Antwerp: "A Belgian Family"

Yesterday a fire broke out in the Borgerhout neighborhood of Antwerp.  As Belgian news reports:  "In  a powerful fire in an an apartment.. three young children of a Belgian family were mortally wounded yesterday evening" (HLN, Dutch)

I find it extremely strange to find such a sentence about something that happened in Belgium itself.  I also do not understand what they mean.  This family is Belgian in the sense that all people who live in Belgium are "Belgians", so obviously they mean something else. 
Borgerhout is a neighborhood with a high immigrant population, but I suppose many of them have Belgian citizenship.  Do they mean it's a family with Belgian citizenship or an "ethnic" Belgian family? 

Why did the news feel the need to add that descriptive phrase?  Media today like to be politically correct.  They will try not to mention immigrants and minorities in a bad context but many times they do try to hint to their readers and viewers what they mean. 

This is how I understand what the media are saying In this case.  They are telling their readers "this is something you should care about.  We know you know there are many immigrants there, and you might think that this is an immigrant family and flip to the next channel, but this is really one of ours.  You should care."

I think it's understandable when you're talking about disaster halfway across the world.  Every country emphasizes what happens to its own citizens for those worrying back home.  But when you're talking about a disaster in your own backyard?  I would call that pure racism.

See also: Belgium: Comments on political correctness

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, I would call your auto-destructive opinions pure stupidness. If you really think that everyone who stands inside belgian borders are belgians cause they have been gifted with a card by some bureaucrats, it means you are blind or you are a PC-fanatical. Take a look at France: that's how all Europe is going to be. A burning flame. And that does not have nothing to do with "race". It is as simply as to recognize that it is stupid to think that a real belgian can be "manufactered" by subsidies, bureaucratism and multiculturalism. If you think that a arab-speaker, muslim, burka-ed, saudian women is as belgian as you it means you are crazy. Fool yourself as you prefer.

Esther said...

Hi anonymous,

If you would read what I wrote you would see it has nothing to do with whether an immigrant family can or should be called Belgian.

When the news wrote "Belgian" they meant "ethnic Belgian". Otherwise, they would either not have bothered, or would told us that these were immigrants.

I wrote this article since I thought a headline "Belgian family injured" for a story that happened in one of Belgium's major cities was ludicrous and racist.

Just think how you would react if you saw a headline "American killed in car crash in New York". What do you think it says about the journalist who would write that and what do you think it says about New York?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's exactly what I understood the first time I read this article. Your reply simply doesn't add anything to the topic.

The anonymous

Anonymous said...

If the report had stated "Immigrant family", would that have been 'less' racist, or 'more' racist, if such nuances can be argued?

Copenhaguoise said...

You can have all french ID or belgian passports you want, it does not mean you´re french or belgian . As long these people will behave as muslims in our countries they ´ll never integrate, as long they´ll prefer their own culture and show us islam IS the way to follow, they´ll never integrate.
And yes take a look at France, we get more and more fed up and the explosion´ll happen one day as people begin to open their eyes.

Islamists should think at prepare a suitcase with coran and burkas, we never know!!!

Joachim Martillo said...

Is not the term "ethnic Belgian" an oxymoron?

Before the 1960s Belgium hosted primarily people of Flemish and Walloon ethnicity with a German minotiry and a smaller mostly ethnic Ashkenazi (Yiddish) population.

In response to Copenhaguoise I have to note that a Flemish, Walloon, or German Belgian is far more likely to share values, loyalties and culture with a Francophone Arab Muslim Belgian living in Antwerp than with a Yiddish-speaking Hassidic Jewish Belgian living in Antwerp and working in the diamond business.

From the standpoint of European Jews whose primarily loyalities lie with the State of Israel and Zionism, demonization and defamation of Muslims has the desirable side-effect of decreasing the apparent otherness of Jews as the apparent otherness of Muslims is increased.