Exposing white privilege in Finland #85: We need solutions, not racist provocations

by , under Enrique Tessieri

The riots in Sweden sparked by the burning of the Koran by the Danish far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party led by Rasmus Palaudan remind us how urgently we need solutions, not provocations, to heal the wounds gashed by racism and double standards. Provocations do nothing more than expose our hypocrisy and privilege. They never offer solutions on the way to move forward.

Be it by the Palaudan and other far-right political groups like the Perussuomalaiset (PS),* it is always the same script: provoke, provoke but never give solutions. While Palaudan has threatened a “final solution” to Muslims and expelling all of them from Denmark, the PS has only given cheap racist soundbites.

Palaudan loves attention, and he gets it from the media and, unfortunately, from some Muslims and others. He is not a champion of free speech by burning the Koran but an example of white privilege disguised as free speech.

In the last election in Denmark, his party got 1.8% of the votes, which is below the 2% threshold for an MP to be elected.

The PS is so full of bravado that they fear mentioning the term “Muslim” in their hate soundbites but instead speak in code. Asylum seekers and immigration policy are their code words for Muslims.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports: “Police said up to 100 mostly young people threw stones, set cars, tires and dustbins on fire, and put up a barrier fence in the town of Landskrona after authorities moved a demonstration scheduled there by Danish party Stram Kurs to the nearby city of Malmö, about 45km (27 miles) to the south.”

Forgetting the crucial role migrants have played in building Sweden’s economy after World War 2, PS leader Riikka Purra parrots her usual far-right talking points about events in Sweden.

Tweets Riikka Purra: “The rampage continues in Malmö. Rocks and fuel bottles were thrown at the police. Masked persons ignited several arson attacks.  According to police, the situation at night was chaotic, says Yle.”

White privilege in Finland #85

Since our society is still trying but too crippled to find effective solutions, I will propose some below that were suggested by the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, and that will appear later in the latest European Islamophobia Report 2021:

  • Recognition of Islamophobia as a form of racism.
  • More studies and sources are needed on racism and Islamophobia in particular.
  • The mainstream media should acknowledge and step up its reporting of Islamophobia as a form of racism.
  • Since Muslims are also Finns, the language used to label them should change. Finns must stop referring to Muslim and minority children as “people of foreign or migrant background.” 
  • Promote cultural and ethnic diversity in civil servant jobs like the police.
  • Dismantle institutional structures that maintain racism and practices of discrimination.
  • Guarantee the rights of racism and discrimination victims by making due process swifter.
  • Each culture has its own public space in Finland, and it should be promoted, protected, and respected. 
  • Stronger adherence to enforcing anti-discrimination laws. 
  • More funding and resources for training and monitoring effectively hate speech, hate crime, discrimination, and racism cases. 
  • Anti-racism education should be mandatory starting from comprehensive school.
  • Instead of only advocating and emphasizing in many cases, gender equality, there should be equal emphasis on promoting equity for all minorities and vulnerable groups. 
  • Prohibit holding a public office for politicians who have been convicted of ethnic agitation, hate crime, and other serious crimes.
  • Encourage and make room for Muslims and other minorities through exemplary leadership by ministers, politicians, the media, and public officials.
  • Integration is a two-way (in theory) process, not one-way (in practice), not a one-way process. 

See also: