Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bad news


I nearly threw up my breakfast travelling on the train to uni today.

Picked up the paper, and what do I see?
"Allochtones would rather pay with cash" [Allochtoon betaalt liever cash]
What was it about? According to a public opinion poll, it 72% of the 'allochtones' (my definition: all non-white people, including those born and bread here) would rather pay with cash, while 16% would rather pin (pay with their card: personal identification number). This is compared to 61% of 'autochtonous' Dutch people who prefer to pin. The poll was conducted with around 1200 'authochtones', and 600 'allochtones'.

The explaination given by the public opinion bureau is this:
Firstly, the language problem, since the 'allochtones' have problems with reading and difficulty knowing what is in the display of the pin-machine. And also many 'allochtones' are born (and here I quote:
" in rural areas. They come from the mountains and there [to pay with pin] is relatively unknown. They did not grow up with it."
To be fair, a spokesperson for the research bureau Currence argues that young 'allochtones' pay with their cards more than older 'allochtones'. But even so, they still pin less than 'autochtones'. Explaination?
"Often the father goes once a week to get money, with which the mother goes shopping. Dutch children get a youth account quickly, and so come into contact with pin-cards".
To continue, the conclusion is that for 'allochtones' "Paying with [cards] has not yet been integrated."

What horrible flawed and misleading arguments!
What a meaningless research!

How does this in any way contribute to the understanding, integration and mutual respect of non-natives in this country, or elsewhere? If anything, it paints all 'allochtones' with one colour (and indeed skin colour is what it's all about), and plays on those stereotypes that lead to increasing racism and xenophobia.

First of all, it pepetuates the myth that all so-called 'allochtones' are backward and illiterate and not integrated into Dutch society. I mean please, how many 'allochtones' really stem "from the mountains"...and how many 'allochtone' fathers go to the cash machine just once a week, while the mother goes shopping with big wads of cash in her hand?

Second of all.... why are 'autochtones' doubly represented (1200 respondents), whereas 'allochtones' only represented by 600 people. And besides, where did they get these people, and when? And what does paying with a card have anything at all to do with how much you are integrated into society? Are you supposed 'more Dutch' because you pay with a card more? Scandalous!

The article goes on to say that 'allochtones' have a higher tendency of "impulse-buying", the reason being because "they have the money", since "Impulse-buying [happens] when you don't need to pay attention to your wallet". In effect, the research implies foreigners are rich, while locals are poor. Foreigners are careless, while locals are thrifty.

Again, pepetuating the myth that there is a relationship between your spending behaviour and your (ethnic/racial) background. One consequence of this suggestion is to add to the general mis-conception that 'allochtones' come to this country, don't work and just claim state benefits.

If you just read bigoted and racist remarks on the discussion board after this news item, you can tell these misconceived ideas and stereotypes are exactly the ones that the so-called research into pin-ning pepetuates.

This is what I call really bad news.

1 comment:

Serenity said...

I bet you're just from the mountains yourself, where people don't get to read such awesome articles, and you just can't fully understand it.

*Tickles* Just kidding.

You're right, it's a horrible article, and some of the comments are just .. pure racism.

(Sorry if I double posted >.>)

.. Actually, those mountains don't seem so bad at all.