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  • Anneke Romijnders

LOUIS (2nd Year)

“When I visit my parents in England, I use a French passport which states Barbados as my birthplace. Often, I must explain that I am not as English as I may sound. It starts with my name, ‘Cumberbatch’ which is a slave name from Barbados. My father’s side of the family is mixed race and therefore I am too. However, I don’t identify as a minority. To me, being a minority often links with socioeconomic status, which implies experiencing certain struggles. I would be lying if I said that I have not been really lucky in life. Not looking mixed race, however, led me to hear things in the UK that normally wouldn’t be said to me. That was a factor, which influenced me to study in the Netherlands, instead of the UK. More than this though, I want to go into politics later, and international studies seemed like the right stepping stone. In my opinion, good leaders should understand people’s problems and make decisions with empathy. For me, there are certain factors marking if a country can thrive: good education, care for the elderly and compassion for instance. My usually strong opinions lead me to delve into controversial arguments, in which I struggle with people who can’t separate your opinion from who you are, because for them, I am what I say. So, I try to remember that to have most conversations, you need to understand a person’s background and perspective. A frequent topic I engage with is cancel culture - the fear of which seems to be far more predominant than the actual act of cancelling someone. For example, once my friend stopped me from engaging in a heated debate involving this. It seems as if the fear of cancel culture causes people to not present a counterargument. I see this a lot; mere opinions are being dressed up as facts and opposing those opinions can land you in great trouble. This is a problem. Cancel culture in its current manifestation prevents us from having important and possibly difficult discussions. These discussions are necessary, or we will struggle to understand one another and gain any form of perspective in the increasingly interconnected environment we are living in.” (Louis, 2nd year, France, United Kingdom, Barbados)

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