Is Holland witnessing the resurgence of scientific racism?

Yernaz Ramautarsing, member of a Dutch alt-right party, declared that black people have a lower IQ than white people. He was going to run as local council member in Amsterdam but withdrew his candidacy after a strong wave of criticism.

Lara Bullens
Lara Bullens NewsMavens, Western Europe

Is Holland
witnessing the resurgence of scientific racism?
 - NewsMavens
Dictionnaire pittoresque d'histoire naturelle et des phénomènes de la nature Year: 1838. Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Scientific racism is the idea that certain races are inherently superior to others based on pseudoscientific evidence. It was part of the academic mainstream between the 1600s and World War I, and had been used to validate racist politics.

However, even today, a small but defined group of anthropologists, IQ researches, psychologists and pundits argue that -- because of evolution -- some races are more prone to adverse social conditions.

Although they are found on the fringes of the far-right, these ideas are dangerous and could create a resurgence of new eugenics.

Forum for Democracy -- Ramautarsing's party -- is known for its racist sentiments and euroscepticism, labelled as "the defence of Dutch heritage”. If racism in the Netherlands began with Geert Wilders and the Party for Freedom, let’s hope that it ends with Forum for Democracy and its leader Thierry Baudet.

Yet, the latest scandal raises concern. Despite open criticism by the home affairs minister, will the remarks made by Ramautarsing fall between the cracks or land in fertile soil?

race

Details from the story:

  • During a broadcasted debate, the leader of Forum for Democracy, Thierry Baudet, did not condemn Ramautarsing for his racist statement.
  • Home Affairs Minister Kasja Ollongren was quick to respond. She gave a speech in Nijmegen, criticising Baudet's reluctance to deplore his colleague.
  • In turn, Baudet charged Ollongren with libel and slander.
  • Last Thursday, the public prosecution department dropped the charges on the basis that Ollongren's comments did not contain falsities nor were libellous. 
  • Forum for Democracy is a mirror image of the Alt-Right in the US and holds two seats in the parliament. Their agenda includes: protection of Dutch heritage, leaving the EU, stopping "mass immigration" and re-imposing border controls.
  • Ramautarsing was going to run as Forum for Democracy's candidate in municipal elections in Amsterdam but withdrew this Saturday, March 3.
  • de Volkskrant reported receiving hundreds of screenshots of WhatsApp groups, where young people discussed politics and scientific racism was mentioned. Their senders are scared of radicalisation and the danger of this kind of rhetoric.
  • The Guardian published a long-read article this week about the new wave of scientific racism, in which the author stated: “Race science isn’t going away any time soon [...] The problem is not, as the right would have it, that these ideas are under threat of censorship or stigmatisation because they are politically inconvenient. Race science is bad science. Or rather, it is not science at all.”
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