According to UN estimates, 1 out of 35 people on this planet can be classified as international migrants.  In Finland, 1 out of every 20 legal residents residing in the country are migrants of an international back-ground.   You may find it interesting to know that roughly 250,000 Finnish citizens have joined the international migrant flow and reside outside of Finland.

Times of economic hardship tend to bring about an increase in xenophobic rhetoric.  The terms xenophobia and racism tend to be used interchangeably, but by definition, their differences are quite clear.   A racist hates according to ethnicity and ancestry, while a xenophobe hates the foreigner which can potentially be anyone from outside their own culture.

Just because someone is a xenophobe does not necessarily mean they are racist.  A racist isn’t always going to be a xenophobe.   Being one is not better than being the other.   Neither one is pleasant to be around.  It should also be said that racists and xenophobes aren’t much fun at multicultural social events.


It is easy to judge others for their antisocial behavior, especially when it is directed at you or your loved ones.    Unfortunately, merely passing judgment on the mindset and behaviors of your social opposition will have no positive effect; it only puts the haters on the defense.  When on the defensive they tend to go online, flooding the internet with invective.  Even worse, when threatened, the haters can go on the offensive, storming out amongst the general populace where they proceed to engage in such acts of bravery as shouting drunkenly at a father who dares to speak his own language in public with his 3 year old son.


The most effective way to deal with the haters is to make their behavior socially unacceptable.  Describing racists and xenophobes as “immigration critical” does nothing to help society; it only gives justification of existence to those who hate.  When a Goebbels wannabe publishes a semi-academic rationalization for hatred, his arguments must be dissected and destroyed, not dismissed.  When a mob marches to intimidate others with their neo-Nazi agenda, it is the responsibility of us all to let them know that they have no place in our society.

Willie Lahti

The author is the immigrant grandson of immigrants.