Minister of Economic Affairs Vilhelm Junnila of the Finns Party spoke to reporters after surviving a vote of no-confidence in the parliament on 28 June 2023, two days before stepping down as a cabinet members amid mounting scrutiny over his repeated nods to far-right themes. Finns Party supporters are predominantly of the view that racism is not a problem that warrants further action in Finland, reveals a survey commissioned by YLE. (Eeva-Maria Brotherus – Lehtikuva)

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THE VIEWS of Finns on racism are heavily polarised, reveals a survey commissioned by YLE.

The Finnish public broadcasting company reported on Tuesday that 48 per cent of the survey respondents estimated that racism is not treated seriously enough and 43 per cent that racism is treated seriously enough in Finland.

The views varied according to factors such as age, gender, place of residence and political affiliation.

Residents of Tampere are especially of the view that the country should ramp up its effort to weed out racism, with only a quarter of them estimating that racism is treated seriously enough and 64 per cent estimating that it is not treated seriously enough. The corresponding shares stood at about 30 per cent and 60 per cent in both Helsinki and Turku.

The current effort against racism was deemed sufficient by around 50 per cent and insufficient by 45 per cent of people in Northern and Eastern Finland.

Women estimated that racism is not treated seriously enough at a rate of 57 per cent, compared to a rate of 39 per cent among men. About half of 35–49-year-olds viewed that the issue is treated seriously enough, a sentiment that was shared by only a third of 18–24-year-olds.

Political affiliations, though, appear to be the most reliable indicator of views on racism as a social issue.

Supporters of the Finns Party, National Coalition and Christian Democrats indicated that they are widely pleased with the current effort to combat racism, viewing that the issue is not treated seriously enough at a rate of 2 per cent, 25 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively. Up to 90 per cent of Finns Party supporters estimated that racism is treated seriously enough in Finland.

The Swedish People’s Party stood out from its three aforementioned coalition partners, with half of its supporters calling for a more serious stance against racism.

Such demands were more common in the opposition, however. Support for a tougher stance against racism stood at 86 per cent among supporters of the Left Alliance, 84 per cent among those of the Green League and 69 per cent among those of the Social Democrats.

The Centre’s supporters were divided on the issue, with 45 per cent of them content and 42 per cent discontent with the current efforts.

Not tolerating racism in any of its forms was regarded as very important by 13 per cent and either not at all or not particularly important by almost half of respondents who identified as supporters of the Finns Party. A zero-tolerance policy for all forms of racism was deemed important by 95 per cent of supporters of the Greens, 92 per cent of the Left Alliance, 80 per cent of the Social Democrats and 71 per cent of the Swedish People’s Party.

Overall, 64 per cent of respondents viewed that not tolerating racism in any of its forms is very important and another 22 per cent that it is somewhat important. Three-quarters of women and 54 per cent of men regarded the zero-tolerance stance as very important, according to YLE.

Taloustutkimus collected 1,096 responses for the survey on 14–18 July.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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