Finnish PS MP Tolppanen: Speaking in code and having a getaway plan after a racist statement

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Maria Tolppanen is a good example of how anti-immigration politicians speak in code to their voters and have an escape plan after making a racist comment. Tolppanen’s getaway plan is the period mark in her statement.  

These types of statements are double-edged swords because they give public exposure to a politician. Politicians like Tolppanen say racist things because they seek public attention.

What did she say?

Näyttökuva 2015-4-6 kello 10.24.17
Read original Facebook posting here.

Candidates running for parliament were asked by a Vaasa publication to complete a sentence that began with “I would be screaming with joy in Vaasa’s city square if…”

Tolppanen wrote: “…there would be less mamus (mamu is a lowly term used by some white Finns for migrants. The statement is followed by a period). And more people [or humans] enjoying lunch breaks during work.”

The PS MP, who has strong anti-immigration views and who wants to take away child support for immigrant families and that Finland should deny certain groups the right to destroy our religion and culture (sic!), was contacted by tabloid Iltalehti about what she said. Tolppanen used the period mark, her getaway plan, by stating that the punctuation mark was in the wrong place.

She no longer uses the term mamu when quoted by the tabloid and gives us the usual excuses like she’s been misinterpreted and what she said isn’t racist.

The period mark is a deception that allows Tolppanen to speak in code to her voters, who can read and agree with her racist comment. But it doesn’t make any difference if there is a period or not in the comment because it doesn’t change the meaning of what she said. The evidence that Tolppanen leaves behind is the term mamu in her comment. 

Tolppanen used to work for YLE as a journalist for thirty years and knows perfectly well how punctuation works.

Being a former journalist who houses such racist views shows why journalism in Finland is what it is.

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.