The ETMU Award is granted annually in recognition of a major contribution to the promotion of or research on ethnic relations and international migration in Finland.
The ETMU Award 2018 was granted to Koko Hubara and the Ruskeat Tytöt (Brown Girls) Collective at the ETMU Conference at Åbo Akademi University on November 16, 2018.
Koko Hubara and the Ruskeat Tytöt Collective have provided a medium for racialized Finns to make their voice heard in Finnish society. Through creating multimedia content, the Collective has brought to the fore the experiences and expertise of Finns who would otherwise remain excluded by the mainstream media. At the same time, they have offered a safe space for racialized Finns to realize their artistic and professional projects and ambitions.
The Collective has made visible how strongly Finnish society rests on normative whiteness. The Collective is geared towards racialized Finns, who because of their intersectional position are either invisible – unheard, unseen – or hypervisible in Finnish society, as their belonging is often questioned in everyday interactions. The Collective has coined the term “brown” to refer to all people who are racialized in the Finnish context, hence giving vocabulary for Finns of color to talk about their experiences and knowledge.
The media content produced by the Collective critically brings questions of racism and intersectionality, and power structures that produces these intersectional positions, into the public debate. This is crucial, as there is little general knowledge about discriminatory structures underpinning the workings of Finnish society. These important questions are often discussed in the Ruskeat Tytöt media through everyday experiences, making them understandable to a larger audience. Despite the fact that the media content is primarily directed to racialized people (“for brown people by brown people”), the audience is, in the end, much wider. In effect, the Collective is broadening the idea of “Finnishness” by normalizing narratives about people of color.
With this award, ETMU wants to thank Koko Hubara and the Ruskeat Tytöt Collective for their significant work in building more inclusive media, culture, and society. Furthermore, ETMU wants to highlight the importance of unpacking normative whiteness in Finnish academia, both in research and teaching.
For more information, please contact ETMU’s chairperson Johanna Leinonen (johlei(at)utu.fi).
See below Koko Hubara’s speech at the award event on November 16!
Video credit: Léo Custódio (IASR-UTA/ARMA Alliance).