Parliament says term "allochtoon" is indispensable
Parliament has dismissed Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin's urging that the terms "allochtoon" and "autochtoon" no longer be used.26 February 2008
THE HAGUE – Parliament has dismissed Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin's urging that the terms "allochtoon" and "autochtoon" no longer be used, the Volkskrant reports. The words refer in Dutch to people of "foreign extraction" as opposed to those of "native Dutch origin," respectively. The Christian Democrat CDA and Labour PvdA factions say the terms are too assimilated in the culture. Opposition parties Liberal VVD and Freedom Party PVV are annoyed at the "politically correct nonsense" from the CDA minister.
Hirsch Ballin thinks that the classifications of "allochtoon" and "autochtoon" create "false oppositions" between population groups. "I don't like classifications that divide our country in two parts," he said on the radio programme De Ochtenden on Monday. "If we continue to speak as if our country is divided, we only make things worse." The minister did not suggest any alternatives.
The CDA faction agrees that Dutch nationals with an immigrant background should not be stigmatised. "But if there are problems with minorities you mustn't be afraid to name them. I find this a theoretical discussion," said MP Van Toorenburg.
Dijsselbloem (PvdA) talks of a "sympathetic plea" that runs aground on obstinate reality. "We proposed this in 2005 already. The government at the time dismissed it. It would be nice to stop talking about 'allochtonen' and 'autochtonen,' but those terms are so assimilated in society. You cannot change that with language police or a new law."
VVD MP Kamp thinks that Hirsch Ballin "is whining" about word choice while he should be solving the problems that many "allochtonen" face, like crime and the drop out rate in education.
PVV MPs Wilders and Fritsma said that the allochtoon-autochtoon distinction is relevant because "many problems, no matter which way you turn or twist them, are largely related to immigration and integration."
[Copyright Expatica News 2008]