From the Web

The Netherlands fucks up a lot when it comes to racism. We don’t have the same cultural bruises as the United States, and because we like to think we’re tolerant and open-minded we’re even less likely to consider whether we hold racist ideas and traditions. The whole Black Pete disgrace is just one of many examples. Last week the Dutch magazine Viva, which targets young adult women as their audience, published a deeply racist article on why you should want to date a black man. Not only was a filled to the brim with prejudice and stereotypes (“he’s passionate! He can dance! He has a big penis!”), the underlying assumption was that we, the audience, are white. His dark skin would contrast nicely with ours. We’d learn something from his culture. Our kids would be what the Dutch call “halfbloods” (I’m not joking). Thankfully there was so much backlash that the article was quickly removed from the website, but I think it really showed how unaware we still are about race.

The Dutch ‘feminist’ magazine Opzij also fucked up again. After allowing Jojanneke a platform for her lies about prostitution and denying sex workers a platform to have their stories heard (instead they asked another non-sex worker to speak for the upset whores) they now published the following headline: “The Islam of IS justifies sex slaves, prostitution and paedophilia“. Yes, nice of you to lump those together, Opzij. Thanks.

Instead they could have reported about this study, but they didn’t. Nobody did. Because listening to sex workers themselves isn’t as exciting as erotic fiction about whores.

They could have reported about the continuing harassment of and spying on sex workers, but nope.

You shouldn’t study sex work, but perhaps you shouldn’t publish about it either unless you recognise sex workers as humans, your words benefit sex workers and you can give something back.

To end on a happier note, here’s a photo of a kangaroo having a blast scratching his balls.

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2 thoughts on “From the Web

  1. Zemalkop

    While it’s as well written as always I’d have to say I mostly disagree with almost everything you said here about race. The paper you linked disproving our tolerance is probably the most laughable thing I’ve read in weeks, as it seems that the writer himself is completely ignorant of the role the Netherlands have played in the transatlantic slave trade and the historic context it took place in (and the function of pasteurization, for that matter). I don’t think this the right place for a complete rebuttal of his piece, but the fact that his whole argument hinges on a few (very flawed) examples from the Mauritshuis and primary textbooks and then conflates that to the whole of society should raise a few red flags.

    I honestly think that you’re over-thinking a lot of these instances of racism. I don’t see how it’s wrong for Viva to assume the majority of their readers are white when the majority of their readers are white. It might not be the most appropriate thing to do, and I’m sure it’s patronizing for people of colour to read, but it’s not a grave injustice. It’s just a dumb article in a dumb glossy, there is no reason to extrapolate a narrative about racism from that.

    I think the Black Pete debacle is indeed a disgrace, but for completely opposite reasons. I honestly feel like it’s taking political correctness a big leap too far, and taking the complaints from a small minority (even within the black community) and then paint it as a massive outcry, while portraying the rest of society as racists is gravely wrong. Nothing to add to the part about Opzij though, aside from the dumb aritcle in a dumb glossy thing.

    Maybe I’m completely ignorant on the topic, and I’m glad to admit my mistakes when they’re pointed out; But racism in the Netherlands really feels like a non-issue to me, at least in the context of this blog post. I’m curious to see your response to this.

  2. Marijke Vonk Post author

    Racism in the Netherlands felt like a non-issue to me as well, since I’m a white person and never experienced racism, and my own racism went generally unchallenged by my mostly white friends who didn’t feel racism was an issue either. It’s like trans rights, I’m not trans so I never experienced any transphobia and I don’t consider myself or my social circle transphobic so how was I to know transphobia was an issue? I had to educate myself on these topics.

    Blatant forms of racism, sexism, homophobia etc are quite rare. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an issue. For example, one ad with a guy fixing a car while his wife brings him tea is not problematic at all, it’s fine for men to fix cars and their wives to bring them tea. It’s problematic when the systematic representation of male and female roles are sexist, when women are almost always portrayed as the caretakers, men as leaders. In the same way I think the continuous representation of ‘us’ as white (cis, ablebodied, hetero) is problematic. It’s a problem when black people are almost always represented as ‘they’.

    But perhaps you’re a person of colour in the Netherlands and have a completely different view on this, in which case I’d love to be educated further :).

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