What's it Like Being Mixed in Europe? | Black Europeans Discuss

My name is Raul Balai, I’m 39 and my cultural background is Surinamese-Dutch My name is Jaak Albert I’m 67 I’m Kiangana, Kiangana Mupatshi I’m 31. I’m a mother and I’m Congolese-Belgian My mother was a Rwandan Tutsi-woman My white father, was a colonizer I’m Stephanie. I’m 28. And I’m Ghanaian-Belgian I think that Belgians have an image of distance (toward the Netherlands) that isn’t completely correct I don’t find the Netherlands more progressieve per se It’s organized differently, but it struggles with the same problems as every other country in Europe, regarding the colonial past and whiteness actually HALFBLOOD/DOUBLEBLOOD/METISSE/MULATTO’S ALWAYS STRUGGLE WITH THEIR IDENTITY BECAUSE THEY DON’T BELONG ANYWHERE versus HALFBLOOD/DOUBLEBLOOD/METISSE/MULATTO’S THEY HAVE THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS I think it’s nice how everyone immediately sighs – What do you think? – I think it’s a bit of a struggle anyway to be inbetween white and Black. And the second, what was that? I think that this ‘best of both worlds’ is what people often think it is You’re Black -and- white so you’re the best of both worlds But I think that in reality it’s something different – Yes, I can agree with that I think it’s a sort of myth Like: you can connect with white as well as Black people right? But in reality, you notice that it’s not like that per se and that I sometimes feel alienated from both cultures actually and I find that a burden especially. I don’t always find that amusing – Now that I hear those words…halfblood, doubleblood, metisse mulatto’s especially. I go back to my own history I am a child of the Belgian colony and there ruled segregation politics This meant that halfbloods, mulatto’s, got taken away from their mothers and they were put in some sort of boarding school and that was called Institute For The Mixed So all these children who when through this, really had a bad experience with that name It’s been ten years since I’ve cooperated with a book about ‘The bastards of the colonies’ We explicitly asked to not, in the future, use words like halfblood, mulatto doubleblood, anymore because those are dated terms The french word mulat refers to a mule – Yes, but it’s like that when you look at the colonies from any other country that for every form of being mixed and for different people with (specific) ethnic origines, there were different words In Surinamese you have Dogla, then you are according to me part Hindoe and part Chinese. And 1/8 this and 1/4 that, then there was again another word So it is very much also about white dominance – That’s right, but we asked ten years ago if we could have the work ‘metis’ without truncation sign, like in french, implement it as a standard word It’s a general word from someone of ‘strange’ origin. So a doubleblood We were criticized for that, because we were the first generation of Black and white parents but the quadroons had nothing That’s why we thought of ‘metis’

– But then you’re also double? When your 1/4th – Yes, I know, but and in your case, you’re so much. Than you cant speak of a doubleblood anymore? You are really completely a mix Terminology is important to me And that of the first generation had a very negative connotation – But you had the feeling that Because to me is a completely different context, the flemish context And especially when you compare this to Congo and the background you have Did you have the feeling, growing up in Belgium, that you were part of it or weren’t part of it – Part of it, you had to, like most here You don’t have to commit 100% but 200% to be accepted in society So do you belong? No, je really have to put in effort – Whether you’re born here or not – It should be normal being accepted like you are. And then ofcourse there’s the second statement that maybe fits then: the best of both world – what do you mean with ‘fits’ – The first generation, where I’m part of, tried to realize our identity And that they shouldn’t make a distinction for us under other population groups We are one And the cultures that were passed onto us by one or the other parent are an enrichment to this society I agree with that. As a group we’re important to the world to contribute something. I don’t know how you are looking at that? – I sometimes feel that when they think that racism is over if people mix, so to speak That when a ‘mixed’ someone arises that it’s the end of racism ‘because now we have made a baby.’ But sometimes I think that it isn’t at all where racism ends because how people choose a partner sometimes also has a racial dimension That they choose a Black partner because that partner is exotic or would be better in bed And sometimes people who internalized black inferiority also choose a white partner to belong so I think that when you’re a child of that combination, it can be very difficult to grow up with both parents who have this conflict And meanwhile, what you said about first generation, I also feel that I’m first generation. Each time when a Black person and a white person come together, it’s as if it’s the first time, while the the story of people who are mixed, exists longer – Ja, sadly enough society isn’t ripe yet so that this equality is extended We are all people, in the end What’s the definition of metis? Or what it says there: halfbloods – I have the feeling that it comes from forming an identity that comes forth within a white society because you are seen by the white majority as the Other while you – when we assume that you have a white parent and a Black parent – that you also know the white part and that you see that within your family but never belong to it, so it’s sort of Othering-in-the-making in a schizophrenic way, where people approach you as if you don’t know them while you know their culture, environment, etc. very well It’s also a part of your identity, which is the case for all non-white people, that isn’t being recognized Because of that there’s sort of an area of tension you’re forced to have your identity very much be determined compared to that from the white majority A friend comes from Jamaica, Femi Dawkins, also an artist and he has children with a white dutch woman At a certain point he had a discussion with his now ex-wife about the idea that there would be a race ware like situation and she said: [our children] are as accepted with white families as they with Black families He says: who do you think would open their door faster when this type of extreme situation would happen? Not with the white community, it will be with the Black community So the idea that you don’t belong anywhere

I think you share a common position toward the dominant group together with the Black community, where there’s a different type of coming home or safety is experienced that you don’t find in other situations – And that makes it so difficult for example, for children with my experience who under a political norm end up as orphan somewhere in a foster or adoptive family and ofcourse they end up in a completely white family. They don’t know any other world Then they have to adapt And then you have, especially during puberty, where each child has difficulties, it becomes even more difficult to look for that identity – Isn’t it so that us four, within this setting also are made into a group while our experiences and backgrounds are so diverse that we don’t have to be a group per se That difference alone: I do know my family and parents on both sides. That gives a whole other experience And you probably again have other experiences – Yes, I think that every mix brings their own story and specific feelings because, to me personally, I’m mix Belgian-Congolese I didn’t learn much about it in school, but since I’ve been schooling myself I find it quite painful that this is actually a lovestory between the oppressed and the oppressor; Ofcourse these two people weren’t thinking about that, but when you afterwards start researching your identity I find this very hurtful because you notice very quick that one story was dominant over the other and with who do you want to find a connection? I often veel now that it’s my Congolese side that I often want to protect and where I feel more at home often but that’s still not the world I’m living in, so in a way that’s still a bit romanticized. Even if I know it somewhat better now it’s never fully realistic. I just know the white side so much better but I don’t want to invest much into that anymore, I already know this – At the mean time I also understand that we sit together. That’s because we are being identified in society as having the same identity because it’s still about the one-drop rule that’s being continued This whole ‘half’. What half? Half of what? Also the mulatto is under a white horse, but above a Black donkey What I also wanted to say about adoption It seems a long time ago, but I feel like when I was growing up and my mother was attending to me, they would ask her: is your child adopted? So how this history still lives through. Because the fact that a white mother and a Black child wouldn’t belong together, has the consequence that today these questions are still being asked Thus keeping on for generations – All my life i’ve been looking for my roots, because I didn’t have an identity The government hadn’t given me the Belgian nationality, I didn’t have a birth certificate. It made my life concerning work, traveling much more difficult In the end I got the Belgian nationality at the age of 20 And short after that I became a policeman PARENTS OF BLACK/MIXED CHILDREN CAN’T BE RACIST Yes *laughs* – Then we have to establish first what definition of racism we use Because there are many possibilities – Yes, I’m afraid that that’s possible I’m afraid I’ve also witnessed it You ofcourse have the different ways where different cultures meet eachother. That can be very organic but also through a site for sex tourism I don’t know if everyone who found a Thai woman on the internet

is politically correct. That’s not so certain I know it’s possible. And it seems absurd but it definitely happens And it can have desastrous consequences – But is the word ‘racism’ then the correct use? – Yes Or exotising, where you’re together with someone based on his or her exotic appearance, but not engage with that person’s culture, causing a very important part that you’re skipping and when you start having children and there’s all these things that begin to surface and you discover parts about your partner’s culture and that it doesn’t happen correctly…yes, then you ofcourse have this situation – The example you’re giving about choosing women online that it often stems from the idea that western women are too free-spirited ‘I’m going for a philippine women now because she still serves me as a man’ and that it’s still exotising and creates a cliché image of how those women would be And the power dynamics that come to life when that person comes here and you have her at your home. There’s a huge control over that person’s life – Yes certainly. If she’s dependent from you. And that story can ofcourse be reversed. It’s not necessarily men There are enough women who find in similar ways a man because they want a mixed race baby so bad because that’s so beautiful. I find this an insane starting point to have children, but I fear it still happens alot – Or go to Suriname to find a Suriname man and take him back to the Netherlands – I find it a very difficult statement Parents can be racist towards a child…and whether the child is Black, halfblood, doubleblood…whatever background. Can those parents be racist? Towards the child? Or towards others? – Towards the child too, I think – I don’t think it matters Yes. I think the answer is in any way yes. Can parents be racist even though they have Black or mixed children? Yes, because racism is about power and about white superiority. And when you are a white parent then then you don’t just speak about white people, they can just as well have another origin – Yes – No, but I don’t believe that, like I said at the beginning What falls under racism? How I see racism, racism comes forth from a white ideology of dominance over the rest of the etnicities in the world so it’s not a reciprocal thing. So in that sense you can state that Black people can’t be racist. They can be, like they say in english, ‘bigoted’ have prejudices, discriminate…that’s all possible. But racism that is based on a scientific theory of skull measuring and on all these atrocities we know from the past, genocides from the America’s to Africa and Asia, everywhere. When you see that as the basis of racism then you don’t have a situation that when you as a person of color can play that power play. If you’re white then you are in that frame And when someone has a doubleblood or Black child in their own family, doesn’t mean that this person doesn’t participate in racist systems, because we often see racism as something limited to the kkk and adolf hitler. But people also passively do racist things And then it’s still racist You can adopt a Black child, but now with the coronavirus and what people say about Chinese and Asian people that are so racist that we collectively have to throw up from it – Well, I’m just trying to see it broaderand not only talk about this white supremacy but also…for example, take the Chinese They are racist as well towards other Asian peoples – Yes, but is that racism then? That’s where I have my doubts about – What is racism That’s where it starts. I might have a very simple answer to that question and that is: Could racism still existg when there are no longer any races? We’ve been so mixed throughout the centuries A research showed that the first tribes came from South Africa

and that they emigrated to the rest of the world because of local climate and type of work, people morphologically changed I have a difficulty speaking about ‘races’ – no but – – Discrimination, that I agree completely with. Discrimination, absolutely – But ‘race’ is something that came from imperialism, colonialism – – Otherwise, in the end, we wouldn’t have been here – I can say: my father was a colonizer. A Belgian colonizer But from my father I can’t say what race he was from That’s very difficult to trace because a Belgian is mixed with so many different populations – But also from other white people. the Celtish – The populations from now are racist towards eachother if something is not Take the Walloon and the Flemish – Yes or the Rwandan and Congolese – Those aren’t races, rigth? So they are discriminating And I come from Rwanda. You have the Hutu’s and the Tutsi’s there – Yes, but that’s what I mean with: Discrimination is something different – That racism or discrimination doesn’t exist, is one thing. But when you see someone and you say: that’s a Hutu. Then you can be 100% wrong, but then be someone from another group because they so mixed and that’s because of the genocide and all the people who were murdered just based on appearance it was decided: you belong to that race – Yes but — I have it difficult with that – But also, in this story it’s important to see the role of Belgium in this – Yes, but in this case it’s about the parents, if they could be racist – Oh yes, perhaps we should go back to the statement – If you have a child with someone from another group then I’m not going to be racist towards that group – Yes, but in many situations you can have a child and that’s easy, making a child. That’s very easy How does that happen? It happens out of love? It happens in a club or during travel because you just want to go home with a beautiful mixed baby in your belly? that can happen in many ways. Parenthood Seeing that this is a situation with so many different facets it’s logical that racism can also be a part of parenthood You have all sorts of parents in this world You don’t have to be a saint to be a parent and it’s also not because – And it’s not because you have sex with someone that suddenly you’re decolonized – No, not at all. If that was all it took That always triggers me, the difference in opinion between generations I find that very interesting. For example the submissive aspect that’s something that is still very common in older generations, while with our generation I sense more fight en much more Yes, the feeling our generation doesn’t want to prove themselves or something like that BLACK MOTHER VS WHITE MOTHER – I have a white mother – I also have a white mother – And I also have a white mother – Yes, I also have a white mother *laughter* No, I was born from a Black mother And I stayed there for 6 years and that was, like I said, in Rwanda Until the missionary discovered me, because these missionaries had the order to take away metis children But those first 6 years with her, wasn’t a very happy childhood because she was cast away by her community because she had had a relationshop with a white man and she lived all by herself. And I never knew anyone else She got by here and there by doing work helping in households from white people And for me it was a lucky thing getting to know some white people and got to play with white children

But I couldn’t attend school with them I had to go to the black school But…a Black mother In my case it’s not the best memory because she got to know a Black man and from that relationship I’ve know a half sister and I didn’t mean much anymore. I was too much And that’s why I was sent to the institute for the mixed And then I came to Belgium. With the option to be adopted into a family with white parents After having spent 6 months in different families, I ended up in a white family and got a white mother But I had so many experiences with women that I kind of had become averse to them After 6 months they wanted to send me back to the orphanage And that heavily shaped the rest of my life Like: keep quiet, or else they’ll send you back to the orphanage So white or Black mother, it stays the same They try in their way and with their resources to give you something and to protect you for society. That’s my experience – But isn’t this also about, when you look within the European context, about the way of cultural transmission, because of the relationship you have with your parents but also, when I look at myself, what your parents can do for you Because I think it’s so that how a mother can get angry at what happens to her child, has influence on society When I compare myself with my nephews and nieces who have two Black or Suriname parents who can have different etnicities That what my mother sometimes could realize for me at school because she became angry and my aunt couldn’t because she’s a Black woman I think that you have in that societal context a certain privilege by having a white parent because they can in some societal situations or in many societal situations be taken more seriously and have a certain power to open doors for you as a child, and makes that you have a different starting point and it’s difficult that none of us have a Black mother within that context – I experienced it for 6 years and I was a, how do they say that, a hindrance to her – Yes, within that context – Yes, I was too much, so I can’t say much negative about my white mother She tried to protect me Only she didn’t understand my identities Much to my regret she withheld the name of my biological father, my whole life ’til her deathbed She knew I found my father and I asked her: Why did you do that? Yes, because she wanted to protect that child and enjoy She was afraid that, when I would reach puberty, that I wanted to go look for my African roots I wanted to make contact. She refused that ‘No, stay with me. I want a future with us, not with Africa’ – And how do you see… keeping this … I don’t know, how is it with you? – Yes, it was similar with my mother. I know my family now approximately 10 years I was raised by my white mother. It was just the two of us at home She never taught me about Congo or my Congoles side. That’s all been thrown in forgetfulness When I was 21 I said enough. I really wanted to know Then I got a name, but it came out that wasn’t my real The name that’s on my passport to this day, for the pased 21 years, wasn’t my real name So then I got my real name That was wrong. Okay, it can be protective, but on the other hand it’s a power you have over the identity of your own child

That can’t be. So I went through an identity crisis A very heavy one I think that it has been a secret for too long You also hurt your child with that By trying to shield your child for safety reasons. That’s not always the correct choice I’m not really unhappy because my mother is white and nog Black It doesn’t matter, but the fact that she withheld that side I don’t think that’s cool – That was because of the relationship? That she didn’t want to deal with your father – No, absolutely. And afraid. Alot of fear – Actually that has little to do with Black-white. It’s a universal thing, right A relationship that… – Yes, but it is an important extra to you as a child – Yes, it’s very hurtful to keep the identity of the other parent hidden Whether that parent has another culture or not but, yes, if it’s about getting to know yourself and your identity and accepting your roots, it’s a very important cog in the story If the one responsible for you being mixed is not present, then it’s important that the other side who’s there, at the very least teaches you and that didn’t happen and I find that hurtful actually So you have to go look it up yourself ans with that same mother I have now discussions that it is all too fierce and that I shouldn’t be so invested But when you look up all that info in a couple of years instead of over a lifetime then it all seems very extreme. But it’s not. That’s just because I’m now learning it all. ) I do think that it’s difficult, I experience that too, that you don’t share the same experience with a white parent in this society so with my own mother I sometimes have conversations about things that happen that have racist origins or are just racist or where there’s doubt …and You can’t share that because it’s not the same experience You can try but it’s – That’s crazy, she gave birth to you but still the match isn’t there – Yes, isn’t that…because that’s what I experience now Meantime I’m a grandfather now, I have grandchildren When you say as a young adolescent: I’d rather not listen to my elders, I’m going to look it up myself Despite that these parents give advise to look out for this and that But when you say: I’d rather look for it myself. But then in future it becomes clear you should have listened, then you wouldn’t have had these negative experiences. I don’t know how this is for you? Yes, I don’t know, but to me there’s a difference in having a Black mother or a white mother Because with my white mother I got alot of belgian culture and what it means to be Belgian But I think that people who have a Black mother also get a part of the culture I don’t have Where ofcourse there’s an element of sexism. Because is it the mother that has to pass through culture That’s a whole different conversation But I have the feeling that my mother really saw me as her child and because I was her child, I wasn’t a brown child…if you get what I mean I was her child so she tried to protect me with her whiteness in a way but she also didn’t see many things When I experienced something it was like: don’t worry. Or it wasn’t a problem because we see the world completely different. And that’s still something I struggle with because I can’t go to my mother with the things I experience in the real world because to her – that’s what Raul said, that white supremacy, right – Yes and that’s not always bad intentions, but just a lach of insight and a lack of putting in effort because it’s not your problem… – Yes, that – That’s the same for us men towards the female reality – Yes, that’s right. – That’s also a difference in power dynamics You can’t always blame people, but it’s very hurtful, I think so myself what you describe, how you do that with a parent It’s like as if a part of you isn’t really real and doesn’t…connect – Yes, that’s very painful I think – I wanted to say one thing to make the equation. With my history I have

my Black mother in Africa and I ended up with white people but there was also a girl, a mixed girl, who lived with her Black mother and white father in Belgium They were a couple and they stayed together When I hear her talk about the inner experience you were talking about concerning looking for our African roots…she didn’t have that And she didn’t understand why we were so fierce towards Damn, they didn’t give us the chance to look for our African…we always have to search ourselves She didn’t see that because she had a Black mother and she was given that Black culture – You both grew up without father too? – No, I grew up with my father, but he wasn’t really present – So that sense of culture wasn’t really given by him – No, and earlier I gave an example that was pretty cruel When I was born, my father would massage my nose and my brother’s one upwards so we sort of would get a ‘white’ nose So I think that’s also an example of how that – Do you have that in Suriname culture also? The features, that it becomes more pointy I grew up in Ghana. I lived there for 14 years and then I came to Belgium and to me that was a culture shock to live here because I always thought that I was Belgian when I came to live here turned out that I was ‘the other’, so that brought about a big change in my life and also a culture shock I didn’t expect to have So in Ghana I wasn’t viewed as a Black Brown person, but I was seen as ‘obruni’, which means ‘white’ (foreigner) in Twi And here I was seen as allochtone and as Black person So that’s a complete turnover of identity – Is it the last one? – Yes, yes. Last topic IF EVERYONE JUST MIXES, RACISM WILL BE ERASED FROM THE WORLD – Uh, no. – No – No *laughter* – Fully no? – No, no, no, no, no – You think so? – interesting – You still doubt it? *laughter* – Then I come back to…that there are no races I’m one of the pioniers who were involved with the creation of the organisation Metis Van België That was in 2015. And the reason was a flemish decree that adopted children could view their adoption files I was predominantly about file X. Children in the north of France But also about Metis-children from Rwanda, Burundi and Congo I’m not going to return to the Belgian colonies, because we still have it hard with those in the sense that in belgian society there’s still the struggle to have the metis the Black people here in Belgium, who try to make in communities But I want to look at it broader Take the Netherlands. You have Dutch colonies like Aruba and Suriname There you have real and mix together And do you hear about racism there? But there’s also a ‘but’, because there – – I heard for example that in Aruba you find all religions in one street next to eachother. Living together peacefully – In Suriname you have in the same street the largest mosque and the largest synagogue in South-America But that doesn’t mean there’s no ethnic discrimination And I think that, when you talk about the dutch situation When we talk about the different islands that still fall under the kingdom of the netherlands under different regulations Curaçao for example is independent, but other islands are dutch municipalities But when you talk about racism: this just is a neo-colonial system Where there also is said from the Netherlands: you are an independent municipality but we will control you extra or decide how you divide your money. It’s also not, and I find that really strange when we’re a kingdom, it’s not daily that the situation on the islands is on the news on national tv as domestic news There’s a crisis in Venezuela. Venezuala is a direct neighbour You can almost throw a tennisball over the ocean from Curaçao but there’s no dutch responsibility that there’s a lake on Curaçao that’s heavily polluted

by Shell. Now Shell doesn’t have to follow general laws and regulations, but still you can’t imagine that if that lake was next to Utrecht. The Netherlands would interfere in a different way I don’t think that not involving themselves in the Caribbean territory, when we say it like that, it means that there’s no distinction being made between people, but that there’s another postcolonial society that came to existence where etnicity still plays a part that stems from colonial division between people – So it’s still present there? But take now for example Brazil – I think we got sidetracked trying to determine what racism is but to go back to the question: If everyone just mixes with eachother And I take as an example Brazil There you have a whole… *laughter* – That’s a superracist country – Yes? I’m asking you – Yes, and you say ‘then there wouldn’t be any races, but there never were any races’ So that’s just…There are no races – Races is a product of racism, not the other way around – It’s not that we will mix and there won’t be any races because there never have been races – Yes, and I think about that mixing You can mix, but I think you have to think really hard about that because with mixing, we talk about children and it’s best to think about that anyway I’ve seen plenty of mixed couples who in the end still split and then all those consequences always I’m getting a headache from it Because I’m like: You do know what you are going to do? I have issues with people from here who go to Africa to go find a girlfriend to come back with them to Europe. That person has to completely adapt and when it doesn’t really work out, that person is getting kicked out But oh dear if that person takes the children, because that’s kidnapping I don’t always find that a good idea, if people don’t really think it through and I have the feeling that it’s still something that’s irrelevant that people get to know the culture of the partner before they start having children and that’s not the case and you have to solve these problems when you already have a family than it’s already too late. But it’s also about the solving of in that case, what you describe, your own eurocentrism and whiteness that you can find that and go there to find a girlfriend that you bring here and put through the motions so that they fit in here And that’s racist. Sending them back but wanting to keep the children because you feel culturally superior towards the other – But what with for example second and third generation Turkis or Moroccan origin who don’t want to find a partner here or look for someone white and instead rather go back to – Do you find this odd? – No… why they then – Because they’re being treated so racist here that they don’t want that anymore and I get it (met too). You don’t have to assimilate to integrate you don’t have to keep yourself to all the norms that people think you should have to be able to live here. If you have a passport from a country and you obey the laws…other then that, nobody can say or make you fill in your personal life. And when you are being confronted with an environment like how the Islamic community has been locked out for the past 20 years and in the media and everyone in a certain way are being shown that, according to me should be prosecuted When you look in the law books, what they say abour racism what’s being said in the media about that group…that there’s a generation growing up who doesn’t feel the need to be a part of society…to me is very logical – That’s how it stays a problem right – But that’s not our problem. – No. We were already here – That racism is their problem. – There’s nothing left to adjust – But the funny thing is that our bodies are being used as sort of a symbol of a multicultural world To me that’s bad because you are some sort of tokenisation of look our bodies are a sort of post-apartheid, post-racism as if, because we exist, it’s over (racism) but that not at all the case, so I’m certainly not

I don’t think that if people mix that it’s the end of racism. I don’t think that it questions systems of power I don’t feel like it means the end of it For me it’s very clear: no, that’s a myth…that it’s suddenly fixed because you have a child. And by the way, what I wanted to say, is what I sometimes find ugly is the fact that parents who have a mixed child that can be used you know, like for example when you look back at recordings about black pete or so that you have a white mother who is being interviewed with her mixed-race children and they are asked: Do you experience trouble from black pete and then it’s: oh, no not at all. Not me. I celebrate it with my children But then it is…the fact that the white mother has a mixed child it’s being used to keep a racist system working So I think it’s bad that you use your child for the continuation of something, while you are also the mother of the child. So again, I think it’s a sort of – It’s a very long process right I’m sorry people, I once played black pete – Yes, me too – Yes but – Yes but that’s new insights – One of my sons also played black pete but on the other hand he also played Sint Shakur. That’s a Black saint nicholas – Sint Shakur? – Shakur, ja. That’s an Islamic…naming of saint nicholas – Oh, really? – Cool – That was a spicy detail, because during the arrival of the white saint nicholas in Antwerp, and he did this action where the black petes were Muslim women – Muslim women? Wonderful – What year was this? – It would be now 9 years ago He went to the arrival of Saint Nicholas at de Schelde in a complete outfit, but with a black beard and he also has brown skin, so and then with Muslim women, they got stopped by the police because it was disturbing the peace – oh yes, that’s beautiful isn’t it? How racist expressions in public spaces isn’t disturbing the peace – that a problem ofcours. – Yes, you make it visible, but yes It will be a long time before it’s no longer part of this world – Me too I’m afraid – I sometimes feel like the most racism I’ve experienced came from my white family And that’s extra bad because it’s your family. And the fact that it’s not meant or wanted (to be racist) you can handle it from others…or actually, no, not per se but when it comes from your own family to me it’s extra rough. Because white innocence doesn’t choose: these white people yes and those no. Everyone has to do the work of deconstructing, I think independently from… I was with a flemish mother and a Groning Dutch father. So I had my Dutch family and also my Flemish family and they left me completely free to look for my roots, against their will I have little negative to say about that Yes they kept my identity hidden. – But yes, against their will you just said So there’s a sort of…because you don’t want to offend them so you won’t immediately go research it But I had the right but if you know it will hurt someone, and that someone is raising you then perhaps you will keep yourself from searching, longer than you’d wish… – But yes, you’re so indoctrinated that you position yourself humbly towards white supremacy and you don’t dare go against- – And that being grateful is also over, I think. We don’t have to be grateful anymore – That’s a generation thing. – That’s definitely a generation thing We don’t have that anymore. That’s over. So now that it’s out, what does the future hold for us – Exciting – I think that we’re ahead. But as non-white community anyway we’re ahead on breaking down the system we all suffer from. – The colonialism that is now being broken down right? – Yes, but that’s distressing right? Because how we get history through education: colonialism ends somewhere in the 70’s when the colonies were abolished but that colonial mindstate, we’re still dealing with that and it will be for a while still. And we’re ahead of the white part of society because we’re constantly being confronted with the bullshit that comes from it. So one of my goals is to try with the metis, what has been done to them in Congo and Rwanda and Burundi

in that colonial system, that’s always been hidden The Belgians don’t know it really. And now I’m trying to, together with the group of metis confront it and to demand that it’s being put on the map of belgian history – Yes, definitely. Finally. Thank you. *Laughter*