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A court just confirmed: To be Dutch is to be white

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02.10.2021

“Please come with me, sir.”

That is what Mpanzu Bamenga, a city councillor and academic from Eindhoven, Netherlands, heard soon after arriving at the airport of his hometown following a short work visit to Italy in 2018.

He quickly realised that he had been selected for an extra security check because he is a Black man. After all, he was a Dutch national arriving at a Dutch airport, holding a Dutch passport. It was clear that there was no obvious reason for him to be singled out like this – other than the colour of his skin.

This was not Bamenga’s first experience of racial profiling in the Netherlands – this is, after all, not a rare experience for Dutch nationals from minority backgrounds. I myself have been pulled out of the passport control cue at the Schiphol Airport for a “routine” security check in the past. I was on my way to a conference in the United Kingdom, where I would give a lecture on, I am not making this up, racial profiling.

When faced with such discrimination, we all want to scream: “Is this because of the colour of my skin, is this because you think I do not look Dutch enough?” but we don’t usually say anything out loud, because we do not want to agitate the customs officer and be held longer than necessary. We go along with it and swallow the pain.

But after his experience in 2018, Bamenga decided to do something about it. He first lodged an official complaint. And later, with the backing of rights groups like Amnesty International, RADAR, Controle Alt Delete and PIPL-NJCM, he brought a case against the Dutch government to end racial profiling.

Marechaussee police force (Kmar), which is in charge of border security in the Netherlands, tried to legitimise its officer’s decision to single out Bamenga for special questioning by claiming that he had........

© Al Jazeera


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