All I See Is White: The Colonial Problem in Finland

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The question of whiteness is inextricably linked to colonialism. This chapter considers common misconceptions of colonialism in Finland through a lens of the “Sámi problem.” These misbeliefs include: colonialism is (mostly) about the past and, thus, we can only talk about “coloniality” or legacies of colonialism; colonialism is only about colonies; and the concept of colonialism is confusing, difficult or too broad to have analytical value. All of these views are frequently applied both in general terms and specifically with regard to the Sámi people. The chapter examines the ways in which the “Sámi question” is a part and parcel of bona fide colonialism, not a “separate chapter” as is frequently suggested in the Finnish discourse of colonialism. The problem of colonialism vis-à-vis the Sámi is commonly framed in terms of “internal colonialism” and thus assumed and presented (if discussed at all) as distinct from other colonial and colonization processes. This chapter suggests that a more correct understanding could be arrived at through the concept and analysis of settler colonialism, which emphasizes structural injustice and the ongoing character of colonialism. In conclusion, the chapter discusses white privilege and considers the key ways in which it plays out in Finland vis-à-vis the Sámi.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFinnishness, Whiteness and Coloniality
EditorsJosephine Hoegaerts, Laura Hekanaho, Elizabeth Peterson
PublisherHelsinki University Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-369-074-5, 978-952-369-075-2, 978-952-369-073-8
ISBN (Print)978-952-369-072-1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • Sámi people
  • concept of colonialism
  • internal colonialism
  • settler colonialism
  • white privilege
  • structural injustice

Field of science

  • Social policy


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