Is there racism in Finland (Part 2)?

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

The first time I wrote an entry on this question on Migrant Tales was in May 2008. Back then, a thread by Mikko claimed that racism wasn’t even on the top-five list of problems in Finland. Is racism a serious social problem that needs to be addressed vigorously? Where do we begin?

We can state pretty safely today that racism is not only one of the top five problems in Finland, but an ever-growing one that must be addressed.

Surprisingly, the main source of this problem haven’t been the most extremist anti-immigration wing of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, but that of the mainstream parties such as Kokoomus, Social Democrats and others.  Even if there are outspoken politicians in these parties who speak out against racism, they are a minority and too quiet on this front.

If politicians do not condemn hate crimes, speak out for tolerance and acceptance, they will with their silence support this social menace threatening Finland today.

The appointment in April of PS MP Jussi Halla-aho as chair of the administration committee, whose responsibilities also include immigration policy, is a sad example of how Finnish politicians continue to vacillate and confront racism in our society.

Those who defend the appointment of Halla-aho believe that it will help let off steam from the most extremist elements of the PS. I believe it will let off steam, but in the wrong direction.

It was in 2008 when Finland was up in arms about the founding of the Finnish Islamic Party, which awoke some of the worst fears among some Finns. Contrarily, Halla-aho’s appointment tells us that we prize Islamophobia and bigotry but give a big thumbs down to other cultures and religions if they want to take part in our democratic process.

The rise of the PS in the April election and that of Nazi-spirited groups within Timo Soini’s party that are members of  Suomen Sisu, increased hate crimes never mind the adverse climate against immigrants and minorities, are clear indications that the strategy against right-wing populism has been a huge failure.

If I had to advise other countries about how to confront the rise of right-wing populist parties that are anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-Islam, I would show them Finland as a sad example of what not to do.

All of this boils down to one crucial factor: Dear little leadership from mainstream political parties confronting right-wing populism and the social menace of racism.

As long as Finland is cursed by weak leadership, its future as a prosperous nation will be in jeopardy.

  1. Enrique

    One matter that is very important today is that politicians must take the intiative and answer the concerns of the population and show anti-immigration groups with facts where they are totally off course. One of these areas is social welfare. An urban myth peddled by anti-immigration groups is that immigrants and refugees get preferential treatment and more social aid than Finns. Confronting these questions with clear answers would help everyone concerned.

  2. Allan

    Racism is still not in the top 5 problems in Finland. Check the “hallitusohjelma” if you want to see the real problems.

  3. Niko

    Well, I guess the top problems in Finland depends from who you are asking. If you are asking from a native Finn or immigrant who has not faced so much racism, then racism is probably not in their top 5.

  4. JusticeDemon

    Get with the programme, people!

    There is no racism in Finland. There is only the illusion of racism fostered by a bunch of lying foreigners.

  5. vincebel

    i agree with Niko. but what kind of racism is there in Finland? is this a skin colour racism? a cultural racism?
    because what i tought was racism before (strange looks, hard to find a job, not fell welcomed) is pretty normal nowadays. Finns are known to be cold people who stare at others but they do it with other finns too. Once you know them they are very nice, even if its hard to make a real friendship (especially after 3 years but then again i might not have the same definition of friendship)
    As for the no job part its normal since im not fluent in finish nor in swedish.
    So yeah there is racism in Finland but same in every country in the world.

    The only point that disturbs me is that real r acist acts (insults, beatings) are not punished by law or the racist motive is quickly forgotten

    • Enrique

      Vincebel, nice to hear from you. What do you think should be done with respect to hate crimes? Whose fault is it: law enforcement, poor laws or immigrants who don’t report them?

  6. vincebel

    well the laws are there (I think) but are not applied or misinterpreted or the facts are not seen as racist but stupidity or alcohol-related behaviour (which is often the case in racism behaviour though).
    Then for the fact that immigrants dont report them, again its hard to really define racism as a foreigner. For my experience what i tought was racism or xenophobia the first months i was here is now normal finish behaviour or culture.

    But of course some must be reported and punished.

    Then again in 3 years i never saw or heard any racism except in the news (Iltalehti), but those happen even in your home country i guess (at least in mine). there are a**holes everywhere and will always be

  7. Tiwaz

    There is another side to this issue. Racist crime is commonly seen as Finn perpetrator, immigrant victim. Same as home violence. Man bad, woman good.

    But when someone dared to look behind this myth… It was revealed that women are nearly equal in committing violence at home!

    Now, who dares to open up debate on IMMIGRANT hatecrime?
    I have serious doubts Enrique would ever do that. Even if it is more likely that immigrant is perpetrator. For reference, look at rape statistics… Certain immigrant groups are radically overrepresented as perpetrators but in this blog they receive little to no condemnation.

    Because their victims are commonly Finns.

    You do not get such radical overrepresentation if there is not somethign wrong in the group which gives birth to this kind of scum. But because idealists refuse to accept that multiculturalism does not work, they instead try to peg fault for that too on Finns.

    This is not even isolated example. Look at statistics for Oslo. They show same trend.

    • Enrique

      SECOND REQUEST: Tiwaz, why is it that everytime you make it to Migrant Tales once in a BLUE MOON you barge and start to insult people? You can speak gently and forcefully on Migrant Tales but without the insults.

      What does looking like a Finn mean to you? Are people who are deaf, dumb and blind Finns? What is acting like a Finn? If you’d give us a list we could pass it along and people would have no problems in becoming Finns in an instant.

      Thank you for your cooperation.

  8. JusticeDemon

    Tiwaz, you old Nazi

    By precisely the same reasoning, Finnish bank managers are inherently less trustworthy than foreign bank managers. Our money is far safer when administered by foreigners. This is obvious, as major financial crime in Finland involving six-figure sums and above is EXCLUSIVELY committed by Finnish citizens. The statistics here are just as compelling.

    Come back when you understand the need to weight statistics in order to eliminate structural, demographic and economic bias.