Finnish white privilege, like any majority culture’s privilege, not only permeates in our institutions but marks the pace of how those with no privilege will be treated in this society. Granting the police greater monitoring power to carry out arbitrary checks on migrants, and subsequently non-white Finns, is a case in point in white Finnish privilege.
There is an epidemic in our country. Other epidemics like obesity and AIDS create injustice in the body, but this one creates injustice in our society and the ways in which we relate to one another. We have a name for this disease: colorblindness.
The unprovoked killing of Trayvon Martin, 17, in the state of Florida in the United States has caused widespread national outrage especially among black USAmericans. How did we react in Finland when our own Trayvon Martins appeared after a killing spree took place involving three Muslims within about three weeks? On top of this we had a former councilman of a major Finnish party, the Perussuomalaiset (PS), saying publicly that he’d give one of the killers a medal.
The violence we have witnessed recently against immigrants in cities like Oulu and Espoo Leppävaara put into question the claim that hate crimes fell by 15% in 2010, according to the Police College of Finland. Apart from raising worrisome questions about the present direction of our society it looks at the role of the police.
It’s funny how still some in this country like to tell the rest what is acceptable a when it comes to labeling different ethnic groups. The term ryssä, a derogatory term to place Russians in a negative context in the Finnish language is one of many examples. The Council of Ethics in Advertising ruled that using the term ryssimme as a verb from the noun ryssä on one of its cider beverages was unethical.*
The title of an interim report on immigration policy published by the Social Democratic Party on Friday not only reveals the party’s greatest fears but strengthens age-old views of outsiders. Apart from the political malarkey that SDP sees immigration as an opportunity, it likes to use pet catchwords – like the populist anti-immigration True Finns – such as “controlled and/or regulated immigration.”
Here is an interesting story in the Washington Post on racial profiling, a practice whereby law enforcement uses race or a person background as a grounds for criminal suspicion.