There’s been a lot of debate about the so-called tolkun ihminen, a concept in Finland introduced by President Sauli Niinistö to help politicians and public officials do little to nothing to challenge racism and discrimination in Finland. Migrant Tales has defined tolkun ihminen as disgraced President Richard Nixon’s attempt to kill criticism of him by praising the silent majority of a small Oklahoma town called Muskogee.
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-68) gave a spot-on description of tolkun himinen when he was incarcerated in 1963 for holding a mass demonstration in Alabama. For the Civil Rights leader, white moderates were the biggest obstacle to the emancipation of Black people in the United States.
The aim of tolkun ihmiset is the same as what MLK referred to his scorn for “white moderates.” Both white moderates and tolkun ihmiset do a lot of harm to migrants and minorities by not doing anything and turning a blind eye to racism.
Tolkun ihmiset are the most significant obstacle in Finland to furthering social equality for migrants and minorities in Finland.
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“First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action;’ who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.'”