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Schut, E.C.

Department of Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy

Politics and Identity: Identity Oppression in the Netherlands

What Should, Can and Does the Dutch Government Do?

Your personal identity can have a major impact on everyday life. Gender, nationality, hobbies and tastes determine how you organize and live your life. The importance you attach to each of these aspects seems to be a matter of personal choice – but this is not always the case. In some situations, gender, race or sexual orientation (or any other identity trait) are crucial to how people perceive, categorize and treat you. And in a lot of those situations this is bad news. Women, Blacks and LGBTQAIs have suffered a lot of injustice throughout history; personal identity sometimes can be a political issue. Focusing on a group identity like this can be the source connection based on a shared experience and can motivate to unite and fight this injustice. Unfortunately, it is also the source of oppression which often results in violence, exploitation and marginalization.

In my thesis, in the first two chapters I present a multidimensional view on personal identity and emphasize its importance in being able to live an authentic life – being able to prioritize, organize and express all parts of your identity in a way that you can be true to yourself. Deprivation of this freedom means an unjust treatment, creating a possibly oppressive situation which is – of course – not a desirable situation In the third chapter, I discuss what a (liberal democratic) government should and can do to prevent this. Lastly, I examine the current situation for Muslims and LGBTQAIs in The Netherlands. What do we see of oppression based on these identities in Dutch society? Are there any clear cases? And what does the Dutch government do to prevent or correct this? I argue that for the LGBTQAI, our government is well on its way and there is a lot of awareness for their situation. For Muslims, however, times are tougher. Especially with politicians like Geert Wilders stirring up fear and anger towards them. So even though The Netherlands have a reputation for being a progressive, tolerant country, there is still much room for improvement

Last modified:24 September 2018 12.16 p.m.