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Council members: do away with term 'allochtoon’

7 December 2008 - A majority of the respondents in a poll among 92 council members say that the term 'allochtoon’ (used to refer to non-Western immigrants and their children) should be replaced by terms such as Turkish Amsterdammer.

Two-thirds are in favour of dropping the term 'allochtoon’; a quarter are against. Opponents say that changing terms will not solve any problems and that new terms will after a while get a negative connotation anyway.

A proponent argues: "Many people these days have a mixed background, it's very black-and-white to think only in terms of allochtonen and autochtonen. It would be better to think in terms of economic and social problems and differences".

Some say that terms like 'Turkish Amsterdammer’ should also not be used and that no distinction should be made between Amsterdammers with different backgrounds.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents think women should take off their headscarf if it harms their career; 44% think it should be easier to deport foreigners who misbehave (as advocated by Slotervaart Mayor Ahmed Marcouch) and 48% want more emphasis on Dutch norms and values.

Using the answers to these three questions, a toughness index was computed, with +1 implying full agreement and -1 full disagreement. On average, council members tend towards a slightly negative score. VVD members are more likely to agree (average score +0,6), GroenLinks members more likely to disagree (-0,5).

The average score of PvdA members is similar to the rest of the respondents, but there is more disagreement within the PvdA than within GroenLinks and the VVD.

Ethnic minority council members are just as likely as their non-minority colleagues to favour a tough approach.

Over ninety percent of the respondents agree with the view that fears among non-minority residents over changes taking place in their neighbourhoods should be taken seriously. Some respondents add that similar fears among minority residents should be taken equally seriously.


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