February 8, 2017

Book teaches kids to pick out non-natives

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 10:24 am

Children in the Netherlands

You know that bit folks say that children aren’t born racist, they just repeat and mimic what they 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 ‘Jew’, a schoolbook has been lambasted for driving yet another racist wedge of cheese between children of various backgrounds at school.

A Dutch publisher is peddling a schoolbook aimed at 10-year-olds that asks them to judge if someone is a native or non-native Dutch person. It’s true that Statistics Netherlands claims that anyone who has one or both parents born abroad is a non-native, even if they have the Dutch nationality. In other words, you’ll never be part of the club, so get used to it young.

The statements include phrases such as ‘Fatima prefers to listen to Dutch songs’, ‘Michael has rasta hair’ and ‘Jefte has a great sense of rhythm’. The publisher says the aim is to make it clear to children that the words ‘allochtoon’ (‘non-native’) and ‘autochtoon’ (‘native’) relate to the place where people were born, based on the Van Dale junior dictionary, which by the way is wrong. A child can be born in The Netherlands of foreign parents, making them an ‘allochtoon’ according to the definition. The word ‘allochtoon’ is mostly used in a pejorative way as a synonym of all kinds of unkind words for non white people. For example, I’m an ‘allochtoon’, but if I say that I am, I get a round of laughs and that it doesn’t count. Try it if you’re in a position to do so, see what happens and report back to us.

The word ‘allochtoon’ is currently being phased out by the government and the media because it stigmatises people, a step in the right direction. Sadly, the educational publisher didn’t get that memo since even reading the definition of a word in a children’s dictionary is beyond their reading skills.

Maybe teaching children about how to avoid racism and discrimination altogether would be a much more useful exercise.

(Links: dutchnews.nl, photo of random children: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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May 24, 2015

Some children ‘not white enough’ for school

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 1:52 pm

The disturbingly casual Dutch terms ‘black schools’ and ‘white schools’ in the Netherlands, particularly in Amsterdam refer to schools with ‘kids that don’t look Dutch’ and ‘kids that look Dutch’ because Dutch is code for Caucasian and everything else gets lumped into ‘black’.

Unfortunately but not surprisingly, ‘black schools’ don’t do as well as ‘white schools’, and smart parents of both groups try to get their kids into ‘white schools’. Many parents will claim to want their kids to go to a ‘mixed school’, but they are only considered good schools when there’s more ‘white’ kids than ‘black’ kids.

Two schools in one neighbourhood decided to challenge this segregation by getting the ‘kids that don’t look Dutch’ to wear T-shirts that say ‘Is this white enough for you?’, so that two ‘mixed schools’ don’t close because more parents are sending their kids to ‘white schools’ in other neighbourhoods. It’s sad that small children are being taught that their skin colour is putting people off, to put it mildly.

Amsterdam is a city that proudly keeps counting how many different nationalities live together in harmony, but when it comes to schools, segregation is commonplace.

(Link: politiek.thepostonline.nl, Photo of wilted tulip by Graham Keen, some rights reserved)

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October 21, 2010

Fresh Prime Minister Rutte to keep his other job as high school teacher

Filed under: Dutch first,General by Branko Collin @ 10:02 pm

Mark Rutte, the first liberal Dutch Prime Minister since WWI, has told parliament in a letter that he will keep a teaching position at a high school in The Hague.

Rutte teaches a two-hour sociology and civics class (maatschappijleer) to VMBO students at the Johan de Witt College. He won’t be remunerated for his second job, RTL Z reports. Rutte has moved his two-hour class from Friday to Thursday, as the former date would conflict with cabinet meetings.

VMBO is a practice oriented type of secondary school.

Queen Beatrix appointed Rutte and his right-wing cabinet last Thursday, brutally squashing hopes that the Dutch could take back the record for going the longest time without government.

(Photo by Petra de Boevere, some rights reserved)

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August 25, 2009

Laura Dekker ready to emigrate if she can’t sail

Filed under: Dutch first,General,Sports by Orangemaster @ 12:38 pm

While Britain is anxiously waiting for 17-year-old Mike Perham to sail into Portmouth on 29 August after having sailed around the world, 13-year-old Laura Dekker has had to lawyer up in order to fight for the opportunity to attempt the same feat for the Netherlands.

An English article about Perham ironically starts with “while most teenagers may have been losing sleep over their exam results during the past few days”, while the Dutch courts have called upon Child Services, claiming Dekker’s parents are keeping their child from school because her learning while on the sailboat is ‘nonsense’. If Child Services thinks that the parents are not doing right by Laura, there is talk of removing her from their custody.

To avoid this situation, Laura who has dual citizenship with New Zealand, is ready to emigrate – that’s how much Laura and her parents believe in this sailing journey.

Her lawyer tries to tell the courts about this exceptional teenager. “Laura is not just some girl. She was born on a sailboat and lived the first four years of her life on one at sea. She has all the necessary skills and qualities for this journey.”

He makes another good point as well. If we compare Laura to a 13-year-old gymnast, no one goes and checks to see if the gymnast goes to school or is brought up properly — they get support from an Olympic committee or a sports association.

So, are the Dutch Children’s Services not seeing the big picture or are they seeing it very clearly? Why are boys like Mike Perham and record holder Zac Sunderland of the US praised and encouraged, but Laura discouraged? Is she really too young or is a girl less capable? Stay tuned!

My personal, uneducated take is that the entire family could just skip town to New Zealand for a year. Then New Zealand can claim the world record for solo sailing around the world.

(Links: timesonline.co.uk, depers.nl, Photo of an entirely unrelated boat by the US Navy.)

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August 12, 2009

Teenager attempts sailing solo around the world record

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 8:51 am

Laura Dekker, 13 years old, is planning to attempt to sail around the world solo between 2009 and 2011, Algemeen Dagblad reports (Dutch). The current record is held by Zac Sunderland of the USA who finished his journey at age 17.

Dekker’s plan has drawn comments from naysayers who feel she is too young, should be in school, and who think her parents are irresponsible. Her response to these comments is one of indifference: “To be honest, I had expected the comments to be even worse. People do not know what they are talking about, so I won’t let it get to me.”

Preparations are going well, according to Dekker’s website. She will be sailing a Hurley 800, a boat made in Twente, and she will send and receive her high school homework using e-mail (she is still looking for a satellite phone, though). Dekker hopes to set sail this September.

(Photo of an entirely unrelated boat by the US Navy.)

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July 24, 2009

iPhone developer course starts in September

Filed under: Gadgets,Online by Branko Collin @ 1:09 pm

Competence Factory, the job education branch of Randstad-based employment agency Appoint, has started to offer a course in developing Apple iPhone ‘apps’.

The training starts in September, and has separate courses for programmers, designers and marketers. It costs 5800 euro to participate.

The course’s web page suggests developing iPhone apps may be “the new gold rush,” but programmer Adam Martin has some sobering data. The median turnover of an iPhone app developer was between 1000 and 5000 USD in May of this year, although Martin doesn’t say whether this is for one app, for one month or year, or for an entire career. Some 10% of those polled said they had no formal training whatsoever, so the numbers for trained app developers may be more uplifting.

(Link: Bright. Photo by William Hook, some rights reserved.)

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March 1, 2008

Symbols as furniture in high school

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Branko Collin @ 8:17 am

The frog once sang: it’s not easy being green. This ultra-cool reception area that Tjep designers came up with for a high school in Apeldoorn raises the question how easy it is being in green. Students get to sit on buttons of an old fashioned calculator, get to hang in “key” areas, and get to have meetings in a tiny see-through factory, all executed in bright green. The floor plan looks like a wonderful circuit board, with symbols from the realm of economics replacing plain old conductive pathways. The reception area is in the new economics building of ROC Apeldoorn, that’s why.

The design was nominated for a 2007 Dutch Design Award in the category interior design, where it was beaten by the reception area for chemicals company DSM — the ceiling-wide mirror of which just screams “illicit office sex” to me. But perhaps that’s just me. I’ll shut up now. Go watch the pretty pictures.

Source image: Dezeen Magazine.

Thank you for the tip, Laurent.

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