THE STORY WAS UPDATED
We have recently read about two cases where security guards use force to handle a passenger that does not have a ticket. In both these cases, there is a link: both are black passengers. Both passengers were also on a transport or at a station operated by the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL).
The first case took place on June 23 in Espoo, while an East African nursing student was escorted violently out of the train. One security guard allegedly held her hand while the other had her in a chokehold.
“It was quite shocking when I saw this recent case,” said the East African nursing student. “I get nervous when I board a train because of what happened to me.”
The woman said that her lawyer has asked the police for the video footage of the incident but they have refused because the case “is still under investigation.”
The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) announced today that the company plans to arrange “social equality” courses for ticket inspectors, according to Yle.
If the victims of both cases are correct, it exposes what we’ve known for a long time: Some have more rights in our society than others despite the social equality rhetoric we often hear and made possible by our exceptionalism.
Almost two weeks past when a 17-year-old black adolescent was allegedly violently assaulted by security guards for not having a valid ticket. The black adolescent ended up handcuffed and held on the floor while his white friend was allowed to leave.
The violent treatment of the security guards should not surprise us since a comprehensive study in 2018 on ethnic profiling by the University of Helsinki showed how ethnic profiling, especially by security staff, was a source of particular concern.
“Many said [in the study] that security guards were often rude and treated them roughly, even violently,” said the University of Helsinki Professor Suvi Keskinen of one of the ethnic profiling study’s findings.
The two cases in the story are a good opportunity to expose how systemic racism works in Finland.
How many black policemen are there in Finland? What about those that work for security firms? Too few to make a significant impact on policy.
And let’s not forget as well the racist trolling against the victim’s mother on social media.
The confidence of their impunity and ther racist arguments reveals how far some have stooped and how much work there is still to do on the anti-racism front.