"I don't discriminate, but..".


In the working-class neighbourhood in Amsterdam, a study was conducted into how the original residents experienced living side by side with the numerous newcomers in their immediate environment, and how they put it into words. More than a third of the people in the neighbourhood are Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese and members of other ethnic minorities. Attention is devoted to stories told by the older residents of the neighbourhood about their experiences with the ethnic minorities. These stories provide insight into the image the neighbourhood's original residents develop of the newcomers, and how it is related to their self-image of people who live in a «degenerate " neighbourhood and whose status in Dutch society is low. Although the power difference between the “outsiders" and the "established" in the neighbourhood are negligible, the older residents tend to emphasize their own superiority. It is not based on their social position or high status in society, but on the belief in the value of being "born and bred" in the Netherlands, of being a "real'' Dutchman. The purpose of the stories is to exaggerate the power difference between themselves and the ethnic minorities. The desire to dissociate themselves from the minorities "they are not our kind of people and we want to make sure everyone realizes that" and the demand for assimilation "they have to conform to our way of doing things" are both designed to preserve the little that is left of their own identity and way of life.

How to Cite

Abraham-Van der Mark, E., (1988) “"I don't discriminate, but..".”, Ethnologia Europaea 19(1), 167-182. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1398


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Eva Abraham-Van der Mark (University of Amsterdam)



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