What is the most racist country
How can it be that Finland is the second most racist country in Europe?
For the third time in a row, Finland has been voted the happiest country in the world. At the same time, it is one of the most racist countries in Europe. How does that fit together?
By Janina Wildermuth
For a good three weeks, people around the world have been demonstrating against police violence and for the rights and recognition of People of Color. The wave of protests has also reached Finland. Black tiles and solidarity slogans are diligently posted on Instagram. There are demos and fundraising campaigns in all major cities. Nevertheless, according to the "European Union Agency For Fundamental Rights", Finland is the second most racist country in Europe. Only Luxembourg does worse. How can it be that black people in the “land of the future” are particularly often discriminated against? Where does xenophobia come from and how is it expressed? Four Finns between 18 and 25 explain their view of current events in their home country to me.
The second most racist country in Europe
According to the study “Being Black in the EU” by the “European Union Agency For Fundamental Rights” last year, Finland is the second most racist country in Europe, just behind Luxembourg. It looked similar in previous years. 45 percent of those questioned stated that they had been discriminated against because of their origin in the five years before the study. The Nordic country is particularly at the forefront when it comes to verbal and physical attacks. On the other hand, racial profiling, as in the USA, hardly takes place in Finland. The police are trusted and show a lot of respect. This can also be seen in the fact that affected people report racist attacks more often. Nevertheless, the results of the study surprised me. Finns are considered humble and serene. Strangers are left alone so as not to get them into uncomfortable situations. Why doesn't this apply to people of other origins?
"Protests in Finland are of no use"
More than 3,000 people demonstrated on June 3rd in Helsinki under the #BlackLivesMatter. Small demos also took place in Tampere and Turku. However, a particularly large number of people do not participate. Vappu (22) says that, although she thinks the campaigns are great, she prefers to show solidarity via social media and donations. Heikki (22) also thinks the protests are important. In his opinion, however, they are of no use in Finland. “The #BlackLivesMatter movement is all about America. Police violence is not really a thing here, ”he says, adding,“ The politics in Finland is not racist. Quite different from the USA. Here in the north, only the "Perussuomalaiset" (comparable to the AfD) could make racist decisions in the future. "
He is right. Equal rights for all citizens, regardless of gender, origin or religion, is regulated by law. Sexism, discrimination and racism are classified as crime and are punishable by law. Hate speech is followed by fines and even imprisonment. Finland's sense of equality is very strong. Nevertheless, the current wave of protests is not a matter that can only be negotiated in America, because people with a migrant background also have disadvantages in Finland.
Everyday racism is omnipresent
“There is racism everywhere in Finland”, tells me Laura (24), who is not surprised by the results of the study. “In schools, at work or on public transport. Threats and sentences like "Close the borders" and "Finland for Finns" are still relevant, "said Laura. Some people believe that there is no room for anyone else besides them and that they would not fit in here either. Foreigners report hidden racism that starts with applications. If you have a foreign name, the chances of being invited to an interview are very slim. It doesn't take long to find the first article that describes such a case. The Finns are aware that this is a problem. In an interview with “MTVuutiset”, the equal opportunities officer Michaela Moua speaks of so-called structural racism. That is, people unconsciously act in a racist way. It starts with the language. Elli (21) sees the problem in the older population. They just couldn't resist racist jokes and don't even notice.
Populists spray bad thoughts
Most of the young Finns I have spoken to have spoken of the “Perussuomalaiset”. Comparable to the AfD in Germany, the "Perussuomalaiset" are a critically observed right-wing populist party. You are known for posting racist tweets and advocating for "the real Finland". Stand behind it white People who meet the needs of life white Want to adapt to men.
The party is currently under fire for a very questionable academic work entitled "Truth Stimulations" (Totuus kiihottaa). In the section entitled "Women's tyranny and the socialization of sexuality", Professor Jukka Hankamäki claims on behalf of the Perussuomalaiset that some Finnish women seek revenge on society by sleeping with foreign partners. The party leader Jussi Halla-Aho then admitted that he had not read the entire text before it was published. How such ideas can find supporters and be represented by an elected party in 2020 is incomprehensible.
The price of homogeneity
A total of 7.6 percent of immigrants live in Finland (2019, Statistics Finland, population structure). How many of them come from an African country south of the Sahara was not recorded. For comparison: Germany has 13.5 percent foreigners (2019, AZR). The Finnish population is therefore somewhat more homogeneous than the German. Points of contact with other cultures are rather rare in the vast and sparsely populated Finland. A lack of these could be a reason for racist behavior.
It almost seems as if the Finns, out of sheer satisfaction, do not even notice how they unconsciously discriminate against foreigners. Politicians try to be very tolerant and to treat all citizens and visitors equally. Unfortunately, this has no influence on some people. Ultimately, solidarity is necessary for the #BlackLivesMatter movement in Finland too. Because racism in Finland is a topic that has not yet received enough attention.
You can find the new report on discrimination against black people in Finland from 9.6.2020 here.
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