Saturday 15 October – Introduction and sensitive terms and concepts

During the first morning of the second training in Amsterdam we had a session on organizational issues and getting to know the new participants. We did some warmup games and got to know the schedule of the week, revised our group rules and wishes and expectations of this second training. It was nice to see everyone again and getting to know some new participants.

Critical reflection on the use of everyday concepts relating to migration & inclusion

In the afternoon we explored sensitive terms related to the concept of migration and inclusion. In small groups we all had to look for sensitive terms in: news papers, cartoons, music, children books, talk shows, Facebook, Twitter and advertising and come up with a contrasting term. It was not very difficult to find sensitive political terms relating to those topics, the term “refugee” for example already embodies a lot of stereotypes and generalizations in itself. It also depends on the context how those words are used and related to negative images or not. The challenge lay in finding contrasting terms, or terms that sounded more neutral. In the Netherlands for example, the term “newcomer” is now often used instead of “refugee”, as a means to exchange the political sensitive term of refugee for a more neutral and apolitical one. But the question is whether this is really changing something, because newcomer still bears a meaning of being an outsider or the “other”.

The small groups came up with very interesting and sometimes shocking newspaper articles, advertisements or children’s books. For example an English advertisement of Paddy Power, on a truck in Calais stating: “Immigrants, jump in the back! (But only if you’re good at sport)”

It was an inspiring session and everyone came up with new things for everyone to learn.