Finnish white privilege #59: In this country, you are guilty until proven innocent

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen and the government are using the same tactics as the Nazis in World War 2 but in a different context. The government is not rounding up people and killing them in cold blood but punishing them severely for the crimes others did. 

Imagine the migrant community of Finland, especially Muslims and non-EU citizens, sentenced by social media kangaroo courts encouraging social media lynchings while politicians reinforce such anti-social behavior  with their hostile statements and silence.

Social media lynchings are common in Finland these days. Source: Westword.

Such irresponsible behavior will cost society dearly in the way of social exclusion and increased racism.

Due to what a handful of sexual assault suspects did in Oulu, the government now vows to get tough and deport up to 8,000 asylum seekers. The government is also studying how it can revoke Finnish citizenship from dual citizens as well as terminate permanent residence permits if a person is convicted of a serious crime.

The lowliest of their plans is to find loopholes to circumvent human rights and refugee agreements at the cost of the rights of embattled asylum seekers.

The government’s and opposition’s willingness to tighten even further already strict immigration laws, and thereby fuel Finland’s hostile environment against migrants and minorities, reveals how clueless they are.


How are they going to speed up and bolster the integration of newcomers if our government is excluding people with their walls of suspicion?

White Finnish privilege #59

One of the favorite arguments used by politicians who are parroting far-right populist rhetoric from parties like the Perussuomalaiset*, is “the percentage of sexual assaults caused by migrants is higher than those committed by Finns.”

The whole debate surrounding Oulu and abhorrent sexual assault crimes forgets three important matters:

  • We are speaking about suspected crimes;

  • A basic human right and foundation of the spirit of our laws is that a person is innocent until proven guilty by a court of his or her peers;

  • In a highly racialized society like Finland where the police has issues with racism, we should ask why certain migrant and minority groups commit certain crimes?

One of the reasons for racial or ethnic disparity in US prisons hinge on problems of policy, implicit biases and structural disadvantages. Great disparities in who gets incarcerated in the United States is “skewed by race and wealth,” according to former President Barak Obama.

What role do such matters play in Finland when speaking about crimes committed by migrants?


The chart above shows that suspected sexual assault cases of minors by Finns totalled 82% in 2017 versus 18% by foreigners. As we can see, the number of overall suspected sexual assault cases in the chart has retreated while rising slightly among foreigners. Source: Statistics Finland.

Even if we don’t know how many of these cases above will become convicted sexual assault cases, politicians are spreading and fuelling Islamophobic and xenophobic sentiment and this leads to a lot of problems. For one, it tuns Finland into a dangerous place for migrants and minorities.

All of this tells me one thing: Finland oppresses people who are different from them with the aim of entrenching their white power and privilege.

See also:

* The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017 into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. Despite the name changes, we believe that it is the same party in different clothing. Both factions are hostile to cultural diversity never mind Muslims and other visible minorities. One is more open about it while the other says it in a different way.

A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.

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