Saturday, June 27, 2009

Should the Dutch government avoid the word "allochtoon"?

Noulo writes on his blog "10 reasons why being Allochtoon is cool", apparently even the immigrant blogosphere in the Netherlands has started discussing this "hot topic".

As Pieter Verbeek, a journalist for the government magazine "Re Public" noticed, Dutch government officials increasinly avoid using the word "allochtoon" in government documents and press releases.

The term "allochtoon" has a clear definition: Every person that has at least one parent that was born outside of the country (Netherlands).

Pieter Verbeek states the example of department of internal affairs spokesperson Vincent van Steen, who explained that "The word allochtoon is excluding too many people. It suggest that it is about people from outside, while usually its just people that are born in the Netherlands". Vincent van Steen replaced the word "allochtoon" by the word "people with a multicultural background".

This discussion among government officials is symptomatic of the Dutch discours on immigrants. In stead of tackling serious issues of social exclusion and xenophobia, this hotshot wants to replace a word while it excludes "TOO MANY" people. In other words, Vincent van Steen has no problem excluding "CERTAIN" people, but just not "too many".

The reason for this discussions is the fact that the debate on integration has become totally poisoned with anti-immigration sentiments within the Dutch Labour Party. Wouter Bos and Eberhard van der Laan, after losing the European elections, have decided to work harder on "fighting Moroccan importbrides". Instead of explaining and defending the concept of European citizenship and it's consequences.

The message is clear, the current Labour Party is refusing to work on a comprehensive policy on diversity just as it is unwilling to explain and defend European citizenship. They want immigrants to just become "Dutch", whatever that may be. And this government official is part of this consensus. He thinks it's "OK" to exclude "certain people", but just not "too many". I would call that a policy of "divide and conquer". It shows lack of creativity and leadership. Or as Jesus Christ said in one of the parabels: this is the guy that received a talent, but was affraid to use it, so he hid it. The Dutch Labour Party is affraid to use the mandate that it has received by it's voters.

As W. Shadid, Professor of intercultural communication at the Katholic University Tilburg, predicted in january in the article
Ethnic division and populism of the Dutch Labour Party
on the Dutch Labour Party's policy report “Divided past, Shared future”:

"Immigrants who continue to identify themselves with this political party (PvdA) will sooner or later be disappointed. A socially divided society in the past, and an even wider social division in the future would have been a more suitable title for the integration note of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA)."
So we cannot say we have not been warned.

Two sociologists, Dick Houtman en Peter Achterberg, predict (june 25th in a publication of the scientific institute of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA)) that the "Dutch Labour Party will fall apart". If nothing changes the Dutch Labour Party is heading for the "humpty dumpty" scenario.

So far the only answer from the leader of the Dutch Labour Party (Wouter Bos who recently declared a pair of RayBan sunglasses, 113 euros) came today in a speech to it's members: LOL.

A very insightfull article directly related to the problems the Dutch Labour Party is currently facing was published on the blog "The Brussels Journal" in march 2006 by Paul Belien: "Dutch Socialist Leader in Fear of Muslim Party Members Just after the municipal elections in 2006"

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