Today a dark skinned Dutch rapper was stopped by police. The officer openly admitted he that because he hadn’t recognised him and found a black man in an expensive car to be rather suspicious. A few days earlier a white Dutch actor who played a black-face character for years, quit the job because TV execs didn’t agree on his demand to discontinue this tradition. A week before that a black television personality announced her decision to go into politics. Only to be greeted by a Facebook page made in her ‘honour’ which was flooded with racist abuse.
Yet, many people will claim that racism is not a problem in the Netherlands, or the world for that matter.
One of the most jarring and annoying things I find in debates surrounding racism and class war, is the right wing shtick of accusing others to “play the race card”.
The whole insinuation and choice of words is misleading and false. It pretends this “race card” is some sort of trick up one’s sleeve to win a discussion. As if the matter of race is not essential in the practical matter but merely a debate tool to derail a discussion. It implies mentioning of race is optional and literally a trump card (no pun intended) to play when out of other ways to get your way.
This is a false sentiment and a vile way of erasing an essential part of the political analysis of the problem. Racism and class war are exactly what created this situation, so it has to be discussed. Nobody “plays the race card” – people are simply analysing the problem, and when they do they find stuff that others do not like.
It was as if I find a puddle of water in my living room, look around and see a broken pipe sticking out of the cracked wall. “The plumbing is broken, that’s what caused this water!” – But then my housemate would go: “Hey! Stop playing the plumbing card! The floor is wet and we need to dry it up!”
This example brings me to the point of pragmatism. A lot of times, the establishment will plead that they are pragmatic and focus on the matter on hands. But they fail to analyse the dialectic. They fail to see how the present is shaped up by the past and how the present is shaping up the future. It might as well be the same people that back i high school didn’t like history lessons. “What do I care what happened in the past?” It might as well be the people that cynically spit on “White man’s guild” and don’t want to carry responsibility of slavery, colonialism and the genocide in the new world.
It’s not a choice to recognise this or not. This thing happened, and it made you and your society what it is today. You’re not admitting defeat or throw yourself to the lions when you acknowledge this. It’s not irrelevant because it happened so long ago and you had no part in it. This thing formed the situation we have today and that you are reaping the benefits from. Slagging it off as liberal guild tripping or similar of such nonsense, is a form of censorship. You are actively erasing parts of history that don’t suit you.
Racism is a problem, if you like it or not. Pretending it isn’t makes you part of the problem. Looking for ways to manoeuvre yourself into the role of the victim makes you part of the problem too. Erasing the history, ignoring the problems and putting your own interests in front of those of different colour is exactly what racism is.