Helsingin Sanomat: Non-white taxi drivers face suspicion and outright racism from customers

by , under Enrique Tessieri

There’s an interesting article on Helsingin Sanomat today about how non-white Finnish taxi drivers face suspicion and outright racism from potential customers. It’s refreshing to see the country’s biggest daily taking a more serious attitude towards discrimination. It’s a big improvement from the days when it published polls in 2010 about what Finns thought about migrants. 

Obansu, a black African taxi driver with two master’s degrees, was the first reader to post a comment in August 2007 on Migrant Tales’ most popular posting, Are you a target of racism in Finland.

He wrote below:

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While it is a good matter that Helsingin Sanomat writes about the suspicion and racism that non-Finnish taxi drivers face in Helsinki, Migrant Tales this problem was already reported by Obansu in 2007.

Have things changed since then? Ghanian taxi driver Stanley Nyarko AboAgve is quoted as saying on Helsingin Sanomat: ”I’m in mmline and a customer comes in the car. Fucken n-word, he says and takes another taxi.”

While it’s clear that some non-white taxi drivers face racist insults while at work, the question is what is being done about it? Since too much of Finland is in denial about doing something to challenge intolerance, it’s clear that too little will be done about racist and rude customers.

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Read full story (in Finnish) here.


As long as some Finns believe it’s fine to admit they are racists in public, the problem will persist. Racism, like any form of discrimination, must be made and turned into something shameful.

It’s one of the many ways we can send this social ill back to where it belongs: the gutter.