By Enrique Tessieri
Helsingin Sanomat reported that homophobia and racism are two factors that hinder young minority athletes from joining a Finnish sports club, according to a study. If the story is true it is not only another indication that some Finns live tucked deep in the values of the previous century, but for this to be going on still today is shameful, self-defeating and above all unacceptable.
Another factor that stops minorities from joining a sports club is cost.
Even if discrimination is an obtacle in some sports clubs it is a reflection of our society as a whole and our acceptance by too many of these types of social ills.
Like any social ill, racism and homophobia are difficult but not impossible to show. Even so, the study shows that prejudice and racism do not foster inclusion but fuel social exclusion.
What to do? When battling discrimination we have to first make a decision that we will actually challenge this social ill. Secondly, we must be persistent and patient because eradicating decades of near-unchallenged racism and homophobia in Finland will take many generations.
Despite the challenge, the sooner we begin the better for the sake of our future generations.