Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports that two sources saw Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Mika Niikko refuse take a taxi in front of parliament because the driver was”dark-skinned.”
Niikko later retracted his version of events to the reporter after the interview. He said that since the incident took place a year ago, he now remembers the driver to be “white.” Thus the whole incident – according to Niikko – had nothing to do with the driver’s ethnic background.
The only way we’ll get to the bottom of the story is if the taxi driver steps forward and gives his account of what happened. Migrant Tales hopes he does and encourages the driver to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read full story (in Finnish) here.
The Ilta-Sanomat story appeared a day after Helsingin Sanomat published a story about how black taxi drivers in Helsinki face suspicion and racist behavior from customers.
Niikko denies that he refused to take the taxi because the driver wasn’t a white Finn.
”The issues was that the taxi driver spoke poor Finnish and was unfamiliar with the place I was going to,” he was quoted as saying.
The reporter then asked Niikko if the taxi driver didn’t have a GPS. This is when the MP’s version of events gets a bit blurred.
”I’m supposed to Google the address [for the driver so he could find the location on his GPS]?” he said, suggesting that the driver didn’t know how to serve him in a professional manner.
Niikko, however, admits in the story that if the driver were a white Finn he would have tried to explain where the place was. The reason why the MP didn’t do so with the driver was because he didn’t have the faintest idea where the place could be.
Even if tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat are responsible for spreading racism in Finland with their sensationalist stories, this one proves that the Finnish media is questioning racist behavior.
This shouldn’t mean, however, that we should let the Finnish media off the hook because they are part of the problem by giving racists inflated respectability and importance.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.