One of the dangers of awareness campaigns centred on social media is that these campaign risk being online popularity contests. The national “Wanted For Love” campaign—a collaborative initiative of Hivos and Human Rights Watch aimed at drawing attention to the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in “Africa”—welcomes the like-tivist spirit with open arms.
While arguably an honest project powered by good intentions, there are a number of knotty aspects (sentimental slacktivism aside) to the campaign that need to be disentangled. I’d like to focus on these and some other aspects that are not included in the campaign’s happy narrative.
How much does an Allochtoon cost? This question was weighed, albeit two years ago, in all earnest by Jan H. van de Beek, a mathematician and cultural anthropologist at the University of Amsterdam. In an article concerning Van de Beek’s research into the monetary value of bodies of colour Camilia Bruil of the prof.mr.B.M. Teldersstichting writes wistfully that,
“Unfortunately, Van de Beek left the question of how much an immigrant costs and how such a cost-benefit analysis should be made unanswered. Perhaps, continuing research will be able to supply answers to these questions.”
Let me stress, I’m talking here about the very same Mark Rutte who was granted a platform at Keti Koti this year, where he gave a weak speech in which he matter-of-factly stated that NiNsee shouldn’t hope for a subsidy: that well has run dry. Remember? Nevertheless, Rutte received a warm applause after which he made a quick exist. He had better things to do.