It’s interesting to read how some white Finns get all jumpy when you speak about Uncle Toms, or mamus, in Finland. One such blogger, Veli-Pekka Leivo, claimed that labeling someone a traitor to his ethnic group fuels and supports victimization.
Victimization? How much harm does an Uncle Tom do to members of his community by ensuring that a certain migrant or minority group becomes passive?
As our society in Finland become more culturally diverse and social ills like racism are exposed, the more vigilant we have to be against mamus. They, if anyone, are the ones holding their people back because their job is to keep their group passive and accept the status quo.
Malcolm X said in the 1960s that the same old slave master today has Negroes who are modern Uncle Toms, or 20th century Uncle Toms. “…to keep you and me in check, keep us under control, keep up passive and peaceful and non-violent. That’s Tom making you non-violent…”
As migrants and minorities struggle for greater rights in Finland, it is important that we have a term that can be used against those who betray the cause and their people.