At the end of the seventies the racist party The Volksunie (People´s Union) emerged, calling for the establishment of a „white nation“. In a number of working-class areas in Den Haag (The Hague) and Amsterdam the Volksunie managed to obtain 3 percent of the vote. The Volksunie was banned but the racist Centrum Partij (Centre Party) soon made its appearance. In 1982 this party won a seat in parliament. Their following at subsequent elections grew.
Although the (white) Dutch people did at that point have proof of the existence of racism in the Netherlands, they did not relate this to society as a whole....
4.5 Cultural racism in the Netherlands
Racism is a cultural fact, both socially and historically. In their books Memmi (8) and Essed (3) indicate how even in colonial times racism was used to justify exploitation.
This means that racism has been a demonstrable part of the fabric of Dutch culture since the colonial era. Views on the inherent inequality, and inferiority of ethnic minorities as well as closely related ideas concerning the nature of people of colour, form the basis for the depiction of these people in books, newspapers, travel-reports, language, religion and art. A systematic trend can be observed in the discourse on ethnic minorities. It is taken for granted that white Dutch people are more expert, even in matters concerning the personal lives and outlooks of ethnic minorities, than the ethnic minorities themselves.
4.6 Racism in the media of the Netherlands
The image of the unemancipated, criminal, exotic, athletic ethnic minority is systematically portrayed in media reports and in advertising.
In recent years an unwritten code has been established by the daily press agreeing not to mention nationality or country of origin when reporting crimes, unless it is relevant to the nature of the crime committed. The establishment of this code was the result of protests by ethnic minorities and their indigenous allies against the practice of only mentioning this information in reports of a negative nature. If, for example, a member of an ethnic minority achieves a great sporting feat, it was customary to mention the fact that a „Dutch“ person was involved.
Nevertheless, it is still the rule rather than the exception that reports on ethnic minorities are written in a way that negatively influences their image.
Common trends in the media with regard to ethnic minorities
- generalization: in the media distinctions between ethnic minorities are often ignored.
- ethnic minorities are almost invariably presented by the media as a problem. Reports on their positive influence on Dutch society are rare
- where ethnic minorities are concerned, the principle of hearing both sides is seldom applied; indigenous experts may present their case, but experts from the communities of ethnic minorities may not
- ethnic minorities are seldom allowed access to the media when acting on their own initiative; the presence of ethnic minorities in the Netherlands is, except in reports of a negative nature, hardly perceptible. The media do not reflect the multi-ethnic nature of present–day Dutch society.
4.7 Institutional racism in the Netherlands
A growing pool of data about the poor social status of ethnic minorities in the crucial fields of education, employment and housing, as well as results from recent scientific studies undeniably point out the existence of racism.
Dutch people have always attempted to deny the existence of racism in their society but in view of the wealth of compelling evidence they are now forced to admit its presence. The poor social position of ethnic minorities tends to be explained by the short-comings of the ethnic minorities themselves. They are ill-educated or trained in the wrong professions, they have insufficient command of the language, they lack motivation etc.
....The employment situation of ethnic minorities is not only characterized by a low occupational level but also by exclusion. Unemployment among the various ethnic minority groups averages between 17 % (Surinamese) and 30 % (Moroccans)
(10). In a survey among Turkish and Moroccan heads of family, the Central Bureau voor de Statistiek (Central Statistical Office) has shown that nationality clearly affects the chances of being unemployed. The survey also shows unemployment to be far more common with second-generation ethnic minorities than with Dutch nationals, even when the comparison is narrowed down to Dutch people with a low level of education. Discrimination is finally starting to be recognized as a serious impediment, even when deficits in training have been overcome.
In a 1992 survey, personnel managers openly admitted to preferring not to hire ethnic minorities in their companies (in particular when the job involves dealing with the public).
In addition, methods of recruiting and selecting based on tradition, irrelevant job-requirements and the fear of unrest in the organization are detrimental to the chances of ethnic minorities.