A Serious Talk for Two

I had a completely different post planned today. And I was initially going to post it at a completely different time. My original post was a light-hearted Search Term Bingo deal, where I take the strange and funny search terms and comment on them. Last time I did it, it went over quite well. And I do admit to lifting it from Chuck Wendig, or at least, the name for it. Search terms are a weird and wild world of their own, and with or without the Beard Master, I would have found some way to share it sooner or later.

But this isn’t a post about neither that or how fantastic beards are. This is a post about a few serious matters that I want to discuss. The occupy movement, and racism in the Netherlands. I know, there’s not much of a connection to the two subjects, outside of the fact that under normal circumstances I wouldn’t want to write a full post about either. I’ve reflected on racism in the Netherlands towards my own person before and my feelings towards it, but not casual racism in general. And the Occupy movement well…

I think I should just start with that.

When word first got out about the Occupy movement, I thought it was some bullshit thing started by spoiled unemployable rich kids who were jealous that the rich were rich and the poor were poor. If you’re a supported of the cause, I’ll kindly ask you to put away the flamethrower, I’m not attacking you people.

You see, I’m living far, far away in the Netherlands. I only get bits and pieces of the full thing. And often enough information slips through the seams and makes its way to me on the internet, like the Occupy movement did through Twitter, Tumblr, and image boards. And I’ll still stand by the fact that the way it started, I did not agree with them.

Then things happened, information came out in waves, outrage was everywhere. As it does with these kind of things.

As much as I didn’t care about the Occupy movement, I did think it was bullshit how mainstream media wasn’t covering this, and if they did cover it, the angle seemed all wrong. Distorted. Biased. Not surprisingly, it was biased towards the rich, because hey, who own everything again?

Then the violence rolled around. The stories that came out from that, especially in the term of lack of media covering, made me place question marks all around the place. This just didn’t make sense.

Last night, or maybe I should say the day before yesterday… How the hell do you deal with information that comes from drastically different time zones anyway?

Okay, sorry. It’s just something that always bugs me. Is it today? Yesterday? Day before yesterday? Either way, back to the topic.

The media blackout in New York. Now, I’m not an expert on political matters. I also won’t claim to know much about American law, or the enforcement of it. What I do know however, is that the police not only is in a position of authority, but also of example. And again, correct me if I’m wrong here, but what happened during the media blackout sounds illegal to me.

So not only are we dealing with police brutality, authoritarian figures setting a disturbing example of unacceptable behavior, but we’ve also got censorship on our hands.

Occupy movement or no, that is enough to make my blood boil. Who the heck is going to keep the peace, set the example, and uphold the law if the police is performing actions that outright go against what they’re supposed to stand for?

I can’t wrap my head around this. No matter how hard I try. It’s like trying to put a small rubber band around a bowling ball. It just doesn’t work.

Add to this that it happened under the command of a mayor and… Overload. Does not compute. Must smash.

The Occupy movement no longer has my ridicule or ire. I’m still not completely backing the movement yet, I still don’t know exactly what it stands for, and the information that keeps coming from the protestors side on what this is about often feels contradictory and confusing, so I’m not going to change my mind on that. Sorry, it just does not seem like my fight. To me it sort of feels like you’ve stumbled on something worth fighting for along the way. And for that, I hope something good comes out of this.

Because I honestly do not get much entertainment from the thought of living in a place where this can happen.

With that out of the way, I want to move on to my second topic.

Something that equally bothers me. I’ve talked about racism in the Netherlands before, and I recently came across an article about Sinterklaas that I wanted to share.

Growing up in the Netherlands, I never really saw what was wrong with the black-faced appearance of the “Black Petes”, But now that I’m an adult it’s extremely plain to see what’s wrong. The painful thing is that there are a lot of Dutch people who are against any change made to this for the sheer sake of tradition.

It’s a sad excuse to keep continuing with something as blatantly racist as this. Sacrificing humans to gods was a tradition in a lot of places in the world. Killing starved bulls as a spectator sport is a tradition in some places in the world.

The Netherlands has always had a bad track record when it comes to racism. The only people who would ever disagree are the native Dutch people. And they’re also the ones who are failing to see the implications of celebrating a holiday with black-faced characters. No matter how nicely you dress it up, it still is what it is.

And it isn’t okay.

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