THE STORY WAS UPDATED
One far-right politician who has eagerly spread white Finnish supremacist ideology is Perussuomalaiset (PS)* vice-chairperson and MP Riikka Purra. In her latest Facebook post, she attempts to defend her views with a chart that is misleading and racist.
One of the problems with Purra’s argument is that she speaks of white Finns as natives but excludes non-white Finns as eternal migrants or “people of migrant background.” In short, they are not “real” Finns and should be treated as a threat.
Purra’s arguments, which are filled with populist hot air and made in one of Europe’s whitest countries, aim to reinforce exclusion and hatred of people of color.
If you watch closely, the PS normally speak in code when spreading their racist views. When they talk about “harmful” migrants they mean Muslims and asylum seekers who came in 2015. When Purra talks about the “native” population she only means white Finns.
Far-right ideas like Purra’s are the same ones spread by US President Donald Trump and embolden white supremacists. One of its tragic manifestations was seen on Saturday in El Paso, Texas.
No matter the country, the white supremacist message is the same: Groups with power are afraid of minorities because they fear that when they become a majority, they will treat people like Purra in the same way as she talks and treats migrants and minorities today.
Considering that far-right and white-supremacist rhetoric is keenly copied and pasted by politicians in different countries that form part of a global network, it is surprising how our own denial and exceptionalism has made our media reluctant to ask tough questions to politicians spreading far-right ideology.
One of these after the tragedy in El Paso is if the same rhetoric spread by Purra and PS chairperson Jussi Halla-aho inspire people to start killing migrants and minorities in Finland?
Migrant Tales asked Purra this question in an email, but she did not reply.
It would be wrong to blame Purra, Halla-aho and other PS pundits for the rise in racism in Finland. By blaming a party and its politicians, you lose sight of the root of the problem, which is our society.
The best way of challenging an Islamophobic party and far-right politicians is to take a good look at ourselves and take off the mask of denial.
* The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. In the last parliamentary election, Blue Reform has wiped off the Finnish political map when they saw their numbers in parliament plummet from 18 MPs to none. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.