”I’m not going to buy pizza from place X because the text on their pizza boxes is in Finnish”. “I cannot go to the independence ball because there will be gay people there”. “Immigration from non-Nordic countries has increased – how alarming!”.
Statements like these disappoint me. People seem to cling to their national, cultural and lingual identities as if they were the only identities available. I don’t know if this is because the rapid changes in society are scaring people so badly that they choose to close their eyes and ears. Only their mouths remain open – spitting out dubious opinions about everything and anything. Yes, culture is important. So are language and nationality. Those factors affect our identities, but there are so many other aspects that are important as well. For instance, I have a lot more in common with my friends than my colleagues. Very few of my friends have the same mother tongue as I, almost none of them is Finnish. The saddening fact is that many people want to stay in their bubble. Instead of moving forward, they long for what used to be. What is different is seen as a threat. Because of this view, perhaps, there is a tendency to focus on the differences instead of similarities. And yes, I believe that by emphasising the differences, new differences are created – differences that are nothing more than a constructs of our (sometimes far too vivid) imagination.