Sensible Finns voice objection to racism and exclusion

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

To commemorate the UN Week for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination that started on Monday, we will try to answer a question: Why is racism harmful to a society? How can it threaten Finland?

That timely question can be answered by asking why some people in Finland still believe that racism is sexy and patriotic?

Apart from swimming in ignorance and low-self-esteem, there is nothing patriotic about racism.  Patriotism means having a sense of community that is inclusive. Nationalism, on the other hand, uses ethnocentric arguments to raise low self-esteem.

This ad below sums up pretty well why racism is a threat to society:

Racism is a four-letter word:


Celebrating diversity clip:


A very important message to future generations:

Even though racism is difficult to spot it does not mean that it is invisible. True, it uses ingenious methods while hiding in the gutter of society as an ogre. One of its favorite alibis is that “it isn’t a racist but…”

Probably one of the reasons why some of us cannot see racism in our society is because it sits right under our noses.

How can racism threaten Finland? Why not look behind your shoulder deep into recent history: European colonialism, Nazi Germany, Former Yugoslavia, the Roma question in Europe, Rwanda, Israeli-Palestinian conflict… Should I go on? In other words, the more we discriminate against others we attack our society’s values in Finland. How can we speak of equality if we are in favor of excluding other members of society?

  1. Klay_Immigrant

    So tell why is positive discrimination or affirmative action viewed positively when it discriminates based on race against the majority?

  2. JusticeDemon


    Interesting that you thought this blog contribution was directed at you.

    You will find your answer in paragraph 1 of Article 1 of ICERD.

    I note that your enthusiasm for adapting to Finland does not extend to respecting the international legal norms that Finland has ratified.

  3. Klay_Immigrant

    Justify positive discrimination or affirmative action in your own words. Why should I as a non-White person gain a university place or a job over a White native who is more qualified than myself just because of my race? Where’s the equality in that.

    • Enrique

      Klay, let me tell you one of the most powerful statements that changed my life when I was a kid in the States: A teacher accepted that I came from an immigrant background. It was a sense of relief, like a huge amount of pressure was let out. I could start to be myself and people would start to accept me.

      I thought you were against Muslims and that all should shape up or ship out?

      To be frank Klay and in all honesty, do you really know what kind of a society do you want? I don’t think so. I am happy with my multicultural background and I know many are as well.

    • Enrique

      If you came from a war-torn country, would you be picky or go to where you could get asylum? If you were an immigrant and had no opportunities in your home country, you’d move to one where you could build a better future. I think this is pretty logical. If you are a conservative, why do you want to stop somebody who is ambitious and a self-starter? In other words moving to your country.

    • Enrique

      That is why I have a lot of respect for immigrants and refugees. They are tough people. Don’t blaspheme them by stating they are a bunch of lazy bums. That is exactly what they are not. There are as many natives in the same league. You know that as well as I do.

  4. JusticeDemon

    Installing wheelchair ramps in public buildings is a clear example of spending public money to benefit a minority. Even more so is spending public money on braille libraries. These are examples of affirmative action seeking to counteract disadvantage and ensure equal access to public services. Similar strategies are appropriate to the extent that gender or skin colour are a disadvantage.

    Now Klay. Tell us that the projected whole-life earnings of two middle-ranking school leavers with exactly the same final grades, one Somali and one Finnish, are exactly the same in Finland. Is that what you genuinely believe?

    If you are honest (I know it’s a big ask, but try just for a moment), then you will concede that a Somali school leaver in Finland will have to work much harder to achieve the same whole-life earnings as her Finnish peers. Leaving aside all other factors, there is the invidious impact of lies told by the likes of you about Somalis and Moslems.

    This is the case for affirmative action, and you are part of it. If you stop spreading overgeneralised falsehoods about Somalis and Moslems – or if society learns to reject your prejudices – then a time may come when we no longer need to compensate for an unfair playing field.

    As a member of a visible minority in Finland, you can expect to be passed over for hiring and promotion in favour of your Finnish peers, especially in the private sector. You won’t find anything about this experience in March’s Advanced, but perhaps you will see how unfair it is after you’ve suffered it for a couple of decades.

  5. Klay_Immigrant

    -‘Installing wheelchair ramps in public buildings is a clear example of spending public money to benefit a minority. Even more so is spending public money on braille libraries.’

    Please do not compare disability to race. An able bodied person can do things and go places that a disabled person couldn’t purely based on practical reasons so they need extra support in places such as wheelchair ramps that I totally agree with. I’ve always supported the welfare state where society helps the weak and vunerable. Whereas this does not apply to different races where it is not true that one is able to do something when another can’t because of race. See the difference?

    -‘Leaving aside all other factors, there is the invidious impact of lies told by the likes of you about Somalis and Moslems.’

    Look at any Western European country statistics and you will find that Somalis and Muslims in general lag behind in school, are more likely to commit crime and be unemployed compared not only to the native population but also to many other immigrant groups who have the same hurdles. This does not only apply to the first generation but also subsequent generations born and raised in their new country. These are FACTS, you can close your eyes and pretend they don’t exist but that’s the truth in cold hard numbers.

  6. JusticeDemon


    You didn’t respond at all to what I said. Skin colour IS a handicap in places where society makes it so. This is why the straight-B Somali school leaver underperforms in the job market compared to the straight-B Finnish school leaver. This is something that even you must acknowledge (how painful for you), and one important cause of this is racist stereotyping. Affirmative action combats this handicap so that the Somali school leaver has the same opportunities as her equally qualified Finnish peers.

    No amount of badmouthing Somalis in general can justify the handicap faced by a Somali who is repeatedly passed over while her equally or less well qualified Finnish classmates all find jobs and work experience placements, merely because employers have been listening to the likes of you.

    Anyway, if and when you ever come to Finland you will find yourself on the sharp end of this inequality. I have met dozens of immigrants from comfortable middle class backgrounds who have reconsidered their prejudices after experiencing the job market here. Perhaps the same thing will happen to you.

  7. Seppo

    I have to comment on affirmative action. Let’s just call a spade a spade, AA was meant to be slavery reparations to African Americans. For the strangest of reasons it has spread to Latinos and Asians in US, and to some degree it has also infiltrated Europe. It’s about redistribution of wealth, nothing else.

    To compare a objectively perceivable handicap to a subjective disadvantage is ridiculous, and no word trickery will change this.

    AA is incredibly expensive, as there are no benefits to reap from hiring underskilled people on expense of the most qualified candidates. And it also slides the perception of public sector jobs to gravy train positions, instead of those jobs providing a valuable service to society.

  8. JusticeDemon


    I refer you to paragraph 4 of article 1 of ICERD and respectfully submit that you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Your remark about handicaps that are objectively perceivable and subjective is pure nonsense, as the entire concept of a handicap is already subjective and relative to a social framework of interest. You are handicapped because you cannot fly. Unless you are a dwarf, you are handicapped because you cannot crawl through a small opening to escape from a collapsed building. Unless you are entirely blind you are handicapped in any place where there is no light. If you cannot understand Russian, then you are handicapped in Moscow. If you have sickle cell anaemia, then you are handicapped in Finland, but not in a country where malaria is endemic, on the assumption that society values outdoor pursuits and other activities that involve a risk of encountering mosquitos.

  9. Seppo


    is this what you are referring to?

    4. Rotusyrjinnäksi ei ole katsottava erityisiä toimenpiteitä, joiden ainoana tarkoituksena on taata riittävä edistys tietyille rodullisille tai etnisille ryhmille tahi yksilöille, jotka tarvitsevat välttämättömänä pidettävää suojelua sen varmistamiseksi, että nämä ryhmät tai yksilöt voivat yhtäläisesti nauttia ja käyttää ihmisoikeuksia ja perusvapauksia. Edellytyksenä on kuitenkin, että tällaiset toimet eivät johda erilaisten oikeuksien voimassa pitämiseen eri roturyhmille ja että niitä ei jatketa sen jälkeen, kun tavoite, jonka vuoksi niihin ryhdyttiin, on saavutettu.

    or in english

    4. Special measures taken for the sole purpose of securing adequate advancement of certain racial or ethnic groups or individuals requiring such protection as may be necessary in order to ensure such groups or individuals equal enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms shall not be deemed racial discrimination, provided, however, that such measures do not, as a consequence, lead to the maintenance of separate rights for different racial groups and that they shall not be continued after the objectives for which they were taken have been achieved.

    Now then, let’s assume that your average Somalian living in Finland is in need of special measures for advancement of X. When are we going to stop this special preferential treatment? Paragraph 4 also states, that AA can not be a permanent state of things.

    And I do have to add, that ICERD is a product of sixties. I’m quite certain that nobody in Europe or even in US of A had in their minds AA for immigrants.

  10. JusticeDemon


    You correctly identified the pertinent provision. If you now read it, you will see that it answers your question as to when to stop preferential treatment.

    How is it relevant whether or not the victim of racial discrimination is an immigrant?

  11. Seppo

    No it does not answer the question. The real question is, when you let AA out of the bottle, can you put it in. Judging by the example set by USA, the answer is never.

    This, of course, belongs to the sphere of politics.

    And what does this have to do with immigrants? Well, as I stated before, AA was started as a slavery reparations scheme for african americans. They were an easily definable group, no problem. Then it got out of hand. If you start AA schemes for immigrants, they are never going to end. A new immigrant to a developed country is always somehow in economical disadvantage compared to comparable native. Be it language skils or lack of knowledge about culture. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with racism.

  12. JusticeDemon

    If it has nothing to do with racial discrimination, then the ICERD special measures do not apply. Immigrant integration is not the same as affirmative action and nobody is claiming otherwise.