Finland puts a lot of effort into its integration program. Earlier this year, with the sexual assault cases in Oulu, we saw the then government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä blame asylum seekers for not integrating and that our integration problem was a failure.
All of these accusations had one matter in mind for then Minister of Interior Kai Mykkänen and the National Coalition Party: the April 2019 parliamentary election. Mykkänen went as far as to suggest giving a test to asylum seekers about Finnish values.
As we all know, the suggestion of giving an integration test is only intended for public consumption. What are Finnish values anyway? Is one of them being a supporter of institutional racism?
What do you think white Finns teach asylum seekers about Finland at integration courses? Some may do a good job but at the end of the day, many teach asylum seekers to accept institutional racism by telling him or her fairy tales about our society. In effect, such teachers are saying that this is the way things are done and you must accept it.
One example is when such courses speak of gender equality. They do not tell women, who are asylum seekers, on how to combat labor discrimination. Moreover, they don’t give the students skimpy information in many cases about changing institutional racism.
If we are serious in turning people into active citizens, we must do away with much of our exceptionalism and superiority complexes we have of other people. Tackling all forms of racism should be a much higher priority.
The next question is why we don’t do that and with greater determination?