Using rape statistics to fuel ethnic prejudism and racism

by , under Enrique

This week’s A-Studio report on the ”high” number of rape convictions of foreigners in Finland, and another one published by Tampere-based daily Aamulehti in April, not only shed light on “a problem” in Finland but expose the prejudice of the media and Finnish society concerning immigrants.

The exact arguments that the above-mentioned stories use to drive home their point are eerily similar to those spread by Finland’s anti-immigration groups.

A-Studio uses 25 rape convictions during the first five months of the year to suggest that there is a ballooning rape problem in Finland by foreigners.

While rape, like any crime, must be strongly condemned by society, such statistics should not be used to reinforce our prejudices of certain groups. This I believe is the underlying problem of both reports by A-Studio and Aamulehti.

Migrant Tales found out in spring that the author of the Aamulehti story, Toni Viljanmaa, is a freelance journalist. Did he offer the story to the daily on sensationalist grounds in order to get it published? We don’t know.

Whenever journalists begin to editorialize their news stories in order to drive home their personal views, it’s the credibility of the story that is undermined. Taking into account that a lot of journalist at YLE are card-carrying members of  different political parties, we do not know what sympathies the journalist of the A-Studio report, Tuomas Kerkkänen, may have for the Perussuomalaiset (the Finns Party).

After the A-Studio report was published on Wednesday, tabloids such as Iltalehti picked it up and asked if sex education shouldn’t form part of the immigrants’ integration program.

While new information is always essential for a newcomer in order to read more effectively the cultural codes of a group, these types of stories, which were even published by Joensuu-based daily Karjalainen, are just as offensive as the A-Studio and Aaamulehti stories. They imply that foreign men are prone to rape due to their ethnic background.

While most rapes are committed by white Finns in this country, why aren’t the backgrounds of these convicted rapists revealed with the same enthusiasm? Are men in Eastern Finland more inclined to rape than, say, in Western Finland?

Making such a claim would be preposterous especially when there are so few cases to begin with.

Lee Walton (@eclat521) retweeted this blog entry.  He writes: “ridiculous- as an immigrant should I have been “taught” that rape is wrong? It’s against the law in UK, & ALL other countries!”

  1. D4R

    This is nothing new, the Finnish media has been using these kind of unprofessional or unfairly news from day one. I don’t know why the media is doing this, is’t because they’re not careful or just fueling prejudice against us? we’re already in a miserable position caused by the racist in this country and a top of media fueling more is un sustainable, we just just cant take anymore, if these kind of false statistics made by the media and the racists continues and some Finns whose messed up in the head starts killing immigrants then the ones to be blamed are non but the media and the racists P.S party.

    • Catsy

      The whole Finnish mainstream media is all messed-up and propagandist and I read such articles as sheer works of propaganda. Please take into consideration that the media is very centralized.
      They publish very biased feed on other subjects as well. Finns that believe in what the papers say are laughable idiots. That is no consolation to you if they attack you.

      What comes to the parties, it is very troubling that the “six pack” is supporting the euro and the banksters and the Finns-party does a good job exposing their lies. If I ever voted them it would be because of this, but in the same package comes this racism. And you could not ignore it by voting “the reasonable Finns” – “järkipersut”, because Soini pampers and defends the racist element “Sisulaiset” in this party. There are no good alternatives in big parties. (I vote the Communist party SKP).

  2. D4R

    Also when i saw this news they were showing black people walking like rape is a black problem, another bad media for not being careful how they broadcast their news and not take in to consideration in what position are black peole in this country, we’re black people are stereotyped as criminals by some native Finns.

  3. Happy

    25 rape convictions as a percentage of the 200,000 immigrants living in Finland is 0.0125%, a very insignificant figure statistically. While each rape is a traumatic and life changing event for any victim,I still can’t understand why educated people – journalists and programme editors in this instance, would engage in promoting such bigotry and prejudice. How much better would Finns fare if immigrant men were perceived as rapists? I think the damage against immigrant men has already been done. Most people will read just the opening lines that highlight rape and immigrants and draw conclusions that immigrants are more prone to rape than Finns are.
    Enrique, did you get a reply from the journalist, or from the producers of A-Studio? did you get a reply from Aamulehti? Do they ever bother to reply?

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Hi Happy, I never got any reply from the journalist who did the program for A-Studio. As I mentioned, I got in touch with the psychologist who was interviewed on the program. The medic, who was interviewed, was on holiday.

      Even if silence is the answer you usually get in these cases, people listen. The problem with these types of programs, which you correctly point out are an exercise in promoting bigotry and prejudice, is that usually nobody says anything about them. We at Migrant Tales do. I hope that helps at least a little.

  4. JM

    Why do so many articles on Migrant Tales emphasize the term “white” Finn(s)? It reminds me of racial division tactics used in the media, politics, etc in the United States to divide people on racial lines. For a site that claims to promote tolerance and acceptance, there is a disturbingly large amount of assumptions and generalizations on here directed at Finns themselves.

    I find ironic and a slight bit hypocritical that a site choosing to promote itself on tolerance is quick to point out racial divisions, sounds more like a divide than unite tactic if you ask me. Especially since the term “white” can have many different meanings and some definitions don’t agree with each other. I’ve heard so-called white supremacists in England argue that Finns aren’t white because of their Uralic origin (yeah, I know it’s nonsense to suggest, but I’ve heard this example used, nevertheless).

    I’ve heard Turks and Moroccans claim themselves as white when many Europeans don’t agree to this. How about the Sami people, Enrique? Are they white? What about yourself, judging by your name I would say you sound like you are of Spanish and Italian origin, possibly from Argentina or Uruguay. Last time I checked, the majority of people in Uruguay and Argentina identify themselves as “white.” Buenos Aires is actually a whiter city than Toronto, New York or London.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Hi JM, do you have a better suggestion than using white Finn? This is not intended to be an “ethnic division tactic” but to acknowledge and to point out that there are ethnic differences in Finland.

      How do you expect to tackle an issue like social exclusion if you don’t recognize that ethnicity may play a part in it?

      When I speak of whiteness of the Finns I am referring to how Finns perceive whiteness. It’s very different of how Moroccans or Argentinean’s see themselves as white. In Argentina a “white” person from Buenos Aires is a European. Finns make distinctions between white and Southern European white.

      As you know, these are subjective divisions but they are important for some people in society. To conclude, I use white Finn to point out there are also black and or dark(er) Finns. The color of your skin in Finland does, however, play a role.

  5. JM

    Enrique, thanks for the reasonable reply.

    I would prefer the term “ethnic” Finn to “white.” Yes, I know ethnic is not scientific but it’s more tangible. For example, someone could be born in Finland, speak the language and be a citizen yet have both parents from Ukraine. So technically, they would be a white Finn but they are not an ethnic Finn. Additionally, the colour code definitions of race are largely an artificial construct and have become perfected for lack of a better word in mainstream American psyche. This has manifested itself to other parts of the Western world heavily influenced by American culture, most notably the United Kingdom. The emergence of division among racial lines and stereotypes would later be reinforced by groups like the KKK or the Black Power Movement. In the UK census they have even adapted this flawed model, a relic of colonial New World mentality (as a means to separate the then culturally different, Indigenous, European and African populations in the Americas, metis, mestizos, mulattos, castizos, etc) to define British identity as “White British, Black British, etc.” Of course, in Non-Western European nations which haven’t been influenced by post-colonial New World mentality like for example Russia, divisions along racial lines are obsolete and divisions among ethnic lines are the norm.

    You are correct about the perceived differences between Northern and Southern Europeans. Likewise, some go even further and subdivide this towards so-called “sub”-races in Europe like for example your Nordics, Dinarics, East Baltics, Alpines, Meds, etc. These divisions are for the most part relatively pseudoscientific and belittle the more accurate, genetic heritage of Europe. Genetic data shows that Europeans, depending on the area are basically descendants of a few main Y-DNA haplogroups. You’ve got your Northern Proto-Europeans (I1) found in Scandinavia, your Southern Proto-Europeans (I2) found in the Balkans, your Eastern Indo-Europeans (R1a) and your North+South European Eurasians (R1b) found in Western Europe. Then of course we have our good friends the Finno-Ugrians (N) which is found heavily in Finland, Northern Russia and the Baltic States. There is nothing racist about this, it is fact and it is not racist to point out scientific fact unless of course there’s a pseudoscientific agenda at hand.

    Interestingly enough, genetic data shows that European ethnic groups as we know them today (French, English, German, etc) are actually quite genetically diverse. Finns, in fact, are one of the most homogenous people in Europe (Haplogroup N being 63%, the only ethnic group with a substantially larger amount of Haplogroup N in the population are the Udmurt people of Russia at 83%)

    Well I certainly went into more depth there than I had intended, oh well. Perhaps I’ll divulge my main point in a further post. Furthermore, I really should have posted this in a more appropriate thread. Oh well once again.

    • Sasu

      Miten paljon sinä tiedät Black Power Mowement:nista. Oletko tietoinen, että liike yritti saada musta olemaan ylpeitä ihonväristään. Liike yritti parantaa oloja Ghetoissa. He yrittivät vastustaa poliisiväkivaltaa ja epäoikeudenmukaisia tuomioita.

      Tiesitkö että Martti Luther King kannatti liikettä niin kauan kuin se on väkivallaton. Oletko lukenut yhtään mitä Malcolm X puhui asiasta.

  6. JM

    Okay, I remember my point. Bear with me.

    Basically, to tie back to what I said about ethnicity being more about than race. Race is usually considered more important in the Americas where Sub-Saharan Africans, regardless of whether they are Horn Africans or Khoisians are considered “Black” likewise, for Europeans, in a country like Canada, it doesn’t matter whether you are Irish or Czech, regardless you are a “White Canadian.” In other words, division is still there, it just becomes more diluted.

    In Europe, which has thousands of years of tribalism. Ethnicity is a much more defining factor than race. For example, your average Pole or Ukrainian won’t care about “white pride” issues, they are more concerned with their own Polish and Ukrainian issues. This is not just a European phenomenon of course, in East Asia, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, etc define themselves on appearance, there is even a racist forum dedicated to this called “Asiasfinest.” In Japan, there are a racial issues whether you are a Jomon or a Yayoi. Of course, Oversees Japanese will identify themselves proudly as Japanese, regardless of whether they are Jomon or Yayoi. Divisions don’t just stop, even in one of the most multicultural cities on Earth, Toronto, Canada people live separated in their own ethnic enclaves. You have your Chinatown, Little India, Kensington Market, Roncesvalles, Little Italy, etc. If you would attend university in Canada, an open, multicultural country you’d find that people of Asian background even if they are one or more generations Canadian will tend to befriend each other rather than White or Black Canadians, the latter two, same thing.

    Europe is of course, not North America. In Europe various ethnic groups are not recent immigrants but have lived in their respective lands for thousands of years. For these reasons and more it’s ethnicity that rules in Europe rather than race. Not saying race isn’t a factor, just not as important one.

    So yeah, the term ethnic Finn is more appropriate.

  7. Iam

    Hi JM,
    Welcome to MT,
    How r u today?
    Genetic testing, DNA test???
    I want My DNA test,can u please help me JM???
    very interesting,ha ha ha ha
    Really its very interesting for me, i want to know about my race and DNA ,…. he he he
    Because ur idea about me and who am i is very important, but
    MOST important for me is to know what U think about my race and DNA.
    So yeah, whats ur favorite ethnic, race, DNA??
    Have a great day JM
    And nice to meet u on MT
    Hi MT, all
    Peace and peace and peace to the world

  8. JM

    There is nothing funny about genetic testing, Iam. It helps scientists understand the historic movements of peoples across human history. Just because you personally may not care for it does not make it irrelevant.

    Have a look here for starters and have a nice day:

  9. JM

    Actually, this is probably more appropriate, I can give you more relevant ones in future if you so desire:

    You can laugh all you want but ignorance has never been a good excuse. And yes, peace to the world.

  10. JM

    Miten paljon sinä tiedät Black Power Mowement:nista. Oletko tietoinen, että liike yritti saada musta olemaan ylpeitä ihonväristään. Liike yritti parantaa oloja Ghetoissa. He yrittivät vastustaa poliisiväkivaltaa ja epäoikeudenmukaisia tuomioita.

    Tiesitkö että Martti Luther King kannatti liikettä niin kauan kuin se on väkivallaton. Oletko lukenut yhtään mitä Malcolm X puhui asiasta.

    Hello Sasu,

    I do know quite a bit about the Black Power Movement. I studied it in university. My conclusions on it are based on personal accounts with former members, supporters of the movement and those who have denounced it.

    Thank you for your comment.

  11. JM

    Hello Sasu,

    I do know quite a bit about the Black Power Movement. I studied it in university. My conclusions on it are based on personal accounts with former members, supporters of the movement and those who have denounced it.

    Thank you for your comment.

    I would just like to add that I have a great deal of respect for Matin Luther King.

  12. Iam

    Dear JM,
    Who said its funny? My historic movement is important for me.
    U please have a look here for start, O0ps laughing is not a crime, and thanks for ur permission, sure i can laugh all i want, am free.
    *ignorance has never been a good excuse* he eh he he okay thanks JM for ur beautiful word and am not waiting for ur welcome but whats a good excuse? Wise? So thats why i want to know about my darling DNA, whats wrong with this wish,…
    I love life, my life and myself,and am happy about my DNA and genetic and what i am.
    By the way my DNA has a big hi to ur DNA JM.
    and hugs to ur genetic
    Dont feel angry JM, my happiness is not against u, its in my DNA he he
    Joy and happiness to the all

  13. JM


    I can understand your initial reaction to me mentioning genetics, as genetics have often been used for pseudoscientific purposes, eugenics and scientific racism in the past. This was certainly not my intention nor agenda and I hope you understand that if some misunderstanding occurred, I am sorry for it.

    Best wishes

  14. Iam

    Its okay JM, dont worry please its okay, completely okay
    I understand very well a bit more than very well.
    Am strong,huuum u dont want talk more than this to me, its okay again, as u like brother JM.
    Best golden wishes to u
    la la la la