Thursday, November 13, 2008

And now for the real foreigners...

I've always known that for some people a black person is always less of a real American, or a real Finn, than a white person. I'd never expected to see this attitude in such an obvious way in Helsingin Sanomat.

The title of the article is "We'll still have to wait for a Finnish Obama". It starts "In Finland members of minorities still haven't achieved top places in politics". Now that's funny. IIRC the top of Finnish politics had for a long time been in the hands of the Swedish-speaking minority. Remember that guy named Mannerheim? I think the current government has three members of the same minority in it.

I don't think we've ever had a Jew or a Muslim in the government. This is, of course, totally shocking and unfair in a country that has traditionally had a Jewish minority of about a thousand people, and, until the recent times, a Muslim minority of about the same size. The highest a Jew has ever gotten in Finnish politics is being the chairman of the group of one of the biggest parties in the parliament. I am shocked.

But sarcasm aside, the HS article is really talking about immigrants. At this point, I am getting a bit angry on behalf of Obama.

Barack Obama is not an immigrant. He is a native-born US citizen. I can see that the article switches between the terms "immigrant" and "a person of immigrant background". I am sorry if this comes as a surprise to the journalists in HS, but we are talking about the United Fucking States of America here, and there is a lot of descendants of immigrants there. Like, pretty much all the country. Obama has made history as the first black US President, but as a son of an immigrant he is nothing new: we've had Woodrow Wilson and Chester Arthur, not to mention the early presidents, who, besides having been born before the USA was established, sometimes were born to the parents who'd just arrived from Europe, sometimes spoke Dutch as their first language, and in general did god knows what.

But the truly amazing quote is here: "Elisabeth Nauclér, who represents Ahvenanmaa, is an immigrant who moved here from Sweden, but there are no "real" MPs with an immigrant background in the Parliament."

Excuse me? Did I miss us annexing Sweden overnight? Are they talking specifically about the MPs who have an immigrant background but were themselves born in Finland, and if so, why did they forget Ben Zyskowicz, who is the son of a Polish father and has been in the Parliament for 29 years? Or do they maybe think that a person representing Ahvenanmaa is not a real MP?

Or are they using the term '"real" immigrant' to mean people who are not white? If they are saying that a white Finn who has immigrated from the West is less than a real immigrant, do they even understand that this implies that they think that a non-white Finn who has immigrated from the Third World is less than a real Finn?

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