The Belgian Monkey Caste

This is the first of a series of articles about discrimination and racism in Belgian society and for a big part in school communities targeting the most vulnerable among us: children. Not by accident our main character is a kid from Africa that was "lucky" to come to Belgium at an age ready for his first school experiences. As opposed to society targeting this kid as a villain I'de like to call him our hero because against all Belgian odds he got where he is today.

One of the early incidents were native Belgian youngsters throwing nuts at our hero and his mother on a public bus. At that time I still had an excusing attitude towards this kind of incidents that today I resent and disapprove of totally: they are just younsters making a mistake. But as will be unveiled blatantly through this series these incidents are part of a systematic mentality and of a neverending series of acts of discrimination and racism troughout different layers, institutions and all generations of Belgian society and school communities. Whenever possible those acts are excused, ignored, minimised, covered up and remain unpunished.

Lets have a look at life for our hero. Surrealistic are the monkey imitations by adult native Belgians. The first time in the "Café at the Transtation" I remained completedly baffled by an adult man making monkey sounds at our hero as if the monkey imitator was expecting a response from our hero. I guess our hero ignored the man because he was not able to understand the monkey language of the monkey. I love the reversed irony: who is the real monkey in this event?

The second time in the “Café at the Church” a slim native Belgian man turned towards us and started making monkey movements for quite some time after our hero, his mother, myself and some friends sat done. Not so baffled anymore I was thinking if only I had my camera to record the still surrealistic scene.

It is said knowing the people from your neighbourhood brings happiness. I don't think so in this case. It is quite a long story that culminated into a man and his wife verbally abusing our hero in his and our precense with and I quote the man: "Black monkey", with irony "Should I call him a white monkey maybe?" and "I'm a racist and then?". And I quote his wife: "We learn that from your black monkey.", "In the jungle you must live." and "In the jungle, the trees.”.

This man and wife also went to our hero's and their son's school director to complain about our hero. And guess who was made the villain by the school director: our hero. During the specially for the latter purpose organised end of year meeting I clearly remember the school director saying among others about our hero: "He will never become smart.". How arrogant! I'm still wondering nowadays do Belgian school directors believe black children are monkeys? I know one thing for sure: many school directors in Belgium have not been not appointed for their ethics. This director is not the exception. I will tell you some more facts in later articles!

It appears the monkey image is popular in Belgian society to abuse African people. Makak is also frequently used in this manner. It is surely not the only racist theme for insulting. Chocolate is even more frequently used and totally not so innocent as one may think at first isntance.

All together deeply saddening for a society that claims to be higly pluralistic, democratic and just. Don't be fooled by appearances! The typical catholic, civil and political hypocrisy that was being applied on sexual child abuse in Belgium also is being applied on discrimination and racism in Belgium.

If you want to be updated on new articles in this series please send an e-mail to entitled "The Belgian Monkey Caste” newsletter and include your e-mail address.

Feel free to check out the hyperlinks below to hear Bob Marley sing about discrimination and racism and what to do about it in these timeless and truth bearing songs.

Bob marley war no more trouble - youtube.
Bob marley - get up stand up (live) - youtube.
Bob Marley - One Love (Clip Officiel) - youtube.

”The Belgian Monkey Caste” article is written by Paka Small.

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