What Finland can learn from countries like the U.K. about racism

by , under Enrique

We can learn a lot from countries like the United Kingdom, where multiculturalism is an official social policy. Few won’t deny that the U.K. as well as other European countries don’t know what racism is if we look at their direct involvement in the slave trade and in the systematic genocide of indigenous peoples outside Europe. 

What does the U.K. do differently from us in Finland when it comes to racism? They take a social ill like racism more seriously than us. Few if any sensible politicians, except from xenophobic parties like the BNP or UKIP, deny that racism isn’t an issue in the country or that this is caused by immigrants.

Despite the rise of an anti-EU and anti-immigration party in 2011 in this country, the Perussuomalaaiset (PS) and its leader Timo Soini continue to play down racism with quaint sound bites like, “I cannot be a racist because I am a Catholic.”

Soini tried this line on HARDtalk and got torn to shreds. PS MP James Hirvisaari, an anti-immigration extremist who was sentenced for ethnic agitation, tried the same approach on a blog entry, Kristitty ei voi olla rasisti (A Christian cannot be a racist).

It’s pretty obvious that Hirvisaari, who must be worried about his image as a racist and extremist, must have asked Soini what to do about this. The head of the PS  must have advised him to write a blog entry and argue that he, a Christian, cannot be racist.

Even if the credibility of such claims from Soini, Hirvisaari and others are questionable to say the least, they reveal two matters about those who make them: (1) They have no idea what racism and how damaging it is and therefore don’t take it seriously; and/or (2) know what racism is but are its junkies because it feeds their hunger for power and brings them media attention.

PS town concillor Mika Hiltunen is the latest politician to face ethnic agitation charges. There are, unfortunately, many others who build their political careers on spreading racism, prejudice and intolerance in all forms and shapes.

You may ask why doesn’t the media see things the same way like Migrant Tales. It does. The problem is that 99% of the national media is run by white Finns who have never faced racism. People like Soini and his band of followers aren’t yet a threat to them never mind white Finns.

If there is a model we could start to look at on how to deal with racism in our country, one good country to start is the U.K. never mind Canada and Australia. All three countries have adopted multiculturalism as their official integration policy.

Check out what happened to councillor Christ Joannides of the Conservative Tory Party after he made Islamophobic comments on his Facebook page. Right. He got in hot water and is now facing a police investigation but he hasn’t been kicked out of the party.

Kuvankaappaus 2013-3-19 kello 11.16.24
The Tories continue to have their racism issues in the party as this story on North London Newspapers reveals. To give the boot or not, that is the question.

Contrarily, Migrant Tales wrote about Tory MP  Aidan Burley and how he was sacked from the party after attending a “Nazi” stag party.

By breaking his campaign promise, that any PS politician, especially an MP, would get sacked if sentenced by court for ethnic agitation, sends a mixed message: We’re sort of against racism but we’re not really. Carry on.

Shameful and disgraceful behavior coming from the leader of Finland’s third-largest party in parliament.

While racism and the PS may be in vogue today, history will judge them as a racist party that never got it when it came to cultural diversity.

  1. PS voter

    Isn’t UK the country where the prime minister said that multiculturalism has failed that the country needs “a stronger national identity to prevent people turning to all kinds of extremism”? That, racial tensions (also between different immigrant groups) and racial riots make it clear that multiculturalism hasn’t worked that well in UK. It is more a warning example that we should not follow, having seen where it seems so easily to lead to.

    And Australia has a policy of mandatory detention of “all persons entering the country without a valid visa, while security and health checks are undertaken and the legitimacy of their remaining in Australia is established”. Australia has also practised so called Pacific Solution, which means that is has asylum seekers are intercepted at sea by navy vessels and then sent places like Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Christmas Island etc — instead of letting them land on shores of Australia.

    And Canada has system where it gives points to persons who have high education or other desireable properties and if you get enough points, then they let you in. And Canada has been involved in the extraordinary rendition and torture of their muslim immigrants, like Maher Arar. And although Canada paid 10 million as a compensation for Maher Arar, it doesn’t make Canada any less guilty.