Exposing white Finnish privilege #90: A crime by “people of foreign background” offers more political mileage than one committed by white Finns

by , under Enrique Tessieri

We read about the tragic death of a woman at Espoo’s Iso Omena shopping center on Saturday. The woman died while being escorted by four Securitas security guards out of the shopping center. The altercation ended with the woman on the floor, handcuffed, and eventually lifeless.

The police announced Sunday that the security guards in the incident are suspected of manslaughter.

The woman’s death followed a police investigation of security guards at Avarn Security, who systematically beat and humiliated its victims.

Both incidents shed light on some uncomfortable but imperative matters: greater scrutiny of security guards by the companies and police, better training, and stricter psychological tests to determine if they qualify for such work.

A good editorial by Helsingin Sanomat today caused us to reflect on crime and punishment. As everyone knows, and with elections on April 4, radical-right parties like the Perussuomalaiset and the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) are spreading fear about youth gangs and how they are a threat to our society.

On the other hand, the security business crisis has received few – if any – calls for greater scrutiny and stricter sentences for security guards who use excessive force and break the law. There are no calls for stricter punishment for murders in the Ullanniemi incident committed by a white Finnish psychiatrist.

The editorial writes: “Neither do politicians seem interested in the violence committed by Avarn Security guards. Both [Ullaniemi and Avarn Seucirty] lacked the ingredient that makes a crime politically explosive: a foreign perpetrator.”

Finnish white privilege #90

Surprisingly, after reading 87 stories on the crisis facing the security industry between December 27 and January 8, only one story alleges racism as a problematic factor in the working culture of security guards. Another story by Ilta-Sanomat, which wrote about excessive force, only mentioned once a “person of foreign background” who security guards apprehended.

Only two stories out of 87!

But there is one more! Helsingin Sanomat asked in a story what the security guards targeted and picked on vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

What do they mean by venerable and disadvantaged? Are they speaking of the homeless? Drunks? Old people? People of color? Other minorities like the Roma?

A comprehensive study in 2018 on ethnic profiling by the University of Helsinki gave proof of how ethnic profiling, especially by security staff, was a problem.

None of the stories mention one real culprit: the role of ethnic profiling in the work of security guards.

“Many said [in the study] that security guards were often rude and treated them roughly, even violently,” said the University of Helsinki Professor Suvi Keskinen of one of the ethnic profiling study’s findings.

Migrant Tales has documented stories about alleged excessive force used by security guards. All of the victims it has documented are non-white Finns. The latest case involved a man traveling with his wife and two-month-old baby in December.

So what gives?

Once again, the shadow of white Finnish privilege is exposed.

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