Being politically correct in a ever divided country

June 2, 2009 Comments Off on Being politically correct in a ever divided country

For this post, I’ll assume that you are familiar with a bit of history and institutional situation in Brussels.
So either you just read the above wikipedia page, or you were already familiar with how things work here in Brussels. Now what about this political correctness? Well… another thing you have to know is that nowadays every breath that you take, every move that you make (doesn’t that sound wonderfully lyrical?) is scrutinised. Political correctness can hit you from every angle, so make sure you have eyes on your back.
Mixed emotionsThere’s the linguistic divide on the one hand, and there’s the situation of immigrants who (at least in Brussels) live more or less in ghettos. Ghetto is a harsh word, but you can clearly indicate a number of regions in Brussels with immensely higher density of immigrants of mainly Morocco and Turkey, but also Congolese and Armenians (although these last do blend in the rest of the Brussels society a bit). People who arrived in Brussels after the second world war were more prone to learn french rather than dutch. For most of them because it is a language in their native country, for some of them because they know they wouldn’t be understood everywhere if they spoke dutch. This would to the conclusion that a vast majority of people of foreign origin (later generations of the original immigrants) in Brussels speak french and as communities in Brussels don’t mix a lot, this won’t change soon.
Foire du Midi / Zuidfoor '08Now the forum of minorities complains that on the Flemish lists in Brussels (so the parties representing the dutch speakers of Brussels) do not have the same amount of representatives of foreign origin as the lists representing french speakers. (article in dutch).
I mean, how can you complain about a problem in representation if the representation is realistic? Why should the situation for minorities on Dutch-speakers lists be equal to the French-speakers lists if in reality the situation is not the same?
Example that struck me from the same article I mentioned earlier is the words of Mevlut Akgüngör, a representative of Turkish origin for a Flemish party :

I mainly focus on the Turkish community to present myself as representative. Turkish people vote mainly ethnically. My leaflets are therefore in french and turkish, not in dutch. It simplifies the communication

Unless you can prove my premise (about the language of choice of people of foreign origin) wrong, I think that the forum of minorities is just a group of attention seekers not in touch with reality. Other option is that I’m not in touch with reality, in which case I’m happy to hear your opinion in the comments.

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