There’s an interesting news story on MTV3 that claims that immigrants in Finland feel physically secure in this country but see themselves as outsiders. This is the first story I’ve read in this country that addresses a big issue in Finland, which is common in other countries as well.
One of the reason why some immigrants feel like outsiders in this society is because their communities are small, fragmented and struggling to survive.
Read full story (in Finnish) here.
The MTV3 story, which cited a poll, claimed that foreigners felt more like outsiders in Helsinki than immigrants in Turku, Stockholm, Tallinn and Riga.
If people feel that they are outsiders, the obvious question we should ask is why. As we try to find an answer to the question, we slowly begin to identify the issues and find effective tools to challenge them. The social ills are the usual culprits: social exclusion, prejudice, racism, and a wide gamut of others related to the latter.
If we shine more light on social exclusion, certainly we’ll find inequality and poverty fenced by culprits like intolerance and hatred.
As long as the immigrant population in Finland is small like now, comprising of only 3.4% of the population, there will be little outcry to social exclusion. According to the Population Register Center, our immigrant population numbers 195,511. It is still too small to be taken seriously by the majority population.
If there are some 50,000 people of the age of 15-29 that are marginalized from our society, the chance of being socially excluded is much higher if you are a person with an immigrant background.
When will immigrants, or Finland’s “Other” have a voice in this country? Probably when our immigrant and visible minority population grows and comes of age.
By 2030 our immigrant population will pass that half a million mark.
Will that be a large enough community to have a say in this country’s affairs remains to be seen.