Exposing white Finnish privilege #53: Why is our tolerance for racism at street level

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When US President Donald Trump viciously attacked “The Squad” (Congresspersons Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar), when he told them to leave the country (see tweet below), there was dismay and outrage from politicians and other sectors of society.

In Finland, a politician like Maiju Tapiolinna can tell a Helsinki city Councilperson, Abdirahim Husu Hussein, who is a Finnish citizen, to go back to Somalia. Telling a person of color to leave the country is the most normal thing from a white Perussuomalaiset* politician.

In such a white society like Finland, the bar for what is racist and inappropriate is a way too low. White privilege and power keep it from rising as well as Malcolm X’s famous quote: “Racism is like a Cadillac, they bring out a new model every year.”

Maiju Tapiolinna’s Facebook post is a good example of the hostility that white Finnish fragility brings out in some people. She states: “Somalis should leave the country if they don’t integrate.” The Nurmijärvi PS politician has asked to police to investigate Hussein’s tweet so that that the police file charges against him. For what? The PS is not an ethnic group. Source Facebook and Sakari Timonen’s blog.

White Finnish privilege #53

One of the consequences of living in an overwhelmingly white society is that racism isn’t taken seriously as Hussein’s case proves even if you are a politician and black. It isn’t taken seriously because it isn’t in white people’s interest. Who cares what it’s like to be a person of color in Finland, right?

The predicament is similar to asking a man if he thinks there is sexism in Finland and how to eradicate it.

Why is it so difficult for the media and politicians in Finland to grasp that racism is a serious offense against our values and especially against the person at the receiving end? We proudly claim that we have one of the best education systems in the world, but still the second-biggest party in parliament is far-right and Islamophobic.

Migrant Tales recently asked the following question in an op-ed piece: “[w]hy aren’t the leaders of other parties saying anything substantial to defend and support Hussein who had the guts to speak out? Where is Prime Minister Antti Rinne, who is a member of the same party [Social Democratic Party] as Hussein? Where is Pekka Haavisto of the Greens, Left Alliance, Swedish People’s Party, and Center Party leaders? What about the National Coalition Party?

If some in the United States like Trump say and do racist things and claim they aren’t racist, in Finland, you usually hear silence from people who are indifferent to racism.

Doesn’t the Constitution guarantee that we are all equal before the law and that no person can be discriminated due to his or her background?

If you hear silence as an answer to that affirmation, you should start to worry.

See also:

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. In the last parliamentary election, Blue Reform has wiped off the Finnish political map when they saw their numbers in parliament plummet from 18 MPs to none. 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.