Friday, 10 April 2015 - 08:28
Hidden racism a problem in Netherlands: Deputy PM
According to Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher, equality does not mean equal opportunities for everyone in the Dutch society, because the Constitution does not protect against prejudice and unconscious racism. He said this during the 7th Martin Luther King jr. reading in The Hague on Thursday. Asscher wants King's battle to "inspire us to ask ourselves: where do we have no patience? What is my freedom worth if not everyone is free?" He pointed to the over-representation of white men in the top of businesses, media and in politics, including his own cabinet and asked everyone to join hi in the fight against exclusion. "It affects all of us", he said. "We shoot ourselves in the foot with conscious and unconscious exclusion." Asscher also quoted police chief Gerard Bouman in his speech. In February Bouman voiced his concern about what he called "the insidious poison of exclusion" in an internal blog for all police employees. He mentioned police employees with a non-Dutch background having to face jokes and comments about their origin and faith. According to Bouman, this problem is not exclusive to Muslim officers, but affects anyone who deviates from the average. "If the norm excludes others, then the norm must change, not the other", Asscher added.