Person of color

Being a coloured person, shouldn’t be a differentiation of any human being!

“ institutional racism”

What is the purpose of institutional racism?

To give answer to the main topic it’s necessary to give highlights to some sub-questions, for better understanding of the question at stake.

What is institutional racism?

‘Institutional racism (also known as systemic racism) is a form of racism expressed in the practice of social and political institutions. It is reflected in disparities regarding wealth, income, criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political, power and education among other factors.’

The term ‘’ institutional racism’’ was coined and first used in 1967 by Stokely Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture) and Charles V. Hamilton in Black Power: The Politics of Liberation Carmichael and Hamilton wrote that while individual racism is often identifiable because of its, overt nature, institutional racism is less perceptible because of its ‘’less overt, far more subtle’’ nature. Institutional racism ‘’originates in the operation of established and respected forces in the society, and thus receives far less public condemnation than (individual racism)’’.Meverly Adjhei Benjamin

Why is there institutional racism?

In my point of view there is institutional racism just because there is an elite group of people with an inferior position and look down/ belittle people, because they can, they have never been stopped before, they have never been judged before.

In a recent article from the Netherlands, institutional racism has been highlighted in various areas in the Netherlands.

This article speaks about the institutional racism in the job market, the housing market, educational market and contact with the police. It also highlights the racism in this sector.

“What is known about the influence of your skin colour or the country where your parents come from during your school career, if you are looking for a job or home or if you are arrested by the police? An overview of Dutch research into institutional racism.

Gerbrig Klos, researcher at Amnesty International, called on the Cabinet on Sunday to make an inventory of all existing reports on discrimination in the police force, labour market, housing market, in education and in other areas.

Scientific research on racism usually looks at discrimination based on migration background. Here is an overview of what we know about this.

Job market

According to several studies, if you have Janssen or De Vries as a surname, you are more likely to be invited for an interview than if you are called Çelik or Demir.

In 2008, the Social and Cultural Planning Agency (SCP) concluded that someone with a non-Western name is less likely to be invited for an interview than others with an equivalent CV.

A large study by the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University, published last year, confirms this picture. The researchers sent out more than 4,000 fictitious cover letters and CVs between 2016 and 2018. Applicants with a migration background received less positive responses than comparable applicants without a migration background. The mention of more information on the CV, such as figures, did not lead to less discrimination.

Research by the Inspectorate of Social Affairs and Employment (Inspectorate SZW) from 2019 also shows that temporary employment agencies are regularly prepared to discriminate on the basis of ethnicity. The Inspectorate SZW pretended to be a potential client and made almost five hundred telephone calls requesting to discriminate when recruiting workers. In 40 percent of the cases, the employment agency did not reject the request.

Housing market

Research also shows that people with a migration background in several cities are less likely to find a private rental home. A survey commissioned by the municipality of Amsterdam at the beginning of this year shows that about a third of Amsterdam rental agents were prepared to discriminate on a migration background. People with a migration background in Amsterdam also had a smaller chance of being invited to a viewing.

Comparable research in Utrecht also shows that rental agents were willing to select on a migration background. Large-scale national research into this subject is lacking.


Every year, the Education Inspectorate in The State of Education reports on, among other things, inequality of opportunity at school. This shows that pupils with a migrant background are more likely to leave secondary school without a diploma and later have, on average, less success in higher education than pupils without a migrant background. The cause of this difference has not been investigated. Other research has shown that MBO students with a non-Western background must make more effort to find an internship than their fellow students.

In recent years, the Inspectorate of Education had no indications that a migrant background generally plays a role in school advice in primary school. However, children with higher educated parents more often receive high school advice than children with less formally-educated parents, even if they have comparable abilities. This picture is confirmed in a study published last year by the Verwey-Jonker Institute. The researchers had no indications that children with a migrant background receive structurally and consciously lower advice because of their cultural or ethnic background. However, the home situation and, for example, the language skills of the parents may influence the advice.

Primary schools that have many students with a migrant background experience more difficulty in finding teachers. The Education Inspectorate warns that these students may receive lower quality education.Meverly Adjhei Benjamin

Contact with the police

Research by the SCP in March this year shows that Dutch people with a Turkish, Moroccan or Antillean background, among others, feel that the police are watching them more vigilantly than other Dutch people.

Research from 2016 shows that the police actually check Dutch people with a migrant background more often and sometimes keep citizens standing partly based on their skin colour. Agents were found to check regularly based on their intuition and stereotypes, and therefore not always based on reasonable or objective characteristics.

How often this happens at the moment and whether Dutch people with a migrant background are more often arrested using violence has not been investigated.

Reading this provoked me to ask this question: Why are people so frightened of non-white people/people of colour?

It’s so hard to believe that in the 21st century we are protesting about institutional racism and calling the recognition of various institutes and countries “a revolution”. Being a person of colour shouldn’t be a differentiation of any human being!

My name is Meverly Adjhei Benjamin. I am Dutch by Nationality. A seasoned lawyer, development consultant, speaker and author, with fluent multilingual abilities in English, Dutch, and Twi. Are you keen to read more? Visit Meverly’s book store to learn more about our systems.

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