Speaking up for Multicultural Finns

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

Those who play down the impact and poison of racism and indifference in our society know nothing of the plight of Multicultural Finns. Who are they?

A Multicultural Finn is any person who may have grown up in Finland but one or both of his or her parents were born in another country. They can also be native Finns with Finnish parents who grew up in foreign countries.

Like any group that grew up in two or more cultures, prejudice and society’s indifference have been felt especially hard by them.

Groups that have declared war on Finland’s cultural diversity, like many MPs of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, associations like Suomen Sisu and others, impact Multicultural Finns especially hard with their message of indifference.

Whenever these groups point out that Finns should not marry foreigners, or that Finland should remain “white,” they are by the same token denying Multicultural Finns of their rightful and long-overdue acceptance by society.

Acceptance by them of Multicultural Finns would be a death-blow to their myopic view of Finnishness and who has the right to belong to it.

Multicultural Finns are one of the most disenfranchised groups in this country. In school some face constant ridicule and exclusion not only by some of their classmates but with the help of their teachers’ silence.

The damage hits their self-esteem because they are denied a part of their identity, or both in many cases.

They are eternal outsiders due to society’s indifference and denial of their history and identity.

Their acceptance, however, will grow in Finland during this century as our society becomes more culturally diverse.

Why do I write about them and why do I care?

Because I am one of them.  We are the future of Finland today.

  1. JusticeDemon


    You can find intercultural Finns all over the place if you take the trouble to look for them. These are also probably the most intrinsically employable people in the domestic and international job market.

    • Enrique

      True, JusticeDemon. I look at my kids and nothing could be truer. Whatever they call themselves or anything depends on them.

  2. Seppo

    Yes. These people are our future. We can choose to exclude them or we can choose to include them and thus make our nation stronger and more succesful.

  3. Joel

    Well written post Enrique, this time commenting from here in Helsinki instead of San Francisco! My first summertime here in Finland, loving it.

    • Enrique

      Hey Joel, I hope you are having a great time in Helsinki! It looks like its going to be a pretty hot summer. We already got a taste of it a couple of weeks a go.

  4. William O'Gorman

    This is where the true Finn really are. I dont mean that in the sense of the political party but I do think that most Finns..well 80 odd% anyway…are indeed multicultral, honest, independant minded, tolerant and progressive. This opinion I base on my own experiences and maybe thats why this hole PS thing is so annoying because even though they claim to be True Finns, in my opinion, they are truly not. I am lucky enough to be also teaching and working with Finnish teenagers who are true beacons of thought and tolerance in this dark cloud created by the PS. They see the big picture, they see Finland from the outdside in and they understand the importance of tolerance and understanding. It is alot of fun to talk about the current political issues at play in Finland with the true future Finns and see their opinions..and let me tell you my students find the current situation, well, worrying. But come the next elecetion they will be the ones voting!

  5. JusticeDemon


    The epähikkeet don’t enroll on your courses or turn up at your events … unless you provide free beer.

  6. Mary Mekko

    Do your children suffer from being multiculti Finns? What is their plight?

    It would be interesting if you wrote about their sufferings, or your own, out in the real world of everyday Finland. How about your wife, is she multikulti, and does she suffer at work, too?

    Tell us concrete examples.

    I see on my bustours, especially the group lunches on the wine tours, that a “white” man who’s married a nonwhite, usually Asian, woman, is not treated properly. Others don’t like the mixed marriage and are very stiff and formal to both the woman and her husband. Many of these men are very introverted, unlike the common American type. People don’t know how to speak the foreign woman, and tiptoe around her as if she were a glass easily broken. They even bend over backwards to be polite, to the point it’s insulting!

    I wonder if your wife experiences this when she married you, a foreigner, in Finland.