Black People in Finland

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soul316
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Black People in Finland

Post by soul316 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 5:47 pm

Hello All,

I was thinking about attempting to move to Finland to work for a few years. I have a friend here stateside who is from Finland and he had some very nice things to say. One thing that bothered me was that he said he had only seen 4 black people in his entire life.

This revelation has prompted my question. How many black people are there in Finland? I know its a lot less than other European countries, but is the amount really THAT small?

I'm primarily looking for firsthand responses. For example, how many black people do you see in a week? When you go out to bars and clubs, do you see black people there? How about restaurants?

Thanks



Black People in Finland

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Karhunkoski
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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by Karhunkoski » Sat Aug 15, 2009 6:50 pm

soul316 wrote: I'm primarily looking for firsthand responses. For example, how many black people do you see in a week?
That's a very difficult question to answer, I don't really know. At least for me, if someone is dressing and acting like I do, then I don't even notice what colour they are. I think most people I know think the same way. Your question sounds a bit odd, care to explain why you asked it?
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soul316
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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by soul316 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 6:56 pm

As an African American, I was just wondering how much blacks are able to integrate in mainstream culture here, and how numerous they are. I can't find any real statistics, but the number of blacks seems to be around 8,000. I just want to get as much information as possible so I can make a really informed decision.


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onkko
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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by onkko » Sat Aug 15, 2009 7:32 pm

Here is about 20 thousand and most of them are somalis who mainly breed and keep railwaystation walls up so dont wait warm welcome.
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Pursuivant
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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by Pursuivant » Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:19 pm

soul316 wrote: How many black people are there in Finland?
Well its kind of hard to say, as its illegal to gather such information based on race etc.
For example, how many black people do you see in a week?
Ummm... who counts as black? And does the same person count more than once?
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Pursuivant
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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by Pursuivant » Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:22 pm

soul316 wrote:how numerous they are.
hmmm... do a little survey of crowd pictures. now this is the multicultural "World Village Festival" Helsinki has - so it should gather all ethnicities...
http://www.maailmakylassa.fi/uutiset/ku ... kuvat_2009 they had a kickass Touareg band this year http://www.myspace.com/terakaft
Last edited by Pursuivant on Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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switchblade327
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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by switchblade327 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:27 pm

Hey Soul316,

It would help to know where in Finland you're talking about. If you're talking about Helsinki (and I can't speak for anywhere else) then it's not going to be strange to see a black person. It's by far the whitest place I've ever lived but it is also a major metropolitan area and I definitely see more then 4 black people daily here. People aren't going to stare at you as if you were glowing purple or anything.

I had heard before I moved here that Finland is very racist but I haven't seen too much *actual* racism. What I have seen is along the lines of what Onkko said; many Finns aren't too fond of Romanians and African immigrants who come to Finland and are seen as leeching off the system. Still, I'd feel safer and more comfortable as a Somali refugee in Helsinki then I would as an African American in some redneck, rural town in the deep south. Once people realize you're not that kind of immigrant, I think you'd be fine.

In smaller Finnish towns, I imagine it doesn't work quite the same.

Well, at least you'll have a different kind of bias to overcome: being American :D


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Pursuivant
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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by Pursuivant » Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:33 pm

Well in smaller towns or villages once they know who you are you're OK. Its strangers who are... strange. In bigger towns you have the anonymity of the crowd.
switchblade327 wrote: Well, at least you'll have a different kind of bias to overcome: being American :D
He can try avoid that claiming to being African :lol:
"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes."


soul316
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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by soul316 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:34 pm

Switchblade327,

Thats the kind of response I was looking for. For example, I've been to Argentina before. Argentina claimed to have over 10,000 people of African descent, but I never saw one when I went out to clubs, bars, malls, etc. Therefore, I concluded that black people just aren't that integrated into Argentinian society.


Onkko says there are 20,000 black people? The only estimate I can find puts the number at 5,000 Somali immigrants. I think he may be exaggerating a little. Also Onkko's response is what I'm afraid of. He paints a picture in which black people are basically isolated from society and looked down upon as people who just make more Somali babies to leech off of the system. Mexican immigrants have the same stereotype in the US and aren't that integrated into mainstream society. I don't want to be like a Mexican immigrant if I come here, lol.

While I understand that you will see black people on the streets in places like Helsinki, I still would imagine that it will be a lot fewer than say in a major US city or even in a rural town in the US. Thats moreso my concern. Would even a city like Helsinki be a lot whiter than the average US city or rural town for me? In addition, I also want to know about the social setting here. If I was to be invited to a party, bar, or club; or if I went to some kind of social event, would I see people of African descent there? I'm guessing the answer would be mostly no. I'm looking that the pictures from that multicultural festival, and there just aren't that many black people. And this is a multicultural festival! I know this sound crazy, but its something I want to know about before I make a decision to move to a particular country.

Also, wold I be treated more kindly if people find out I am an African American instead of a Somali immigrant? Or are all people of African descent lumped together?

And to Pursivant: by Black I mean a person of primarily African descent. And no, a person only counts once. So give me your estimate, kind sir :)


I would like to hear some more opinions.


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Pursuivant
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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by Pursuivant » Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:54 pm

soul316 wrote: Would even a city like Helsinki be a lot whiter than the average US city or rural town for me?
Well... South Park got Token in the classroom and Chef.... thats average town? :wink:
He paints a picture in which black people are basically isolated from society
Well actually it is they are sometimes isolating themselves, not integrating into the Finnish society.
And to Pursivant: by Black I mean a person of primarily African descent. And no, a person only counts once. So give me your estimate, kind sir
Ummm... in a week.... mind you I usually see all the same people around if I just stick to my routine. Say half a dozen on average depending on the week.
Last edited by Pursuivant on Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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switchblade327
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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by switchblade327 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:03 pm

No worries.

It's hard to compare to an average US city since they vary so much and there is no good comparison but in general Helsinki's "whiteness" is probably closer to smaller US cities then bigger ones.

Like I said, you might find a larger hump to go over then a white foreigner (just as an American has a larger hump to cross then a Canadian or Aussie, for example) but a hump is not a wall and you'll probably find people quite friendly (as far as Finns go) once they know you're not the kind of immigrant they don't care for.

I would worry less about numbers and such since your perception is the only thing that matters. You could drive through Beverly Hills and conclude that Los Angeles is the whitest place you've ever been.

If you're really considering moving here, why not spend a couple of weeks here and make up your own mind?


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onkko
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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by onkko » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:05 pm

soul316 wrote: Onkko says there are 20,000 black people? The only estimate I can find puts the number at 5,000 Somali immigrants. I think he may be exaggerating a little.
14 160 people who have nationality of some african nation, 4 919 of them somalis.
10 647 people who speak somalia as mother language.
http://www.stat.fi/tup/tilastotietokannat/index_en.html

soul316 wrote: I'm looking that the pictures from that multicultural festival, and there just aren't that many black people. And this is a multicultural festival!
Since when being black equals different culture? You have more common with me than average black you meet in here.
Caesare weold Graecum, ond Caelic Finnum


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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by Pursuivant » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:06 pm

You could drive through Beverly Hills and conclude that Los Angeles is the whitest place you've ever been.
And if you go to Itäkeskus you think Helsinkis next to Compton :lol:
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soyyo
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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by soyyo » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:21 pm

soul316 wrote:Switchblade327,

Thats the kind of response I was looking for. For example, I've been to Argentina before. Argentina claimed to have over 10,000 people of African descent, but I never saw one when I went out to clubs, bars, malls, etc. Therefore, I concluded that black people just aren't that integrated into Argentinian society.


Onkko says there are 20,000 black people? The only estimate I can find puts the number at 5,000 Somali immigrants. I think he may be exaggerating a little. Also Onkko's response is what I'm afraid of. He paints a picture in which black people are basically isolated from society and looked down upon as people who just make more Somali babies to leech off of the system. Mexican immigrants have the same stereotype in the US and aren't that integrated into mainstream society. I don't want to be like a Mexican immigrant if I come here, lol.

While I understand that you will see black people on the streets in places like Helsinki, I still would imagine that it will be a lot fewer than say in a major US city or even in a rural town in the US. Thats moreso my concern. Would even a city like Helsinki be a lot whiter than the average US city or rural town for me? In addition, I also want to know about the social setting here. If I was to be invited to a party, bar, or club; or if I went to some kind of social event, would I see people of African descent there? I'm guessing the answer would be mostly no. I'm looking that the pictures from that multicultural festival, and there just aren't that many black people. And this is a multicultural festival! I know this sound crazy, but its something I want to know about before I make a decision to move to a particular country.

Also, wold I be treated more kindly if people find out I am an African American instead of a Somali immigrant? Or are all people of African descent lumped together?

And to Pursivant: by Black I mean a person of primarily African descent. And no, a person only counts once. So give me your estimate, kind sir :)


I would like to hear some more opinions.
In the capital area, there are many black people, but most are Somali or from elsewhere in Africa. Somali's have different looks and often dress in a certain way, etc. (men too, the women are always in Hijab), so if you don't look like them then people will probably not think you are Somali.

I live in Espoo, right next to Helsinki. There are Black people (Somalis) living in my building, and I always see black people, many per day. There are also enough people of other origins around, so in the capitol area, you won't stick out. I take part in Finnish classes for immigrants and there are always people of African origin around.

Here is a link to a statistics site in English, the page on population: http://www.stat.fi/til/vrm_en.html You might be able to get more specific details based on where people who come to Finland are coming from. It won't list race, just maybe country of origin.

I think the question of whether you will see black people in your social setting, it really depends on where you have met the people, if they are all Finns or are in international group, etc.

As for comparison to the US, it is much less diverse than where I grew up, in San Francisco area. It is much better than Salt Lake City, where I also lived. I have lived in Louisiana, and no way there are as many black people here as there were there. I came here from a small town in Oklahoma, and it is MUCH better here in terms of diversity than it was there. Same for Salt Lake City.

I have one friend who is half African American and half Finnish here. She grew up in the US and then came here. She is out of town, but If you'd like to hear from her, I can ask her when she gets back.
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soul316
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Re: Black People in Finland

Post by soul316 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:08 pm

First, I would like to thank everyone for their responses. I really appreciate you guys taking the time to answer my questions.

To Soyyo: I would appreciate it greatly if you asked your friend.

To Switchblade327: I do plan to visit with the next 6 months or so.

To Onkko: I do understand that I might have more in common with native Finnish people than the African immigrants. With that written, I come from an incredibly racially-conscious background; and I've always felt a certain comfort level when around black people. I can't help that, sadly. But on the other hand, I would like to experience a European country. I have a Finnnish friend who really hyped up Finland. Hence, my post here.

Ok, I understand that the major cities like Helsinki are probably about 2-3% black, which means youll see some black people and come accross maybe 6-12 per week. Coming from a larger sized city in the US, I think that what I what consider to be a lot of black people per week would differ from most people here. I guess that if most people saw 10-15 black people per week, they would consider that a lot. I consider that to be a small number.

What I fear is that Finland may be like the University I attended. It was around 2-3% people of African descent (around the same as a city like Helsinki). I saw a small number of black people everyday there.

With that written, the black people were just extremely separated (Socially) from the rest of the population because of 3 reasons:

1. Self-segragation, which was partially their own doing.
2. Culture and class division. Blacks and whites came from completely different backgrounds on average and the black students were poorer. For some reason, this was an obstacle.
3. Small numbers. While there were enough black people so that they weren't exactly rare, there was still an incredibly small number of black people. In many of my classes, I was the only damn black person, lol. Also when I went to parties and other social events, there was hardly any black people ever there.

So my question is, is this the situation in Finland with regards to people of African descent?

Thanks again for your incredibly thoughtful and helpful responses.


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