"Are the Flemish racists?"

Research undertaken at the Francophone Free University of Brussels, the ULB, reveals some persistant Belgian clichés are unfounded. Nicolas Van der Linden interviewed Flemings and Francophones and did discover that Belgians are still struggling with a number of clichés.

Flemings do think that Walloons are lazier, while many Walloons believe that Flemings are racists and that there is a large Neo-Nazi community living in northern Belgium. Nicolas Van der Linden was eager to check whether these clichés were also true. He came to the conclusion that Flemings are not racists. The ULB research shows that Flemings are more positive about members of the ethnic minorities than they are about Francophones! Flemish politicians may voice negative attitudes towards migrants in the media that go down well with the public at large, but it appears that many Francophones too have negative attitudes towards migrants though these don't have much of an impact when they come to vote.

Do Flemings always blame the Walloons?

Nicolas Van der Linden discovered that there are Flemish people who stoop to this. These are the same people who are negative about immigrants and minorities too. These sentiments are fed by fears that migrants and outsiders pose a threat to their prosperity. The ULB researcher was also eager to discover whether Flemings are more ready to forgive the mistakes committed by compatriots during the Nazi occupation of our country. The Francophone media often suggest that the Flemings are more eager to forget the past and issue an amnesty. In reality the lion's share of the population isn't prepared to agree to such an amnesty, though there is slightly more support in Flanders. On one thing Flemings and Francophones can agree: they are misunderstood on the other side of the linguistic divide and are victims of prejudice!

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