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, centred on the terms Kutmarokkanen and Zwarte Piet. The paper discusses the Bakhtinian polyphony 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, and the voices of the government and politicians. What are the terms used and the underlying concepts or attitudes? The argument presented in analysing these voices centres 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 those of their fellow citizens with different backgrounds.

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eISSN: 2224-3380