Visible homophobia

Based on group discussion and related readings. Group: Henna Heikkinen, Annukka Helminen, Heini Lehtinen, Heli Neovius & Hanna Lindevall

We discussed with our group about abuse of homophobia, school policies and different identities in secondary schools and how these social differences affects for young people in school contexts and how teachers taking part of this situation.

It is very difficult to handle homophobic abuse and usually this phenomenon is very easy ignore at school contexts. According to avoiding the issues article teachers usually ignore this aspect of the question, they really know that homophobia is problem their schools, but they don`t want to bring it up that problem. For example Douglas (1997) found that 82 per cent of teachers in over 600 schools in the UK have noticed that homophobic verbal bullying and harassment took place in their schools. Also 26 per cent were conscious of homophobic physical and violent situtations. Teachers normally just underestimate both the prevalence and also degree of homophobic in their schools environments. The worst thing is that only 6 per cent of schools had policy of dealing with homophobic violence. (Epstein, Hewitt, Leonard, Mauthner & Watkins, 2003,123.)That is very alarming, that homophobia is not taken seriously, because playing young people identities makes them avoiding their own identities and that might lead to serious identity crises.

In school environments prevalence of homophobic normally appear stundent`s languages. Students usually uses words for example ”pooftah” and ”batty boys” and also some cases expecially boys uses ”gay” and ”lesbian” words. Among boys also occur violent bullying and harassment (Epstein, Hewitt, Leonard, Mauthner & Watkins, 2003, 120.) As shown in this example:

”it`s stupid things like we were in PE the other day, and i was pushing my friend in the shower by accident and people were going `oh you`re gay` and stuff like that”

The article showed that, students are quite concern about homophobia, because no one want to identified or even take the risk of coming out as gay. So we can assume, that homophobia is a huge taboo in every school environments and in student`s groups. Especially in secondary school contexts social differences occur more fluently, because young people just building their identity, and hence the differences are easier to catch.

It is very interesting perspective, that women are usually more allowed to show their proximity by touching and kissing in a public place, and that is totally normal (Epstein, Hewitt, Leonard, Mauthner & Watkins, 2003,125). This way of thinking based on gender issues and what we`re used to, for example the boys should behave more masculine and the girls clearly should behave more feminine (Paechter, 2003, 140.) and that is obviously an unscripted rule.

Schools should take a more responsibility for abuse of homophobia, schools should develop better policies and rules against the homophobia and protect those young people who struggle with it. (Epstein, Hewitt, Leonard, Mauthner & Watkins, 2003,133.) We have to remember that there are different types of violence, which are hidden within the school environment. The first step is to bring these problems up.


Epstein et al. Avoiding the issues. Homophobia, school policies and identities in secondary schools. Ch 7 in Social justice, education and identity edited by Carol Vincent.
Paechter: Masculinities, feminities and physical education: bodily practices as reifies markers of community membership. Ch 8 in Social justice, education and identity edited by Carol Vincent.


Hiroe Ryosho (writer), Lotta Laurikainen, Petra Nurmi, Kyllikki Kosunen


Vincent, C. (Ed) (2003). Social justice, education and identity. London: RoutledgeFalmer.


chapter 6: Male working-class identities and social justice

It was a difficult article. Kyllikki has experience that some immigrants at the school where she has worked did not follow what female teachers told them to do. However, the principle just said “well, that’s their culture.” We discussed this experience. The boys were probably listening to their mothers at home, but not female teachers. We thought that they maybe feel uncomfortable with the fact which women have power/authority. However, they should not keep the philosophy here in Finland. But, how can female teachers change their negative attitude towards females?

Also, we discussed the fact that culture affects children more than mothers do. One of us questioned how children can underestimate women when only mothers engage in raising up children. I grew up in a society/family where fathers have higher status than mothers. I hardly saw my father at home because of his job. But, I already knew that he had higher status than my mother for some reason when I was at a kindergarten. This is maybe because there is always someone who keeps telling children that they cannot live without fathers (money). Another reason might be that children see that fathers do not do anything even when mothers are working so hard. They can be seen like kings and servants for children.


Chapter 7: Avoiding the issue

We were surprised at teacher actually believe that there are no issues if they do not see them. Bullying attitude against LGBT comes also from home, but teachers must be really careful how they speak and must not slip anything which sounds like sexists out of their mouths. Children can be really cruel without knowing. Also, it was interesting that some people think that talking about racism is taboo, but talking about sexism is acceptable. How we stop the phenomenon is a big issue.


Chapter 8: Masculinities, feminities and physical education

Two years ago, the government (or municipality or school?) decided that teachers cannot call pupils “boys” and “girls”. There are so many biological differences between boys and girls which we cannot avoid facing. Should we really mix genders in P.E. class? By separating P.E. class according to genders, students build the thought that boys are stronger and can better than girls. In many cases, girls are underestimated, also underestimating their own physical abilities. It is normal that boys are playing exciting sports which require competition while girls are dancing and jogging in P.E. classes. Our impression is that boys are doing P.E. to become stronger and girls are doing to be in a better shape.

Dutiful girls and gifted boys?

Based on the course articles, the guest lecture of Anne Phoenix and group discussion.

Group 1: Christina Öström (writer), Emilia Christiansen and Annina Rintakumpu

As much as we like to praise Finland for being a gender equal country, it is clear that there is still room for improvement. It is hardly surprising that the gender dichotomous and heteronormative attitudes and practices that are present in society as a whole, also impact the school world. Gender equality research in Finnish basic education has shown that there are great differences between how girls and boys perform and behave in school and what is expected from them by teachers and parents.

The gap in PISA results between boys and girls in Finland is one of the biggest of the OECD countries – girls outperform boys in nearly all subjects all throughout basic education. Regardless of their world class performances in natural sciences, Finnish girls are underrepresented in these fields in higher education and on the (highly gender segregated) labor market in Finland. On a societal level it is a huge loss if the world’s top performers in science end up in other fields simply because of gender stereotyping.

An interesting viewpoint that was brought up during the lecture was how boys’ and girls’ achievements tend to get attributed in different ways. With boys, parents and teachers tend to emphasize natural talent and giftedness, whereas girls’ good grades tend to be explained by their dutifulness and work ethic. This is also reflected in the students’ social relations, where it is more accepted for girls to spend time on school work and express caring about their grades and performance, whereas boys often need to act indifferent if they want to gain respect and popularity – and if they are to perform well in school it has to happen with minimal effort. This way of thinking is damaging in many ways, as it negatively impacts girls’ self esteem while simultaneously promoting an unrealistic ideal for boys.

Lastly, I want to mention the interesting viewpoints of Ann Phoenix on the concept of intersectionality. Gender is one of the social categories that tends to be viewed on its own in research. Intersectionality challenges this notion through examining how different social categories interact and how looking at several categories together can give us a more nuanced understanding of the complex social identities that actually exist. Much of recent research within social justice has focused especially on the ways the “big 3″ – ethnicity, class and gender, are related. In Finland too, an intersectional perspective on gender and social justice issues could allow a deeper understanding of how different social categories interplay and the impact they can have on the individual student.

Silently accepted

Based on the group discussion and related readings. Group: Wilhelmina Fröberg (writer), Krista Vihantomaa and Hanna Markoff

Our group discussed about Van Ausdales and Feagin´s (1996) article about very small children´s understanding of abstract concepts like race and ethnicity and Dovemark´s (2013) article about everyday racism and race based discrimination in Swedish schools. These articles discussed in our group had one thing in common. They indicated, that racism in kindergartens and schools is a subject which existence is often denied or silently accepted.

In their research Van Ausdale ja Feagin (1996) noticed that adults have a tendency to deny that small children are capable of understanding abstract concepts like race and ethnicity. Therefore could one assume that children cannot consciously behave in a racist way? However, the study indicated that even very small children were familiar with race, ethnicity and white superiority. So we think that it isn´t surprising at all that racist acts and procedures were common in school as well. In Dovemarks (2013) research racist acts made by students and teachers were ignored, neglected and accepted by other individuals, which made it possible for them to recapture. By silently accepting those racist acts prevailing social structures were maintained (Dovemark, 2013).

It seems that racism in kindergartens and schools is an under researched subject. By denying the existence of racism and race based discrimination in kindergartens and schools there is really not much we can do about it. Instead we should recognize and face these problems. Even though either one of the researches took place in the context of Finland we believe that the issue is actual here as well. Increasing immigration increases the importance of this subject also here in Finland. It´s internationally widely known that early childhood education and teacher education are high standard in Finland. We believe we could have good possibilities get rid of racism in kindergartens and schools.



Van Ausdale, D. & Feagin, J. (1996)   Using racial and ethnic concepts: The critical case of very young children. American Sociological Review

Dovemark, M. (2013) How private ‘everyday racism’ and public ‘racism denial’ contribute to unequal and discriminatory educational experiences, Ethnography and Education

Ready to understand colors?

Based on the course articles and a group discussion with Annina (writer), Emilia and Christina.

Race is something that is present in everyone’s life whether we were ready to accept and address it or not. It is very obvious that we see colors, and can easily point out similarities and differencies regarding to it. Therefore we are also able to unite and discriminate according to what we see. van Ausdale and Feagin (1996) show in their articel that race and ethnicity are present in the daily life and interaction already among very young children. The very young ones clearly possess and show complex ideas about racial and ethnic concepts to exclude, include, define and control other children in play for example. In our group discussion we agreed that children shouldn’t be underestimated in any sense. It would be more constructive to rather notice and address racial concepts with children than denying what’s going on.

The culture of not talking about racism bluntly is true also in many other educational contexts and settings. Kohli, Pizarro and Nevárez (2017) write about the concern that racism is not getting attention in the educational field and in K-12 schools. Instead, embracing multiculturalism combined with colorblindness and meritocracy are forming new layers to racistic practicies as neoliberal racism shows. Isn’t it alarming that Sernhede (2011, 162) writes that schools in Sweden alienate many children and young people with multi-cultural backgrouds from the Swedish society instead of working as passageways into Swedish society?

It is contradictory that we in the Nordic welfare countries too hear complains, read papers and feel concerned about race and class based divisions in the society, see the problematics of segregated neighbourhoods leading to territorial stigmatization and segregated schools, but at the same time embrace neoliberal policies which allow for example school choice in the name of freedom and individual’s rights and make us think that our success is based on our equal opportunities and hard work. Maybe these kind of contradictions and unwillingness to see morally unpleasant connections show how common it actually is to pretend being colorblind and rely on meritocracy. This is spesifically the case with Whites who have historically benefited the most from their race (and still certainly do), which has been extended/narrowed flexibly to different ethnic groups depending for example on the situations in world politics (Leonardo 2009).

Whites are the clear beneficiaries of the world order but it is kind of uncomfortable to admit it. White supremacy prevents the society and school system from changing racially more equal and assures that there is no real will for change because it would mean giving up White privileges. Even though it is often easier and more comfortable for Whites to pretend being colorblind instead of issuing the existing power relations based on race it does not mean that nothing should be done about it. Wouldn’t it be the time to start seeing colors and what they mean in different people’s lives?

Leonardo (2009, 239) indicates that changes for example in increasing self-critisism and sensitivity with the issues of race should be made from Whites part to free themselves from White racial knowledge which is incorrect. Sernhede (2011, 160) states that school system cannot solve everything by itself but anyhow Kohli et al. (2017, 194) see important that teachers are able to understand and feel comfortable to discuss racism. In our group discussion we thought that we all should be brave enough and talk about race and racism besides addressing the discriminatory practices related to these concepts.

Are we all racists?

Based on the group discussion about ‘social justice, ethnicity and race’ (26.09.17). Our group is Ronja Nordlin, Rebecca Pape, Evelien De Vos and Maike Hohmann.

None of us feels comfortable when called a racist. It is not socially approved to make a clear racial comment on the street or even in formal institutions, at least in most European countries. Yet, racism nowadays is more than just a series of isolated events, as Kohli et al. (2017) observed. Instead, it is rather evasive and subtle, which they call a form of ‘New Racism’ (Kohli, Pizarro & Nevárez, 2017). Furthermore, they point out, that this kind of ‘New Racism’ has also been ‘normalized and even accepted in schools’ (in the U.S.) (Kohli et al. 2017, 185). Other parts of daily racism include microaggressions like starting a conversation with the question ‘Where are you really from?’ because one expects a total stranger to have a foreign background due to her or his appearance.

It became clear in our discussion, that all of us described racism or examples of racist actions differently. For this reason, I would like to identify some main components of racism. To start with, racism is always a judgement based on social hierarchy, on the belief that one’s own race is superior to other races (Kohli et al. 2017; Oxford online dictionary). These categories are ‘socially constructed (…) and constantly recreated through human actions’ (Gillborn 2008, 3). Additionally, racism is based on the ‘belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race’ (Oxford Online Dictionary).

Problems in school caused by ethnicity and race differences are for example grouping pupils by cultural background while ignoring individual skills. Moreover, in her article Dovemark quotes a long-experienced teacher who blames one of her pupils due to her non-Swedish values. In this case, values different to the majority, is considered to be a constraint in the pupil’s intelligence (Dovemark 2013). Above all, language is the key to success and integration in school. Even pupils who are particularly talented in one subject, for example in maths, are sometimes not treated the same way due to their language difficulties.

In our discussion we started to think about factors that could help to change the ‘persistent and central role of racism in our society and in our schools (in the U.S.)’ (Kohli, Pizarro & Nevárez, p. 195). For instance, we suggested that acknowledgement of subtle racism, which some minority groups are also confronted with in school, would be a good start. Teachers should not slur over pupils’ complaints about racial comments, but rather name any kind of racial discrimination in school and not ignore this ‘normalized’ marginalisation (Kohli et al. 2017, 185). Another important aspect we thought about, was to bring up the topic of ethnic plurality in class. Maybe knowledge about similarities as well as differences in culture, as a start of all pupils in class, would decrease the fear of the unknown.

However, we are not automatically all racists just because we are part of this society. Nevertheless, we should not just ignore this ‘hostile racial climates’ and should be aware of the fact that racial prejudices and separation denies academic and economic opportunities to minority groups in our educational system (Kohli et al. 2017).



Dovemark, M. (2013) How private ‘everyday racism’ and public ‘racism denial’ contribute to unequal and discriminatory educational experiences, Ethnography and Education, 8:1, 16-30

Gillborn, D. (2008) Racism and Education: Coincidence or Conspiracy? London: Routledge

Kohli, R., Pizzaro, M. & Névarez, A. (2017) The ‘New Racism’ of K-12 School: Centering Critical Research on Racism. In: Review of Research in Education. March 2017, Vol. 41, pp. 182–202

Oxford Online Dictionary: (30.09.2017)



Race, ethnicity and racism

Our group: Tomas Blomqvist (writer), Heidi Urpilainen, Tero Väisänen, Sara Haura and Lucy Kaplan

Hello everyone!

Some nice blog posts already here about the readings and lecture(s) last time (26.9), so I try to avoid making identical comments. The following are my (Tomas) personal thoughts only so I take full responsibility of them. These ideas are mainly based on the readings for last time and especially on some of them, because there were so many and large articles. I suppose you have read them nevertheless.

First shortly about Jenni’s lectures on Romas last time. To my mind that was very eye-opening information and an important lecture to give. Unfortunately I/we don’t have the slides of the presentation, but as far as I can remember, it was interesting and useful to hear about 1) the concepts and names associated with the Roma people and which words not to use of them, 2) the internal diversity of the group and 3) the language(s) they have or have had. For one thing I didn’t know that they are called Roma – I only knew about the ”g-word” (gypsy).

Then some general comments about the articles and Gunilla’s lecture. Last time we were assigned the task of talking about our own ”cultural backgrounds”. It seemed for many people a hard task. Why? Because we seem to belong to the majority groups, when considering different cultural categories relevant to the task – especially ”race”, since the lecture was about that. I think that was a very good task to orient pupils to the themes of the lecture and readings.

I am myself interested about race and racism (as a side note, I’m ”white” as is everyone in the class). I have followed the racial debates in USA, where the issue is more relevant, because of the ethnic diversity. Here in Finland it is still kind of homogenous in racial terms. (By the way to the non-Finnish readers: the Finnish word for ”race” – ”rotu” – is, I would say, even more a taboo than it is in English.)

As a follow-up to the ”reversed racism” -comments in the lecture and in one of your posts, I, in one sense, tend to agree with both. Gunilla said that there’s no reversed racism supposedly meaning black-to-white racism (or non-white -to-white). For example I don’t think that I have ever countered (that kind of) racism myself – maybe except for the fact that one Kenyan friend once said that ”Whites can’t dance”, which was meant humouristically (and maybe true ;)). On the other hand the term ”racism” lingvistically seems to include every kind of racial discrimination regardless of who is doing it and to whom it is done to. Therefore ”racism” in the first sense is really Whites being racist to Non-whites and ”reversed racism” being anti-white racism. In the second sense ”racism” is all kind of racial discrimation and thus reversing that doesn’t make sense. Furthermore, it may depend on the country and society one is talking about: for a white person to be a victim of racism, it can happen more probably in places, where ”Whites” aren’t the (leading) majority.

In the articles read there wasn’t much differentiation between ”race” and ”ethnicity”. Are they the same or not? The latter has the benefit of not having that many negative connotations associated to the word (e.g. pseudoscientific racial theories); the former is conceptually larger and more diffuse to describe group differences. Van Ausdale and Feagin (1996) – in their partly funny, partly cruel article – to make the point that, contrary to the general opinion, children can understand and use racial concepts, use the words ”race” and ”ethnicity” (quite) interchangeably and quite broadly. They for example include language as a ”racial and ethnic concept”, the use of which they analyze among children. Not to say it is a bad thing to include it, as scientists we have to define our concepts very carefully and precisely, even though they are emotionally charged.

To end on a positive note, I think we can agree that we are doing progress. There is no black slavery or legal (law-based) racism racism anymore in the U.S. or elsewhere. People and societies have become more tolerant of group differences, even though that in this day and age, racial tensions get lots of media coverage. Nowadays the world is more multicultural and -racial than ever before. Before people didn’t interact that much with people looking different than them. That’s why it is more important than ever that we raise our children to the ever-increasing multiethnic world-society. I really trust the future-adults.


Referred literature:

Van Ausdale, D. & Feagin, J.   Using racial and ethnic concepts: The critical case of very young children. American Sociological Review.  1996, 61(5) p. 779- (15 pp.)

What if we just talked frankly?

Liisa Arponen (writer), Tytti Luuri, Jenni Matilainen and Anniina Tan

Have you ever noticed the way children deal with differences? How they observe, name and group items? According to our group members’ views and experiences, children have a quite natural and straightforward way of categorizing things. In their minds, the world consists of adults and children, the ones who like to play with cars and the ones who prefer playing with dolls, taller persons and shorter persons, boys and girls. The difference compared to adults seems to be that children observe, name and group things according to what they see and “as it is”, without any prejudice or added value linked to their definitions. Children do not value different issues to be good or bad, better or worse, they just “are”. When a Finnish boy Konsta (5 yrs) called a Muslim woman in a grocery store as “Darth Vader” it was a neutral observation instead of being an insult that would have been meant to harm anyone.

In the article called “Using racial and ethnic concepts: the critical case of very young children” (1996) and written by Van Ausdale & Feagin, one of the conclusions made by the writers was that already as young as 3 years old children do display racial prejudices and that race is a salient definer of their social reality. There is nothing outstandingly surprising in this conclusion but the interesting question is where do these prejudices come from? At which point a neutral “She is black” definition turns into an abusive or even racist “She is black” stigma? Would it be possible that it is you and I, adults around that have these kinds of prejudices and not the children? Is it us, who feel shamed, guilty, bothered or embarrassed when our child shouts “Santa!” when he meets a man with a long white beard.

Although unconsciously, it is we who teach our children that it is not polite to call somebody to be “black” or “brown” or “sizeable” or “midget” – not to mention calling somebody as Darth Vader or Santa Claus. We are the ones teaching our children that there is something wrong to call somebody a black person, because if it weren’t then why would that word be forbidden…? We venture to suggest that words like “black” or “midget” or “large” are totally neutral for children until they are taught that they are not. We do this in many different and usually unconscious and hidden ways e.g. by silencing, hushing or scolding our children.

In our group we have been wondering what would happen if we consciously started to talk more frankly about issues around us? Use words without stigmatizing them and talk about different things and incidents without any pointless or unnecessary prefix, labels or categorizations. What if we just talked frankly, discuss things just as they are?

Frankly, dear colleagues, we could give it a try.

Social justice, ethnicity and racism

Annukka Helminen (writer), Henna Heikkinen, Heini Lehtinen, Hanna Lindevall ja Heli Neovius

Racism is still persistent and central in society and school. Racism also maintains inequality. Academic and economic opportunities are therefore not same for all. Neoliberal politics, such as school choice, also make the situation worse for immigrants and students of Color. New racism and everyday racism are often difficult to identify, but still cause pain for their victims. (Kohli, Pizarro & Nevarez, 2017) Othering is closely related to racism. It can be described as a process, which places a group of people outside the norm and labels them different, foreign and less worthy. This group doesn’t seem to fit the prevailing social and cultural order. They are therefore marginalized, excluded and placed in an inferior position of hierarchy. (Sernhede, 2011) Racial and ethnic differences are powerful identifiers of self and other even for very young children. They are also aware of the fact that superior position regarding racial and ethnic hierarchy is given to White people. Race is salient in interactions. Racial and ethnic concepts are used in daily interaction. (Van Ausdale & Feagin, 1996) Racism and othering play such a significant role, that it would be naïve to think, that they don’t affect children and the educational field.

In case of the immigrants, otherness is often based on the presumption of cultural and ethnical differences, for example values, morality and religion. Those are considered to be in contrast with the values of the majority. White middle-class families are the desired norm, and considered to be safe families, while immigrant families are seen as weak and insecure. Hierarchies are constructed based on beliefs and perceptions of each other. Stereotypical collective characteristics play an important part in this. People are categorized based on stereotypes. People sharing the same national background are considered to be similar and share the same values and characteristics.(Dovemark, 2013) Generalization gives usually a negative picture, and we have to keep in mind that everyone is individual (Rastas, 2005). Challenging the stereotypes is therefore important. The lack of open discussion on epistemic racism and taken-for-granted White superiority is in one way to remain the status quo.

Young immigrants feel that they don’t have the same opportunities in life because of their immigrant background. Immigrant-dense neighborhoods have been separated and segregated from the rest of the society in many countries, even in Sweden.(Sernhede, 2011) Schools in segregated areas are often described as problem schools with problematic students. Whenever school choice is available, people try to avoid those schools. Separation between majority and minority groups illustrates lack of knowledge, ignorance and even fear. (Dovemark, 2013) It also makes integration impossible, or at least difficult to achieve. Lack of knowledge also might lead to increase of racism. Segregation and separation are also obstacles to equal opportunities and education.

Schools and education

Inadequate school achievement is a consequence of social processes taking place outside of school. It’s often thought to be dependent upon teachers, but according to Sernhede’s research this is not the case. Wider societal context and specific local conditions do play a key role in this. (Sernhede, 2011) Under-achievement and linguistic difficulties are common features to explain problems immigrant children might have at school. Ethnic differences are also considered to be a reason for different opportunities for success. (Dovemark, 2013) Schools and teachers alone are not able to make a difference, if there is racism and (deep) inequalities in a society. Structural issues need to be taken into consideration instead of blaming individual factors.

Issues of racism, segregation and discrimination are rarely openly discussed in classrooms. Teachers avoid these issues. They also explain them away, by saying that people didn’t probably mean it like that. This can be seen as denial of racism. Racist acts become possible, when individuals ignore, neglect or accept them. (Dovemark, 2013) That’s why remaining in silence can also be considered to be an act of racism.

Suburban youth cultures can be seen as informal learning environments. They raise some questions related to social justice that school has not been able or willing to answer. Instead, schools might even teach immigrant children to accept the marginalization and subordination, as the structures of the predominant culture are often viewed as natural and given. Questions and answers about social justice are important to people, who consider themselves as marginalized, second class citizens. Suburban youth cultures can therefore be empowering, and should not be seen only as destructive and threatening. (Sernhede, 2011) If schools and society are unable to tackle the problems faced by young immigrants and other oppressed minorities, it’s self-evident that they need to find the answers elsewhere. Acceptance and self-respect will be sought somewhere else, if school and society fail in this task.

Same, same but different?


Based on a discussion during the lecture on the 26th of September.

Race is a difficult subject and talk about race can easily be misunderstood. There is historical discourse embedded with the colours of our skin. The baggage discourse gives to different races, is not only the one from today, but also the long history of colonization, slavery etc. There was an interesting conversation during our class on what it means to be racially different.

This discourse has power to define what it means to be different. As the conversation during the class proved, a person from any background can feel threatened, afraid or left out being the only different person in a particular space. Still, a white person will never have to think about his or her skin colour affecting their education, social security, physical security or any other kind of security. As Zeus Leonardo (2009) suggests, white people do not think about belonging to a racial group because the discourse of race has not affected any of their life choices. After all, only a white person will experience being taken as a king, just for being different – for being white.

Our lecturer suggested, that there is no such thing as reversed racism. This point of view takes into account the cultural and historical baggage embedded with the word racism. But thinking of racism, it is simply explained as the discrimination or lowering of a group of people because of their difference. Following this explanation, it can be used to describe the discrimination of a white person.

However, when talking about racism, the concept itself does bare with it some historical meaning. I find that talking about reversed racism actually even strengthens the idea of white hegemony. The idea of reversed racism would seem to suggest, that racism, the discrimination of differences, can not affect the white, because white is the norm. For this we would have to have a new concept, reversed racism, to talk about the relatively rare situations where a white person is being discriminated because of their race. Hence, I agree with the lecturer, that there is no such thing as reversed racism. But racism, as defined above, that can possibly come across the life of a white person, maybe. This is an interesting subject and depends greatly on what meanings and cultural and historical baggage a person associates to the word racism. Maybe this is the reason racism is used in a  large variety of ways.

After all, like my foreing friend once wisely told me, we are all “same, same, but different”.


Pinja Fernström (writer) , Julia Korhonen, Anna Majava, Lena Kunnert, Lisa Bennet