Tag Archives: racism

I’m Not Racist, But..

My social circle is a pretty cool group of people, with generally reasonable views. But there’s a subject that will knock down any lively conversation in a heartbeat: racism.You see, we all like to think we’re good people. We’re not racists, because racists are bad people who think non-white people are different from us white people, and we don’t believe that, so we’re not racist. I notice the same when discussing other marginalised groups: “I’m not against trans people, I’m not gay phobic, I’m on your side, so back off!”.

I kind of felt the same when I read the following article: “how to tell the difference between real solidarity and ally theatre” at the awesome Black Girl Dangerous blog. I think as a white person it can sometimes feel like you can’t do it right. And there’s a ‘threat’ (notice the quotation marks) of another angry black person, another angry trans person, getting angry at you because you tried to be supportive but now apparently you didn’t get being supportive right and you know what, I’m doing this for you so if it’s not appreciated, whatever I’ll not care about trans rights any more if I’m pissing you off so much just saying I’m agreeing with you. Can someone get me a whaaaambulance?

Dutch people have the harmful habit of including a person’s background in a story if that person has a Moroccan background and did something wrong. “So these two Moroccan guys walked up to me” and you already know they were up to something bad, because that’s how these stories always go. But say something about it – was it really relevant these guys were Moroccan? – and the story teller will usually explode. “Jesus look you know I have nothing against Moroccan people, can you back off?!”.

I feel that too. I’m trying to do everything right and then it’s still not good enough. All of this just doesn’t feel nice for a white lady.

That’s privileged as shit, isn’t it? To think that my feelings are even of any concern at all. That I have a right to feel good. 

When it comes to sex workers’ rights I’ve proposed giving anti’s a golden bridge out. But I don’t think it works that way way with racism. Instead I think white people need a bigger tolerance for feeling like crap. For letting it sink in that we don’t know best, are not leaders here and are messing up, and people not petting our heads when we refrain from doing harm but instead biting our heads off when we do.

So I started thinking, how can we get white people on board with this? What should we do to get white people to do all this? And then it struck me.

That all of this is really, really, really not about us. Not about how we feel. Not about what we want to do. What our role should be. That we’re not needed.

A shock to my white lady mind.

So that article was good, and made me think. Go read it. It’s okay if it doesn’t feel nice.

Revolting Rescue Industry: StopLoverboysNu

It’s no news that people who say they want to help victims of forced prostitution often treat those they claim to help horribly, and actually often exploit victims for their own financial gain. The situation is most serious in countries where sex work is criminalised. In Cambodia sex workers are beaten to death after being abducted from brothels. In the United States prostitutes are manipulated into religious brainwashing camps and are threatened with incarceration. In Thailand the rescue industry poses a greater threat to the safety of sex workers than traffickers do.

AnitaLoverboys470_910505qThe Netherlands provides some protection from the rescue industry, but one of the more well-known anti-trafficking ‘rescue’ organisations StopLoverboysNu (‘stop loverboys now’) has been active for years despite clear signs of trouble. Loverboy is a racist Dutch term for a black boy who pretends to love a white girl and then lures her into the dark world of prostitution. StopLoverboysNu, like Somaly Mam, loves to parade those victims around and show them off in the media. It’s lucrative, there’s a book and donations and Anita de Wit loves her role as celebrity.

Like most rescue organisations it’s quite unclear where the money goes, and because they’re not an actual health care organisation they’re not under supervision to see if their care is any good. So as long as they’re not committing literal crimes, they can go on exploiting women for profit.

News in the Netherlands

Shocking news in the Netherlands: the mayor of the city Maastricht has a private life in which he seeks sex with consenting adults! The young broadcaster PowNed shared this ‘news’ with us after they tricked mayor Onno Hoes into believing he had an actual date with a young man who wanted to have sex with him, and then the little asshats filmed it and put it all online. Most Dutch people have reacted with disgust over this breach of privacy, but Maastricht has been having meetings and talks over all of this and it’s all over the news. Politicians with a private life, how dare they.

But I was happy to see the front page of the Volkskrant today.  Volkskrant is one of the more sane newpapers in the Netherlands. The first item’s about tests provided by Amsterdam to determine the quality of your cocaine and heroin. I’m so glad they’re taking a pragmatic approach to the problem of the dirty cocaine being sold to tourists. Testing your drugs is cheap, safe, and you don’t have to be afraid of getting arrested. They do hope finding the dirty drugs will lead them to the dealer that’s selling it, but mostly this is the pragmatic, respectful way of dealing with drugs that I appreciate in this country. I love that I can bring my (illegal) drugs to government-funded organisations and have it tested. My safety should be more important than some idiotic crusade against consensual recreational behaviour.

The other item says “again a white jury decides over a white cop” and the article is actually not at all bad. We’re terrible with racism here, but the recent events in the United States has opened up some conversations.  We’re talking about it now. We don’t have the awareness and sensitivity of Americans, but at least we’re talking about racism now.