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Dutch Tolerance Political Correctness and Racism in the Netherlands

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Political Correctness and Racism in the Netherlands

One of my favorite songs by the late, great, David Bowie, has the line “turn and face the change ch ch changes.”  I mention this because there’s a hell of a lot of changes going on in the Netherlands at the moment. Finally, a taboo subject, racism in Dutch society, is being openly discussed in the media. Which brings me to the subject of today’s post, Dutch Tolerance, Political Correctness and Racism in the Netherlands.

The Shallow Man was recently interviewed by a Dutch publication, and they asked me to define a typical Dutch characteristic. What I told them was that a typical Dutch characteristic is creativity. Some Dutch people are incredibly creative when coming up with excuses to deny that any form of racism occurs in the Netherlands. In fact, not only do they aggressively deny that racism exists in this country but actually blame the accusers of being racist, as the Dutch are ‘tolerant’ and can’t possibly be to blame.

“We have people from all over the world living here so there you go. They must have an inferiority complex.”

Now, this post will no doubt annoy some, but the Shallow Man is all for providing solutions to problems. Those that get upset by this post should do the following:

  1. Go to a beach
  2. Dig a hole big enough for your head and hands
  3. Stick your head in the hole along with your hands and a smartphone
  4. Participate on the Nederland mijn Vaderland Facebook page
  5. Keep denying that there is any racism in the Netherlands and blame the problems on ‘nieuwe Nederlanders’
  6. If you’re really creative, create a MEME featuring the KKK and a witty comment about black Nederlanders

Probleem opgelost!

The things I do for my readers!

denial of racism
How to deal with racism the Dutch way

Tolerance, Political Correctness and Nieuwe Nederlanders

During the many social media discussions related to race, Zwarte Piet and Sylvana Simons the terms, tolerance, political correctness and nieuwe Nederlanders are often thrown about, like rubbish blowing in the wind in the Vondelpark after a barbecue. These terms are used a lot, but are people even aware of what they actually mean?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines tolerance as:

The ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with’

The definition of political correctness is:

conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated’

Nieuwe Nederlanders

Nieuwe Nederlanders is a term used to describe people that are not native Dutch and from a non-western background. It has the same meaning as allochtoon and is never used to describe white foreigners. There appears to be no limit on how long they need to have lived in the Netherlands in order to no longer be classified as a ‘nieuwe’ Nederlander.  So for example, even people whose grandparents were born in the Netherlands, can still be classified as newcomers.

political correctness and the Dutch
Newcomers need to learn patience

 

Political Correctness

I hope that you’re sitting down as you read this (not cycling that doesn’t count), but the Dutch are not politically correct. Those of you who like me are from countries like the US, or the UK, have been force fed a non-stop drip feed of PC nonsense by the media, and then we come to the Netherlands and try and force our political correctness down the throats of the Dutch. Well, I tell you, they don’t want it!

You see, the big misunderstanding with expats and many others not from Holland is that the Dutch should care about offending people, which is nonsense. What’s important is to say what’s on their minds, like a seven-year-old at a family party commenting that Aunty Anouk’s skinny jeans appear to be two sizes too small. Or why Uncle Jeroen’s trousers are so high above the ankles.

In the Netherlands, they’re not afraid to call a spade a spade, or a neger a neger. Do you know how shocked they were when a harmless Dutch magazine article called how to dress like the Nigga bitch Rihanna was accused of being racist?  The editor of the magazine tried to explain that the N-word isn’t offensive to people in Holland. That’s just political correctness gone mad! Only the Dutch know how to use the N-word in a non-offensive way. She resigned shortly afterward. The publisher of the magazine was angry that she actually apologized as he didn’t see anything wrong with the article. No racism here folks, move along.

A common sentiment on Dutch social media when discussing such matters is as follows:

We say if you don’t like it, then you should leave. Who is forcing you to stay?  We have the right to say whatever we like.

Freedom of speech in this country is often a one-way street. If you criticize Muslims, then great! You can run for office and even win quite a few seats. But, whatever you do, never, ever criticize any aspect of Dutch life, that’s just not on, it will get you death threats and lots of abuse. You better watch what you say about the Dutch and their ‘tradities.’

Samba Mini (Neger) Zoenen 3 smaken in doos 060329 Deurne 2
Dutch society was almost destroyed by the decision not to call a brand of sweets negerzoenen anymore due to political correctness

In the good old days before political correctness

I asked a Dutch journalist, Theodor van Ontlasting, what the problem is with political correctness. This is how he responded.

“Back in the good old days, before political correctness, I had a close friend who was a neger called Sammy. Oh how we used to laugh and joke about his color, and there was never a problem. When he was crossing a zebrapad for example, I used to say, “hey Sammy, now they see you, now they don’t.” Or one time, Planet of the Apes was on TV, and I said to him, “hey Sammy, they made a film about your home country.” Oh how we laughed. Well ok, I did most of the laughing, but I know that he saw the funny side.  Now with political correctness, we’re not supposed to make such harmless ‘grapjes.’ The world has gone mad! Strangely enough, we haven’t spoken for years now, I’ve no idea why.”

Nieuwe Nederlanders and Political Correctness

Nieuwe Nederlanders is the term that has been forced on the Dutch by the tyranny of political correctness. Without political correctness, they’d be allowed to call these people what they actually are, dark skinned or lightly tinted minorities with a Dutch passport. That’s why in the media they always describe them as Marokkaanse-Nederlanders,  Turkish-Nederlanders etc. It’s to make sure that people know that they’re not native Dutch.  This is also why they have black schools,  in the Netherlands where they can put all the minorities from a non-western background, along with poor white working class people who lack the political influence and lobbying power to do anything about it.

Nieuwe Nederlanders are Ungrateful

Another common complaint on Dutch social media is about how ‘ungrateful’ nieuwe Nederlanders are.

“Their ancestors arrived in this country to provide the Netherlands with cheap labor, which was fine, but then they started having children, and stayed here. If it had been up to me, I’d have said to our ‘gastarbeiders’ that they can stay and work here, but the moment they started having children, they should have gone back, but no, that wasn’t allowed. So instead, we’ve ended up with the descendants of these people, who show us no gratitude, or respect, yet demand to be treated as equals!”

Where’s the respect for onze culture?

I asked Theodor why people get so angry when the traditional black or brown  Zwarte Piet is criticized as being racially offensive.

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We Dutch are very open and tolerant. That was until five years ago when some cheeky minorities started complaining about ‘onze’ highly developed culture and traditions. Incredible that some dislike a tradition that has existed here for THOUSANDS of years. Even before slavery we Dutch celebrated blacking our faces and wearing afro wigs every November and December.

You can imagine how shocked the Dutch kingdom was when the first black people were discovered. We had no idea they actually existed. Yes we promptly took over some of their countries and made them slaves, but that was such a long time ago, who cares about that nowadays? So you see, Zwarte Piet has nothing to do with racism, as our traditie was celebrated even before we subjugated and exploited black people. By the way, there were never any slaves in the Netherlands, (even if some paintings in the Rijksmuseum contradict this) so shut up about slavery, nobody cares about that! I’d also add that black people kept slaves too.

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I wish people would shut up about blackface

Bad Guests

My following question for Theodor. There appears to be a lot of anger on social media towards nieuwe Nederlanders, why is that?

The nieuwe Nederlanders are bad guests. How would you feel, if you invited some people to stay with you? You’re even kind enough to give them keys to your house, and allow them to use of all the facilities. You don’t even complain when they turn the heating up in winter above 18 degrees. Then suddenly, completely without warning, they say to you, “Theodor, you’re a great host, but I don’t like you wearing an SS uniform at home, it’s a bit offensive. Well of course you’d be angry, being told what to wear in your own house! You might say a few things that you wouldn’t usually, or make death threats, or even create an event on Facebook to kick them out of the country, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not tolerant.

We didn’t ask you (well ok we asked your grandparents) to come here.  You lot just turned up, and started selling kebabs, slaughtering goats in the street, and stealing our bikes. Did we ever complain? (yes) no, of course we didn’t, but when you started criticising, that loyal, funny, harmless friend of children, Zwarte Piet, yes we behaved in a way that some people, such as Mark Rutte called disgusting, and racist. What about racism against white people, dressing up as black people, who are actually white, and pretend to not be black, as part of a tradition? That’s also racism!

Behave like guests and the problems will be solved

If our guests, would behave as such, then we would welcome them with open arms. A good guest shouldn’t go on TV and criticise the habits and preferences of their host. Yes the Netherlands is a democracy, but you and your family can’t just live here, and pay taxes for over forty years then demand equality, you have to earn it. If you think things are bad here, you should look at the US, they have much more racism there. Ok they have a man who looks black as President, but so what? Just look at #blacklivesmatter we don’t have that in the Netherlands. Instead we have #minorityopinionswhocares?

It would be nice if a Moroccan, Antillean, or Turkish person would stop me in the street and say “Theodor, I’m so happy that my Grandfather came here as cheap labor, and that my parents and I were born here, and given the same opportunities as you native Nederlanders. Dank u wel jonge” That would be so nice, yet it’s never happened.

Last words from the Shallow Man

There’s more to tolerance than simply possessing a Dutch passport, and being a native Nederlander. It’s fantastic that finally the subject of racism in the Netherlands is being discussed on TV and in the newspapers, it’s long overdue. Yes, racism exists in just about every other country, it’s a fact of life. The difference here being, that there’s long been a denial that racism actually exists in the Netherlands.

Even yesterday, there was a story about a black rapper, who the Police admitted was stopped while driving his car, for being guilty of driving an expensive car while black. Lots of comments appeared on social media denying that this is somehow racist. Even though the Police have admitted that this was wrong, and they would be taking steps to prevent this in the future.

Does racism exist in the Netherlands? Yes of course it does. Is it as blatant as parts of East Germany where people of color are regularly attacked? No. Racism in the Netherlands is often subtle, insidious, and does certainly take place. Things can only improve if they’re openly discussed and there’s more awareness about it. Simply sticking your head in the sand and shouting “THERE’S NO RACISM HERE, WE’RE TOLERANT” Is not the way to address the issue.

I’ll finish by saying that the Netherlands is a fantastic place to live, but nowhere, including my home country, is perfect, and such debates are good for society as a whole.

No houseguests were hurt during the writing of this post.

Till next time, hou je snavel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Simon Woolcot

Infamous blogger, annoyance and self-confessed Shallow Man. Simon is a British expat who has lived in Amsterdam since 2004. As well as writing this blog, Simon also has a YouTube channel of the same name, writes and directs videos and hosts seminars about life in the Netherlands. He also works as a content marketing and SEO specialist.