There's only one race: the human race
by Eduard Schaepman, on 25 Jun 2020
On 16 June I posted a message on LinkedIn with a picture of 6 men and one woman, who participated in the 'Talk of the Town'. This group, including myself, was invited by the Provada and Vastgoedmarkt to come and talk about leadership in the real estate world (or rather the lack of it, you can read more about that in my previous blog).
The post turned out to be interesting: 25,246 people have read it; 220 people have liked it and 11 commented. One of those comments came from Willemijn Maas, business director at Nederlands Dans Theater: "Talk of the Town by six white men and one woman! What do you mean talk of the town? Which town is that?"
Her comments resulted in 30 likes and 3 comments. I was typing a response myself, but my wife was ahead of me: "Judging the town of people on their qualities and not on male/female or skincolor. It would be discrimination not to put these people at one table because they are all white, but have the expertise and quality, that would be very narrow-minded, Willemijn Maas".
Unfortunately, no response from Willemijn Maas, so it was the end of the discussion. Or wasn’t it? Not for me, anyway. I notice that I have the feeling that it's not right what's going on, but that I can hardly place it. A response is often tagged down, but I can't say anything either. Certainly not when a white person, a catholic, married patrician and entrepreneur with children, is now also seen as a criminal.
So, in response to the prejudice of Willemijn Maas - because that's it, I have put my thoughts on paper (and had the Niccolumn from 2016 as inspiration). A bias is a judgement that is not based on knowledge, but on an assumption (and Willemijn apparently assumes that people differ in qualities or expertise when they have a different skin color.
During my holidays in Belgium, for instance, I have heard for years that I am a 'stupid Dutchman, cheese head and greedy guy'. Do I feel insulted by that? No, I don't. Do I feel discriminated? Of course not, because all Belgians are stupid and eat fries and waffles all day long. I won't lie awake from a remark like that.
When I was in primary school, we moved from Den Bosch to Apeldoorn. Even before anyone had exchanged a word with me, I was that 'stupid Brabo with a soft G'. Did I feel insulted? No, of course not. We even made it a little worse by constantly singing a very typical song. We had fun! From Apeldoorn to Maastricht I was suddenly 'he from above the rivers', but that didn't bother me very much. I knew who it came from; Limbo's and they stink of asparagus piss and you can hardly understand them (I was born in Beek Limburg myself).
So just to be clear: all Muslims are radical, all people with a different skin colour are worth less than the white ones, Belgians are stupid, Germans still ride our bikes with their thick beer bellies, Chinese have a micropenis and eat sambal with everything, French people only drink wine, and in Russia vodka is like water. It is so stupid that I have to laugh about it.
'They' would think I'm a racist, an Islamophobe. I was already a stupid Dutchman, greedy, cheesehead, from under the rivers, and if you continue, I'm sure a Dutch tax evader, colonial weed dealer, and an oppressive import Brabo. But people will now think that I am also an abuser of white privilege, because yes people, I personally chased all the black slaves into the cotton plantations and celebrated a racist Sinterklaas party as a child.
But it is a mortal shame that people don't know the difference between prejudice, discrimination and racism. A prejudice is a judgement that is not based on knowledge, but on an assumption. So, you just have to laugh about it. Discrimination is about what people do, treating someone unequally. As far as I know everyone in the Netherlands is allowed to do the same thing: we are all allowed to take the bus (with a mouth guard), all go to the zoo, the doctor, the synagogue, the mosque, the church, go to school, make a report, start political movements etc, etc, etc. Discrimination based on characteristics such as origin and skin colour is called racism. People who are racist think that their own ethnic origin is better than other ones. If you ask me, there is only one race, the human race.
And still they keep rambling on about races, instead of people. In all my journeys to the nomadic tribes that still exist, it has become clear to me that 99.9% of the people in the world are great people. People you can look into their eyes, with who you can have a nice conversation. And when I look into those eyes, I am not focused on race, color, gender, orientation or red or purple hair. In the eyes, I see the soul of people's good nature.
So. I am curious to see what kind of shit I’ll have to deal with this time.