Hanna’s Story: Not OK

Everyone says Holland is so liberal, so open-minded. Also that sexist harassment is nil here.

Combine Sexist with Racist. Happy Racists.

This happens to me where I live, once a week, but here’s a specific example:

I am on my bicycle on my way to the grocery store. Two teenage boys ride on either side and make mocking “ChingChong” noises.

And they stay there, riding alongside me.

I tell them to go away, (Racists!) – they say, in English, “We’re not racists.”

Yes, I am Asian. No, I am not from China, or of Chinese descent. No, even if I were from China this is not OK.

More often, it’s less but the same:

I am on an errand — someone bikes by and sing-songs “China!” and “NiHao!” at me, and they’re gone. Happy smiling racists.

It ruins my whole walk. It’s racist, and also sexist. Because racism is how they get sexist, and worse.

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  1. Wendy says:

    Hanna, I hear you. Ignorance is ignorance anywhere you go. I live in Holland for the past 6 years and I have come across the same remarks as you have from young boys and girls…not just disenfranchised youth. I’ve even had people recite items off a Chinese menu at me (tjap tjoy, Babi pangang). The Dutch need to pull their heads out of their asses with their claims of tolerance and being enlightened. Discrimination against females are rampant but it’s the big elephant in the room. Even at government offices and universities where I have been working. I have been touched ‘playfully’ on my schoulders and forehead or told “such a pretty young thing” by colleagues. Add to the fact that you are a foreigner…you’ve hit the jackpot. The strange thing is I have never experienced so much blatant harassment until I moved to the Netherlands…and I used to live in Asia!

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