Posts Tagged: integration

KOTOUTUMINEN #12: Integration is as easy as 1 + 1 = 2. NOT!

THE STORY WAS UPDATED Having taught many students about Finnish society for many years, two matters surprise me about this teaching line: Are the people giving these courses qualified and simple, 1 + 1 = 2, explanations to a complex matter as adaption. If the integration model is overly simplistic, treat it with tweezers because

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Kotoutuminen* #9: Spreading half-truths about integration

If the learn-Finnish-and-you’re-integrated promise is misleading, so are many others spread by people who should know better. “The best way to eliminate racism is to get people to know each other,” goes the affirmation. It is like the claim that traveling opens your eyes to the world. After we do all these things, will we

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Kotoutuminen #3: To touch or not to touch

Many times I wonder where people who work and assist asylum seekers and migrants get their cultural training. If you are a teacher, is it stated, for example, in the national curriculum, how cultural diversity is supposed to work in the classroom? If you are a social worker, how do you promote two-way adaption? These

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Kotoutuminen* #2: A tool of white fragility to rule you

Migrant Tales launches a new series called kotoutuminen, or integration. Readers are encouraged to send their personal experiences, comments on integration programs, and policies. Send your comments and observations to [email protected] KOTOUTUMINEN #2 Kotoutuminen, or integration, functions in many ways like white fragility. It is a weapon and tool to subjugate newcomers and migrants who

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Kotoutuminen* #1: A good synonym for kotoutuminen is too many times the reinforcement of structural racism

Migrant Tales launches a new series called kotoutuminen, or integration. Readers are encouraged to send their personal experiences, comments on integration programs, and policies. Send your comments and observations to [email protected] KOTOUTUMINEN #1 A suitable synonym for kotoutuminen is structural racism. In the process of integrating into Finnish society, newcomers are rarely taught the racism

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White Finnish privilege #55: It is that time of the year – Christmas!

Far-right poliicians and Islamophobes of varying hues commonly blame Muslims for banning traditional Christmas parties at school. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. Those wanting to remove Christmas parties are Finns who believe that religion should not play a role in our schools since we are officially a secular state.  What happens when most

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Helsingin Sanomat survey on migrants reveals expectations that adaption in Finland is and will be a one-way process

Finland’s largest daily, Helsingin Sanomat, published a survey Friday about the minimum requirements that foreigners should adapt to if living here. Seventy-seven percent fully agreed that white Finns should be able to shake hands with both sexes. The survey showed as well that 52% were against women’s-only swimming hours and that 37% felt that one should bathe naked in the sauna. 

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Defining white Finnish privilege #25: This land is my land, this land isn’t your land

It’s disturbing to watch in Finland journalists who maintain and promote urban tales and racism. One of these is Tuomas Enbuske who invited Lenita Aristo to his television talk show to speak about Muslims. When Aristo opens her mouth and gives her opinions about cultural diversity, it’s evident that she still lives is a provincial and stuffy time warp of pre-1990s Finland.

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Migrants’ Rights Network: Frontier anxiety: Living with the stress of the everyday border

What happens when we bring the anxieties of life at the border into the heart of our all our communities? How can we contend with life in a space where identity is constantly checked and people subjected to the question: Why are you really here? MRN director Don Flynn asks this in an article published this month in Soundings, a journal of cultural politics and simultaneously on the website of Eurozine. The full article can be accessed here.

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Included – not integrated

Inclusion is when everyone is along per se. In Finland we are still struggling with integration issues. We need programmes and policies so that developmentally disabled people can live where other people are living. We need special laws to make sure that they can have the services they need. But those does not matter when

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Integration by perkele

Some have heard of the expression of management by perkele, which means swift decision-making by management and where your opinion as an employee counts little. In Finland the goal is integration, or two-way adaption, but what happens on too many occasions is integration by perkele.  Integration by perkele has a clear message: This is our country, perkele,

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Migrants’ Rights Network: Living in an Age of Migration

Don Flynn*       Immigration studies has emerged as an important discipline in colleges and universities across the world, with scores of research centres being established in the UK alone over the last decade or so. Contributions have come from sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, political scientist, economists and philosophers over this time, giving anyone who

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Finnish-language courses reveal part of the challenges that migrants face in Finland

Migrant Tales was happy to see one of our readers and contributors, Stephen Penny, on YLE Suora Linja Monday and Tuesday talking about the challenges some migrants face in learning the Finnish language. While Penny and Emma Kwegyir-Afful offer some good advice on how to improve Finnish-language training, the program raised two important issues that should

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Language plays an important role in migrant adaption but so do acceptance, respect and equal opportunities

With the help of migrants, YLE Uutiset Suoralinja television program Monday at 7.20 pm wants to find out how much do Finnish and Swedish language skills help you integrate and find employment. When teaching migrants one of Finland’s two official languages, what works and what doesn’t? One interesting question that we could ask is why are

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Does Finland promote two-way or one-way adaption of immigrants?

Our integration law promotes two-way adaption as opposed to assimilation, which is a one-way process. Section 17 of the Finnish Constitution states that each person living in this country has the right to maintain and develop their own language and culture. What do these two important laws mean in practice and how are they applied? Sensible Finns

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Government announces Future of Migration 2020 Strategy

The government published Thursday its Future of Migration 2020 Strategy. While these types of official strategy reports are important and offer a general view, the big question is if they gives us a bigger picture of the direction our society is heading in this century.  Read the white paper (in Finnish) here. An English-language version will be

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Buenos Aires Herald (February 12, 1987): The old-new frontier*

Comment: It’s sad to point out 25 years after writing this opinion piece that Argentina has become a poorer country. Emigration continues to be the rule, not the exception. The opening up of the economy to foreign investment during the 1990s was a disaster. Too many foreign companies did not invest in Argentina to make

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Sport is one of your best passports to acceptance in a new country

Since sports can be your passport to acceptance in a new country, its role should never be underetimated never mind undermined. It’s clear that we need to do more work in Finland to promote sports in order to include more immigrants and their children in this activity. In the United States I played basketball, track

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Labels that fuel discrimination and racism in Finland

When will Finns drop this discriminatory term: Finns with immigrant backgrounds? Many, I suspect, are and should be proud of their background. I am but what happens if these labels and terms ensure that you will continue to be treated as something less equal?  What do you do if being labeled in such a way

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What are immigrants supposed to adapt to?

One of the biggest questions when speaking of the integration of immigrants and visible minorities in Europe and Finland is what are they supposed to adapt to. In theory everything sounds perfect in our law books. What happens on the ground, however, is a totally different story.  This abandoned Cadillac reveals the crude face of

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Is Finland ready for cultural diversity?

In light of social ills like racism and social exclusion in Finland, J. W. Berry of Queen’s University of Canada offers us an opportunity to ask a very important question: Are we in Finland ready for cultural diversity? If we still aren’t quite there yet, how long will it take?

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Who needs integration: immigrants or natives?

We must ask hard questions if we want our new integration program, which came into force in September, to do what it sets out to: effectively integrate new immigrants as equal members of society. But one of the many challenges of the program aren’t resources and immigrants but the attitudes of the native population.

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A good immigration integration policy for Finland and Europe

One of the biggest challenges to Finland’s new integration program is how well it promotes what it set out to do. How passionate are we Finns about ethnic and minority equality in this country if the most important piece of the puzzle is still missing: the big picture and what place new Finns and their children have in our society.

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Migrant integration: Can we learn from European experiences?

A new UK government policy on migrant integration is expected to be announced any day now. To date migrant community organisations have had no input into the way this has been developed by the government departments. But may be a new toolkit on migrant integration, just published by the European Network Against Racism, will give us some pointers on how groups working at the local level can regain some control over migrant integration projects.

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Is multiculturalism good for Finland?

One of the surprising matters about the debate on multiculturalism is how little we understand the basic terms. Take for instance the term multicultural. Does it only mean a society comprised physically of many (multi) cultures? Or is it a policy that facilitates the participation of immigrants and ethnic minorities in a society?

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Is the sauna a good integrator?

If a person asked me what is one of the most important cultural institutions enjoyed by a great number of Finns, I’d respond: the sauna. The sauna is more than a room where people bathe and sweat naked in 80-100 Celsius (176-212 Fahrenheit) temperatures. It’s a way of life for some Finns – so much

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Is there racism in Finland?

One of the most successful posts of this blog is, Are you a target of racism in Finland? In my opinion the reason why so many have read it is because there is a racism problem in Finland. A Niko wrote a recent comment, where he states, “there are some real problems in Finnish society

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