No more ‘allochtoon’ to describe immigrants

Two major government-funded agencies are to stop using the word allochtoon to describe people with ‘alien’ origins with immediate effect.

According to the Dutch national statistics office CBS and the WRR scientific council for government policy, the meaning of the word is not accurate enough and it also carry a stigma with it.

In recent time, both the word allochtoon, and its ‘Dutch’ equivalent autochtoon have come under serious criticism for using them to describe third and fourth generation immigrants. Dutch sociologist Hilde Verwey-Jonker came up with the words in 1971 as a neutral term to describe immigrants, foreigners and labour migrants.

According to reports by Volkskrant, the recommendation to drop the word is included in a preliminary report on a major study on migration.

Professor Mark Bovens of WRR: ‘When necessary, let’s talk about citizens with a migrant background and citizens with a Dutch background. ‘The children of migrants can be included as citizens with a migrant background. ‘The diversity and mobility among migrants is so wide that it not necessary to use this term to describe them.’

‘For instance, the top three immigrant groups in 2015 were Poles, Syrians and Germans, and they have little in common and the term allochtoon is inaccurate and meaningless.’

The WRR is also suggesting the use of ‘western’ and ‘non-western’. Officially, people from Japan and Indonesia are described as ‘western’, while people from Suriname and the Antilles are ‘non-western.’

Early this year, Socialist MP Sadet Karabulut said: ‘These terms have been invented for target groups and deprivation policies. There are people of the second and third generation of immigrants doing very well and wondering: when do I actually become Dutch?’

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