t excuse their behaviour, but it certainly changes how you go about trying to change that behaviour, which in the end, must be important.