I work in a customer service profession and have, through working it out in my head over the past months, begun to enjoy my job. The system in which I do my job appears to a lot of people as dysfunctional, as many systems that are built from pieces over time (instead of designing one ‘grand system’ that functions well and can easily be adjusted if it doesn’t) may do. It used to give me masses of anxiety to think that I cannot do anything to the system as a whole, in my position as an individual worker who doesn’t have much input in re-designing the services.
However, in recent times I have really started to appreciate what I consider to be my ‘main gig’ in my job – meeting people with an open heart and kindness, and a willingness to do what I can for them. I’ve noticed that it results in positive experiences for me as a worker, and for the customers too. One particular end I want to work towards is giving immigrant clients more positive experiences of how Finns are. I’ve heard of too many immigrants who have had bad experiences with prejudiced Finns and come to expect that behaviour from most, if not all, other Finns. It really bothers me to hear of these expectations, and I have stopped reading certain Fb immigrant groups’ posts because I find it so distressing to read someone saying ‘All Finns are racist etc.’ and having no way to reach them and say it’s not true. Like not all refugees are X, not all German people are Y, etc. We are all individuals and can behave like dicks, or like decent people, regardless of background, country of origin, religion, etc. This is so obvious, yet it is unfortunate, how a bad experience, or a misinterpretation of a situation, can affect and cloud one’s thinking. I have the privilege of meeting 15-30 people a day and every one of those is a chance to behave in a respectful manner and show the person they are worth positive things. 80-90% of these people are immigrants, and 100% are humans with value.
I think fear is the ‘disease’ of our society. Fear towards what you don’t know, what you may not understand, or have experiences of. I theorize that the internet is a platform for racism and hate in particular, because people who spend a lot of time on the internet, may be isolated and lonely (says the woman writing the blog on THE INTERNET). To them I would prescribe going into the real world and meeting some of the individuals they cultivate prejudice about, and finding out they are humans just like them with many insights and good thoughts to share. Meeting people shows me others are nothing to be afraid of and that humans generally want good things for other humans.
It makes me happy and less anxious to see young people on the streets of Helsinki. They are a more multicultural bunch than they used to be. As it is known, a child isn’t born with prejudice. I know schools are doing a lot of work to educate kids and rid of racism and prejudice. This makes me feel more hopeful about the future.