Maria Rittis Ikola: Imagine a world without white privilege

by , under Maria Rittis Ikola

Maria Rittis Ikola*

Imagine that white Finns like me weren’t able to speak over others in every medium available. Imagine a time when white people were not able to express their confusion and dismay over political correctness in prime spaces in Finnish newspapers, because nobody would let them. Imagine that racialised journalists didn’t have to confine their voices to blogs where they called out white writers on their othering writing but had newspaper columns and editorials to themselves. Imagine a time where white people did not call to Rev. Martin Luther King’s words on how people should be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, adding how isn’t it racist to talk back to white people, because nobody would do this because King was murdered because he spoke for Black people, and nobody in their right mind would claim we live in a society where racism doesn’t exist. Imagine that Finns wouldn’t cry out for how unjust the world is because reverse racism really doesn’t exist, but white fragility does. Actually, let me take out that “imagine”part, it’s too utopian anyway.

It’s too utopian to ask a white columnist in Helsingin Sanomat to not tokenize racialised writers and artists and make them mannequins of what has gone too far in political correctness. Too utopian to not link to Sonja Saarikoski’s column, so instead here is Sonya Lindfors’s recap of how she was asked to be interviewed and refused, the link is included of course (

What if we really implemented the censorship that whites cry out every time a racialised voice speaks out against othering? What if a middle-aged white man wouldn’t write a novel about a child bride but instead made a publishing deal with someone who was a child bride? What if a middle-aged white woman wouldn’t write a novel about a Somali woman but would co-operate with a Somali woman writer and establish a publishing house for racialised writers? What if we really censored all racial slurs, because nobody is allowed to say anything anymore? White Finns would have to be creative with what they wear for masquerades because First Nation chief headdresses and Sámi national dress would be banned from costume shops. White Finns would have to come up with new jokes because sexist and racist jokes would be forbidden. The censorship would no longer be in our colonised minds and our racist society but it would be real, because we would no longer be allowed to say just anything that comes to mind.

*The writer only recently realised their whiteness and the white fragility inherent in it, and needs to read more non-white writers’ texts.