Spreading lies and racism in Finland with the help of conspiracy theories and hearsay

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Racism is not an idea to be debated, it is a social ill that we must fight.

Wouldn’t you know it? One of the whitest countries in Europe, Finland, is afraid of being taken over by Muslims and other people of color. Who else but members of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party are pushing these types of conspiracy theories?

The whole idea that one of Europe’s whitest countries is being taken over by people of color reveals Finland’s deep-bedded racism.

Sounding like the far-right marches of Charlottesville in June 2017, where they chanted “Jews will not replace us,” newly elected vice president Riikka Purra and party chairperson Jussi Halla-aho are playing the same vicious tune.

In a Helsingin Sanomat article, a non-issue like white Finns is discussed. Since nothing of this is happening, and therefore it isn’t news, the story is about the racist and mistaken worldviews of PS politicians like Purra.

Trying to raise a storm in a teacup, Purra gives us some lessons about her far-right credentials. She states that when “population changes” the population changes (duh!), but if it changes a lot it means population replacement. She asks in the tweet a question to Helsingin Sanomat: If 70% of Finland’s population would be German, would Finland’s population change or be replaced?

These types of fear-mongering, that whites will become a minority in their own country, is an old theme used in other countries. Even in a 1966 Reader’s Digest article,”Yhdysvaltain todellinen n-sana ongelma,” (The real n-word problem in the United States), warns readers about how major cities in the US will be soon taken over by blacks.

The article reads: “If the current [birth rate] trend continues, n-words will be by 1980 the majority in Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore, Chicago, and St. Louis.”

Nothing of the sort happened in 1980 or later. According to the 2010 census, the percentage of black people living in Detroit was 22.8%, Cleveland 20.1%, Baltimore 28.7%, and Chicago 17.0%.

And so what if it happened? Is it that some white people fear being treated the same way they and history have treated minorities like blacks?

Let me put it in the simplest language like in this recent Migrant Tales podcast: “None of us want to be white like you [Halla-aho, Purra, and PS party secretary Simo Grönroos] never mind hold the same racist ideas like you. That would be horrible. However, everyone irrespective of their background is an equal member of society who defines Finnishness in the way he or she wishes. Finnishness does not and will never mean being white.”

Apart from being one of the whitest countries of Europe, Finland has seen over 1.2 million of its nationals emigrate abroad between 1860 and 1999. If all of these emigrants would have stayed in Finland, our population would be today about 7 million.

Moreover, these emigrants that moved mostly to North America before World War 2 and thereafter to Sweden did the most normal and natural thing: they mixed ethnically and culturally with people of other cultures.

Mark my words and read my lips: Finland will be culturally and ethnically diverse because it has always been such a country. Excluding and labeling Others as second-class members of society is what Purra, Halla-aho and the PS are going. They want to build a country where some are more equal than others.

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. In the last parliamentary election, Blue Reform has wiped off the Finnish political map when they saw their numbers in parliament plummet from 18 MPs to none. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.