The Migrant Tales blog gets emails from people who speak with hand on heart about the challenges they face as immigrants or Finnish with international backgrounds in our society. Here is one of these published in November 2009. The real name of the person has been changed. Here is a letter from Ida:
The underlying problem in Finland is that [white] Finns can never fully understand what racism is if they have never played that role of being a minority. They can fill all the facts and knowledge of the books in their heads but still can never understand what the true meaning behind racism is. And there is no arguing with them because they already know all the facts and figures.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I can’t change people’s minds about certain things [like racism]. They have their own mindset of things. Hell, it took me pretty long time to re-wire my brain to think differently after all that brainwashing in Finland. Imagine, I used to have prejudices against [my own group the] Chinese. It would take a lot more for Finns to think more open-mindedly.
I spent almost all my adult life [trying] to find acceptance and proving to myself that I was one of them. I did all this at the expense of my identity. Well, now I am just tired. I am who I am and I don’t need their acceptance. I don’t need to be one of them. And I am happy that I have found a country where otherness is cherished and celebrated and where I don’t need to hide or be ashamed of being Chinese. Finland can never be my home because I can never feel comfortable enough to be myself there. And they will never see me as one of them either. So, that’s that.