What’s In A Word To Describe A Foreigner?

Words can be merely words or they can convey deep seated emotional attitudes toward other people. The Netherlands has witnessed for over fifty years an influx of people from non-European backgrounds such as Turkey or North Africa. The word, “allochtoon” is ordinarily used to describe those who are of Turkish or Moroccan heritage even though the person may have been born in the Netherlands to parents who were born in the Netherlands. MP Cynthia Ortega-Martijn argues allochtoon carries such a negative feeling that it should be replaced by “bi-cultural” while some members of the Labor Party prefer “new Netherlands” type person.

Regardless of the word until individuals accept cultural diversity as “normal” the word will not displace anger, hate and fear.