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4.1 Introduction

Unity without diversity is suffocating. Diversity without unity is grains of sand.

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands

People live under the burden of discrimination and racism and the resulting exclusion. Such an experience of exclusion may have disastrous effects on the victim’s participation in society. It can impact people’s health, wellbeing and prosperity. Experiences of discrimination may also lead people to drop out from work and turn away from society or politics.

The reality is that we live in a society in which groups are increasingly in conflict with each other and where Dutch residents without a migration background are unfairly favored in job interviews, in the housing market and in healthcare.

Tackling that inequality is a shared responsibility. True equality can only exist where people do not feel compelled to deny or explain part of who they are. True equality also means that people can choose how they wish to live their lives.

Any sound approach to the problem of discrimination and exclusion involves supporting and empowering people in at-risk groups and protecting the victims of discrimination.

The coalition agreement ‘Looking out for each other, looking ahead to the future’ underlines this: “A democratic society can only function if we draw a line when one person’s freedom threatens another’s, if everyone gets involved and if we take action against discrimination.”

Real solutions, policy measures and protective laws are required to prevent groups of people from being treated as inferior based on an implicit hierarchy. The government should take the lead here and shoulder its responsibility. This much we owe to future generations. Young people are entitled to a promising future that offers equal opportunities for everyone and a voice in the debate about a sustainable and inclusive policy.

Instead of countering them, colorblind policies allow inequalities to survive. There is no such thing as a neutral government, in the same way that there are no neutral human beings. This chapter addresses current policy and policy interventions aimed at supporting and protecting victims of discrimination and racism, partly by means of legislation and enforcement.