Language is key to changing the way we debate cultural diversity. It is a powerful weapon that xenophobes fear.

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Language and how people are labeled are some of the reasons why racism and anti-immigration politicians have exerted power on the national debate on our ever-growing cultural diversity. If we did away with these toxic terms, which label people as eternal outsiders, matters would change radically.

First and foremost in the debate, we should dispense with words that label and group people as outsiders. By labeling people as outsiders, like the term person with a foreign or migrant background,”

For this reason, we need a bold and innovative approach to how we perceive ourselves as a society and what Finnish identity is. That discussion must happen now.

With all the hate and hidden messages that portray and frame Others in our society, the debate would clean up pretty fast since we would change from referring to people as Finns or as one of us.

If our society is open and encourages equity, the langauge we use to label Others should reflect it.

Debate about youth crime by so-called “people of migrant background” is a good example why we need to use more inclusive language that respects difference.

So, what terms could we use when referring to non-white Finns? The labels they want us to use like AfroFinn, brown Finn, Somali Finn, etc. White Finns should stop placing unilateral ethnic categories on people of different backgrounds.

One way of changing the way we debate difference and cultural diversity is by not using terms that group people as outsiders.