Controversial Cookies

The Dutch pride themselves on being an incredibly open, liberal and accepting population and for the post part I have to agree. Aside from their liberal stance of drugs, prostitution and gay marriage, there’s  also this sense of acceptance of different beliefs and cultures. The burnt out hippies wander peacefully and comfortably among the chique fashionistas and refined dignitaries. Until recently the Dutch also had very liberal regulations on immigration and even celebrated their open border policies. Unfortunately, due to the sudden influx immigrants, mostly Moroccan and Turkish, tensions are growing high and the Dutch fear their diminishing identity and job security. This debate can’t help but sound a bit familiar…

When I first moved to Holland I went to the grocery store with Sebastiaan to get some snacks and he pointed out some rather interesting sweets. Among the most popular cookies here are the “Jodekoek” or “Jew cookies.” (The all too common nonchalant attitude toward political correctness is something I still have to get used to). We walked a bit further down the aisle and Sebastiaan said, “Oh! These cookies are really good they’re called… neger zonen, negro kisses in English” Excuse me? The cookies are round and chocolate covered and feature  black women with large red lips on the package. Recently even the Dutch found this one a bit much and changed the name but kept the package the same. I was speechless. If these cookies popped up on grocery store shelves around America it would take about 30 seconds for people to protest and most likely burn down the store.

At work this morning my supervisor was walking around passing out treats. I didn’t bother to look up to see what it was but when he came over to my desk he casually asked,  “Do you want a nigger cookie?” I looked up at him, a bit stunned, which I guess he noticed because he quickly said “Oh, sorry Kia. I didn’t offend you or anything did I?” Oh no… not at all… but I think I’ll pass on the cookies thank you.

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