By Enrique Tessieri
A crucial term like acceptance is still very little used in Finland when debating about our culturally diverse society. Another key term is equal opportunity.Politicians, public officials, the general public, including immigrants, should use these terms in everyday speech when speaking about our society.
Former President Martti Ahtisaari suggested on Thursday that those Finns should invite immigrants to a cup of coffee. This is a very nice gesture. Culturally it would be the Finnish way to accept another person.
The coffee-drinking ritual in Finland rarely if ever is done between people who dislike each other. When we drink coffee together we strengthen our friendship and knowledge of each other through casual talk.
Since integration and acceptance are a two-way process, all of us have to tame our prejudices and do our part in being more acceptant of others. This is important because it helps create a better-functioning society.
When we are acceptant of others we cease to be the problem arising from our own racism and prejudice.
Three important key words are needed to be heard more in Finnish society: mutual acceptance, respect and equal opportunities.