Importance of Intersectionality: The Experiences of Women of Color of Ethnic Profiling in the Netherlands
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Ethnic profiling is one of the manifestations of institutionalized racism in the Netherlands. It is defined as the practice of being arrested or stopped by security officials based on ethnicity. Moreover, within this practice, it is believed that people from certain ethnic groups are more likely to commit crimes. Public and academic debates regarding ethnic profiling have been focused on the experiences of men. However, if we want to understand the practice of ethnic profiling in a holistic way, we need to incorporate the experiences of women of color. This thesis aims to capture the experiences of women of color in the Netherlands with ethnic profiling. The aim is not to add to the list of women’s experiences but rather to understand how ethnic profiling looks like while acknowledging how gender and ethnicity, among other identity categories, intersect. To do this, I used intersectionality as my analytical frame. Intersectionality is not only about different identity categories that intersect, but especially about the outcomes of this interaction in power relations, creating inequality. By doing semi-structured interviews, I have collected a diverse range of experiences with ethnic profiling. This range of experiences shows how women of color are marginalized in the context of ethnic profiling. The women felt that these experiences were influenced by the intersectional stereotypical ideas of black womanhood, the womanhood of Middle Eastern women, and Asian womanhood. So, these experiences did not only feel influenced by the fact that these women are of color, but, moreover, because they are women of color. The experiences of these women cannot be generalized since different ethnicities and other identity categories influence the experiences of women of color differently. In short, the understanding of ethnic profiling will only be more inclusive and allencompassing if an intersectional way of thinking about these women’s experiences is included.