Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ugly face of racism at bus stop in Finland

A lot has been said and written about racism in Finland, a social ill boosted by anti-immigration sentiments and what far-right populists have termed the "Islamization" of Europe. Speaking on the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International, a renown human rights organization, the president of Finland acknowledged the rise of racism and xenophobia in the Nordic country. This presidential statement came after a member of parliament used racist and derogatory language on his first day in parliament against Muslims and immigrants of African descent. Racism in Finland shows its face in many ways, including racist graffiti in public places and through what could be termed "drive-by racism" - a form of racial harassment in which racial slurs are shouted from a moving vehicle. More recently, the ugly face of racism was seen at a bus stop around Hertoniemi, Helsinki, Finland.

Someone of questionable moral standing used what appears to be a sharp object to write a hateful and racist message on the glass at a bus stop. The disturbing message is there for everyone using the bus stop to see. It reads:

"All N*****s Must Die."

It is worth mentioning that "N*****" stands for what is commonly known as the N-word. The word is spelled out in full on the bus stop. It is not legible in photographs but if you stand at the bus stop (pictured) you cannot miss it.

The disturbing message is accompanied by a hastily drawn swastika - symbol of the Nazi Party of Germany.

The ugly face of racism at this bus stop speaks volumes about the current state of affairs in Finland. Such a message in a public place undermines the reputation of Finland as a free, civilized, tolerant and democratic country.

The hateful message is very disturbing; even more disturbing is the fact that no one seems to be alarmed by such a message at a bus stop that is used daily by many people, including immigrants studying in a nearby adult learning centre (Edupoli).

The message was first seen at the bus stop more than a month ago. At the time of this writing, it has not been removed.

Racism in Finland and its devastating impact on people of African descent and immigrants from other parts of the world is further compounded by reports that some law enforcement officers in the country said racist harassment should not be reported to the police. A police officer from Pieksämäki reportedly told Migrant Tales that victims of racist harassment should "just walk away."

This goes to show that racists and those who harass individuals because of skin color, nationality, religion or ethnicity have been given a blank check by law enforcement.

Law enforcement in Finland should take racially motivated crimes, including harassment in public places, more seriously. Ordinary people of goodwill on their part should speak out against racism and stand with victims wherever this social ill shows its ugly face. Simply looking the other way emboldens aggressors.

The authorities have a responsibility to remove racist and hateful messages from public places, including bus stops, and perhaps run educational programs and campaigns to educate the public about the ills of racism and hate.


  1. Hello Zuzeeko Abeng!

    Im from Finland, and i want to tell something finland and finland racists.

    Im from north Finland, Oulu.
    In my time in shcool, (1-9th grade) i havent got anyone who was comefrom other states. Everybody was Finnish people main shcool. If someone find out that someguy mother/father was a russian or swedish or somewhere else, he has been teasin about it. And thats one reason, why finland is a racist country. There are lot of villages where are not any immigrands.

    And its like somebodys fathers keep sayin the "N-words" and "immigrands are come to destory our nation", and their kids are too dumb to decline these words, and they move it on to next generations.

    Looks like every little village has their own racist groups. We have that kind of groups in my shcool, luckly it wasn't a violant in my town, that is not what i can say all groups.

    Finnish people do not see racism as a broblem. They see immigrants as a broblem. If some immigrants do a bad thing, like a crime or something, looks like everyone of them been hated.

    This text tell just a bad part of finland. Most of people in finland hate these "nationalsocialism" groups. And lot of people like other cultures. And in Bigger Cities problem isn't so bad, but in 'farmville' racism is usually just a normal thing.

    There are too much xenophobias in Fin, and i hope someday younger people see that the immigrands are peoples as we are.

    And end of this, im sorry my horrible English.
    I haven't spoke it since my shcooltimes.

    i hope you dont remember our nation as a bad.

    Sincerely LK.

  2. Hi!

    Im also from Finland and for some reason ended up here. It is so easy to believe false accusations about people that you have never met or seen. Finland is a small country and it is quite easy to believe all kinds of grazy stuff about foreign people living in this small country.

    Reality is that people of all ethnicities can leave their lives without being harassed, this is true at least in Tampere where I live. I have never heard anyone use racial language against black people. Never seen anyone being physically harassed because of their race. Never in my 30 years life. And there are lots of black people here, I see black people everyday.

    There is no "n-word" in Finnish language. Word "neekeri" was earlier used about all people of African decent. There was no other word. Then someone decided that it was offensive and it should not be used. Not people usually say "musta" or something like that. But if some older person uses word neekeri it is not used in offensive sense.

    I looked some of your other articles and was disappointed. Your article "Finland: Rape statistics used against foreigners" is bad journalism. You just cant deny facts the way you do. IF some fact dont fit your ideology, you cant just they are not true. It is true that in all European countries muslim men rape more than others. Its a cultural/religious thing. It is because muslim cultures are often hatefull towards women and their rights. Some muslim men feel that if some woman is not wearing hijab you can rape them. That is horrible but true. I dont like racism, but Islam is not a race. We should have an honest debate about muslims cultures and their views on women.

    1. Thanks for weighing in on this. I'm glad to read from you that all individuals, irrespective of ethnicity, can live in Tampere without being harassed. However, it doesn't mean all is well. Besides, it will be naive to conclude that racially abusive language is not used in Tampere simply because you've never heard anyone use it. Racism takes many forms - nowadays, it's commonly subtle. I encourage you to have a conversation with some "maahamuuttajat" (immigrants) and familiarize yourself with disturbing untold stories of the average "maahanmuuttaja".

      Finland is a great country in many respects, but we can't deny that racism and xenophobia are daily realities.

      I didn't deny facts in my article about rape statistics. Read it again with an open mind. I simply raised concerns about lopsided reporting by Yle. Why capitalize on rapes committed by foreigners and completely ignore the majority of rapes committed by the majority? "Bad journalism" should be attributed to Yle for airing such a report that feeds prejudice against foreigners.

      It's a shame that you think rape has something to do with Muslim culture/religion. What about, for example, men of Finnish origin convicted of rape? Does this have something to do with Finnish culture? Absolutely not! I urge you to refrain from condemning groups of people for crimes committed by individuals.

    2. This reply is for all comments left here -immigrants and Finns.

      I'm an American sitting here in Finland now. In fact I'm here investigating the death of my American son who took his own life due to silent racism in the school he was attending. He was not black or Muslim, but he did have dark hair and brown eyes (from his native American origins). And yes, we fought the immigrants from here and elsewhere in Europe and their racism hundreds of years ago.

      It was my mistake for allowing my kid to live in this country and knowing about the extreme hidden racism here. In fact, as soon as I arrived here, I met Finnish racism (it cannot leave you alone). The stares, whispers, and cold shoulders were very evident. Now, I sit in a hotel room watching and listening to American movies and shows in English. I know that the Finns do not like foreigners, but they are so willing to watch our movies in English, eat at McDonalds, and take our military protection to keep them free from their powerful enemy just across the border -there is no complaint about these things! However, you Finns must remember that our powerful country was built by no others but immigrants and natives of all colors and religions. We are a diverse immigrant country that will always be strong, powerful, and innovative due to diversity. This is a lesson not only to Finland, but to the all the other racist countries in this world.

      Jimmy Hobson, Vantaa March 29, 2016

  3. "It's a shame that you think rape has something to do with Muslim culture/religion. What about, for example, men of Finnish origin convicted of rape? Does this have something to do with Finnish culture? Absolutely not! I urge you to refrain from condemning groups of people for crimes committed by individuals".


    Islam in itself does not condone raping, that's a given. However, Islamic values and teachings DEFINITELY set men above women. A muslim man is therefore SLIGHTLY more likely to rape than your average finn. Rape is always wrong and it is always an equally punishable crime no matter who the perpetrator. Immigrants who happen to be muslim are disproportionately represented in rape statistics. This is a fact. I do not however think that an immigrant is in any way responsible for the actions of another immigrant.

    Immigration is always an investment for the receiving country and therefore should be inspected from all angles, whether it be rape statistics or stories of great success.

    Racism and xenophobia are indeed daily realities! Finland is new to immigration. Finland is new to groups originating from outside of Europe. Finland is indeed so new to immigration that you can expect a 25 year old native to have been born and raised in a multiethnic/cultural setting, but not a 30 year old. Every day is a little better and even more so for every year. I do my part by communicating with all people without prejudice since I was born to a colourful Finland and a colourful part of Helsinki. I'd like to see more initiative when it comes to breaking down cultural barriers whether the person is a finn or an immigrant. I'd like to see more cultural/ethnic bilingualism and I do think the initiative for this should be on the immigrants. Finland comes from a pretty terrible past of poverty, occupation and subordination from its neighbouring countries. Xenophobia was at a time a must, it is rooted deep within finnish identity. Finns do not hate, finns fear as do we all. Whatever means one possesses to dissolve fear and build trust are gold. If you have them, use them.


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