If there is an institution that is the epitome of white Finnish privilege that is doing everything possible to hinder cultural and ethnic diversity among its ranks, that institution is the Finnish police service.
Two stories, two versions. One by Migrant Tales where asylum seekers allege that a white Finnish driver in a GMC SUV tried to hit them and another one in Mikkeli-based Länsi Savo where the police suspect a traffic dispute that led to an argument where one asylum seeker got hit in the head.
How is it possible that a man is beaten up in broad daylight next to the Helsinki Railway Station next to a gathering of Neo-Nazis? How is it possible that this far-right group, which calls itself Kansallinen vastarintaliike (SVL), allegedly beat up the person, who is sent unconscious to the hospital to die six days later from cerebral hemorrhages?
Here’s a simple question: By law, a person is a Finn if he or she is a Finnish citizen. Why, then, are some of these Finnish citizens spoken of and near-constantly reminded by society that they are so-called “people with foreign backgrounds?”
Former Perussuomalaiset (PS)* deputy councilman for Helsinki, Olli Sademies, who suggested last year on Facebook that Africans should be forcibly castrated will be charged for ethnic agitation, according to Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s largest-circulating daily.
The Finnish police service acts as if it has never heard of ethnic profiling. Even if ethnic profiling cases by the police are rarely brought to the attention of the media, there was one case made public Friday by singer Musta Barbaari, whose mother and sister were – according to a Facebook posting – treated in “a rude manner” and were “humiliated publicly” by the police.
I remember clearly the first time I was profiled by the police in Helsinki. It was the evening rush hour in the city and I had just made my way down the crowded escalator that leads to the underground metro platform in Hakaniemi, just two stops from the city center. As I got off the escalators, a metro was blaring out alarms, signaling it was about to depart. I quickened my steps, half running, half walking, determined to get on it. I rushed forward, hoping to beat the soon closing metro doors. A few paces off the doors, I was stopped by two individuals. They literally jumped in front of me, forcing me to stop abruptly to avoid colliding into them.
A fight that took place today between two families at the Kolari asylum reception center forced five police service vans and 12-15 police to arrive at the camp, which is located in a far-flung village of 3,857 inhabitants, according to sources contacted by Migrant Tales. The fight is one matter but what the police allegedly told an asylum seeker is equally worrying.
The media plays a decisive role in broadcasting bigotry, sanitized hate speech, and populism in Finland. A recent example of the latter is a story published by YLE where the police claim that crimes committed during the beginning of this year by foreigners in Eastern Finland grew by 179%!
While it is a fact that the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman looks into complaints about alleged ethnic profiling by the police service and National Boarder Guard, more questions surround this issue than answers.