In the week of 13 March, 2023, Pakhuis de Zwijger and Comité 21 maart organised the 5th edition of the Week Against Racism. This year, the festival was an extra special occasion for the Asian Raisins Foundation: we took a seat at the discussion table and in doing so brought more East and Southeast Asian representation. A first for our foundation, and thus a wonderful milestone. We also walked with the annual demonstration, and turned heads in the heart of Amsterdam.
Week Against Racism
Pakhuis de Zwijger and Comité 21 maart organised the 5th annual Week Against Racism from the 13th till the 16th of March this year, a programme leading up to the national Demonstration against Racism. Here, they offered an interdisciplinary programme with theatre, film, music, spoken word, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and dialogue. In addition, they collaborated with a multitude of artists from a variety of disciplines, civil society organisations and city makers. At this festival, Pakhuis de Zwijger, Comité 21 maart and the collaborating parties annually put a large number of topics on the agenda pertaining to the themes of racism and discrimination, such as politics, education, refugee issues and climate racism.
On Thursday March 16th, the Asian Raisins Foundation organised the exhibition:
Reclaiming East and Southeast Asian (in)visibility: From ‘ni hao’ to stereotypes and hate crimes. What does anti-Asian racism look like in the Netherlands and how do we fight it?
The aim of the exhibition was to make the invisible nature of anti-East and Southeast Asian racism visible: to show how anti-East and Southeast Asian racism has become so normalised in the Netherlands.
We showed how anti-East and Southeast Asian racism manifests itself in the Netherlands, how East and Southeast Asian communities experience it, and what we can do about it. We brought attention to casual racism, such as a supposedly well-intentioned “ni hao” or other hateful and racist comments on the street and internet. Institutionalised racism was also discussed, such as underrepresentation in anti-discrimination policies and racism in Dutch primary schools.
During the exhibition we showed our own work, such as our campaigns “Stop Hanky Panky Shanghai” and #iklachniet (#I’mnotlaughing) in collaboration with Pan Asian Collective (PAC). Works by other organisations and artists were also featured on this evening, including works by Chee-Han Kartosen Wong, Maaike Hartjes, Pan Asian Collective and VICE Netherlands. In doing so, we also highlighted the other initiatives taken in the fight against anti-East and Southeast Asian racism that can provide more inspiration.
In a post-exhibit discussion, visitors reflected on the exhibition under the guidance of Asian Raisins discussion leaders. It made for very interesting conversations in which people shared their personal experiences with this sensitive topic and ended up brainstorming means of combating anti-East and Southeast Asian racism. Concluding the discussion, we gave all the visitors a flyer with tips and tools so they will know how to fight racism themselves.
On Saturday March 18th, we joined the annual Demonstration Against Racism, organised by Comité 21 maart. In the centre of Amsterdam, we walked to draw attention to anti-East and Southeast Asian racism and to express our support for other societal interests.
Amidst a large crowd of protesters, we certainly drew a lot of attention to our cause with our beautiful Asian Raisins signs in our hands. It was a successful week for the Asian Raisins Foundation. Will we also see you at next year’s Week Against Racism?
Unfortunately, we cannot deny it. It is time to show everyone in the Netherlands that anti-East and Southeast Asian racism is ever occurring. And yes, ‘even’ in the Netherlands. It is time everyone thinks about what can be done about it.
And you too can contribute to the fight against anti-East and Southeast Asian racism! Support us with your donation at https://asianraisins.nl/doneren/, or sign our petition for Stop Hanky Panky Shanghai at https://petities.nl/petitions/verban-het-lied-hanky-panky-shanghai/.