Re: Minutes from last week’s Dutch East India Company working group on DEI

From: Tim Maarschalkerweerd

Re: Minutes from last week’s Dutch East India Company working group on DEI

Date: December 12, 1784

Thanks to all of you who trekked to Oud Zuid for our meeting last week. I know some of you were traveling for the siege of Sint Eustatius.

Those of us who met were very encouraged and enthusiastic about this dynamic group! And more than that, excited about the work that we are looking to do. DEI has long been in our name but not in our game.

After talk of cows and calves we set to work defining the scope of this committee and its charge from our bewindhebbers.

What follows are my unfiltered meeting notes drafted in longhand:

· Thijs Van Dijk: “corporation is in decline.” Blames lack of diversity in the Council of the Indies, 94% of which are white men named Johan.

· Levi de Koning: can we go back to the premise of this group? Who says we even have a diversity problem? No one has done more for Black people than this company.

· Thomas van der Westhuizen: largest problem is equity in concubinage. Some in Jakarta who marry are allowed to speak, others across the empire are not. What’s our preference?

· Mees de Jaager: we can talk about equity all day but until we acknowledge the way slave enlistment in Batavia undercuts the value-add of Dutch officials, we’re just herrings sitting in a barrel.

· Stijn Beekhof countered that de Jaager’s ineptitude on his last 7-month voyage cost the company at minimum a thousand guldens, and the two came to blows.

· Pieter Bakker: Britain says it will outlaw slavery soon — “shameless virtue signaling.”

· Sem Visser: diversity may be about counting but inclusion is about your voice counting. Also not sure having both a Janssen and a Jansen as Governors General is enough.

· Jesse van Zijl: “we cannot manage what we cannot measure. We need a uniform measurement system across the empire for estimating loads seized from infidels” (Jesse had the wrong meeting room — equity of measurement was down the hall).

Action items:

· First, take a deep breath and relax. Most joint-stock ventures are going through this vital work right now. You all are part of the solution!

· Two subcommittees will meet between now and Hemelvaart: one on hiring processes in the colonies and one focused on expanding slave ship holds from 4-ft to 5-ft wide.

I’m circulating a next meeting when-to-meet via Statenpost. Please don’t complete the poll according to the specific dates listed, please complete based on the time that you generally can be available.

Personal note: two years ago I wouldn’t have been able to make chocolate from any of the above declarations. We’ve clearly come a long way and it’s clear that this is now a priority for leadership. I hope you feel the same pride in this trading company as I do. Onward!

Snark from the village.