‘Is this white enough for you?’ Dutch immigrant children rally against segregation
The 100 or so schoolchildren – mostly from Africa and the Middle East – took part in a rally, AFP reported. They were wearing bright wight t-shirts imprinted bearing the phrase "Is this white enough for you?" Their message was that they wanted more Dutch native classmates to help them integrate.
The Netherlands generally calls on greater and smoother integration of migrants into society, encouraging them to learn the language and take special tests. But on a social level, things have not gone as smoothly as planned: Approximately 90 percent of pupils at the two schools in Amsterdam – De Avonturijn and Catharinaschool – have immigrant backgrounds.
As more families leave the districts, making way for the growing migrant influx, there are fewer and fewer children enrolling every year, and the schools are now threatened with closure.
"When, for different reasons, a school 'becomes blacker', it's very difficult to reverse the trend," the schools' spokesperson Diane Middelkoop said, AFP reports. "White children's parents no longer want to be part of the school. I can understand that: We all want to feel at home and that means that we want to see people who share our origins and culture."
"It's shameful that it's come to this, that children have to take to the street to go to school with white children,"AFP quotes one elderly local resident, also an immigrant from Suriname.
In order to help their children integrate into society, parents were going door to door distributing flyers saying "We're looking for white pupils."
"I want my children to be integrated in Dutch society and to learn about different cultures," said one of the marching children's mother.
But as migrant numbers rise, so does the support for far-right and anti-migrant politicians. One example is the Party of Freedom, currently holding 10 percent of the Dutch Parliament's seats, and its founder Geert Wilders, who blames migrants for not integrating enough.