Dutch children in the 1980s sing about being ‘brown’

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Children in the Netherlands

The VARA television station has a show called ‘Kinderen voor Kinderen’ (‘Children for Children’) that has been around since 1980 and lets children ask for songs to be written on topics that interest them, ranging from a girl getting her breasts to a boy with Attention Deficit Disorder and everything in between.

According to Wikipedia, the 1984 song ‘Bruin’ (‘Brown’) falls under the category ‘taunting and mobbing’, avoiding using adult words like ‘discrimination’ or even ‘racism’. Would a song like this that claims it’s trying to discourage ‘taunting and mobbing’ of a non-white Dutch boy actually be socially acceptable today? When I first watched it, my jaw dropped probably because there’s no politically correct wording that you’d be strongly encouraged to use today. In the end, the ‘brown’ boy actually sings that maybe white people aren’t so mean after all, implying that stereotypes are a two-way street. The music and choreography are fun to watch.

Here is a taste of the more straight up lyrics:

I would rather be paler
Then I wouldn’t be so insecure
Then I wouldn’t be so sad
And not as mad when they called me names
(White chorus sings) ‘He’s so brown’

(Photo of random children: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

1 Comment »

  1. […] learn from adults? Well, after telling you about children not being white enough for Dutch schools, children singing about the difficulties of being brown and even calling each other ‘swear words’ like ‘homo’ and […]

    Pingback by 24 oranges » Book teaches kids to pick out non-natives — February 8, 2017 @ 10:25 am

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