Author: Patricia Schor

Scholar and Cultural Critic.

Passover in Amsterdam: Matza, the invisible Jew and “our Jewish-Christian tradition”

Last Friday I went out with my son, looking for Matza meal for a couple of recipes for the Seder, the Passover dinner (ritual feast). We live in a lively neighbourhood in Amsterdam, plenty with shops. It used to be a Jewish neighbourhood. We have been to several shops but found Matza meal nowhere. We were puzzled with the experience. How comes that a neighbourhood once crowded with Jews has no traces of Jewish shops, nor Jewish produce? I mean, we know that Amsterdam sent 80% of “its” 80,000 Jews to their death, but it is still quite unsettling to walk in such a space and meet only signs of the annihilation of Jewish lives (see Gunter Demnin’s important project “stumbling stones”).


We decided to settle for Matza instead and just smash it into flour. Usually Dutch supermarkets do have Matza but we went to supermarket after supermarket to find it sold out everywhere. Finally we were lucky to get our hands in the last Matza packages in a neighbourhood supermarket. But we were also confused about the fact that despite no sign of Jewish life or Jewish traditions, Matzos were sold out! In fact the public space is saturated with Easter. But then a friend of my daughter explained to us that Dutch Christians eat Matzos with Easter. This is exactly what we found in the Matza package; nothing though about the fact that this is a Jewish tradition and that we commemorate Passover in this very period of the year…


We were left with a very strange feeling, as if we were sleep walking as invisible presences alongside a long tradition of presences and histories made to disappear. This made me think about the ubiquitous expression “our Jewish Christian tradition” which became shorthand in Dutch public and political discourse to affirm the non-belongingness of Muslims to “our [Dutch] culture”. It is a cleverly perverse way to instrumentalise Jews and an alleged inclusion of “Jewish tradition” into Dutch hegemonic culture with the end of excluding yet other Others. Let’s say that Jews are as included into hegemonic Dutchness as Matza in Easter, according to the package: made following a traditional recipe…

The order of things: politics and economics of (public) scholarship in the Netherlands


The anthropologist and curator Nuno Porto conceives the museum as a mechanism of cultural contact, where “cultural contact is neither more nor less then to fight for the order of things.” The public sphere is the arena that hosts institutions such as museums but also academia and the media where, artefacts, be them a film, an academic essay, a theatre play, a photograph, enter this fight for the order of things. Doing and reflecting about scholarship (but also about art) is therefore a political act that entails considering the order instituted by particular power arrangements and the terms of the fight; the order which we inhabit.


Who is entitled to represent and who is the represented? Who has access to resources to fight in the public arena? Who speaks and who is spoken about?


Not running the risk of subsuming scholarship to politics, it is fundamental to self-reflect the place of the academic and the intellectual in the public sphere and to negotiate this position critically. This requires awareness towards the economy of knowledge. It is often engaged scholarly practices that overlook the economy of privilege running through society. Engagement demands vigilance and intervention on the distribution of credits around the artefact of knowledge (a talk, an essay, a book, a research).


Who is paid and who is not, who is credited and who is not, who gains social capital, perspective of jobs and grants, public exposure and accolades, and who does not?


In the Netherlands, there is a systematic and recurrent unequal distribution of resources to enter the public sphere and an unequal entitlement to shape it, and to fashion institutions, which are white and autochthonous. Power, both symbolic (i.e. prestige) and material (i.e. money) is concentrated in white hands. Our government is white, our media bosses are white, our professors are white, our boards of directors are white. As New Urban Collective recently tweeted: “40% of law students has a ‘non-Western’ background but the judiciary is 98% white.”


In the article Cloning cultures: the social injustices of sameness, Philomena Essed and David Goldberg posit that the “habit” of creating and cloning spaces inhabited by the hegemonic “type” of subject that speaks the same “language,” and produces the same kind of knowledge is an unchecked practice of injustice and inequality. It safeguards institutional homogeneity, whiteness in Academia.


In the Netherlands the non-white is the niet-Westers allochtoon (non-native non-Western). The racial conundrum embodied in this term mixes geographic provenance -standing for national and cultural allegiance and religious affiliation- with a bodily marker of race. This resilient formula of otherness is in dialogue with similar recipes of alterity in the continent, relegating Muslims, African diaporic subjects and non-Westerners to the margins of society and the fringes of institutions. Fatima El-Tayeb posits that there is “racialized understanding of proper Europeanness” which externalizes “Europeans possessing the (visual) markers of Otherness” from contemporary Europe, rendering them to the permanent condition of “aliens from elsewhere.”


The Dutch national claim of ignorance about racism associated with historical amnesia about the empire are resilient, within a context of neoliberalism and neocolonialism. The self-congratulatory myth of tolerance still holds strong despite society’s diagnosis that multiculturalism failed (and the desire to “bring us back to the time before it has been created by the Labour Party”). The Dutch public sphere is domesticated by a taboo on racism surrounded by the demand of its unspeakability, which legitimizes the violence met by those denouncing it.


Whiteness is a position of structural advantage, privilege and power. In the Netherlands, racism is still perceived as excessive, that means an aberration to an otherwise postracial order, as an interruption, rather than a historical continuity and institutional practice. It is to its institutional dimension and its history that the scholar must attend.


Since the antiracism movement broke the public silence/silencing on racism in Dutch society, much has been spoken about privilege, however hardly ever is this query geared towards the progressive academic self. In his 1993 Reith lecture, Edward Said had already discussed the requirement of de-alignment on the part of the intellectual vis-à-vis her/his institutional affiliation (the “task of not committing”). However, nobody wants to be a feminist killjoy (the very apt term of Sara Ahmed) and jeopardise her/his place at home and in the social order. Still with Said, homeliness is not the place of the intellectual, but exile, which is never only self-imposed but forced upon undesirable subjects. I wonder, then, if unhomeliness can be the epistemological stance of subjects comfortably at home in academia. I wonder whether the hegemonic subject can practise the kind of critical scholarship that is self-reflexive.


Dutch institutions have been reluctant to problematize their whiteness. Diversity rather is the preferred agenda. However, debates on “diversity” often avoid the hierarchy of human difference (after Frantz Fanon) that rules institutional arrangements and sociability. Being different equals being less and having less choice and opportunities depending on the difference you embody. “Diversity” purposefully circumvents this fundamental difference. It has focused mainly on providing the individual that embodies difference – that rarity in Dutch academic corridors – with skills and resilience to navigate the hegemonic culture. Institutions have been left largely unproblematized. According to Sara Ahmed, diversity policy is a neoliberal technique of management whereby political differences and historically contingent processes can be depoliticised. Minelle Mahtani accurately pointed out that multicultural policy is no substitute for antiracist legislation, which takes into account the economic and political roots of systemic racism. Racial and social justice require social change.


So far, Dutch academia is a space for the normative subject of whiteness to flourish through the production of high-impact knowledge for a better – then more just and equal – world. How askew is the settled practice in Dutch academia to include the other as object of inquiry while the agent of knowledge remains the normative self? Scholars are doing their scholarly business as usual. Following the risky public confrontation waged by antiracist activists, the question of racism flourished in Dutch academia, where non-whites figured as object to ethnographic research in metropolitan territory. Again, as before, research about, however without them. Curiously or symptomatically, institutional racism did not make the agenda of the movement The New University. A narrow agenda of democratisation without decolonisation makes the role of the student movement of the University of Colour the more important, and of equal importance is the far-reaching Commission of the University of Amsterdam, disguised under the title of Diversity, under the lead of Gloria Wekker. The game has to be changed.


Scholarly engagement must confront the very position of scholarship in the entanglement with others, with the non-white. Europe and its institutions are implicated with others and have a role in the regime that otherises and exercises violence upon non-white subjects. The scholar must problematize this regime, turning the gaze to Europe and Europeans as anthropological objects of inquiry. The autochtoon scholar, for her/his privileged position, must speak truth to power. However, the subject of the scrutiny of European institutions and hegemonic Europeanness, the author of this investigation, cannot possibly be solely the white European.


There are histories, plenty of stories, and other heroes ignored by Academia and unknown to Dutch society, as they have been unauthorised and actively silenced. It is of fundamental importance to give credit, room and resources to work on these invisible presences in Dutch history and society by silenced non-white voices, such as work on the archive of anti-colonial and anti-racist Black, Migrant and Refugee women’s resistance, carried out outside Dutch Academia by Egbert Alejandro Martina, and by Chandra Frank outside of the Netherlands.


Engaged scholarship will not give one rewards or the sympathy of the institutions of the European establishment. It will most certainly blemish your curriculum and cost you grants and appointments. It is not a story of happiness in laureates but a story of meaningfulness, joy and hurt, and of social relevance.


It is the role and responsibility of the public scholar to embrace the discomfort caused as her/his critical and creative practise unavoidably dislodges the habits of hegemonic whiteness/sameness and upsets the hegemonic subjects of institutional normativity, as it should. Returning to Nuno Porto, we need to support a fight for a new order of things


This was a talk I gave at the event Camera Interactiva Creativity Lab, a collaboration between the Centre for the Humanities (Utrecht University) and the Netherlands Film Festival, on September 23, 2016. I was invited to discuss “the social responsibility of academics and the role of the public intellectual” with special attention to race and migration, and so I did.

Sweet forgetfulness of empire – from Canada to the Netherlands with love

I was invited for Loving Day 2016 Academic Forum to deliver a brief comment on Minelle Mahtani’s book Mixed Race Amnesia. Resisting the Romanticization of Multiraciality, in light of the Dutch context. The book deals with multiraciality in Canada.


This was my brief intervention:


As I was requested to reflect on  Mixed Race Amnesia from a Dutch perspective, I am afraid that I will not do justice to the book, which is an important publication in itself, theoretically solid but also highly accessible to the reader who is not familiar with Critical Race Studies terminology. At the same time, because of its qualities, this book supports reflection on our own Dutch racialised geography and temporality.


This reflection is timely because it is always time to problematise racial narratives and materialities in a society marked by racism. But this is also a particular time, as in the last 5 years the antiracism movement, lead by black activists, succeeded to put racism back into the public debate in the Netherlands.


In Loving Day much attention is dedicated to personal stories of mixed-race. In her book, Mahtani looks both at personal stories and at broader social dynamics. I will focus here mainly on the Dutch macro-context in which the narratives of mixed-race people is inscribed, and I will look broadly to the amorphous category of People of Colour, that is non-white people. What I want to highlight is the positionality of those racially marked as non-belonging to Dutchness, while problematising Dutchness as whiteness, an alleged non-mixed or pure race.


Mixed Race Amnesia allows establishing important parallels between Canada and the Netherlands, namely the national mythology of tolerance and the claim of ignorance about racism associated with historical amnesia about the empire, within a context of neoliberalism and neocolonialism. The self-congratulatory myth of tolerance still holds strong in the Netherlands – as in Canada – despite society’s diagnosis that multiculturalism failed (and the desire to bring us back to the time before it has been created by the Labour Party). Canada serves then as counterpoint, as example of successful multiculturalism; whereas we stand for its doom. While you have prime-minister Justin Trudeau wishing Canadian Muslim citizens Ramadan Mubarak, our prime-minister Mark Rutte declares to envy his friends in the Antilles for they don’t have to paint their faces black to play Zwarte Piet.


It is worthwhile to mention that both these constructions, of failed and successful multiculturalism, emerge as mirror reflex to social analysis of race in the United States of America. It is important though to look beyond what Ella Shohat and Robert Stam coined the master narratives of comparison, attending to other narratives of imperial and national exceptionality, in the South.


Mixed-race narratives play a fundamental role in shaping national identities throughout Latin America. In Brazil the mixed race women is celebrated in both official and popular narratives of colonial and national identity. Just this week the Brazilian Black feminist Djamila Ribeiro highlighted the links between contemporary Brazilian rape culture and colonialism; of white settlers raping Black enslaved women, who subsequently gave birth to our mestiça/mulatta children. At the same time, the mixed race person and in particular the hypersexualised women of colour gains social currency by distance to Indigeneity and blackness. For a glimpse in the dehumanising portray of black womanhood in the Netherlands, see Robert Vuistje’s acclaimed book Only Decent People (Alleen Maar Nette Mensen), which was later succesfully turned into film. Examples of abject representations of black woman are found in the wide geography of European empires.


The US race narrative imposes limitations to the Dutch. Egbert Alejandro Martina pointed out the undermining effect of the US as evidence of actual racism (against the Dutch alleged “mild racism”): “To me, White evaluations of the severity of anti-black violence in a world that is anti-black sound an awful lot like ‘on our plantation we treat the Blacks better than on that plantation yonder.’” Jessy de Abreu wrote on the ubiquity of commentary on Beyoncé, overshadowing the political voice of Black women in the Netherlands. At the same time De Abreu borrows from USAmerican black feminists, Martina borrows from Afro-pessimism (a.o. currents), which shows us that it is indeed fruitful to cross our own analytical tools and experiences of Black struggle and struggle of People of Colour with those in the Anglophone space, but not only…


We are not unique but have our own history, plenty of stories, and our own heroes. However these are not of common knowledge to the Dutch society, as they have been unauthorised and actively silenced. That’s why it is of such importance the work on the archive of anti-colonial and anti-racist Black, Migrant and Refugee women’s resistance (a.o.), such as done outside Academia by Egbert Alejandro Martina, by Chandra Frank outside of the Netherlands, in the Dutch arts by Patricia Kaersenhout, and also Loving Day has a role to play here too.


This means that a dialogue between racialised histories and stories requires translation. In the Netherlands, Mixed Race corresponds to the racial conundrum embodied in the term allochtoon or, more specifically niet-Westers allochtoon (non-Western allochtonous). Egbert Alejandro Martina and I pointed out that:


Allochtoon, a common term in Dutch social management, political discourse and colloquial language, is used to categorize a person born abroad, or a “person of whom at least one parent was born abroad.” However, in the Netherlands, origin is not only restricted to parentage or ancestry. The Central Bureau of Statistics defines origin as a “characteristic showing with which country someone actually is closely related given their own country of birth and that of their parents.” Origin is thus defined in terms of a distinguishing mark. The term Allochtoon, which is borrowed from geology, suggests an enlacement of race, territory, and allegiance. Bodies, which are always-already mediated through race, are, then, territorialized, and consigned to different physical and metaphorical spaces.

This fusion or confusion of race, colour and nationality is evident in discourse about multiracial/multiculturalism. See, for intance, how phenotype and geography are hidden in the virtuous dance with terminology in the September 2014 Volkskrant article of Martin Sommer titled: “The Netherlands racist? Half of love-relationships is ethnically mixed”. Flip van Dijk remarked that alongside the article’s gross statistical inaccuracy, when referring to “origin and colour” the journalist uses terms interchangeably: allochtoon, non-Western allochtoon, third generation allochtoon (according to the journalist: “allochtonen of whom both parents were born in the Netherlands”, which defies the very category of allochtoon in the first place). This confusing racialised category of otherness stands for the non-white Dutch, who apparently marry the white in large numbers, which demonstrates that the Netherlands is a model non-racist society. After all, according to the journalist, demography is the only scientific criteria to prove racism. And here applies Mahtani’s analysis of the “romance of miscegenation” as a postcolonial evidence of racial harmony or postraciality.


Mixed Race Amnesia also explores the nexus between race and space inherited from imperial rule. In the article Access to the Netherlands of Enslaved and Free Black Africans, Dienke Hondius demonstrates how the Dutch State-General strictly regulated the entrance of enslaved and free black Africans to the Dutch metropolis through the sixteen to the nineteenth centuries. Hereby, “The extent to which the political and legal processes of slavery – decision making, overseeing and financing – remained situated within European cities becomes generally unnoticed and remains under-researched until today.” This configures a racialised geography of absence and invisibility. The groundbreaking work of Jennifer Tosch on the Black Heritage Tours across the Dutch city channels is of utmost importance in making Dutch colonialism visible here.


But colonialism does not only manifest as traces of the past. In our recent article White Order: Racialization of Public Space in the Netherlands, Egbert Alejandro Martina and I posit that the ways in which Black people are addressed in public discourse and spatial policy contribute greatly to the construction of a nationalist, gendered, sexualized, socio-spatial framework of proper White Native Dutchness. We reveal the sustained targeting of Black bodies, from Dutch colonial times until today, and recast spatial design and regulation as normalized and disavowed violence. According to data published by Maurice de Hond only yesterday, the overwhelming majority of Dutch population finds racial profiling acceptable.


Another very important insight in Mixed Race Amnesia is the depoliticisation of race through the coupling of multiraciality with progress. Diversity language reproduces the economy of white supremacy through apolitical and neutral affiliations with the nation-state. According to Sara Ahmed, diversity policy is a neoliberal technique of management whereby political differences and historically contingent processes can be depoliticised. Mahtani accuratedly pointed out that multicultural policy is no substitute for antiracist legislation, which takes into account the economic and political roots of systemic racism. Ethnic/Racial and social justice require social change.


For us in the Netherlands, it is also critical to consider the limits of diversity, however, we still live in a society that systematically excludes People of Colour from the labour market, from positions of power. Our government is white, our media bosses are white, our professors are white, our boards of directors are white. As New Urban Collective tweeted this week: “40% of law students has a ‘non-Western’ background but the judiciary is 98% white.” So, attentive to the fact that including People of Colour will not address structural racism, we cannot leave the wall of institutional whiteness untouched. At the same time the very institute of citizenship and the nation-state must be challenged.


David Goldberg denoted that the Dutch national narrative was built upon historical denial and cemented an antiracial consensus, according to which the expression of racism is anti-Semitism. It enabled the pervasiveness of Islamophobia and anti-black racism, which is also a tool for reinforcing European identity as white and Christian. Gloria Wekker borrowed from Aimé Cesaire to deconstruct Europeanness: “The construction of the European self and its Others took place in the force fields of ‘conquest, colonization, empire formation, permanent settlement by Europeans of other parts of the globe, nationalist struggles by the colonized, and selective decolonization’.” She investigates the imagination of innocence – also analysed in Mixed Race Amnesia – within such force fields in her recent book White Innocence, described as “[an exploration of the] central paradox of Dutch culture: the passionate denial of racial discrimination and colonial violence coexisting alongside aggressive racism and xenophobia. Accessing a cultural archive built over 400 years of Dutch colonial rule, Wekker fundamentally challenges Dutch racial exceptionalism by undermining the dominant narrative of the Netherlands as a ‘gentle’ and ‘ethical’ nation”.


Throughout the last 20 years Goldberg notes in the Netherlands the insidiousness of everyday racism and the repressive imposition of an insistent homogeneity against an otherwise undeniable and expansive demographic and cultural heterogeneity. Philomena Essed and Isabel Hoving contend that the dismissal of racism is asserted with a sense of cultural superiority and moral righteousness through ideological repression. Gloria Wekker posits that “[The Netherlands’] new claim to fame is no longer its proverbial tolerance and hospitality to foreigners and refugees, however contested that notion always already was in circles of Black, migrants, and refugees themselves”. I believe though that we still cling on to the myth of tolerance, only claim that “even Dutch tolerance has its limits”.


In the Netherlands, the bulk of the debate and analysis centres on the individual and symbolic aspects of racism, namely racial biases and feelings, and the talents, strength and willingness of the subject of colour to overcome racism. Fundamental in Mixed Race Amnesia is the confluence between the symbolic and material dimensions of racialisation, and the critical intersection of race, gender and class, defining whiteness as a place of structural advantage, privilege and power. It is crucial to gaze at the materiality of race and to the systemic character of racism. Here, racism is still perceived as excessive, that means an aberration to an otherwise postracial order, as an interruption, rather than a historical continuity and institutional practice.


And then, a final word about the Dutch institution of Higher Education, the academic landscape on race: Philomena Essed and Kwame Nimako have described the ejection of Critical Race from the Dutch academe in the 1990’s, and the embracing of policy oriented Migration Studies. Hereby Critical Race scholarship was murdered in its cradle. In the last 2 decades, a new generation of critics of colour has been in gestation outside Academia, and was raised through self-learning and community nurturing. However their condition is highly precarious. This privileging of some epistemologies and the relegation of others is accompanied by an economy of white privilege, whereby academic positions and research funding go to those either embodying whiteness or abiding by it. Both Eurocentric epistemes and a white academic elite reproduce coloniality. I must say though that there is hope for this institution as, due to the tireless efforts of the movement of students of colour (the University of Colour) a group has been formed to scrutinise the University of Amsterdam’s curriculum, space and practices. This group has a strong decolonial agenda, under the name and disguise of the Diversity Commission.

Politicising ‘Diversity’ inside the White Male Academic Powerhouse

University of Groningen - Senate Room (AWJ Creative Commons)

University of Groningen – Senate Room (AWJ Creative Commons)

I was invited to debate ‘Diversity’ at the event Night of the University: Towards a New Academia! in the University of Groningen. The panellists were asked to address the following questions in their 4-minute opening pitches:

Why is our University white and are 90% of our professors male? Can Dutch universities do more to make foreign students and female researchers to feel comfortable and respected in Academia?

And so I responded:

I believe that Dutch universities are white and male because the image and imagination of Academic proficiency is associated with the authoritative figure of the white Western man. Academia in the Netherlands carries the heavy heritage of colonialism and patriarchy. The university is then not sufficiently acting as a site of problematisation and transformation of hegemonic social trends, but as a (re)producer of them. The white male norm will only change when it is acknowledged as a problem.

Board of Directors of the University of Groningen

Board of Directors  – University of Groningen

Recognising whiteness in the universities requires understanding what it means in the Dutch context. Here, the non-white is the non-native non-Western (the niet-Westerse allochtoon) who is the primary target of exclusionary practice and policy. Exclusion and racial segregation have been the topic of heated public debate in the recent years. This debate has not managed to break into the walls of Dutch academia, not even into the discussion about the ‘democratisation’ of the university (the University of Colour being one of the shining exceptions).

‘Diversity’ is a buzzword in Dutch policy and academic circles, which has been emptied of its political meaning. By this I mean that debates on ‘diversity’ avoid the hierarchy of human difference (after Frantz Fanon) that rules institutional arrangements and sociability. Being different equals being less and having less opportunities depending on the difference you embody. ‘Diversity’ purposefully circumvented this fundamental question Instead it has focused mainly on providing the individual that embodies difference – that rarity in academic corridors – with skills and resilience to navigate the hegemonic culture. Institutions have been left largely unproblematised.

Debating ‘diversity’ requires problematising power structures in Academia. It is fundamental to gear our gaze towards the institutional culture of the reproduction of sameness (in the words of Philomena Essed and David Goldberg). The ‘habit’ of creating and cloning spaces inhabited by the hegemonic ‘type’ of subject that speaks the same academic ‘language,’ and produces the same kind of knowledge is an unchecked practice of injustice and inequality. It safeguards the homogeneity of what should be a heterogeneous and intellectually stimulating space for critical and creative thinking.

The university must indeed be a space for critical reflection on such processes AND for a practice in accordance. So far, Dutch academic institutions are spaces for the normative scholar – white, male, cisgender, heterosexual, young student, middle-aged professor, (upper) middle-class, secular, documented, healthy and abled body – to flourish through the production of knowledge for a better – then more just and equal – world. How askew is the settled practice in Dutch academia to include the other as object of inquiry while the agent of knowledge remains the normative self?

Altogether, questioning the lack of ‘diversity’ in Dutch academia requires addressing fundamental issues at two levels:

Firstly, at the level of representation, which means asking questions such as:

Is the body of students, scholars and non-academic staff normative? Can the non-normative student, scholar and non-academic staff flourish? How to change settled practices of exclusion with an eye on intersectionality? Are there affirmative policies? Are buildings accessible for differently-abled persons? Which are the policies on childcare?

The second level of issues that must be addressed is the epistemological, which means asking questions such as:

Is the curriculum white and male? Look at the body of theories taught: are they all Western? Where is the Global South in the curriculum? Look at citation practices: are theories/texts of non-white men in the reading lists and articles written?

If we are to address ‘diversity’ in Dutch academia, we must embrace the discomfort that it will cause as this query unavoidably dislodges the habits of hegemonic whiteness/sameness and upsets the hegemonic subjects of academic normativity, as it should. Otherwise, we are just making conversation.

Black Lives Matter – Across Languages and Geographies: Brazil

March Black Lives Matter 20 June 2015

photo by MAD Mothers

On June 20, 2015 Amsterdam hosted the Empowerment & Solidarity March: ‘We Rise by Lifting (M)Others’ organised by MAD Mothers NL (Mothers Against Discrimination and Racism – Netherlands). The March and the speeches that followed aimed to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement from an explicit feminist intersectional perspective. It was a modest in numbers however powerful event, which stopped traffic and took over the streets of Amsterdam. I was inspired by the words and chants of Black women. I was moved and honoured to have been part of it. This was my brief speech.

Dear friends,

We are here to mourn the loss of Black lives. We are here to denounce anti-Blackness that pervades our societies and guides State policy and practice. We are here to cherish movements of Black dissent and resistance in the Netherlands, across the Atlantic and the wider world, and to learn from them. We are here to celebrate Black Lives.

This week 9 persons were murdered in a historical Black Church of resistance in Charleston, USA. Their suspected killer is a young white supremacist. We mourn for Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lance, Daniel Simmons, Susie Jackson, and DePayne Doctor.

As we speak two hundred and ten thousand Dominicans of Haitian decent along with hundreds of thousands of Haitian immigrants are threatened with deportation from the Dominican Republic, which will make them stateless. The criteria the government will use in deciding who is to be deported is “dark-skinned Dominicans with Haitian facial features.”

Last week a young South African (unnamed by the press) committed suicide in an asylum prison facility in Rotterdam. He was detained for the ‘heinous crime’ of requesting asylum in the Netherlands. His visa was rejected; he was expecting deportation. This is yet another precious life that is condemned by the Dutch State. It is another of the recurrent ‘incidents’ in the systematic detention of non-Western immigrants to the Netherlands.

Such ‘episodes’ are not extraordinary but the rule. Only in the first 6 months of 2014, 2.741 ‘incidents’ in Dutch asylum centres were officially registered. There is no public outcry though, as Black and brown Lives are considered worthless in this country. In fact, they are seen as a threat to the Netherlands. Facilitating their deaths is actually deemed necessary to safeguarding our welfare. This young man was mothered by someone or, most likely, by several ones, as it takes a village; he belonged to a community. His life has been taken away; their lives are shattered.

Last week, as every other week of the year, 574 Brazilian youngsters were murdered. According already to the report Map of Violence 2012, ‘violence has a colour’ in Brazil. Afro-Brazilians make a little more than half of the Brazilian population. In 2012, violence claimed the lives of 56,000 people in the country, of which 30,000 were aged 15 to 29 years of age. Of these, four out of five were black. Black Brazilians are also more likely to be victims of police killings: 58 per cent of all people killed in the state of São Paulo by the military police were black. They make up 62 per cent of all people incarcerated nationwide, Brazil having the fourth highest prison population in the world. The bloggers Black Women of Brazil recalled that, as Brazil’s black movement says, “if you want to know who is black in Brazil, ask the police, they know.”

According to Amnesty International Brazil, that launched the Campaign Black Youth Alive, these figures exceed the deaths in war zones. These deaths are gender and race specific and don’t affect the entire Brazilian society equally.

Brazil occupies the 7th position (among 84 countries) on feminicide (that is gender based murder). Every 1,5 hours, a Brazilian woman is killed as a victim to sexism. 61 per cent of those victims of feminicide are Black women. Violence to LGBT is sky-high. Every 28 hours a LGBT is murdered in Brazil; and the country accounts for 40 per cent of the murder of transsexuals and transvestites in the world. “In Brazil, Race [and Gender are] Matters Of Life And Violent Death”.

There has been consistent protest and mobilisation in face of raced and gendered violence, since colonial times, when 4.5 million enslaved Africans arrived in Brazilian harbours, that is far more than any other part of the Americas—ten times as many as North America, and more than all of the Caribbean and North America combined. Enslaved revolts and resistance, such as the communities of the fugitive enslaved, the Quilombos, are the mothers of Brazil’s contemporary Black movement. This movement is alive and thriving despite criminalisation and violence against Black activists. They struggle for justice, against racism that is structural and insidious and manifests itself, before and alongside physical violence, through various forms of dehumanisation of Black people.

Last May, Stephanie Ribeiro, a young Afro-Brazilian woman, launched a campaign on social media against a theatre play that would figure one actor in blackface. She gathered strong support from Afro-Brazilians, which ended in the play being cancelled. This shows that mobilisation against the dehumanisation of Black people is not only meaningful but it can be successful. In the Netherlands we know the successes we booked against blackfacing in the recent years. But we are not done yet. Stephanie’s campaign also shows how much the struggles of the African diaspora cut across language and geography, and how intimately interconnected they are.

It is fundamental to learn from sister movements, make improbable though fruitful connections, and support each other.

I will end this very brief window into the Matter of Black Lives in Brazil, with the words of the Afro-Brazilian lead Campaign Reaja ou Será Morta, React or You’ll Be Killed. Reaja organised a series of Marches Against the Genocide of Black People, the second of which took place in more than 17 Brazilian states and embassies across the world. This is the call for the second march, in August 2014:

Whatever the case may be, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! It’s time to take to the streets! Tomorrow, in various states across the country as well as around the world, people are marching to voice their anger, their sadness and their despair in what appears to be a clear agenda to exterminate non-white peoples. In Brazil, Afro-Brazilians are being killed not only [by] everyday violence and [the] lethal [State force of the] Military Police; they also face vigilante death squads, often composed of Military Police as well. We march for the five black men gunned down in one month in the US (Eric Garner, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, and Michael Brown), against the on-going slaughter of Palestinian men, women and children, but also for [B]lack Brazilians such as Cláudia Ferreira, Amarildo, Raissa Vargas Motta, the dancer DG (Douglas Pereira) and so many others who were purposely killed or struck by a [so-called ‘police] stray bullet’. We march because we must. We march because we want justice. We march for life!

Thank you.

Het verhaal van de witte macht

Toespraak op de Conferentie Racisme in Nederland op 21 maart 2014, georganiseerd door Radar Rotterdam [i]

Patricia Schor

 Racisme in Nederland

In Nederland worden minderheden, met name Zwarten en Moslims, systematisch gekleineerd en institutioneel gediscrimineerd; de Nederlandse culturele superioriteit -een overblijfsel uit de koloniale geschiedenis – wordt dagelijks gehandhaafd, met zachte en/of harde hand. Deze processen van buitensluiting hebben wel degelijk materiële consequenties voor geracialiseerde minderheden. Tegelijkertijd worden de machtsverhoudingen – waarbij het begrip ‘ras’ een centrale rol speelt – stelselmatig genegeerd en met kracht ontkend. Dit is het verhaal van de witte macht.

In deze korte toespraak, ga ik de contouren van racisme in Nederland schetsen aan de hand van concepten bewerkt door sommige van de academici die al tientallen jaren met deze thema’s werken. Deze concepten geven mij handvatten om vervolgens het verhaal over het Zwarte Piet debat te gaan ontleden.

David Goldberg heeft in zijn essay Racisms in Orange, in het kersverse boek Dutch Racism van Philomena Essed en Isabel Hoving, beschreven dat het verhaal van een homogene witte Nederlandse volk is opgelegd. Het kan ook niet anders in een land met een koloniaal verleden en tegen de achtergrond van globalisatie.[ii] De cijfers over de huidige samenstelling van het Nederlandse volk bewijzen dat.

Gloria Wekker gebruikt Aimé Césaire werk om te beschrijven hoe het verhaal van de Europeaan tot stand komt: ‘Tot het midden van de twintigste eeuw, betekende de term “Europeaan” voornamelijk groepen van kolonisten in de gekoloniseerde gebieden van de wereld. Zo is het concept van de Europeaan en ‘de anderen’ tot stand gekomen in het krachtenveld van “verovering, kolonisatie, imperium vorming, permanente nederzetting […] van andere delen van de wereld, nationalistische strijd van de gekoloniseerde, en selectieve dekolonisatie.” (283).[iv]

Volgens Wekker, geldt dezelfde logica nog steeds. Het is dus ‘fundamenteel onmogelijk zowel Europeaan te zijn – geconstrueerd als wit en christelijk – en zwart / moslim / migrant / vluchteling’ (283). De antropologe legt uit dat dit het geval is doordat ‘In de publieke sfeer, het assimilatie model van mono-etnische en monoculturalisme […] zo grondig [is], [dat] alle tekenen van elders worden gewist’. Dat betekent dat een witte migrant wel eventueel kan slagen om als Nederlander gezien te worden, terwijl ‘Nederlanders met een donkere huidskleur’ constant worden geplaatst buiten het veld van het Nederlanderschap. (286).

Dienke Hondius heeft over de controle van de entree van zwarte mensen in Nederland tussen de 16 en de 19 eeuw geschreven.[v] Zij laat zien dat Nederland zijn zwarte onderdanen buiten zicht wilde houden. Hierbij kon het land de vruchten plukken van kolonisatie en de trans-Atlantische slavernij, én het idee koesteren van rijkdom door schoon ondernemerschap, én het liberale imago in stand houden. Ik zou zeggen, de VOC mentaliteit.

Hieruit ontwikkelde Nederland een zelfbeeld van tolerantie. Voor Goldberg is de symbolische investering in tolerantie als nationale sentiment nergens zo groot als hier. Hij beargumenteert met scherpte dat dit verhaal tot stand is gekomen, niet alleen door zeer selectief de geschiedenis te vertellen, het is ook een verhaal dat in stand wordt gehouden door middel van een retoriek van slachtofferschap.  

Tolerance is an assertion always from a position of power. Once tolerance is placed in question, power tends to assert itself in defence against being victimised by its own tolerance (413) [zie vertaling: vi]

Hij verwijst naar een verzameling van strategieën, dat wordt gebruikt om het verhaal van een tolerant Nederland te beschermen en te behouden, wat hij benoemd anti-antiracisme.

The anti-antiracism at work here […] is thus predicated on a handful of refusals and denials. First […] there is the refusal of any charge of systematic racism, the denial of its structural underpinnings [,… whereby racism is taken as a] individual anomaly. Hand in hand with this is a deep silence regarding the history of Dutch colonialism and slavery, and specially their contemporary legacy. […] A deeper and more subtle denial is signalled here, namely, of relationalities. There is a refusal of any connection between Dutch colonial history and contemporary racisms in the Netherlands, indeed, between Dutch colonialism and its racist articulations, as if colonialism had no racial, let alone racist, resonance. (409) [zie vertaling: vii]

Door deze constellatie van weigeringen en ontkenningen wordt er een witte consensus geconstrueerd dat Nederland typeert als post-raciaal, en dus waar het begrip ras er niet meer toe doet – wat wel wenselijk is maar zeker geen omschrijving van de manier waarop macht zich laat gelden in Nederland. Integendeel, hiermee wordt racisme dood verklaard zodat het onverstoord voort leeft in wat Gloria Wekker typeert als de Nederlandse onbeperkte onschuld.[viii]

Goldberg verklaart hoe de koloniale geschiedenis en ook antisemitisme en de slechte behandeling van Joden in het naoorlogs Nederland – trouwens goed gedocumenteerd door Dienke Hondius [ix] – werden weg gewist uit de historische canon en het collectieve geheugen. Dit verhaal van een onschuldig en tolerante post-raciaal land leeft voort, mede door het feit dat het opbouwen van een kritische traditie van de studie van racisme krachtig werd tegengehouden door Nederlandse universiteiten, zoals al beschreven door Philomena Essed en Kwame Nimako.[x]

Voor Goldberg komt deze geïnstitutionaliseerde onwetendheid uit twee bronnen: ik hoef het niet te weten en: ik wil het niet weten. Het is dus zowel een mislukking tot weten te komen als een weigering om te weten (410).

 There’s a sense, then, in which the ignorance in both instances is a mode of knowing, by indirection. Ignorance stakes a claim – “it doesn’t happen here” – made with conviction. But it also can refuse, deny – “It could not happen here.” In a tolerant society we are above and beyond. The counter: in an ignorant and ignoring society, racism is within and un- or mis-recognized, cover over, held from view by others if not oneself by tolerance. (410) [zie vertaling: xi]

Zo hebben wij een land waarin systematisch gediscrimineerd wordt, waar het openbare leven doordesemd is met racisme en waar racisme ingebakken is in het functioneren van private en publieke instituties, terwijl een witte consensus vasthoudt aan het heilige geloof in de Nederlandse tolerantie. Dit maakt het mogelijk dat wij een blackface hebben als nationale mascotte.  Nergens is een stereotype van een Zwarte slaaf zo groot en zo bemind.

De schrijver Egbert Alejandro Martina legt bloot wat Zwarte Piet inhoudt: het plezier hebben in het dehumanisering van Zwarte mensen. Martina brengt op consistent wijze zowel de materiële als retorische technieken van disciplinering en controle van de tot slaaf gemaakte in de Nederlandse koloniën en in het moederland aan het licht, en verbindt deze met huidige processen van uitsluiting van zwarte Nederlanders. Zwarte Piet is zo’n proces, de verpakking van het debat is een andere. Beide zijn verbonden aan andere instanties van het bredere fenomeen dat heet institutioneel racisme.

In het debat over Zwarte Piet, worden de dynamieken tentoongesteld die ik net beschreef als typerend voor de manifestatie van racisme in Nederland: tolerantie – het ‘feit’ en de eis – racisme ontkenning, historische onschuld, geïnstitutionaliseerd onwetendheid, cultureel en moreel superioriteit, nationale homogeniteit met als gevolg uitsluiting van anderen die hier niet ‘thuis horen’.

Het Zwarte Piet Debat

In 2013, al anticiperend op het jaarlijks low key debat, werd de prijs van het beste jeugd televisieprogramma van het jaar aan Het Sinterklaasjournaal gegeven. De makers kregen de Gouden Stuiver tijdens het chic Gouden Televizier-Ring Gala van de AVRO in het Amsterdamse theater Carré.

het parool Sinterklaasjournaal prijs 2013

 Het Parool 18.10.2013. Bron: ANP

Het is blijkbaar een programma dat ons tot elkaar brengt. In de woorden van de NTR-eindredacteur: “Uit het winnen van deze prestigieuze [prijs] blijkt maar weer eens dat mensen ons een bijzonder warm hart toedragen. Ons programma speelt daardoor echt een verbindende rol in de Sinterklaasperiode.”

Als je hierdoor niet verbonden voelt, dan behoor je niet tot wat begrepen wordt onder ons. Eigenlijk als Zwart, kind en volwassen, ben je allang en systematisch weg gedreven van het Nederlanderschap.

Al daarvoor verscheen het Rapport van de Raad van Europa over racisme en discriminatie in Nederland. Het rapport toonde in het kort hoe racisme wortels heeft in Nederlandse instituties. Het ging over segregatie van scholen en huisvesting, racial profiling door de politie, harde discriminerend taal door media en politiek. Het rapport beveelt aan om raciale regelgeving van het soort Bosmanwet te laten varen.

Het rapport kreeg een lauw onthaal in de pers, de politiek was stil. Maar toen werd het rapport publiekelijk onder de aandacht genomen en onderschreven door de Nationale Ombudsman, in primetime televisie. Volgens Alex Brenninkmeijer is het politieke klimaat van Nederland racistisch.

Deze bijval en de groeiende aandacht dat het debat over Zwarte Piet kreeg in de internationale pers, alsmede de uitingen van functionarissen van de Verenigde Naties, veranderden het debat over Zwarte Piet. Decennia lang was het onderwerp altijd aanwezig, altijd uit zicht gehouden, tot vorig jaar toen werd Zwarte Piet het onderwerp van gesprek, goed voor (inter)nationaal en lokale televisie, de grote en kleine kranten en social media. Het feit dat, op initiatief van Quinsy Gario, 21 burgers een aanklacht hebben ingediend tegen de vergunning voor de Sinterklaasintocht in Amsterdam wegens het racistisch karakter van Zwarte Piet, heeft veel in beweging gebracht, voornamelijk onder Zwarte Nederlanders. In oktober werden de bezwaarmakers ontvangen in de Amsterdamse Stadhuis in wat een indrukwekkende openbare hoorzitting is geworden.

Toch probeert het witte establishment de status quo te behouden, kritiek te diskwalificeren, Zwarte Nederlanders te kleineren. Ze herhalen hun verhaal ad nauseum en in elke fase van dit debat.

Hét document dat dit verhaal, het verhaal van de witte macht, voorbeeldig tot leven brengt is de brief van de burgemeester van Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, aan de 21 aanklagers van de Sinterklaasintocht. In deze brief verklaart de burgemeester zijn beslissing om de Sinterklaasintocht door te laten gaan. Deze brief werd gestuurd naar de bezwaarmakers, onder wie ikzelf, en naar de pers. Het werd prominent gepubliceerd in de nationale kranten.  Dit is dus een centraal document in het debat waarin een autoriteit een gezaghebbende verklaring geeft aan de brede gemeenschap van wat dit debat eigenlijk inhoudt.

In deze brief (dat ik hier becommentarieer) legt van der Laan uit dat:

brief Burg v-d Laan bld 1

Racisme een kwestie van gevoelens is aan de kant van de wie zich gekwetst acht. Dat Sinterklaas een onschuldige feest is, en niet zomaar één, maar een feest dat behoort tot de Nederlandse cultuur, het is eenmaal ons traditie, en dat is bepaald door de meerderheid. Of Zwarte Piet verbonden kan worden met de slavernij blijft een vraag. Toch ontkent de burgemeester dat Sinterklaas met Zwarte Piet racistisch is. Het is eerder verbindend.

brief Burg v-d Laan bld 2

Van der Laan toont goedwillendheid naar mensen die te maken krijgen met racistische uitingen (Zwarte Piet!) en dus pijn ervaren. Een empathische houding biedt de oplossing hiervoor. Door dit begripvol gebaar bevestigt de burgemeester zijn status van goed mens. Van der Laan bepaalt wie eigenlijk beslist wat gebeurt met Zwarte Piet: dat zijn primair de Sinterklaas comités, bemand door ‘het Nederlandse volk’, in tegenstelling tot de bezwaarmakers, blijkbaar geen deel van het volk. Tenslotte sluit de burgemeester zich, voor de inhoud, aan bij de Hoofdpiet (en dus een autoriteit) om aan te geven dat het een fait accompli is dat Zwarte Piet altijd zal blijven.

Alweer wordt het verband tussen Zwarte Piet en dus, racisme, en de slavernij zacht gemaakt, het is een zaak van gevoelens. Omdat de Sinterklaascomités bemand worden door redelijke en empathische mensen, kunnen wij gerust deze taak aan hun overlaten, en ons er niet meer mee bemoeien. Hierdoor wordt herhaalt wie tot het goede volk behoort, wie mee telt, wie beslist.

Geleidelijkheid moet voorop staan. En hier maakt de burgemeester duidelijk, door de associatie van Sinterklaas met kinderlijk onschuld, dat Zwarte Piet liefhebbers, goedwillende mensen zijn, terwijl critici aan hun onschuld tornen. Hij disciplineert critici en het debat tussen deze twee ‘soorten mensen’.

Geleidelijkheid weer, en frappant genoeg noemt van der Laan dat er een periode van 5 tot 10 jaar nodig is om Sinterklaas een feest voor iedereen te maken. Frappant omdat het doet denken aan 1863 toen de tot slaaf gemaakten te horen kregen dat, ondanks het feit dat de slavernij in de Nederlandse koloniën formeel afgeschaafd was, ze nog niet klaar waren voor emancipatie, en nog 10 jaar ‘onder toezicht’ moesten werken. Geleidelijkheid dus.

Er wordt verder ingegaan op het kwalificeren van critici en protesteerders als immoreel omdat zij kinderen kwetsen – weer onschuld, en nu gevaar. De burgemeester typeert protest als een gebrek aan tolerantie en respect. Hij eist tolerantie van demonstranten, dat wil zeggen dat zij het liefst niet demonstreren.

 brief Burg v-d Laan bld 3

Tenslotte wordt racisme gereduceerd tot een mening die dus getolereerd moet worden. Van der Laan eindigt zijn betoog met een statement waarin hij zijn gezag nogmaals benadrukt, voortvloeiend uit zijn moreel besef.

In deze brief staan vrijwel alle aspecten die typerend zijn voor de manier waarop racisme zich tekstueel manifesteert en werkt in Nederland. Dit verhaal is gezaghebbend, het bevestigd wat Michel Foucault benoemde een: regime of truth, een waarheids regiem.

Vervolgens, om dit verhaal te bekrachtigen, zegt Van der Laan in het lokale televisie programma De Burgemeester dat protesteren tijdens de intocht ‘moreel niet zuiver’ is.  Later heeft hij burgers opgeroepen demonstranten in de gaten te houden en tot orde te roepen. Aldus van der Laan in De Telegraaf:

 „Al die Amsterdammers zijn onze beste garantie dat de intocht goed zal verlopen. Als iemand iets doet, roep je als vader of moeder even ‘hé, doe normaal’. Ik zou het als burgemeester een ramp vinden als ons kinderfeest niet ongestoord kan verlopen’’

Politie stond op het scherp in verschillende steden tegen ‘mogelijke relschoppers.’ Volgens de pers gingen agenten in Groningen de intocht in vermomd als Zwarte Piet.

In een klimaat waarin de kritische minderheid geportretteerd wordt als niets wetend, gevaarlijk en onverantwoord, wordt werkelijk een vrij brief gegeven aan de burger om deze “problem people” (in de worden van Goldberg) tot de orde te roepen. Niet alleen hebben critici, voornamelijk Zwart, een lawine van haat-mails en doodsbedreigingen gekregen, ze werden ook nauw onder toezicht geplaatst in het openbaar.

In de hitte van het debat, ontbrak er actieve deelname en bijval van Nederlandse personen en instituties met gezag die een mandaat hebben om op te komen tegen racisme en discriminatie. Dat moet beter in 2014. Want gezag is wat weg genomen wordt van geracialiseerde minderheden. Zij komen tot stand als een categorie juist door het wegnemen van hun waardigheid, volwassenheid en kunde. Zij worden neergezet als overgevoelig en onvoorspelbaar gevaarlijk want ze kunnen niet redeneren. Ze hebben geen besef van wat redelijk is, van wat goed is voor de gemeenschap, dezelfde homogene witte gemeenschap die bestaat mede bij de gratie van het conceptueel uitbannen en institutioneel buitensluiten van dezelfde minderheden, en in het bijzonder Moslims en Zwarten.

Dit, en nog meer, was 2013. Ik sluit deze rij van selectieve retorische stuken af, maar ik wil u nog één laatste doorgeven, als bekroningen en bevestiging van dit waarheid regiem.

In januari 2014 kreeg de burgemeester van Amsterdam de zogenoemde Machiavelliprijs.

NRC 08.01.2013 machiavelli

 NRC 08.01.2014. Bron: Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Schilderij Santi di Tito

Volgens de NRC:

Eberhard van der Laan krijgt de Machiavelliprijs, een jaarlijkse onderscheiding voor „een opmerkelijke prestatie op het gebied van publieke communicatie”. Volgens de jury is de burgemeester van Amsterdam „een toonbeeld van helderheid en duidelijkheid”.   De voorzitter van de stichting Machiavelli roemde vooral Van der Laan optreden bij onder andere de manier waarop hij dit jaar „de discussie rond Zwarte Piet naar een hoger niveau tilde.”

Bij mij is de associatie meteen gemaakt tussen Machiavelli en een bepaalde manier van politiek bedrijven, maar dit wil de Stichting Machiavelli veranderen, zeggen ze zelf:

Bij de ideeën van de politieke denker Machiavelli denkt men al snel aan het principe ‘het doel heiligt de middelen’. En inderdaad is het zo dat de Machiavelliprijs gaat naar degene die dit principe het meest effectief in praktijk heeft gebracht. Maar wel op een positieve manier én voor een sympathiek doel.

Deze Stichting, een deel van het witte establishment, wil unilateraal de mening van ethiek in de politiek herdefiniëren. Daarnaast bevestigt en bekrachtigt deze stichting het gezag van de burgemeester, en de betrouwbaarheid van zijn verhaal: het behouden van een sympathieke feest door het gebruik te maken van alle mogelijke middelen. Politiek op zijn best.

Tot Slot

Tot slot, er bestaat een complex mechanisme waardoor een verhaal, en verklaring van de werkelijkheid, wordt gecreëerd en beheerd. Ik heb geprobeerd deze te beschrijven, in het kort: hoe zo’n system als koloniale erfenis tot stand komt en hoe het in stand wordt gehouden. Wat typerend is van racisme in Nederland naar mijn mening is dat het een strak en genormaliseerd system is.

Racistische uitspraken en beleid zijn te vinden door het hele politieke spectrum, van extreem rechts, rechts en midden, tot links. Nederland staat bekend om een hoge graad van Islamofobie. Hier is het dagelijks denigreren en becommentariëren van Moslims en Zwarten niet alleen geaccepteerd, maar vrijwel een verplicht nummer voor acceptatie in sociale cirkels en macht echelons.

In 2013, bouwend op antiracisme werk dat al heel lang wordt verricht, maar altijd wordt weggezet in de marges, zijn er scheuren ontstaan in de muren van dit anders waterdicht mechanisme van het reproduceren van segregatie, discriminatie door middel van het continu hervertellen van het verhaal dat het goed praat. Door dit antiracisme werk werd er een witte consensus ontleed en ontmanteld door aller eerst te laten zien hoe macht werkt in het vertellen van dit verhaal: wie het vertelt, wie het niet mag vertellen, wat wordt beweerd, wat wordt verborgen en hoe verhouden deze processen zich tot de Nederlandse geschiedenis en hedendaagse praktijken van buitensluiting van geracialiseerde minderheden. Hierdoor lieten critici, activisten, protesteerders zien dat dit een gekleurd verhaal is die kleur ontkent.

Dank u wel.


[i]Mijn dank aan Marjan Boelsma voor de uitnodiging om deel te nemen aan de Conferentie.Ik wil ook graag Jan Michiel Aeilkema en Egbert Alejandro Martina bedanken voor de taal suggesties en correcties aan deze tekst.

[ii]David Theo Goldberg. “Racisms in Orange: Afterword.” Dutch Racism. Eds. Philomena Essed and Isabel Hoving. Amsterdam, New York: Editions Rodopi, 2014. 407-416. Print.

[iv]Gloria Wekker. “Another Dream of a Common Language.” Black Europe and the African Diaspora. Urbana and Chicago: U. of Illinois Press, 2009. 277-289. Print. Eigen vertaling.

[v]Dienke Hondius. “Access to the Netherlands of Enslaved and Free Black Africans: Exploring Legal and Social Historical Practices in the Sixteenth-Nineteenth Centuries.” Slavery & Abolition 32.3 (2011): 377-95. Print.

[vi]Eigen vertaling: ‘Tolerantie komt altijd voort uit een positie van macht. Zodra tolerantie in twijfel wordt getrokken, heeft macht de neiging zich te doen gelden in de verdediging tegen het slachtoffer zijn van zijn eigen tolerantie’ (413).

[vii]Eigen vertaling: ‘Het anti-antiracisme hier aan het werk […] wordt dus toegepast op een handvol weigeringen en ontkenningen. Eerst […] is er de weigering van enige bewering van systematisch racisme, de ontkenning van zijn structurele onderbouwing [, … waarbij racisme wordt gezien als een] individuele anomalie. Hand in hand met dit is een diepe stilte over de geschiedenis van het Nederlandse kolonialisme en slavernij, en speciaal hun hedendaags erfenis. […] Een dieper en subtieler ontkenning wordt hier gesignaleerd, namelijk […er] is een weigering van enig verband te zien tussen de Nederlandse koloniale geschiedenis en het hedendaagse racisme in Nederland. Inderdaad, tussen het Nederlandse kolonialisme en de samenhang met racisme, alsof kolonialisme geen raciale, laat staan ​​racistische, resonantie had’ (409).

[viii]Titel van aanstaande publicatie van Gloria Wekker: Of Innoncence Unlimited. The Dutch Cultural Archive and Race (2015). Hierin duidt Wekker de samenwerking tussen racisme en seksisme als typerend voor de witte Nederlandse psyche.

[ix]Dienke Hondius. Terugkeer: Antisemitisme in Nederland rond de bevrijding. Amsterdam: SDU, 1990. Print. , Dienke Hondius. “A Cold Reception: Holocaust Survivors in the Netherlands and their Return.” Patterns of Prejudice 28.1 (1994): 47-65. Print.

[x]Philomena Essed and Kwame Nimako. “Designs and (Co)Incidents. Cultures of Scholarship and Public Policy on Immigrants/Minorities in the Netherlands.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 47 (2006): 281-312. Print.

[xi]Eigen vertaling: ‘Er is dan een gevoel, waarin de onwetendheid in beide gevallen een vorm van weten is. Onwetendheid beweert met overtuiging – “het gebeurt niet hier”. Maar het kan ook weigeren zijn, ontkennen – “Het kan hier niet gebeuren.” In een tolerante samenleving zijn we above and beyond. Het tegenovergestelde: in een onwetende samenleving, en een samenleving die negeert, racisme is binnen en niet erkend of niet herkend, bedekt, uit het zicht gehouden door anderen, als niet door zichzelf, door het middel van tolerantie. (410)