Exposing white Finnish privilege #71: Hate speech is an example of white supremacist privilege

by , under Enrique Tessieri


As the troubled dust settles over Friday’s vote in parliament that kept Perussuomalaiset (PS)* Juha Mäenpää’s immunity from persecution, the arguments for or against have little or nothing to do with freedom of speech but expose white supremacist privilege.

Even if the Finnish constitution and integration program speak of a two-way process, in practice, it is only a one-way street.

Bengt Holmström, a Finnish economist who received the Nobel Prize in economics in 2016, said it all two years ago in an interview in YLE.

James Baldwin (1924-87) gives us a glimpse of what it means to be black in the United States. I am confident that people of color and other minorities feel the same way in Finland. We speak about social equality for all (Section 6 of the Constitution), but who are entitled to it?

“It’s good for them [migrants],” he said. “By the same token, it would let them move up the [social] ladder, and it would not irritate Finns so much [because foreigners have done little to nothing to build the country’s social welfare system that has taken white Finns decades].”

While Holmström says that the best way of integrating newcomers and their children in Finland is social inequality, others say it less directly but mean the same thing.

Turku University assistant professor Markku Jokisipilä is another “learned” Finn who defends white Finnish privilege to the core. It became evident after Friday’s vote in parliament, concerning Mäenpää’s parliamentary immunity.

A year ago, Mäenpää labeled asylum seekers, which is code for Muslim in the PS vocabulary, “an invasive species.”

Without even weighing how offensive the PS MP’s words are to migrants and minorities in Finland, Jokisipilä believes that the incident could encourage greater self-censorship among MPs.

“It remains to be seen whether there will be a list of topics that cannot be talked about with the same openness and critical thinking of other topics,” he said in Turun Sanomat.

He also suggested in the interview that there were different types of cultures. Since this was the case, politicians and people, in general, should be able to criticize different cultures or ethnic groups.

One matter that I have never understood, when reading the mindset of people like Holmström and Jokisipilä, is why is it ok to speak in a demeaning manner of migrants and minorities, who don’t have the same privileges and power they enjoy?

Why wouldn’t anyone try the same crude and offensive expressions with women?

Indeed, such women are white, and all hell would break loose as we saw with the Jukka Hankamäki misogynist publication fiasco of “Truth inciters.”

The reaction to Hankamäki’s publication, which was taken down from the Internet two days after its publication, does not imply that there is full gender equality in Finland.


Hate speech, as the Mäenpää case shows, is not only an example of white Finnish privilege but its supremacy over non-white people. White Finnish privilege has such deep roots in our society that we have people like Holmström, Jokisipilä, even political parties like the PS, openly endorsing status-quo social inequality.

Disagree? Listen to the excuses for Mäenpää’s racist invasive species outburst by MPs of the PS, National Coalition Party, and Christian Democrat parties. Some of these included: “[Mäenpää] chose his words incorrectly, it was a gag, a joke, a slip [of the tongue], a bad joke, those who don’t understand [what he said] have no sense of humor.”

Yes, true. It may be “a joke” to some in parliament, but I doubt that it is for those people whom Mäenpää labeled in the most hostile and demeaning manner.

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