The Dutch And Racism

”In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race.” -Henry A. Blackmun

As if Zwarte Piet wasn’t enough, now the Dutch women’s magazine Jackie has run a headline describing pop star Rihanna as a “niggabitch.” The article described how to dress your daughter in fashion emulative of Rihanna, wrongly claims that Rihanna is from Jamaica (she’s from Barbados), and then hopes that your daughter won’t beat up on other kids in daycare. I’d never heard that term before, so I was pretty surprised when the editor of the magazine was quoted as saying “The term ‘n****bitch’ has blown over from America and we were only trying to highlight a style of clothing.” Jay Smooth, host of the longest running hip-hop radio show in NYC, notes that he’s never even heard the term before either. It isn’t just the use of a racial slur that’s offensive; the lack of fact checking regarding Rihanna’s country of origin and the implication that dressing your daughter like Rihanna will cause her to beat up kids at daycare are also problematic. The entire piece is demonstrative of a utter lack of critical thinking about race and racial issues that, in my experience, is frequent in Dutch society.

One Comment

  1. dmf

    I’ve heard it before. Not in a good way. It was pretty much always a low-class context. Either the person using it, or the person it was applied to.

    Or both.

    Strike that, not ‘or’. And.

    Not to question Smooth’s grasp on the cultural zeitgeist, but it has had its own urban dictionary entry for at least 7 years. Which doesn’t say anything except that it has existed in the US…

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