It is surprising how a politician like Timo Soini of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party can argue anything he wants on television about immigrants and visible minorities. His objection to positive discrimination on a debate on MTV3 Wednesday is a case in point.
Migrant Tales has written in the past about colorblind racism, which is one of the most common forms of racism in Finland. On the surface, racial colorblindness may sound fair but the truth is that skin color and ethnic background still play powerful roles in our society.
Writes Psychology Today: “Colorblindness is the racial ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity…However, colorblindness alone is not sufficient to heal racial wounds on a national or personal level. It is only a half-measure that in the end operates as a form of racism.”
I still have a hard time figuring out what is worse: Soini’s colorblind statements or the fact that some journalists and politicians still don’t challenge this form of racism more strongly.
Imagine what a political scandal Soini would have faced if he asked to abolish positive discrimination in countries that are culturally diverse and have large immigrant populations. The PS chairman’s stand on the issue is in the same political league as other far-right parties like the British National Party, Danish People’s Party and teabaggers of the U.S.
I met a member of Hommaforum at a seminar recently who was totally against positive discrimination. Sitting next to us was a black woman from Africa.
I asked him if he thought that Finland was today a society that was way past racism and discrimination. “Do ethnicity and cultural background play a role?” I asked. “What you are saying is that it makes no difference whether you are black or white.”
It’s clear that the PS’ stand on immigration and cultural diversity suffers from colorblindness.
The party’s declaration against all forms of racism in May 2011 is a good example of the colorblind racism that afflicts the PS.
The party may claim that it is for labor immigration and that it has a handful of white immigrant candidates running for city council. This is only a red herring that aims to cover up the party’s issues with cultural diversity.
Here is a recent blog entry by Migrant Tales that puts in perspective the PS’ thinking on what kinds of immigrants should apply to come to Finland and how they should integrate into our society.