Anti-immigration party Perussuomalaiset (PS)* speaker of parliament, Maria Lohela, states in an interview in Helsingin Sanomat that the jobless rate among some migrant groups is many times higher than the national average. True. But the question the reporter should ask Lohela is “why” and “what she’s doing to change the situation” instead of parroting her views.
The claim that there is no work for migrants is a way for parties like the PS to continue to spread their bigotry and suspicion of migrants. It’s an excuse by Lohela to do nothing and a hostile narrative that Helsingin Sanomat likes to rubber-stamp it.
Possibly one reason some of us don’t care too much to ask “why” or “how to resolve high unemployment” is because we’re not interested, or, at least, Lohela and the PS aren’t.
The whole idea that a person is to blame for being unemployed is a socially conservative notion. Doesn’t society play a role? What kinds of obstacles do prejudice and discrimination play?
A shadow report on Afrophobia in Europe by the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) made the following recommendations on how to tackle high unemployment among migrants in Finland:
- Establish an equality body responsible for dealing with discrimination cases within employment.
- A plan needs to be developed and implemented to increase the ethnic diversity of the workforce in the public sector in particular within the non-discrimination Ombudsman’s office and the police service.
- Government agencies and NGOs must improve their monitoring of discrimination in all areas and especially in employment.
It is incredible, to say the least that not one non-white Finn works for the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman’s office never mind the tiny number of those for the police service.
Read full story (in Finnish) here.
Another factor that helps keep high unemployment rates among migrants and minorities is people like Lohela. Her anti-immigration and Islamophobic narrative encourage instead of challenge high unemployment rates.
Instead of crying about the situation, politicians should be looking at solutions. The reason why they don’t look at solutions too passionately is because they are more interested in excluding rather than including migrants and minorities in Finnish society.
The latter won’t happen in Finland as long as migrants and minorities buy into the negative perceptions that some Finns have of them and as long as we do nothing to challenge and change the situation.
Our biggest challenge in this century is to question the very prejudices and lies that politicians like Lohela spread to exclude us from society.
* 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. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic Finn.”