From vast landscapes of snow and ice to the bustling cities of Toronto and Montreal, Canada is often celebrated as a land of peace, tolerance, and respect for diversity. However, in 2004, Amnesty International accused Canada of endangering Indigenous women, putting them at continuous risk of abduction, sexual abuse and lethal violence. This is due largely to systemic racism. Add sexism to the equation and you can see that Canada has failed in protecting Indigenous women and girls.
On March 20th 2018, students and other interested people came together in an overcrowded room at Leiden University’s Law Faculty. Here, Dino Suhonic, Director of Maruf (platform for Dutch Queer Muslims), gave a lecture about the relation between Muslims and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community, both in Muslim majority countries as in Muslim minority countries. The lecture “How to reconcile LGBTQ rights with Islamic faith” was organized by Leiden University Pride (LUP) and Amnesty International Nederland Student Group Leiden.
Now the days have become darker and shorter, Sinterklaas and his friends, the so-called Zwarte Pieten or ‘Black Petes’, have travelled to the Netherlands. Besides gifts and sweets, they bring something else that has become traditional over time: a passionate and vehement debate on the alleged racism of the very phenomenon of Black Pete. The book White Innocence. Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race, written by emeritus professor of Gender and Ethnicity Gloria Wekker, is a valuable companion in the many inevitable discussions on Dutch racism to come.