November 18th, 2013


Finns and Discrimination in the 19th century

I'd heard about the discrimination from older family members, when I was growing up. I'd heard about the slogans like "Never marry a Finn or a Catholic," and how Finns were not considered "white." I heard about the discrimination my grandfather faced. But I finally found something about it online, about a case in Minnesota, where it was decided that the "Mongol" part of us was so dilute, we should be considered white. Heh, talk about phyrric victory for human rights...

It also brings up some interesting issues, since Oregon had laws (passed in 1866) forbidding intermarriage of negroes, Hawaiians, Indians, and "mongolians" (the blanket term for anyone coming from Asia) with whites. I know there was a Finnish ghetto in Astoria, in the Uniontown district, where my father's family lived. My father always "felt" more Asian, and for much of his life, his closest friends were Chinese. Food for thought.