And once you’ve got that down, he will help you understand the universal importance of “Belgitude.” 3) Without question he knows someone who knows someone who knows Stromae.4) From the peeling to the frying, this guy takes potatoes and turns them into fries that are tastier than Chez Antoine. He knows how to avoid traffic jams and is the champion of parallel parking. 6) He’s got a collection of comic books in his room that you can take and peruse while overlooking one of the goofy comic frescoes outside his window.13) He has got at least two of the three national languages under his belt.
Often, as I learned, my respondent’s relatives were faced with the challenges of conceptualizing both an African heritage and a Belgian identity.
Yet, each person invariably spoke about being “the only one” in many circumstances.
“The only one” symbolized being the only Black or Afropean throughout their lives and in different contexts.
Muslim populations throughout Belgium – primarily of Moroccan, Turkish, and Tunisian descent – displayed the lowest rates of interracial mixing with white Belgians due primarily to differences in social and cultural practices such as alcohol consumption, language and religious practices.
‘Many people of Muslim descent in this country do not drink alcohol or take part in social experiences that other immigrant-origin groups and Belgians take part in. They drink beer, go out at night, and that’s important in Belgian for social reasons,’ I was told by an integration researcher.
In attempting to construct my own multiethnic and multilingual identity, I have navigated, and often struggled, to understand my role in my family and community, and the subsequent reactions of my relatives – on both sides of the border, on both sides of my family tree.