And so it was tha our current minister of Justice came out today arguing something we at KV have been arguing for some time (and here. And most recently here): Hirsch-Ballin: Stop using the word 'allochtone' (NL).
Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin (CDA, Justice) thinks it 'good' if the words allochtone and autochtone are no longer used. 'Maybe we should get rid of that use of words, because it creates false paradoxes.'Reactions from the less left side of the Dutch political spectrum weren't favorable.
'We should realize that we all have a lot in common in our country. I don't like the labelling that divides our country in two, for example the conflict that is created between autochtones and allochtones,' according to the CDA minister.
The opposition from the right rejected Hirsch Ballins siggestion to stop using the words allochtone and autochtone. According to the VVD (liberal conservatives - KV) he'd better deal with real problems, in stead of 'whining' about the use of language.It really is a shame that the unexpectedly good suggestion by our minister of Justice is immediately spoiled by a Vogelaar, who wants to replace one bland label with an even blander label. As if changing the label solves the problem. I am sorry to be the bringer of bad tidings, but re-labelling a bottle of vinegar does not make for a good Cabernet Sauvignon.
The plan initially gathered support from Ella Vogelaar. The minsiter of Integration suggests alternatives: 'new Dutch' or 'newcomers'. Vogelaar further feels that people should be careful calling persons 'Turk' or 'Moroccan'. She prefers 'Turkish Dutch' or 'Moroccan Dutch'.
The PVV however is of the opinion that the cabinet should stop with 'politically correct piffle' and start dealing with the problems that "no matter how one spins it are largely connected to immigration and integration."
At the same time I find myself disagreeing with those that represent me best in Dutch politics. We *should* get rid of those infernal two words. As we wrote on this blog two years ago:
Now, 'allochtoon' has gone through a remarkable transformation over the years, its definition getting more and more narrow. While it started out including even Western immigrants, it fairly quickly was used to refer to non-western non-natives. And of late it seems to be even more narrow, referring to non-western, non-native, Islamic citizens. When new legislation is made on behalf of 'allochtones' it is usually after some problem has cropped up with regard to either Moroccan or Turkish minorities. When the word is used in conservation, 99.9% of the time it'll refer to Moroccan or Turks or others hailing from Islamic societies. The chances of someone referring to problems with Ghanese when using the word are zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.If the minister of Justices suggestion allows us to call a spade a spade (and a jihadist a jihadist, or a muslim a muslim), I am all for it. Let's stop using the word 'allochtone'. It lumps in too many innocent bystanders with the bad apples that are making Dutch society less pleasant then it could be. Let us start naming the ones that cause us so much strife, and do something about them ('Benoemen en Bouwen' as Doekle Terpstra would have it).
Proper dealing with a problem starts with properly defining the problem.
Wouldn't it be grand, and just, and liberating, to be able to tell a bearded polygamist arguing for Sharia provisions: 'You're a wahabi fanatic and that bothers me', without feeling the guilt of condemning everyone with a foreign passport? Without being branded a racist?
[UPDATE001 Tuesday 26-2] English versions of the Hirsch-Ballin suggestion here and of the reactions from PVV and VVD here.