Published On: Tue, Nov 21st, 2017

Death threats don’t impress racism-hunters

HILVERSUM – Blocked on Facebook, out of a job or publicly unmasked as a racist. These are all scenarios you have to consider if you sent a racist message into the world, Natasja Gibbs reports on Caribisch Netwerk. An increasing number of people, among them Antillean-Dutch, are fed up and they have only one goal: naming and shaming racists. They are the busiest in the period around the Sinterklaas-celebration.

“Can’t we just exterminate all niggers? At least that will put a stop to all that whining about racism.” This is one of hundreds of public social media posts that have been collected with the name of the author on the Tumblr-site Weetwatjezegt (Knowwhatyouaresaying).

The founder of this site is from Aruba. Every day she monitors social media looking for racist messages. “I am looking for hashtags like kankeraap (cancermonkey), nigger or foreigner, but most of the time I don’t have to go to that extent. Those messages are up for grabs by the dozens.” Her objective: “Show what dark people in the Netherlands are confronted with on social media on a daily basis.”

She is not alone. Curacaolenean Ralitsa Vliese (23) from Amsterdam is a well-known racism-hunter or fighter against injustice, as she likes to call it herself. Every month she reports dozens of racist messages on social media and she writes letters to the employers and the companies the posters are working for. “I attack them where it hurts the most – financially.”

Vliese has more than 1,600 friends on Facebook and she is involved with several social media clubs. “Because of my background it is easy for me to mobilize a large group to report people or companies that practice racism.”

This way Vliese managed to bring down bol.com in September. The online shop used models with black-painted faces to market Surinamese dresses.

“I think that these people are living in a white bubble and think that they can do whatever they like. We shake them up and let them know that this is not okay.” Vliese’s Facebook-message was shared more than 300 times and it received 10,000 reactions. Bol.com has in the meantime removed the models from its site.

But exposing racism on social media appears to be risky. The founder of the Weetwatjezegt-site received several threats – “from rape to a bullet in my head.” For this reason she prefers to remain anonymous, though the author of this report knows her name. Ralitsa Vliese receives regular threats as well. “The day before yesterday I got one. That man wrote that I am a traitor and that I have to die.”

But the threats do not stop the racism-hunters. “This makes me even more belligerent.” Vliese says. “The problem will only be solved when the Netherlands acknowledges that it is a racist country and that something is being done about it.”

Big Mama

Photo caption: The offensive picture bol.com has in the meantime removed from its website. Photo Caribisch Netwerk