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Dutch newspaper uses n-word in headline

A Dutch newspaper has come under fire after it published a headline with the word ‘Niger’

Published: Updated:

A Dutch newspaper has come under fire after it published a headline with the word ‘Niger’ alongside a picture of a person with their face blacked-up to make them look like a black person.

On July 31, Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad published a review of numerous books on race and racism in the U.S..

Washington correspondent Guus Valk leads with a review of Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates’s latest book, “Between the World and Me.”

But editors caused controversy when they decided to headline the article “Niger, are you crazy?” and add a photo of a black faced figure.

In an opinion column written for the Washington Post, Karen Attiah expressed offense at the article she claimed to be ‘racist’ and ‘appalling.’

She wrote: “The editors knew full well the emotionally violent, dehumanizing power of the n-word for blacks in America and were perfectly fine with offending them needlessly, even though the article was about racism faced by American blacks.”

According to the Washington Post, Valk did not participate in creating the headline, illustrations, or layout and said he was “sorry to learn that people had been offended.”

Michel Krielaars, editor of the Book supplement for NRC denied racism allegations and responded: “There is no racist remark to be read in the review, because that is not our cup of tea.”

He added: “We didn’t assume it would offend Dutch readers (black or white), otherwise we wouldn’t have chosen it. Also we didn’t think about possible reactions by non-Dutch readers, because the article is in Dutch and it does not aim at non-Dutch readers. The fact that, through the web, this article travels across the world we consider a good thing. But we don’t think it’s fair if the title travels by itself, without the context of the language in which the article was written. Having said that, we may have underestimated the possible impact on the image of a newspaper spread with these illustrations and this headline. We do regret this.”