Coming to terms with being a “Social Justice Warrior”
As you might know I have been living in Finland for over 10 years now, it has been great, not so great and sometimes bad… you might think that living in a social welfare paradise means it is also a social paradise, I’m not saying things are not good, it is an amazing place to live, but there are for sure things that were better some years ago and there have been incidents that keep me up at night.
As the title reads, I’m finally coming to terms with being a Social Justice Warrior (SJW), not that kind of SJW that you just thought of and rolled your eyes at. I’m talking the original SJW that fights for equality, diversity and inclusion since the Civil Rights Movement began.
Over the past few years I have been on the fence on being so vocal on issues that were often racist, misoginistic or homophobic through my time in Finland I’ve found myself uncomfortable at times and in places that would definitively not pass a diversity or betchel test if they were the setting of a movie… Not taking away from the amazing progress we’ve had as a country, you don’t have to luck further than to our Prime minister (who was raised by a same sex couple) and her all-women cabinet to see major progress, not to say our runner up in the past Presidential Elections and now minister of the Interior, Pekka Havisto who is an openly gay man.
As I repeated earlier, the bad has always been outnumbered by the good experiences and there have been amazing people many of whom I can call friends.
I want to make a point that this is not about people but attitudes. Some of these attitudes come from the most outspoken and random places, I at least have felt a worrysome trends towards right wing and often extreme right wing talking points and conspiracy theories as go-to’s in conversations.
A lot of it also has to do with me being more coy and sometimes afraid to voice my own opinion or disagreement with these to avoid conflict even if it bothered me and others around me, a thing that would never ever happen to my College Student Self.
I will start with one of my first experiences of cultural confusion, we all know that the N word is more than just a word, it opens wounds and has such a heavy charge that it is not to be used lightly… but then here in Finland it is used in its localized (some defend, less innocuous but still negative) connotation Nekkeri.
I by no means took it as an offense and tried to understand what they meant as they explained to me in their broken english, to my surprise this word was uttered towards me as a nickname (Hyvaa Nekkeri) which in their head was an acceptable term of endearment to their new foreign acquaintance, the newly arrived me in Finland.
Cultural differences asside I think that this happens everywhere and in more or less innocent form. But whenever people make you doubt if you should correct a person, discuss a topic regarding a perceived racist, homophobic or antisemitic attitude then there is a problem, its not that you feel unsafe but its more of a feeling of not my place, this changes as we call the new place home for sure.
As the years passed this memory became more of a novelty amongst many other incidents that I don’t even make too much about. There have been other incidents like having a bill for the Border Wall tapped in my computer after Trump blasted Mexico should pay for the wall, being called exotic and out of place by a couple people I had to work with or the always tricky “oh I wasn’t talking about you, you are one of the good immigrants” while blatantly spewing racist opinions and hate and the multiple and more common expresions of hate by extreme right groups and regular people who probably don’t know better.
I will be exploring different topics, try to shoot new editorials in the blog as I reconnect with my more bold SJW College Student self and retake the name as a positive identifier, one that is not radical, nor divisive but hopefully insightful from my part and relevant and even educational for me too during these weird times.
I’ve made Finland my home and I have great hope in the people and country, there have been great strides of progress but if we stay quiet when an uptick of hate appears we might lose what we already gained.
Disclaimer: These opinions in no way represent anyone but myself, these is a personal blog with no connection to anyone I work with or collaborate, it is about my experience as a minority (first a student and then a professional) in Finland.
I leave you today with a couple playlists that are very important for me, playlists made out of the content of my channels from my past job that passed to a better life. These two channels were very important to me and I belive that sharing diverse and inclusive content is even more necesary today when we all are forcibly online to interact with each other.
Videos from my previously existant and short lived Channel Woke.
Videos from my previously existant Channel Pride.