A selection of British front pages from the past few weeks. Image via Nick Lowles.

Now, when I speak about control of mainstream media platforms and their responsibility in shaping public discourse, this is exactly what I have in mind. Framing these discourses as institutional and institutionalized racism is usually met with hand wringing and denial. There isn’t such a thing as institutional or institutionalized racism! We are in the 21st century, we are told. Those are things of the past! Europe is the most tolerant and enlightened! Human rights RAH RAH RAH! etc ad nauseum. I could probably compile a similar graphic with images from Dutch media because these ideas are so pervasive across all the EU.  

Last month I wrote about a study on depression released in The Netherlands and I highlighted how the figures showed that People of Color are disproportionately affected in much greater numbers than white Dutch people. Since I wrote that post I’ve been thinking a lot about how media portrayals of PoC affect our self perception and, in turn, our self esteem and mental health. One recurring notion that I’ve been considering is how media will constantly publish outlandish proposals from local politicians involving threats of deportations even for those who were born in The Netherlands but are not ethnically Dutch. This functions as a constant reminder of our precarious situation and, in turn, serves a purpose of disciplining potential dissent. Naturally, these proposals of deportations are never carried away, they are merely a rhetorical device for populist politicians to garner support for their racist and xenophobic platforms. And yet, in spite of the fact that these proposals are just air balloons, they deeply shape our standing and perception. Media constantly reminding us that we are precarious, temporary, open to be uprooted at the whim of the white majority.

Those who speak Dutch (or have the patience to use google translate) should pursue the blog “The Netherlands speaks”. There is an endless compilation of these ideas from all over Dutch social media, specifically targeting People of Color (regardless of their place of birth) with threats of deportation. In turn, mainstream media echos these views when they come from politicians like Geert Wilders or similar ones. Across all these platforms the same idea resonates: you are not one of us and, above all, you are not wanted.

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