When the media turns a blind eye to racism, prejudice, and social exclusion, when politicians suck up to those very policies that reinforce such social ills, it is time to take a long look in the mirror.
What would we see?
A country still in the trenches of World War 2 (not the Continuation War), a country that is by its own making near-sighted, a country that is still obsessed with blood and race.
After the Second World War, and in the 1970s and 1980s, the undercurrent of racism was strong in Finland. The only reason why it hadn’t shown its ogre face as today is because of the then underwhelming size of the country’s foreign population.
In 1970, the number of foreign nationals in Finland totaled a mere 5,483, according to the Migration Institute of Finland.
Despite social policy experts like Heikki Waris of the 1960s, who infamously claimed that “racial prejudice and discrimination are nonexistent” in Finland because there were “no racial minorities,” present-day Finland has proven him wrong. Racism has always been alive and kicking in this country.
As more foreigners started to move to Finland in the 1990s, especially from outside Europe like the Somalis, there was a racist and even violent knee-jerk reaction from white Finns.
The suffering and raw racism that groups like the Somalis continue to endure is well-documented and a permanent stain on our society.
If we do not watch out, the very racism we were spoon-fed at school and by society is the poison that can destroy all our social and democratic gains. The shadow of Hungary hangs deep over Finland as the populist radical right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* lead in opinion polls.
Our social rights and democracy can be forfeited in a day if we aren’t careful.
Fascism and all the racism that characterizes it is knocking at Finland’s door again.
If we let the beast in through the ajar door, we will only have ourselves to blame. Possibly some feel comfortable with their eyes closed. They may naively believe that fascism won’t affect them because they’re white.
What will emerge from it is not disastrous to some parts of the population like minorities, but be a wrecking ball that will destroy our sense of social fairness, democracy, and institutions.