(Not) Measuring Mixedness in the Netherlands

Betty de Hart, Guno Jones*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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This chapter analyses the politics of ‘mixedness’ in a Dutch colonial and metropolitan context. We describe the colonial context of the racial categories used in Caribbean colonies and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and how multiracialized individuals were positioned within these racial hierarchies. Phenotype and gender were central to these hierarchies. We demonstrate that the political and social constructions of multiracialized categories during colonialism was not a reflection of the transcendence of racism, but rather a potent sign of a deeply uneven distribution of legal status and opportunities along racial lines. We demonstrate how these colonial racialized categories were translated after decolonization to fit in the supposedly ‘non-racial’ metropolitan context in which historically, religion and nationality had been used as markers of difference. Looking at the present, we analyse the shift over time of markers of difference: from religion to nationality (including dual nationality) to the ‘allochthone-autochthone’ binary, and finally ‘people with a migration background’. Given the often hierarchical and essentialist nature of top-down politics of classification in the past and present, the authors question the morality of defining and counting ‘mixed relationships’ and their offspring. Even if there would be room for self-definition, the question remains who is counting and why.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave International Handbook of Mixed Racial and Ethnic Classification
EditorsZarine L. Rocha, Peter J. Aspinall
PublisherPalgrave / MacMillan
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783030228743
ISBN (Print)9783030228736, 9783030228767
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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