Brussels So White movement

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Brussels So White
Type of projectHashtag, Informal movement
LocationBrussels
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EstablishedDecember 2017 (2017-12)
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The Brussels So White (or #BrusselsSoWhite) movement is an informal movement denouncing the lack of racial diversity in the European Union institutions in Brussels.

Origin[edit]

The hashtag BrusselsSoWhite first appeared in an article by Politico in 2017 written by Ryan Heath.[1] The article featured a collage of the portraits of all of the 751 Members of the European Parliament accompanied by the hashtag BrusselsSoWhite.[2]

Underrepresentation of people of colour[edit]

The use of the hashtag on Twitter has emphases the lack of racial diversity in the European Parliament.[3] Ethnic minorities account for more than 10% of the population of the EU, however less than 5% of the lawmakers elected to the European Parliament are people of color, a proportion further reduced to 4% after Brexit.[4][5] The lack of racial diversity among employees of the institutions of the European Union in Brussels, referred to under the hashtag BrusselsSoWhite, is even more striking because Brussels is a relatively racial diverse city.[6]

The European Commission refused in the past to collect information on the ethnic diversity of its employees.[7]

In September 2020, the European Commission put forward an Anti-Racism Action Plan to tackle the structural racism in the EU, including measures to address the lack of diversity of the European decision makers in Brussels, as denounced by #BrusselsSoWhite.[8]

Discrimination and racism[edit]

The hashtag BrusselsSoWhite has been invoked to denounce manifestations of racism towards people of colour working in European affairs in Brussels.[9] Employees of color at the European institutions are frequently assumed to be cleaning personnel,[10] catering personnel[7] or intruders.[11]

Shada Islam argued that because of the lack of diversity as denounced by #BrusselsSoWhite, whiteness could be perceived as being central to the European identity. In this manner the lack of racial diversity could fuel the arguments of the far-right movements in Europe.[12]

Notes[edit]

  1. Chander, Sarah (19 May 2019). "Why is Brussels so white? The EU's race problem that no one talks about". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  2. Heath, Ryan (11 December 2017). "Brussels is blind to diversity". Politico. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  3. de Haldevang, Max (15 December 2017). "The EU institutions are unbelievably white. Brexit will make them even whiter". Quartz. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  4. Psaledakis, Daphne (12 June 2019). "Minorities still lack a strong voice in new European Parliament". Reuters. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  5. de Haldevang, Max (14 December 2017). "The new balance of power in Brussels after Brexit". Quartz. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  6. Azimy, Roxanna (22 January 2020). "Why is Brussels so white?". Euro Babble. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Heath, Ryan (11 December 2017). "POLITICO Brussels Playbook, presented by EPP Group: Blockbuster foreign affairs — Brussels so white — Macron lands at Parliament". Politico. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  8. Islam, Shada (16 December 2020). "In a messy world, EU's clout depends on respecting values". EUobserver. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  9. Ryngbeck, Annica (12 December 2017). "3 Things I learned from working with Human Rights". Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  10. Heath, Ryan (11 December 2017). "Brussels bubble reacts to accusations of being too white". Politico. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  11. Islam, Shada (9 June 2020). "Europeans of colour are finding their voice – it's time 'Brussels so white' listened". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  12. Islam, Shada (17 March 2021). "Meghan Markle, royal racism and the 'European Way of Life'". EUobserver. Retrieved 7 May 2021.


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