Wednesday, 12 March 2014 - 09:48
Intern claims ING racism
A student from Rotterdam, Reedie, feels that he has been discriminated against by a staff member of ING. Reedie had set his sights on an internship with the bank, but received an internal email by mistake in which he is referred to as "that crook from Curaçao". He has filed a statement. The 23-year old Reedie studies business economics, and would have done an interview with ING end January. After some back-and-forth emails, he accidentally received a mail which said "That crook from Curaçao maybe wants to come this afternoon at 15.00. Are you in the house then?" The Dutch term which was used is 'boef', which formally translates as someone who has committed a crime, but is informally used as an old-fangled way to refer to rogues, cheats or crooks. Most often, the word 'boef' is associated with naughty, rebellious children. "I read that mail several times and could literally not believe my eyes" Reedie says, bewildered. "I have really never experienced this before." Reedie went to the ING headquarters to speak about the issue. After waiting for some time, it was more than the student could take, and he went to the police to issue a statement. On the way to the police department, Reedie received a phone call from the staff member concerned, who called it a "joke." Reedie wasn't laughing. "Discrimination is unacceptable. I don't know this man, he has never seen me before, but he still calls me 'that crook from Curaçao'. What does that have to do with anything?" Reedie says he has a blank rap sheet. He only wants to tell his story once. "It is ridiculous to make people aware that these types of things seem to happen. But allochtonen have the same rights as others for an internship." An allochtoon is a Dutch term for a non-Western migrant. As well as issuing a statement with the police, Reedie has also alerted anti-discrimination bureau RADAR about the issue. The Hoogeschool Rotterdam is going to take the case high up, and calls it shameful and unacceptable. A letter has been sent to ING requesting clarification. "This is a very raw form of racism", head of Hogeschool Rotterdam Ron Bormans says. "We highly condemn this. It is worrisome that feelings that apparently exist in society, arrive at our students in this manner. An internship should be a safe place for our students." ING is pressing that they "highly regret" the issue, and have taken suitable measures against the staff member, a Dutch product specialist. "This staff member's choice of words was shameful and goes against all our principles. We have offered our sincere excuses to the Hogeschool Rotterdam and the student." The ING has offered a new internship, but Reedie refused it. With the excuses offered to Hogeschool Rotterdam, the issue has been squashed. The Social Economic Council will soon arrive with a recommendation to tackle discrimination in the workplace.