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Opinion: 'If only portraying a chink were a harmless joke'

'Yes, of course portraying a 'chink' is also racism,' Johan Fretz headlined his column on the site of Het Parool last Saturday (thanks for that!). It happened a week after the "big Who is the Mole-incident. Marije Knevel and Charlotte Nijs laughingly portray "gooks" for an assignment. As if it were an innocent joke. The reactions on (social) media don't lie - somewhere between anger and incomprehension to "we're losing it" by personalities like Wilfred Genee. 

If only it were a joke. AvroTros offers apologies as a "solution" and cuts out the excerpt. To some, this sounds like going deeply through the dust, but the real problem - namely, the impact and pain caused by this continuous portrayal - is not addressed. Moreover, the airing of this excerpt exposes a major systemic problem within the public system, the production house and broadcasting. 

In the latest episode of The world of the Chinese is to see how real the agonies, pain and impact of Chinese adopted, born and migrated in the Netherlands are. The report published last week by the Ministry of SZW on discrimination experiences of East Asians in the Netherlands confirms this once again.

Discrimination is a conscious unconscious choice. Conscious because no one on the production team thought it was a problem to gain ratings with this. Unconsciously because the problem runs much deeper. It is almost vicious. No one sees the problem. People are unconscious of existing prejudices especially due to the lack of representation through the media chain and the media portrayal. 

After a year full of Black Lives Matter protests, we mostly think we know and understand what racism or discrimination is. However, we must not rest on our laurels. To break through unconscious prejudices, we will have to remember that everything is relative and each of us has privileges. Only by continuing to ask self-critical questions and really learning to listen, really being open to other perspectives will we move forward.

Dear Who is the Mole, AvroTros and NPO: let's actually create the feeling of 'together'. We are ready.

Hui-Hui Pan, founder Pan Asian Collective and also board member of the Meldpunt Discrimination Regio Amsterdam

Source: Het Parool, click here for the article.

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