Monday, 31 May 2010

An update ... and Spotted in The Netherlands

The part where I tell you what's been going on:

I know: you haven't seen me much around on Blogger lately. It is not that I have been very lazy, or lost interest in the wonderful blogs I used to follow or disappeared from Bloggersphere altogether - not at all!

My absence was due to medical reasons mainly. Unfortunately, I suffer from chronic migraines (cluster headaches, to be specific) that come always accompanied by photophobia which in turn makes it unbearable to fix my eyes on the screen for too long. Therefore, reducing the amount of time I spend in front of the pc helps to ease the strain on my eyes. The medication prescribed by my huisarts (GP or family doctor) has also helped with the splitting headaches, but has given me minor heart problems on the side... so whenever I have an attack I basically wait for it to go away on its own and rest.

In the last month I've been feeling a lot better from my migraines (fingers crossed, knock on wood that they will definitely stay away!) and I thought it was time then to pay a visit to my forgotten blog, "From Argentina to the Netherlands, ..."

Spotted in The Netherlands: The Pro Colour Campaign

Pro Color is a new movement that promotes the use of more colour in every day life, because "... a colourful, pleasant and positive society begins simply with more colours". As they state in in their manifest, they want to put on the agenda those issues that are generally overlooked by politicians and they do this by bringing them to the public's attention with beautiful colours. An example?

I spotted this poster at the bus stop in my neighbourhood and it certainly called my attention:

The text in English reads: "why only black and white schools?"

Are there white schools and black schools in The Netherlands? The answer is "yes", though they are not exactly what you might think they are... Let's explain:

A zwarte school ("black school", literally translated) is a primary or secondary school in The Netherlands where most of the student population is of foreign (non-Dutch) origin. On the other hand, a witte school (white school) is one where most of the student population is of Dutch origin.

The existence of these so called black or white schools is due mainly to the distribution of the population especially in the biggest cities in The Netherlands and not to laws that separate students according to their ethnicity or their nationality.

Many people in this country think that the zwarte en witte scholen (black and white schools) practice is bad to achieve integration and unification within the society. One possible solution would be to help people of non-Dutch origin to spread across the country - but how can this be achieved? Finding work is a major issue that comes into play when people (Dutch or non-Dutch) decide to live in the Randstad or western part of the country ... Another option to make schools more mixed would be the implementation of waiting lists - a solution that does not sound too promising to me, I must say.

If you are currently living in The Netherlands: where you aware of this situation? Do you have an idea of how schools can stop being zwart or wit and become colourful, instead?


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you've been suffering from migraines. I used to get them like that, with the light sensitivity, and it was miserable. I've been lucky that they've gone away on their own finally over the past 10 years or so. I hope you don't have any more any time soon!

I saw a few of those Pro Color ads recently, but didn't look closely enough to know what they were about. Thanks for explaining it! I had no idea about the zwarte en witte scholen. It's a difficult situation to fix. In the US, they would bus students to different schools to try to even things out sometimes, but that means the students often have long commutes, which I've never thought was a good thing.

Leti said...

Eber! Nice to read you again! I've seen the ads too, but no idea about the witte en zwarte scholen, either.
I'm in The Netherlands for just 2 weekes, but I'm already realizing how important the ethnicity issue is in The Netherlands.
Thanks for your explanation and I hope to meet you in the real life soon!
Greeting from a porteña!

Aledys Ver said...

Thanks a lot for your wishes! :o) I'm glad to hear you got rid of the headaches!
Yes, I think that forcing the students to go to a different school might not be very practical. The idea is good in principle, but as you say, the students might end up having to travel a lot every day to go to school...

Welcome to NL!! :o)
I'd say that more than "ethnicity", the issue is "integration" ... You'll see in the campaigns for the coming elections that this is a topic that comes up quite frequently.
Besos cordobeses para la porteña ;o)

~ Lopa said...

Ohh i didn't know that you were suffering from Migraines... which kept you away from Blogging, I thought it's just you were busy !

I have sun allergy, which i was aware when i lived in India and always made a point to cover my head when in sun directly... but i forgot it after moving here as we hardly have that kind of sun here...
A week ago when we had a fantastic weekend, we spent whole day at beach directly in sun, i started feeling low and didn't realise what was going on, only later when i slept and woke up in the morning my migraine reminded me i didn't cover my head from direct sun !
But mine is not as severe as yours, i just take one pain killer and rest and it goes away and didn't return until i do something stupid like that again !

I wish for you that you feel better and it doesn't return.

About this schools, i didn't know anything about it before reading this post, may be it has to do with the fact we don't have kids and so didn't explore much of that area. I only knew that there are international schools where medium of teaching is English (Which are pretty expensive and they also teach Dutch), there are bilingual schools and there are Dutch schools (which are almost free).
This was something new.. thanks for sharing it :o)

Gabriela Andrade said...

Hello, thanks for the quick visit to my blog!
Where can I come see her, which as always is awesome, congratulations!
Kisses, in which city are you?

Aledys Ver said...

Thanks a lot for your kind words and for your comments!
Don't forget to cover your head next time you go to the beach and play volleyball!! hehe

You can write in Portuguese if you want, I can undestand it but I can't write it! :(
I live in Zwolle - a bit far from Groningen but still outside the Randstad! :o)
Thanks for your comment!!

Diego Ezequiel Bianchi said...

Que garrón lo de la migraña amiga!! SE que es terrible ese dolor. Y que suerte tenerte nuevamente escribiendo en este hermoso blog.
Que loco esto de los diferentes colegios. Encima se llaman blanco y negro. Feo. Todo un simbolismo.
Voto como vos para que muy pronto se hagan de colores. Un beso enorme.

Aledys Ver said...

Gracias! Si, el dolor es horrible!
Así es, se les llaman así, escuelas blancas (de holandeses) y escuelas negras (de inmigrantes) - suena feísimo, no?
Beso grande.

buday said...

And here I thought you'd gone back for another vacation in Argentina and you were about to return with new pics of delicious grilled beef to make us hungry, haha.

Migraines are BAD, especially when there's a lot of glare (ugh!). Glad to know you're feeling better. :)

Vagamundos said...

Good to have you back! It was a long absence but you had a very good reason. Hope you get fully fit fast!

Aledys Ver said...

I wish! Well, in fact I did go on a vacation, but to Spain, not to Argentina. So that also kept me away from blogging! :o)
Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks! Fingers crossed....! :o)

Lizzy said...

Glad to see you back and with such an interesting post! There are very similar situations in America, where minorities tend to live in one area separate from the white people. Many of those areas are extremely impoverished and opportunities for receiving a good education and finding nice jobs are slim, making it hard to climb out you know? That problem became especially evident after Katrina. It's really sad!

Anyway, I hope your migraines stay away and that you'll be feeling good enough to blog some more :-) Have a great week!

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Oh, my dear, I wondered where you had gone. I am glad to hear you are feeling better, but what misery for you!

Sending you XOXO

Aledys Ver said...

Yes, I know that there are similar situations in the US.
Thanks for your good wishes and for stopping by!

Well, I went away and came back in the meantime :o)
Thanks for visiting!

Breigh said...

I have only learned about the black and white schools recently. At first I thought it was about skin color haha We get a lot of this in Rotterdam, apparently... but I never knew about it because we don't have children and never ran into it ourselves. I think it's easy for something like this to happen because on the whole foreign people tend to gather in specific areas, just like there are areas that are mostly Dutch natives. So the schools would end up being mostly one or the other in some places.
Definitely not something I ever experienced back in Canada.

Aledys Ver said...

Hi Breigh!
Yes, I guess that Rotterdam, as one of the biggest cities, must see a lot of this issue of zwarte en witte scholen.
The problem seems to be that because of the concentration of people of non-Dutch origin the standard of the school in general tends to lower down and then Dutch parents try to take their children to another school which in turn makes the school stay "one colour" and not as mixed as it would be desired... Complex situation....
Thanks for stopping by!

Anita said...

You also have to see that many couples when decide to have kids they move to villages. They find the kids in big cities too much "streetwise", "brutaal". That's the case where I live: lots of "blanke" Dutch couples decided to stablish a life in a village and have kids. They look for Christian values and schools with lots of gym lessons - instead of the Montessori method for example. Well, I think that's not bad. I had a Catholic education my whole life : best way in the world to rebell against it and become a liberal - but not nuts ! What I find the most interesting is that foreign teachers do work at white schoold. This is excellent because then kids can get used to another accent and different cultural backgrounds.

Gabriela Andrade said...

Obrigado pelos comentários Aledys, sempre venho aqui no seu Blog olhar, mais há algum tempo você não posta.. entendo!
Está há quanto tempo aqui na Holanda?
Vamos combinar algo qualquer dia desses? nesse verão lindo que vai fazer por aqui.
Beijos querida

Anonymous said...

¡¡¡¡Muy buen artículo!!!! Una pregunta que me quedó dando vueltas es de dónde sale la denominación "blanco" o "negro" para las escuelas (que de hecho está extendida, porque veo que hacen referencia a ello en los carteles). ¿Sale de la gente, las escuelas se la dan a sí mismas?
Muy interesante, realmente.