Laila Soliman on Flirting with Stereotypes

You are the Minister of Integration. Your first action? 

My first action would be to review school curriculae and museums such as the "Tropenmuseum". I would review how other parts of the world and other cultures are presented. From that perspective I would also consider more historical framing or changing names of institutions such as the “Tropenmuseum". I would also introduce a more open form of post colonial self criticism in how the collection is presented and labeled, especially that it functions as a an educational sight for many Dutch children, including children that have origins from those places. 

Who is ‘the other’ for you?

On a very personal note I ask myself "who is not an other?"  I cannot denounce the concept of the "other" but I do reflect upon it and maybe even invite "others" to embrace it.

Can you name a stereotype that has a negative influence on public debate? What are its consequences?

A lot of examples about Muslims come to my mind of course. After September 11 and all the questions of legislation that arose concerning the minarets, the veil, the building of mosques... However, nothing in particular that I experienced first hand. I heard about it all through the press.

Take the point of view of a Chinese, Brazilian or Nigerian. Now look at a European. What do you see?

I will take the point of view of an Egyptian, an Arab that I am.

I do not see one European, I see a multiplicity that is dominantly white.

I see human beings like me, who have prejudices like me. And I will continue the wonder in how far the prejudice I see is not my own.