HS: Seitsemän kysymystä rasismista

by , under All categories, Enrique

Comment: Researcher Vesa Puronen is interviewed by Helsingin Sanomat  and asked what is racism. It seems a bit odd that in a country like Finland too many of us do not yet know in 2011 what racism is.

Puronen says that to be critical of immigration policy doesn’t mean one is a racist. However, racism is a system whereby some people are treated differently in society due to their ethnic background.

The big mistake that bigots make in Finland is that they believe they can sell such a social ill as a “normal” state of our society. The truth is, and what will eventually come to light in this country more than ever, is that racism is a pathological state.

One group that is pushing this view is PS MP Jussi Halla-aho. Puronen states that his ideas are very similar to what the Nazis had of the Jews in the 1930s. The Jew of 2011 for some PS members is Islam.

A society that breeds on racist ideology cannot expect a rosy future. The Nazis tried it but it led to Germany’s and Europe’s  near-total destruction.  Similar racist policies were tried in the former Yugoslavia with disastrous results.

The only way racism can succeed and justify its existence is through violence and war.

We should take advantage of the moment since racism and bigotry have raised their head big time in Finland.  I personally believe that one matter that people like Jussi Halla-aho and his followers never counted on is the mounting opposition and outrage to their views.

The message should be a clear one: Finland will not tolerate racism or hidden ideologies that support such views.

This country belongs to everyone and everyone should be treated equally.


Tuomas Peltomäki

Joskus ihmiset sanovat, etteivät ole rasisteja vaan maahanmuuttokriitikoita. Miten rasismi eroaa maahanmuuttokritiikistä?

Read whole story.

  1. Mikko

    I guess everyone are “racists” in some way and have preconceptions of some group of people… if somebody asks you “what do you think about Russians?”, you have the answer in your head. If the first picture in your head is positive you probably will answer with it. If it is negative and you want to be polite, then you probably think something positive about them. However, if you give a negative answer you become a racist.

    • Enrique

      Mikko, maybe the best way is to treat others the same you would treat your neighbors. Racism is learned but we can erase a big part of our prejudices. How about trying to look at a person through his character and not judge him by his/her ethnicity.

      In multicultural societies it’s probably easier to do than if you lived and grew up in Sevettijärvi. As humans we have the knowledge to adapt, learn and accept new things.

  2. Mikko

    I just wonder how much do we have to accept and where do we draw the line? I know there are hundreds cultures in the world, all of them have some good and bad things. In some culture touching is a taboo and in other cultures hugging/kissing is every day life. I don’t believe there will ever be a total harmony with different cultures. Thais might find it offensive if westerns point with their feet, Muslims might find it offensive than girls uses bikini in summer time, Indians might find it offensive that we play religious songs in our summer parties etc. How can we please everybody?

  3. Mikko


    You don’t think big culture differences might cause conflicts? Does it make me a racist if I don’t tolerate some parts of some certain cultures, because I think they are against freedom of speech and western values?

    • Enrique

      Mikko, I don’t think so. The biggest problems are social ones like racism and exclusion. Cultures change and new realities emerge when we live in a society where there are lots of different cultures. Learn from each other sincerely. If I am unaware of something I ask. There is nothing wrong with asking. A culturally diverse society requires a different set of rules than a strict one where one culture dominates and acceptance is one-way. I ask a lot of things of my students because I am interested in their culture and because it’s my job. Nobody will scold you for trying.

  4. Mikko

    You are a teacher? I always though you are a reporter or something 🙂

    I do find different cultures interesting and I wish part of them would be in Finnish culture as well (at least this let’s-get-wasted-every-weekend culture could vanish). But should we accept all kinds of cultures? How do we determine what is “bad” culture and what is “good” or is everything “good”?

    In some cultures women rights are much worse than in Finnish culture. If we have enough this culture representatives, does it come acceptable treat women as second class citizen? Or is this the line what comes to culture acceptance?

    • Enrique

      Mikko, there is no such thing as a “bad” or “good” culture. But then again you are not required to like all of them. Just like people. You don’t have to love everyone but mutual acceptance and respect are important.

      You are correct from a Finnish point of view that women have by law more rights than in some other cultures. I personally believe that in society we have the right to make lifestyle choices. Is yours better than mine? Certainly our laws, which are based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights, is important to take into account. However, I don’t think you are doing any woman or person a favor by telling her to abandon her culture so she can have more rights. That is her choice. I chose my lifestyle and I take responsiblity for it. I live in a country that respects my culture, which I am proud of and celebrate. In it lies my identity. So to make a long thread short: mutual acceptance is paramount. That is where everything starts from.

      I do both today.

  5. Allan

    Veas Puuronen evidently does not know what racism is either. He has lived so much in an imaginary reality his definition has become true for him. But what does he base this on? Change “rasismi” in his theses with “neuvostovastaisuus” and you can see he truly never left far from the 70’s Taistolais-faction of his youth. He is about as entertaining as that other “desantti” Backman giving press conferences in Russia. They bring a real whiff of the “good old days”.

    • Enrique

      So, Allan, if Vesa Puronen does not know what racism is, could you tell us?

  6. Allan

    Discrimination can be done according to age, gender, persuasion, orientation, faith, lifestyle etc. None of which is racism, as thats discrimination on genotype. I would say some caste/class systems fit into this definition as well.