You Are a Dark Person after All

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: Booth 60
Oral Presentation
Baukje PRINS , Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Hague, Netherlands
In the 1960s I visited one of the first racially mixed primary schools in the Netherlands. Half of the 200 pupils were second generation Moluccan children, whose parents felt forced to leave their home country in 1951 in the aftermath of the decolonization of the Dutch East Indies. Some forty years later I recorded the lifestories of 35 of my former classmates. This paper will focus on the  extent in which the native Dutch, as members of the ethnic majority, and the Moluccan-Dutch,  who perceive themselves as second generation political exiles, identify with Dutch society. More specifically, it will analyze how their accounts tap into but also resist dominant discourses of race, ethnicity and culture. While the stories of the native Dutch contain a range of images of the ‘other’, from special or pitiful to unsettling or inferior, and often express concern about the ability or willingness of  ‘foreigners’ to adapt to Dutch culture, the Moluccan accounts appear to be devoid of any imagery of immigrants as ‘other’, as well as any concern about cultural integration. On the other hand, while most native Dutch emphatically emphasized that they consider Moluccans to be part of ‘us’, the Moluccan accounts testified that, due to their different culture or outward appearance, they cannot but identify as ‘other.’