Racialization, or ethnicization, is a sociological concept that ascribes racial or ethnic identities to a relationship. In simple terms it is the way that a dominant group ascribes an identity on minorities in order to dominate them. In Finland this is so common that our nationality is mentioned on our drivers license even if we’re Finnish citizens.
On the third line of my drivers license after name and surname, there’s my date of birth and place of birth. In my case it’s ARG, or Argentina.
I was born in Argentina but grew up in California and lived in cities like London and Helsinki when I was a minor. Why aren’t these reflected on my drivers license?
This practice smells of Helena Eronen’s suggestion that immigrants should start wearing sleeve badges and what the Nazis did when they obliged Jews to sew the Star of David on their clothing.
The question is why do we have to have this information on our drivers license?
Does the information give the police who stop you more information about your background? Does it encourage ethnic profiling and make the difference whether you’ll get off with a warning or a ticket?
Why is it anyone’s business to know where I’m from? What about if I show my drivers license to a shop keeper as ID? Why should he or she know where I was born?
The Finnish state and its employees like the police, who are paid to serve us, appear to be obsessed by race and blood as well as ethnicity. Since this information appears to be crucial to them, why not include sexual preference? Why not classify Finns according to the region they were born or which ethnic group they belong to?
Instead of encouraging inclusiveness, these types of practices are one of many ways that the Finnish state continues to remind you that you aren’t an equal member of this society.