By Enrique Tessieri
What would happen if different ethnic groups switched their roles in society and promoted their history and justification of the domination of other groups? Below is a satirical video clip about that switched view of white Australia’s ongoing program of racism and oppression of black indigenous people.
Setting satire aside for a moment, is the fear that those who oppress us driven by ignorance or by a stark fact: If people ever woke up and understood how they’ve been exploited and deprived, would that lead to a revolution?
A 1960s black activist from Harlem, Elder Lewis Michaux, raises some serious questions even about our integration program in Finland. He said about the black man’s and woman’s plight in the United States: “Integration will never happen. You will never, as long as you live, integrate into the white man’s system.”
Is Finland’s integration program really serious about raising the immigrant, never mind their children and grandchildren, to the same status as white Finns? When can they remove the “immigrant background label” off and be accepted as Finns on their own ethnic and cultural terms?
Here, I believe, we have to look at expectations versus reality. Expectations are noble but the results are so far dismal. The rise of a populist anti-immigration party in April like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) raises a lot of questions not only about where Finland is heading but how passionate we are about ethnic and minority equality in this country.
If you are an optimist you may believe that Finland’s noble social welfare system and the values that give it its reason for being will promote and encourage even ethnic equality. If you are a pessimist, however, you may believe that the social welfare system is only an effective way of brushing the sticky issue of equal rights under the rug.
In order for this society to take that giant first step towards ethnic and social equality, we must have mutual acceptance. How many politicians use the term acceptance in their daily speech?
Is full integration and ethnic equality possible in Finland?
At this point we are pretty far from that ideal.