Kotoutuminen* #8: Let’s do away with “us” and “them”

by , under All categories, Enrique Tessieri

In many schools where there are people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, they may be asked to participate in “cultural events” where the pupils are obliged to represent their perceived country and or culture.

Is this ok? Is the problem too much emphasis on “us” and “them?”

One matter that gets lost or forgotten in these types of cultural events is if the non-white pupil considers Finland his or her home country.

Certainly, the pupil does not aim to be white but be himself a fully-fledged member of this society under his or her own cultural and ethnic terms.

By emphasizing “us” versus “them” we are excluding and reinforcing that these people are of “foreign background” and belong to some abstract culture they have only experienced through their parents.

In some cases, these cultural events may turn out to be forums to reinforce our stereotypes of our culture and of others.

These cultural events arranged at schools are a reflection of the prejudices and the place non-white people have in our society.

Let’s stop with this racist nonsense and ask non-white pupils to tell about their home country, which is Finland.

See also:

*Kotoutiminen is the Finnish term for integration.