Some may rightly ask why it took over a year to charge former PS substitute councilman Olli Sademies for stating that African men should be sterilized, Here’s another question: Why are there so few light-slap-on-the-hand sentences for hate speech in Finland? In 2009-14 there were only 27 people who were sentenced for ethnic agitation, according to MTV, which cites Statistics Finland.
All of this points to one thing that we are near-constantly denying: Racism, bigotry and discrimination have deep roots in Finland and such social ills are perpetrated by white Finnish privilege.
Former Perussuomalaiset party member and retired policeman Olli Sademies is being charged for ethnic agitation. His comments are so full of racism that he’s on the same level as former PS MP hothead James Hirvisaari. He’s an example of not only the racism and ignorance of Finnish society but their deep roots in the police and politics. Would you be Sademies’ Facebook friend?
Institutions like the police service are so deeply immersed in their own denial of racism and bigotry that they actually believe that they don’t ethnically profile anyone.
In the 1980s, when there were only about 15,000 foreigners in this country, we asked if there was racism in Finland. The common answer was that the darker your skin color was the more racism you’d experience.
To that view, I’d like to add the following: The more migrants and the more cultural diversity in Finland the more racism and bigotry is exposed.
Here’s another question: Why do Finns, who claim to be against racism and bigotry, continue to be Facebook “friends” of politicians like Sademies? If I were them, I’d “unfriend” any politician who systematically and publicly spreads racism, homophobia and sexism.
Because it’s against the very core of our values and by being their Facebook “friend” you are accepting that racism is ok as long as it doesn’t affect you.
The task of openly challenging such politicians isn’t made any easier considering that the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, a party that makes bigotry a part of its political message, is a member of the government. The two other partners, the Center Party and the National Coalition Party, are just as bad because they look the other way and are silent.
It’s important that politicians, public figures and the general public show leadership and send a clear message to politicians who spread racism, homophobia and sexism with the following message: I consider your bigotry a threat and insulting to our society and will openly challenge what you claim.
You are no longer my Facebook friend.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We, therefore, prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”