Racism in the low lands

A new survey by the Dutch research and strategy company Motivaction shows that the Dutch see themselves as more racist. I bring here a summary of several news sources, each of which brought the statistics just a bit differently. A few points for thought: there is no doubt that racism is bad, but what defines racism? Was this survey done only regarding allochtonen (ie, Muslim immigrants) or all minorities? It was very hard to understand from the articles themselves.

I think that putting together “insulting Mohammed” along with “immigrants should be fired first” and “there’s no problem with racist comments” is both misleading and unfair. By blurring the line and making it “easier and easier” to be a racist people might decide that since there’s no difference, they might as well go it the whole way.

Or in other words, political correctness either causes people to keep their opinions to themselves (thereby hurting freedom of speech and democracy) or causes them to be even more racist then they otherwise would be.

According to the survey, 11% of the Dutch are “hard core” racists – having no problem with discrimination and thinking that Ethnic Dutch are better than immigrants - with another 17% judged “soft core” racists who think that immigrants are lazy and impolite but are not going to do anything about it.

50% of the Dutch disapprove of Islam and are afraid of the influence of Muslims on Dutch society. 63% think Islam is incompatible with modern life in Europe. 57% don’t think insulting Mohammed deserves any punishment, even if it insults Muslims. 33% think it’s protected under freedom of expression. Most don’t see it as serious enough to require punishment.

Dutch think that Muslims, and especially Moroccans and Turks, suffer the most from racism, but they also think that Muslims are the most racist minority, especially Moroccans. 63% think that it’s the young Moroccans fault that they’re kicked out of clubs.

About 80% think the relationship between the different cultures is ‘stressed’.

Almost everybody thought racism exists in the Netherlands and according to 66% - it exists on a great scale. 80% think racism is going up and 33% think that they themselves have become racist the past few years.

In a similar research in Belgium, 60% of the respondents said they’ve said racist things in the past, though only 3.3% of them said they do so often.. 55% think that racism is not punished enough, with 18% disagreeing. 66% think the extreme right will win the next municipal elections.

78.7% said they’ve never been a victim of racism, though 63.2% think there’s more and more racism in Flanders, 43.1% in Brussels and 26.7% in Wallonia.

According to a recent press release by the Belgian Center for Equal Opportunities (Centrum voor Gelijkheid van Kansen en Racismebestrijding), complaints of racism in the workplace have gone up the past year from 924 complaints to 1,022. 15% are complaints of racism in the workplace, with another 33% of complaints of racism in recruitment.

Sources: Standaard 1 & 2, Gelderlander and Parool

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