Begging to be goed: Voicing discrimination in multilingual and multiethnic Netherlands

Pieter Muysken


This paper explores political discourse on two public issues involving discrimination in the Netherlands, centered on the terms Kutmarokkanen and Zwarte Piet. The paper discusses the Bakhtinian poluphony of different ‘voices’ in the public debates surrounding these issues: the voices of those protesting because they experience discrimination, the voices of those defending or justifying it, the voices in the press or in academic discourse describing it, the voices of the government and of the politicians. What are the terms used, and the underlying concepts or attitudes? The argument presented in analyzing these voices centers around the idea that the sharp moral distinction between goed/fout ‘good’/’wrong’ in Dutch public consciousness makes it difficult for the Dutch people to look at themselves objectively, and critically examine their own concepts of society and of their fellow citizens with a different background.

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ISSN 2224-3380 (online); 1726-541X (print)

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