Exposing white privilege in Finland #87: Social segregation is not white Finland’s fault

by , under Migrant Tales

The recent article and editorial in Helsingin Sanomat about social segregation in Finland is a good example of how white privilege deals with growing social segregation.

Finland’s largest daily, Helsingin Sanomat, published an editorial Thursday about how social segregation is growing in Finland. That follows a story about how some schools in Espoo have more pupils who speak other languages than Finnish, Swedish, or Saami.

One of the most important matters in a story written by a predominantly white newsroom about migrant and minority groups is what they overlook in the story. What the story discards can be seen as a Freudian slip.

Suppose the editorial board of Helsingin Sanomat had taken the time to address the problem of social segregation from an EU perspective. In that case, they’d encounter some good solutions to challenge such a social ill. These would include the usual issues: tackling institutional racism, effective social policy, and making cities more inclusive.

Thus urban segregation is the unequal distribution of different social groups based on occupation, income, education, gender, and ethnicity, according to the EU. In recent years, the gap has widened.


Social segregation is a growing problem in Finland as in Europe. Source: Google

Why the Helsingin Sanomat editorial does not address the core issues behind urban segregation reveals volumes about the daily and its editorial board. One possible reason why they are not mentioned is a common phenomenon: denial.

White privilege in Finland #87

While the editorial tries but fails not to label certain neighborhoods as “bad” due to social segregation, the solution to the problem that the editorial offers speaks volumes. It concludes: “In the United States, for example, where [the neighborhood] you live impacts your child’s life [and social development]. We are not yet close to being at such a stage in Finland, but we should do everything possible to avoid it.”

Blaming the residents of specific neighborhoods and not addressing the root causes of growing social inequality means that Finland will do little to nothing to halt ever-growing social segregation in Finland.

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