Is Amsterdam Racist Towards Blacks?
Let me tell you a story.
My name is Chuka and I’m a Nigerian who has been living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands for the past 5 years. I schooled in this wonderful city and I currently work here.
In the past 5 years, I’ve met the good, the bad and the ugly. The Netherlands is generally a very tolerant country and despite having a few people who aren’t so ‘tolerant’, the country still remains one of the most tolerant in the world.
This happened just 3 years into my stay in Amsterdam and it taught me a lot on the different kinds of discrimination in Amsterdam and the Netherlands.
I was dating a Ghanaian girl back then and 8 months into our relationship, I suggested we introduce each other to our parents. She agreed and set up a dinner date with her parents. On that very wonderful day, I got a haircut, put on my best clothes and took the tram to her house, then we drove to her parents’ house together. I was nervous the whole time and really wanted to make a good first impression. All I wanted was for them to like me.
I remember walking into the house, shaking her dad’s hand and kissing her mum’s cheeks then giving them the bottle of wine I brought with me and we all sat down to have a chat. We talked for a while (mostly about me, where I come from and what I do) before the mum decided that it was time to have dinner.
We sat down to have some Ghanaian delicacy while we talked about everything. It was fun and I started to relax and not be so nervous as I felt like I was succeeding at getting them to like me. Finally, dinner came to an end and after exchanging goodbyes, we left.
A few days after dinner at her parents’, my ex started to act strangely. She wouldn't pick up my calls or reply my texts. She wasn't at home either and I started to feel like there was something wrong. I became worried and had to call her dad to ask if he had heard from her because she wasn't picking my calls or at home either.
He told me that I needed to stop seeing his daughter because he didn’t want her to date (or marry) a Nigerian. He said she wasn't picking my calls because he asked her not to and that if I tried to get in contact with her ever again or stalk her or make this into something big, he'd make sure my life was a living hell. He literally helped her break up with me.
This man didn’t care if I was a good person. He didn’t care if I was an A-student or a hardworking member of society or if I was in love with his daughter or if she was in love with me or that we would be happy together. He only cared that I was a Nigerian and he didn’t want me anywhere near his daughter.
I went on to be discriminated against a few more times by my so-called ‘African brothers and sisters.’ I've had Africans like myself (in Amsterdam) refuse to rent me an apartment or extend an helping hand just because of my nationality.
In my 5 years in Amsterdam, I’ve only been racially abused by (white) Dutch people thrice. And while it might not count as racism, every other time I’ve faced discrimination in the past, it was by my fellow colored people. And I've faced discrimination a lot. I've faced discrimination from Surinamese people with skin darker than mine, Ugandans, Kenyans and even Somalis. I've even seen white people suffer racism or discrimination of some kind from Africans and maybe people from the middle East. My experiences made me realise that everyone can be racially abused and that Amsterdam is home to different sorts of people. People who are good and people who are bad - irrespective of colour of skin or nationality.
I want anyone reading this to know that this answer is not pointing fingers at any particular nationality as racist, but only trying to explain that every ethnic group or nationality found in Amsterdam has its own share of good and bad. Luckily, I've had the good fortune of meeting good and wonderful people from all the aforementioned nationalities.
Amsterdam might contain a few racists but Amsterdam is not racist towards anyone. The city remains one of the most tolerant cities in the world and will continue to be a city that I love and hold dear.
Note: This was originally Chuka's answer to a question on Quora.