zwarte-pietUPDATE 23/11/2017: ‘Tis the season for blackface once more! In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas has arrived by boat from Spain and is busy distributing presents and festive cheer with the help of his “Black Petes” (buffoonish black-skinned servants / minions / helpers). However, Dutch society is more divided than ever over the issue.

The Dutch national children’s ombudsman has published a report finding that the Piet character encourages bullying and discrimination against children from ethnic minority backgrounds (and the ombudsman’s office has received death threats in response). This year, the run-up to the Sinterklaas festival has seen protests and counter-protests break out in response to the controversy.

In the very best Dutch tradition, could a compromise solution be found? In Amsterdam (one of the most cosmopolitan Dutch cities), the character has been adapted into “Chimney Piet” or “Sooty Piet”. The blackface, curly hair, hoop earrings and pronounced red lips that cause such controversy have been replaced with a light dusting of soot (from clambering up and down chimneys), but otherwise the character is unchanged.

Could “Chimney Piet” be the way forward? Will it preserve Dutch traditions whilst keeping society open and tolerant, and discouraging bullying and discrimination of minorities? Let us know what you think in the comments form below!

ORIGINAL 05/12/2014: In the Netherlands, 5 December is the most important children’s holiday of the year. During the festival of Sinterklaas, jolly old St. Nicholas travels by boat from Spain to distribute presents and candy. Accompanying him on this festive mission is an army of Zwarte Pieten (or “Black Petes”) mischievous manservants dressed in Renaissance garb… and almost invariably played by white people dressed in blackface and Afro wigs.

Whilst the current iteration of Black Pete goes back to 1850 and the book Saint Nicholas and his Servant by Jan Schenkman, there are conflicting views as to his true origins. Some argue that he represents a trusted friend and helper of Sinterklaas, others an African slave, while others believe he is only black from soot after sliding down chimneys to give out gifts.

Not everybody in the Netherlands sees Zwarte Piet as a charming tradition. One young Dutch man, whose parents emigrated to the Netherlands from the former Dutch colony of Suriname, says that other students teased him and called him Black Pete at school.

And it’s certainly not a tradition that is well-understood outside of the Netherlands. When the Dutch documentary film-maker Sunny Bergman filmed reactions to Zwarte Piet makeup in London, she was met with anger, ridicule, and incredulous cries of “Why are you blacked up?“. British comedian Russell Brand even argued that the Netherlands was suffering from a “colonial hangover”.

This year, the debate has heated up. Earlier in 2014, a Dutch court ruled that Zwarte Piet was “insulting” to black people and perpetuated racist stereotypes, but this ruling was overturned by a higher court in November. At a Sinterklaas parade in the town of Gouda, almost one hundred anti-Piet activists were arrested.

And it’s a debate that goes to the highest levels of Dutch politics. The Prime Minister, Marke Rutte, has said he is proud to put on blackface each year to play Zwarte Piet, and argued that his black friends have it easy: “My friends in the Antilleans [the Dutch former colonies in the Caribbean] are very happy when it is Sinterklaas because they don’t have to paint their faces. When I play Black Pete I am for days trying to get the stuff off my face.”

Does Zwarte Piet represent a failure of the Netherlands to come to terms with its colonial past? Or is it a misunderstood cultural tradition under threat from politically-correct attitudes? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Hans Splinter


418 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

    • avatar
      Arber

      What about improvising a human zoo or what was called an ethnological exhibition with black people inside ? That too was an European tradition right ? Shall we bring it back according to you Nono,or we shall consider it a loss in our “cultural heritage” ?

  1. avatar
    Debby Teusink

    It’s no more rascist than morris dancing is. Harmless tradition in the least rascist country in the word.

    • avatar
      SityD

      Very racist.. Nothing about that figure is harmless.. It is highly insulting to people of color.

    • avatar
      Debbie

      jij moet maar eens een week als kleurling door het leven in het volgens jou niet racistische Nederland…. heb je wel eens gelezen wat de commentaren op facebook zijn van de voorstanders? educate yourself before commenting!

  2. avatar
    Matej Zaggy Zagorc

    It’s tradition. It seems that everyone is so concerned about racism towards black people that they forget it goes both ways. I mean, the US is facing a crisis with black on white racism but it’s just not recognized as a problem, since well, it’s black on white, and it’s OK.

    • avatar
      SityD

      That is a lie.. The US is facing WHITE on BLACK racism.. I do not know where you get your information about the US, however, you are gravely misinformed.

    • avatar
      Emily

      It’s called white privilege.

    • avatar
      A J Cooper

      You are very wrong! I’m an American citizen born & raised. You’re ignorant & delusional if you believe that Blacks are oppressing whites here In the U.S. I not sure where or how you get your news but if I were you I’d find alternate source.

    • avatar
      Jenessy van der Tulle

      I agree on that it is tradition; however, that doesn’t make it okay. If someone did Zwarte Piet to mock and degrade black them, it is racist. On the other hand, I understand where you are coming from. Unfortunately, suddenly everything has to be politically correct and that ruins culture and humor. I agree that U.S. race relations has become worse since Obama but I wouldn’t go far as to say the U.S. is facing a crisis with black on white racism. It’s just that social justice warriors tend to be the loudest with their illogical opinion.

    • avatar
      Jenessy van der Tulle

      Emily, white privilege does not exist. Yes, statistically, white people make higher incomes than black or Hispanic people. However, it is an established FACT that income correlates with effort and education. In the U.S., every citizen gets an equal opportunity to be educated through the 12 year school program. Also, according to your type of logic, Asian men make higher incomes than White men, does that mean that there is Asian privilege? No, the main reason of Asian men making the highest incomes is that most of their family take the education of their children very seriously. My closest friends are Black-Americans and they told me about how that is not the case within the Black-American community. Blaming white people will not solve anything.

  3. avatar
    Paul X

    Definately a “misunderstood cultural tradition under threat from politically-correct attitudes”

    Christmas pantomime leading “ladies” are traditionally men in drag, is this demeaning to women? is it homophobic?
    Pantomime horses are people dressed up in a horse costume, is this demeaning to horses?
    Is the plethora of Santa’s that will appear this Xmas demeaning to fat people with beards?

    For centuries various traditions involve people dressing up as something else but if it happens to be white people dressing up as black people the politically correct lemming brigade collectively feign disgust

    • avatar
      peter

      Oh so true, you just said it!

    • avatar
      Gail From Suriname

      Well spoken! Perfect arguments brought. People are searching racism behind all kinds of things, forgetting that they themselves might be racist. In fact, the people protesting against Black Pete come from Suriname. A country where racism is amongst all.

    • avatar
      SityD

      So should it be fun then for someone black to dress up as a former slave master and whip a white person depicting a slave?? How about we go around acting like whites?? Being dirty, allowing our animals in our beds and on our furniture?? Better yet, let’s act like the whites that stole the American land from the Native Americans.. Or the whites that continue to bastardize Africa by stealing their natural resources and killing off one the greatest African leaders?? Let’s depict ourselves as whites hanging blacks.. However, let’s hang a white person so they can see what blacks have had to go thru.. You guys all sound racist and it disgusts me that you have no consideration or care about the demeaning and degrading nature of this “tradition”.

    • avatar
      Mrock

      If I dress up in a 5.000 USD Gucci suit and act like Obama, it will still qualify as a racist action against black people. If I also dress up like Usain Bolt or Michael Jordan or Ronaldinho. History has so much discriminated against black people that this is a normal reaction to the centuries-long action of slavery. Probably the best thought now is to not convict for racism in the easiest of ways but to have yourself, each one of us, a pre-emptive action to not “tease” in any means possible.

      “How about we go around acting like whites?? Being dirty, allowing our animals in our beds and on our furniture??” – this is also an attempt of racism SityD? Although I do not find it so bad to allow animals anywhere, but being being white equals being dirty?. Food for thought my friend.

    • avatar
      Thomas

      Listen, I’m a 19 year old Dutch guy and I can tell you that this tradition is anything but racist. SityD you’re naming “traditions” that are negatively portrayed but I can tell you that “Zwarte Piet” is a very positive character here in the Netherlands and there are certain trademarks that make him a Zwarte Piet, one of them being their faces are black. The history of this tradition is from way back before the US was even colonized slaves were being traded from Africa not by whites, but by Egyptians and Sinterklaas bought these slaves and then freed them but they didn’t know what to do as free men so instead they worked for him and got a paid salary, so they were not “slaves” but employees of his. This tradition stuck and really most children are scared of sinterklaas and these zwarte pieten usually help break the barrier between sinterklaas and the children by being cheerfull and fun!

    • avatar
      Asi

      Still, the black guy happens to be the servant. Yes it is a colonial hangover but generally speaking the Netherlands is an open minded country so we forgive you.

  4. avatar
    Hamza Serry-Senhaji

    How can a fairy tale be racist, especially when the character in this case zwarte piet is Sinterklaas best buddy and companion ? Maybe sinterklaas should only hire white people, that’s not racist right ?! Maybe Snow White is racist too, towards people suffering from Dwarfism …

    • avatar
      Stephen

      Dwarves are not a race; this isn’t Game of Thrones.

    • avatar
      Stephen

      But seriously, fairy tales and racism are not mutually exclusive.What about the character Mary in the classic tale “The Secret Garden” when she says that blacks “are not people” after her black housemaid said that she was expecting her new child boss, Mary, to be black because she was coming from India?
      Just google “racist fairy tales” and you will easily found numerous other examples of racism in fairy tales. Just because it’s a fairy tale doesn’t mean that it’s immune from racism.
      And you pose a false dilemma by suggesting the only other option is that sinterklaas only hires white people. It is not like those are the only two options.
      And yeah: Drarfism is not a race, so your proposition that Snow White is racist uses false logic as well.

  5. avatar
    Matthew Cruickshank

    It’s based on slavery and perpetuates the idea of coloured individuals adopting subsidiary roles within society – of course it’s racist.

    • avatar
      Cistah

      The slavery involved in the story of Sinterklaas is that Sinterklaas freed people who were of Moor origin from slavery and mainly kids who could if the wanted work for him and get payed an salary. Sinterklaas was an actual saint one time who did this and becouse he was a friend to kids the story of Sinterklaas is based on him. And did you know that Santa Claus is based on Sinterklaas? Dutch people introdused this to America when they came to America when it had been discoverd

    • avatar
      SityD

      Thank you Matthew.

  6. avatar
    Johan Vercarre

    Yes, he is ! Crazy figuren which hasj been inenten in the Romantic Episode, so in 19th Century . So Black Peter DOES NOT EXIST even !!

    • avatar
      SityD

      What makes making fun of blacks harmless??

    • avatar
      Thomas

      SityD, I have been reading some of your comments and you may want to do some research on the traidition before writing comments because you sound extremely ignorant. We do not mock the race by painting our faces black and acting silly. It’s a figure. That would be like me mocking animals because I dressed up like Micky Mouse or Winnie the pooh but you don’t see animal rights activists protesting it?

  7. avatar
    Gatis Gailitis

    I know quite a few black people that would not agree with today’s political correctness. If there’s two people working in a company you can’t call one of then white and the other one black. Can’t say ‘baa baa black’ sheep. Can’t say black board. It’s all the underachieved people that find things like that offensive and choose to blame things on something else. If it’s a tradition. It should remain a tradition. Political correctness is ridiculous these days.

  8. avatar
    Manuela Murthi

    Its celebration based on tradition, its an reality brought in our days not necessary by purpose.

  9. avatar
    Inês Beato

    I don’t know the origins but the way it is nowadays it’s not a negative character, it doesn’t show black people as being evil or anything, so I don’t see how it is harmful. It is a friend of children :) people are seeing bad things where they don’t exist

  10. avatar
    Jerome Panaioli

    no racism. in fact zwart piet is black because he was someone who delivered coal. it’s the coal dust who made his skin black.

    • avatar
      Margreet

      Then why does he look like a black person? Why does he have afro hair, big red lips ,golden earrings? That’s the problem. The appearance of Zwarte piet was defined around 1850, in times of slavery. He doesn’t look like a chimney sweeper, does he? People are offended by it and his appearance is going to change.

    • avatar
      Wendy

      @Margreet, they don’t have afro hair. They have curls. I know a lot of white people with curls. And if you look better you will also find girl zwarte pieten with long straight hair. And look at party piet Pablo. He doesn’t really has black hair, and my ex had the same curls he had. And he was a white boy.

    • avatar
      cliff

      Well you go and slide through chimney s. And see how black you get? No more black pete but only pete. And then with just a little blush of coal dust on his face. But not totally blackface painted. And i even agree with the color pete, cos for children it’s like a fairytale you can adjust this celebration slowly to a celebration that’s good for all people. Black White yellow etc.

    • avatar
      Berna Kuhl

      why does his name literally translates to “Black Pete”? You can’t tell me hes not supposed to be black if his name is literally Black Pete

    • avatar
      Ye

      Sure, but what happens when I question wheter or not you are wrong? Nice paradox you made there. :)

  11. avatar
    Eu CuMine

    there’s no way to be racist.. the coal is black, does it make a racist out of it?

  12. avatar
    Amsterdam

    It is racist. Tradition isn’t an argument anymore. In the Netherlands there were book like the big negrobook where you can read of the nikkerland it’s so wrong and sick. Books full of black people (just like black Pete but then without the chlothes) acting stupid. People don’t realize it’s racist because they don’t feel it and see it that way. It’s like they are blind and stupid. One song says: even though im black as soot, I mean well. And another song says: black Pete isn’t black from soot, hes black like soot/grimm. That’s wrong and it sends a wrong message to black kids. Some black people are called zware piet around this holliday. Basic fact it isn’t as harmless as peolpe think. Black Pete is outdated. Alot of white dutch people are calling black people names (it’s only a small group that doesn’t like black Pete but every black person gets attacked on tbe internet) and saying go back to your own country. They are getting really racist it’s kinda scary. The people who protested were arrested for no good reason. They were just standing there in silence but with sweaters on with the tekst : Black Pete is racism. But only the black people got arrested, the white people who are protesting with the anti-Pete people didn’t get arreated. One man almost died bescause he couldnt breath and he said it like 5 times with total panic in his voice. I was ashamed for being dutch that day. But more and more people are opening up their eyes.

    • avatar
      Wendy

      It’s a party for children. My daughter doesn’t even know what the word means. And my son loves zwarte piet even more then Sinterklaas. And if you really read into it you will find that Sinterklaas is a heathen fest, that knows it origan long befor Slavery. Zwarte piet is a symbol for night and day and things like that. And they still celebrate it like that in a lot of countries. And that is considered as cultural heritage. I also want to say that the one writing this story isn’t really good informed, because the Netherlands isn’t the only country who has Sinterklaas. Also parts of Germany have it and Belgium to. And Santa Claus as most know is based on Sinterklaas. See the simalarity in the names?
      And why is it that it’s always the black talking about the white inslaving the black. It also happend the other way around:

      An often underestimated .or even suppressed aspect of slavery in the Netherlands is the role of the Dutchman as a slave in modern history. Especially North African pirates and traders, also known as Barbary pirates, but also Turks, had their eyes on Europeans to include construction projects and the galleys, in North Africa. Even slaves were often held with a view to obtaining a ransom from their family or fellow believers of the slave. This Christian slaves were both captured during the hijack of sea-going vessels, as well as robbed of Europe’s coasts, including the Dutch. Even down to Icelandic and North American coastal communities are attacks reported.
      The problem of theft of Christian slaves is particularly strong in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Of the estimated 1 to 1.25 million Europeans are captured in this way as a slave, an estimated 10 to 12,000 Dutch .. Barbary pirates were startled Always ready to capture even slaves in Dutch coastal villages to trade.
      Just let the kids, who are the victims right know keep the party they look forward to the whole year

    • avatar
      mirjam

      Have you been there….in Gouda i mean. Just emagine that youre standing there with youre kids and People around you started fighting….thats why they were arrested. It was not as peacefull as you preclaim. I don’t mind if they chance the apperence of “blackend pete” i don’t think the dutch kids would mind. But what irritateds me is that the whole discussion is blown out of proportion mostly by people that don’t know what the festivity is about. I have a lot of “black” friends and they never had a problem with the festivities and enjoy them as much as me. They actualy feel that with this discussion they are pressiored to take a minorety stand which they never had to take before.

    • avatar
      Bas

      Wrong. Its not like that. Most white people are not calling dark skinned people names. In my experience its more the other way around. The dutch are the most tollerant group of them all. Cheers. The dark people sold there own countryman for money as slaves. Sinterklaas freed the slaves and is a saint. In holland the dark collour is from the coal and most kids love zwarte piet alot more then sinterklaas.

    • avatar
      Thomas

      In that case, let’s get rid of thanksgiving because it celebrates the slaughtering of many native Americans and then their land being stolen, or how about the fact that there is a tradition in Spain where a man stands in a ring with a Bull and continuously stabs it with spears until the bull dies a slow and painful death? Or how about the religious tradition where you slit a goats neck, but most people don’t do it properly so the goat also suffers. But wait innocent animals dying for a “tradition” doesn’t matter. Let’s just worry about people’s feelings getting hurt because there is a tradiotional character who’s face is black. What’s next? sinterklaas has to paint his face black because otherwise it’s demeaning because black people can’t be in charge? This is a traidtion blown way out of proportion.

  13. avatar
    Martin Bohle

    We currently may not use ‘Z. P.’ in a racist sense; but why to stick to traditions that were used in that sense, may be used again, and why expose our children to these; beyond that ‘what about enforcing rules by reward and punishment?’.

  14. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    has the name that you have that matters is that it be traditional tradition that has nothing to do with racism

  15. avatar
    Ria Stolk

    Of corse we are no racists,it is a tradition from hundreds years old. I am growing up with this great happening .Now people try to spoil the biggest feast for children,how dare they.This tradition has nothing to do with racisme.I have a lot of friends in India,they also have traditions with black faces,do they have to bann that,Nonsens,it is a special time with presents and sweet.

  16. avatar
    Frances Bill

    Yes it is a racist custom. I lived in Brussels for thirty years. I’m glad that it’s finally being questioned. It is custom that is demeaning and wrong.

    • avatar
      Margreet

      You’re right Frances. The feast of Sinterklaas isn’t racist, but zwarte piet is. Not the person playing it, but his appearance. People are offended by it, also little children. Coloured people of all ages are called black pete and it isn’t meant positively. So change pete’s colour and everybody can have a great Sinterklaas!

    • avatar
      Yves

      You lived in Brussels for 30 years ! Hope you are back in your country. If after so many years, you do not even understand a tradition of the country you were a host of, it means that you are really a dump !

  17. avatar
    Frances Bill

    It’s a tradition that shows black people as naughty and bad. Zwaarte Piet is usually portrayed by a white boy wearing black makeup. It is an embarrassing horrible custom.

    • avatar
      Julia

      It’s a lovely harmless tradition and let’s just have fun! Don’t be so silly to link it to racism! Then as a minority I also will complain! If you come to another country you have to respect traditions and not to impose your views which are initially wrong!

    • avatar
      batman

      Yeah. Let’s call him white Pete and all the white kids can be called names instead… they won’t mind because it’s on white kids so it’s not discrimination.
      And we should take minions off TV because they’re yellow and it offends yellow people. And when we are sick we are offended by the blue looking surfs.
      Why is it only racist if it isn’t white?
      Zwarte Pete is black… that’s why they call him that. In the same way as the telletubbies have a telly in the tubby. And spiderman is half spider. Zwarte piet is paid as according to the tradition of sinterklaas he freed people from slavery and have them jobs as paid hands… what is less racist really?

      There’s plenty of kids who aren’t white who will be laying there shoes this year and singing songs. As there’ll be plenty of black people dressing up as zwarte piet for their kids.

      Racism is not natural… it is taught. Teach your child to love and they won’t see the difference…

    • avatar
      Marjo

      racist is not correct Frances Bill! maybe you are one yourself by using the term yourself. Maybe you should educate yourself first! So sorry for you being this dumb. Oh and by the way isn’t there enough s**t in your country ??? So get your lazy a** moving and start cleaning up! You have way too much time on your hands I notice. We take care of our own culture and you should do the same.

    • avatar
      Amie

      Frances, don’t pay attention to marjo. Anyone who resort to calling names and childlike behaviours in debate loses credibility regardless of their position int the argument. Sorry you had this sort of comment on Sinterklaas.

  18. avatar
    Eveline Wilbers

    nu its not people who think that dont know the whole story about it! st nicolas went to slave market to buy slaves,he brought them home and gave them freedom,they could choose to work for him and get paid and housing and everything or to go free,they all chose to stay and work with him to go around ones a year to give all poor children a gift! ignorent people!

  19. avatar
    Marjo

    nothing else to do overthere? Is this why I pay tax???? get lost or make yourself useful! What about Ebola, what about people dying because of hunger & thirst, ISIS, need I go on? If I was your mother I would have grounded you . And the ones who are talking about discrimination here in the netherlands are just some pathetic persons who have nothing else to do then jabbering over something started long long ago. Get yourself a job instead of scaring the s**t out of children.

    • avatar
      Stephen

      Your argument is a red herring: drawing attention away from the subject at hand by mentioning a completely unrelated problem. This type of argument can be used on any subject because it dismisses the subject at hand by bringing up an unrelated subject that the speaker perceives as more important. “You shouldn’t be caring about homeless people because of child poverty! Why are you talking about poverty when there’s ebola? You shouldn’t be fighting ebola because terrorism still exists!”
      People are able to care about more than one cause, it’s not like each one of us can only choose one cause to fight for an completely ignore everything else that’s happening in the world.
      “Get yourself a job” is another statement that uses false logic: you’re attacking the person’s character instead of addressing the subject at hand.

    • avatar
      Broek

      And you never ever get a present from Sinterklaas??.. you never ever sang any song??.. you never ever ???… Get out of here!… And what about Ebola??.. and what about Hunger and Thirst?? and what about all other terrible things in the world!?? Does that mean you can’t celebrate anything anymore????…
      Let the childeren celebrate there own Sinterklaas!…they love Sinterklaas en Zwarte Piet… And they don’t scare childeren!… pffff Get a Life!

  20. avatar
    toon

    what about japanese geisha’s……………..tortures to keep them small feet……and let them dance……. using white make up…..to ????/

    will this be banned to from culture????

    • avatar
      Stephen

      Thank you for that bit of information with no evidence to support the claim. The sale of white slaves doesn’t justify the sale of black saves, no matter how many were sold.

    • avatar
      Amie

      Stephen, great comments.

    • avatar
      Yvetta

      Agree with this comment!

  21. avatar
    Frances Bill

    I’ve been told all sorts of justifications for this racist custom. Look at the illustration at the top of this post. It’s offensive and wrong.

    • avatar
      mirjam

      Are you American? The resons that i ask is that amerika has a whole diverant history regarding slaves than the netherlands. the struggle for aqual rights for “black” poeple is still on going…there is still a lot of racisme and from that point of vieuw i understand the reactions when people see a picture of :blackend pete” but in the netherlands we have a diverent history we don’t know the slavery as the Amerikans do. A lot of dutch people were actialy inslaved in the 1700 by the Turks and North African countries. We have a diverent history….if blackend pete was a Indonesiën guy…that whould be offensive knowing our history. That’s a no go….

  22. avatar
    Bachi Bachi

    The documentary was made by a anti Black Pete activist and al the people involved were hired actors paid to criticise a beautiful tradisin which has nothing to do with slavery.

    • avatar
      Margreet

      That’s a new one. In all the discussions in the Netherlands I haven’t heard that argument yet. If any hired actors were involved that would certainly have created a scandal and that hasn’t happened. The feast of Sinterklaas isn’t racist, black pete’s appearance is and it was created around 1850, yes… there was still slavery then…

  23. avatar
    Nadine Baerts

    i am english and moved to belgium 7 years ago with my husband who is belgian, at first i thought, omg thats a bit racist but i realised he is a chimney sweep so the black is soot, as the years passed i find him a welcome sight my kids love zwarte piet and are not scared of him but the yellow/gold one we met had my kids screaming and in tears trying to hide behind me making the yellow piet worried and apologizing to us, in england chimney sweeps are considered lucky so there fore zwarte piet is lucky lol.

    • avatar
      Yvetta

      So do English chimney sweepers wear big gold earrings and have curly hair, Nadine? Do they also wear jester clothes?

  24. avatar
    Yvetta

    Yes, I think it is racist. It is re-inforcing the image of the black person being a servant. Racism is engrained in a lot of other European traditions as well because there was a time when it was the norm and there was nothing wrong with it.

  25. avatar
    jan

    Als alle pieten wit zouden zijn, zijn de Nederlanders rassiest. want ze willen geen zwarte helpers. wat nu?

  26. avatar
    doggy

    For me it’s rasist and a lack of respect towards black people !! Also when i went in debate with some dutch people i quickly understood that it wasn’t abouth tradition for the most of them !! They just found a way to evacuate theire rasist frustration ! It qucly went from my tradition to they need to adapt and if they don’t agree that they go back to theire country ! Also they started with more insulting and rasist remarks in manny ways wath for me only shows that like most of Europeans now they aren’t open minded anymore ! brainwashed by the anti europe and extreme right wings on social media !! Logical would be just to change some things in this ”tradition’ !! And to judge this like a insulting tradition for a lot of black people in the world — I hope that the judgement won’t be influenced by the people and that the judge will do his work !!

  27. avatar
    Lee Lovelock

    Zwarte Piet’s blackness stretches all the Way back to him being Odin’s little Helper; it is inherently Geanic but was taken in an positive Manner by Christianity later and paired mid St Nicholas, beknown to everyone for his love of giving hard up children gifts and looking after those who could not themselves do. It is another reason why Krampus takes on an ‘dark’ and sometimes, black overtone. These modern Day Liberals who wish to kill and starve Europe of everything she is need to drop dead basically or go and live among their charity cases !

  28. avatar
    Malcolm X

    I hear the logic behind this zwarte piet is that their faces are black from the smoke in the chimneys, when going in and out to give children presents. I am wandering if the smoke also turned zwarte piet`s hair from blonde to kink and black?

  29. avatar
    Manuela Mcmoura

    Piet is a minstrel which is offensive both to African-Americans and Africans…Whites liked Black peoples music but did not dare to go to their parts of town to listen to this kind of entertainment in their racist society…so Whites started IMMITATI NG Black songs and music so that whites could atend their performances of “Pseudo” Black song and music” REMEMBER Al Johnson???And others…So good bye and good riddance to Piet…Hollanders should learn to be sensitive in their “Cosmopolitan” society…No more whites painting their faces Black as there are more than enough Black people around in NL that take offence…

  30. avatar
    Manuela Mcmoura

    Piet is a minstrel which is offensive both to African-Americans and Africans…Whites liked Black peoples music but did not dare to go to their parts of town to listen to this kind of entertainment in their racist society…so Whites started IMMITATI NG Black songs and music so that whites could atend their performances of “Pseudo” Black song and music” REMEMBER Al Johnson???And others…So good bye and good riddance to Piet…Hollanders should learn to be sensitive in their “Cosmopolitan” society…No more whites painting their faces Black as there are more than enough Black people around in NL that take offence…

  31. avatar
    Yvetta

    I would just like to add that the responses and comments we are seeing in defence of this tradition: drop dead, plain, political denominations etc..intimidation and offence really do sum up what kind of person enjoys this kind of “traditions” and what is behind them. To them I have the following to say: there is a thing called humanity and human civilization and it’s got nothing to do with politics or one’s education. You would think that society has moved on from the times when someone’s skin colour was a source of entertainment and being Jewish was perceived as being evil (oh, yes the burning of the Jew is a “tradition” in some places) but, by the looks of it, not everyone has.

  32. avatar
    Carlos Taras Manrique Pérez

    If that is racist, the black member of the reyes magos of Spain is too? Seriously, I will like that to be thought, I mean, in Ferguson a black man is killed and everybody goes butthurt about racism and blah blah blah, but if a white its killed is just a person more? Can only whites be racist?

    • avatar
      Nay

      Difference is the black King Balthasar (as in from the Bible) doesn’t play jumps and entertains, has the same status as the other two kings and nowadays in Spain you have black people playing that historical role. While here the Zwarte Piet is still wearing the garments of a slave, is not in equal conditions to Sint Nikolaus and has his face painted emphasizing his black features (red big lips, seriously?). Maybe the diminishing would be decreased if it would be played by black people instead of whites pretending to be black

  33. avatar
    Sini Castrén

    Don’t they have better things to do? Not all traditions suit everyone. A harmless fairytale in a racist world.

  34. avatar
    Rui Bandarra

    Cant it just be a racist tradition? Because thats really what it is lol. Eveeybody’s just being hipocrite about it and whistling to the other side.

  35. avatar
    Bely Bob

    Has nothing to do with rascisme. Black Piet is painted black to frighten little children. And that’s what they liked in the past. Customs are changing over time. We will see more coloured Piet’s in future. But the real Piet remains for many a Black-Piet! There are many more rascist problems in the world! Go to the USA where there is much more rascisme as the many demonstrations are demonstrating. Overthere is a real problem going on!!!

  36. avatar
    Peter Castermans

    Off course it’s not. Zwarte Piet was indeed a slave. But he was bought free at the slave-market by the bishop of Myra. And Black Peter was so thankfull that he wanted to stay with Saint Nicholas and serve him as a friend. This is not racism but a statement against racism and a statement of friendship. These days ZP is even better of the the holy sint. ZP is protretted as smart and funny while the sint is depicted as an old men with memory problems.

  37. avatar
    Virginie Bihin

    It never occured to me as racist and when being child never associated zwarte Piet to a black african or slavery or anything negative. Just a man with a face coloured in black always with Sinter klaas. I would never compare my africans to a zwarte piet or think of them that way. Ridiculous.

  38. avatar
    Peter Castermans

    We should fight real racism like discrimination on the employee market and housing market. This whole debate is a setback in fighting racism. People (i also) feel themselves attacked in their own culture by immigrants and that can make people more intolerant.

    22/02/2017 Floris Mansvelt Beck, a lecturer in ethics and political philosophy at Leiden University, has responded to this comment.

    • avatar
      Giancarlo

      En dan na te gaan dat de sociale welvaart van America gebasseerd was/is op de katoenplantage’s waar zwarte slaven vaak onmenselijk behandeld werden. Maar het is makkelijk de beschuldigende vinger naar een ander uit te steken. En pratend over discriminatie en rassenhaat. Denk eens de recente incidenten met dodelijke afloop tussen de politie en gekleurde Amerikaanse burgers.

    • avatar
      mirjam

      Klopt helemaal :)

  39. avatar
    Bachi Bachi

    Then we have the Clown issue.
    What annoys me most is the fact that Clowns are displaying a hideous caricature of all white men.
    ? Large wide eyes
    ? Shoe Size 31 (USA)
    ? Bright red hair in patches
    ? A pug nose
    ? A staggering gait
    ? bowlegged
    ? intellectually very limited
    ? Wearing knickerbockers
    ? Hose like spraying tears

    As a young child I watched in horror to the antics of Oleg Popov. I still have a trauma related to the circus I visited with my parents when I was 6 years old. The worst thing is that Popov and other clowns are active worldwide so I often was unwillingly confronted with their announcements making a mockery of the white man.

    In 1996 I was 30-year-old man on holiday in Vietnam with my father. And it was there were I to my outrage and indignation was faced with a brat that was making fun with our big round eyes. Of course I immediately felt discriminated against. I wanted to make a statement and give her a thwack to the head. With great difficulty I restrained my rage. Disappointed about the discriminatory way we were received by the public population during our visit to Vietnam we returned to our hotel. Frustrated. How dare such a Vietnamese child, poorly educated. I’m never going back.
    The truth is that a cute 7 year old innocent girl made fun of us. She didn?t do us any harm there were no bad intentions.

    Centuries ago, kings or lords employed fools and jesters. They made fun of other people and sometimes even in their presence. If the jokes were not appreciated they could end up in jail or even been slain.

    At the present moment the Dutch judiciary court must have had a state of insanity to approve the discriminatory lie. It throws us back into the age of barbarism. A period far behind us.

    By giving in to the very poorly substantiated antics of humor haters we lose a great thing. And that’s tolerance.

    If we have to admit regarding Black Pete then it is inevitable that Clowns soon will follow.

    Manny commedians like Bob Hope, Eddie Murphy, David Letterman, Cheech Marin, Jim Carry, Jay Leno and Richard Prior will be out of a job or lose face, fame and show. It will mean a lesser diversity on television channels and theaters can be closed.

    Black Pete isn?t black of race. In fact he is a white man traveling through chimneys to deliver presents to kind children. He also wears a broom which originally was used as a utility to clean chimneys. Black Pete uses it as a tool to punish disobedient children. There is no black man or African descendent involved in the Sinterklaas celebrations.

    Verene Shepherd is just a fool and feels a need to get even with white people because white people had black slaves. She ignores the fact that white people in the Caribian during the same period also held white slaves. Often criminals or poor people picked up in the slums of Londen. Before the black slavery trade we had serfs and bondsman. A lot of black slaves were criminals and sold to slave traders instead of death penalty. Same goes for African prisoners of tribal warfare. Slavery is not invented by white man. But white men ended slavery by law. Ending slavery even started with the Dutch living in the USA. Yankee?s originates from two common Dutch names; Jan & Kees.

    To the present day slavery is still common practice in most African and Asian countries. Saudi Arabia officially abolished slavery in 1961! But it?s still common practice in Saudi Arabia.

    Therefor the Black Pete discussion concerns a non-issue.

    It is easier for the court to ban all the humor and associated laughter.

    • avatar
      mirjam

      Thank you… i agree.

  40. avatar
    Bachi Bachi

    Then we have the Clown issue.
    What annoys me most is the fact that Clowns are displaying a hideous caricature of all white men.
    ? Large wide eyes
    ? Shoe Size 31 (USA)
    ? Bright red hair in patches
    ? A pug nose
    ? A staggering gait
    ? bowlegged
    ? intellectually very limited
    ? Wearing knickerbockers
    ? Hose like spraying tears

    As a young child I watched in horror to the antics of Oleg Popov. I still have a trauma related to the circus I visited with my parents when I was 6 years old. The worst thing is that Popov and other clowns are active worldwide so I often was unwillingly confronted with their announcements making a mockery of the white man.

    In 1996 I was 30-year-old man on holiday in Vietnam with my father. And it was there were I to my outrage and indignation was faced with a brat that was making fun with our big round eyes. Of course I immediately felt discriminated against. I wanted to make a statement and give her a thwack to the head. With great difficulty I restrained my rage. Disappointed about the discriminatory way we were received by the public population during our visit to Vietnam we returned to our hotel. Frustrated. How dare such a Vietnamese child, poorly educated. I’m never going back.
    The truth is that a cute 7 year old innocent girl made fun of us. She didn?t do us any harm there were no bad intentions.

    Centuries ago, kings or lords employed fools and jesters. They made fun of other people and sometimes even in their presence. If the jokes were not appreciated they could end up in jail or even been slain.

    At the present moment the Dutch judiciary court must have had a state of insanity to approve the discriminatory lie. It throws us back into the age of barbarism. A period far behind us.

    By giving in to the very poorly substantiated antics of humor haters we lose a great thing. And that’s tolerance.

    If we have to admit regarding Black Pete then it is inevitable that Clowns soon will follow.

    Manny commedians like Bob Hope, Eddie Murphy, David Letterman, Cheech Marin, Jim Carry, Jay Leno and Richard Prior will be out of a job or lose face, fame and show. It will mean a lesser diversity on television channels and theaters can be closed.

    Black Pete isn?t black of race. In fact he is a white man traveling through chimneys to deliver presents to kind children. He also wears a broom which originally was used as a utility to clean chimneys. Black Pete uses it as a tool to punish disobedient children. There is no black man or African descendent involved in the Sinterklaas celebrations.

    Verene Shepherd is just a fool and feels a need to get even with white people because white people had black slaves. She ignores the fact that white people in the Caribian during the same period also held white slaves. Often criminals or poor people picked up in the slums of Londen. Before the black slavery trade we had serfs and bondsman. A lot of black slaves were criminals and sold to slave traders instead of death penalty. Same goes for African prisoners of tribal warfare. Slavery is not invented by white man. But white men ended slavery by law. Ending slavery even started with the Dutch living in the USA. Yankee?s originates from two common Dutch names; Jan & Kees.

    To the present day slavery is still common practice in most African and Asian countries. Saudi Arabia officially abolished slavery in 1961! But it?s still common practice in Saudi Arabia.

    Therefor the Black Pete discussion concerns a non-issue.

    It is easier for the court to ban all the humor and associated laughter.

  41. avatar
    Arnold

    Regardless whether this tradition is racist or not; the reactions to those wanting to abolish or adjust Zwarte Piet were most racist. And it was those reactions that exposed a possible colonial hangover and the lack of proper integration of former immigrants.

  42. avatar
    Aleksejs Miščuks

    The over the top political correctness is the modern scourge of Europe that is killing the ability to enter normal discussions. Nowdays it seems people are more concerned with the need npt to offend anyone or appease everyone’s race, nation of religion instead of focusing on the actual topic of discussion. The insane emphasis of tolerance is becoming the new moral nazism that threats to eliminate the freedom of speech and thought. Not saying that the conservatism is the answer – it is not. Just pointing a the big elephant in the room which everyone else prefers to overlook because of the fear to branded as a backward fascist scum..

  43. avatar
    Giancarlo

    Sorry everyone, but this is written in Dutch. Honderdvijftig jaar geleden werd in de Nederlandse koloniën de slavernij afgeschaft. Op 1 juli 1863 werden in Suriname, Nederlands belangrijkste slavenstaat in de West, zo’n vijfendertigduizend mensen uit de slavernij verlost. Kanonschoten vanaf het fort Zeelandia kondigden hun nieuw verkregen vrijheid aan. Tegelijkertijd werden op de Antillen ongeveer twaalfduizend mensen in vrijheid gesteld.
    Neem nu eens de bezetting door de Duitsers van Nederland, die overigens 5 jaar duurde. Ook Nederlanders zijn als Nazislaven gebruikt! Hoeveel zijn er niet naar Duitsland en Frankrijk getransporteerd om voor de Duitsers te werken? Neem daarnaast het aantal slachtoffers, Nederlandse soldaten, Joden, Verzetsstrijders enz. Hoeveel Nederlandse Joden en voorgenoemde ethnische minderheden zijn er niet omgekomen in concentratiekampen. Natuurlijk doet dat bij de Nederlander nu ook nog pijn. Maar geeft dat de Nederlanders ook zonder meer het recht om met de Duitsers te blijven haten, zoals de Surinamers en andere gekleurde Medelanders hier in Nederland met Nederlandse traditie’s wel doen? Duitsers hebben ook traditie’s die Nederlanders een doorn in het oog zijn! Hoeveel Duitsers herdenken de sterfdag van Ome Adolf niet? Hoeveel Duits-Amerkanen lopen er nog steeds in de Bruine Hemden rond? Hoeveel brengen er niet de Hitler Groet. Denk eens aan de Neo-Nazi’s!!! En dat is veel korter geleden. Ongeveer 69 0f 70 jaar geleden? Toch gaan de Nederlanders gewoon met de Duitsers om. PIJN SLIJT MET DE OPVOLGENDE GENERATIE’S, OF MAAKT HET DRAGELIJKER.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Giancarlo
      Hmmm, why would one post Dutch language text on an English language forum?

      Are you ashamed of something?

    • avatar
      Giancarlo

      Juist omdat ik me niet voor wat dan ook hoef te schamen, heb ik deze tekst in het Nederlands geschreven. Maar voor alle duidelijkheid, ik ben Italiaan. En speciaal voor jou Tarquin, zal ik dit in het Engels vertalen.

      Just because I did not do anything to be ashamed of, I’m have written this text in Dutch. But for the record, I’m Italian. And especially for you Tarquin, I will translate this short text into English.

    • avatar
      Giancarlo

      And just one more thing. Why do some people in the Netherlands who fuss about St. Nicholas? In Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles they also celebrate St. Nicholas, including the Black Piet’s, the helpers, not the slaves. You don’t believe me, just look for yourself. http://youtu.be/LJeUye3zZnU

    • avatar
      Giancarlo

      And real black people do not exist. Even when you are so black, you are and will remain brown. Why do brown people color there skin into black, as in this video? Explane?

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Giancarlo
      Hmmm, thanks for the translation BUT why didn’t you bother in the first place? STRANGE!

      Stranger still are your comments about there NOT being any black people.

      Have you OD-ed on skunk?

    • avatar
      g.casanova

      You wonna know it? Well, here is your answhere.
      Consider the German occupation of the Netherlands, which lasted 5 years, incidentally. Dutch people also be used as a Nazi Slaves! How many are transported to Germany and France to work for the Germans, and where schot afterall? Take also the number of victims, Dutch soldiers, Jews, Resistance etc. How many Dutch Jews and said ethnic minorities are not killed in concentration camps. These facts are still open wounds for the Dutch people. But gives these facts us the right to hate the Germans. No!! Why? There are meanwhile so many new generations that they have learn to respect each other. They are friends now.

    • avatar
      g.casanova

      You ask, why a Dutchman wrote a piece in the Dutch language on a English site? Which is an insinuation and a conviction in itself! An exclusion of people with different backgrounds !! THAT IS BASED DISCRIMINATION IN IT’S FIRST FORM. Then you ask me; Are you ashamed of something? Another insinuation. Only People who talk’s Englisch, are people?

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @G.Casanova
      FYI English is THE lingua franca. Dutch, although a noble Germanic language [like English] has too few speakers outside Netherlands to be considered inclusive in the EU context or indeed the world context.

      BTW, once the EU has implemented ECONOMIC UNION, its next step will be LANGUAGE UNION i.e. all business, speeches and all EU affairs to be conducted in German/English as these are the 2 biggest economies in the EU.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @G.Casanova
      Sorry old chap BUT it appears that something was lost in translation.

  44. avatar
    Fabio Accioly

    hell, YES!!!!!!!!! There are enough black people in Holland! No need for paint white people darker the the darkest black person on Earth! Its just weird!

  45. avatar
    Suze Venneker

    Het is niet racistisch.Zwarte Piet moet blijven.Samen met Sinterklaas.Kindervriend!!!!!

  46. avatar
    Cistah

    Sinterklaas freed Moor children from Slavery children are playful and they were employees of Sinterklaas if they chose to stay whit him. Therefor Zwarte Piet is Black and cheerful. A few years ago they had to be more brown cause no person was really black said opponents but now he has to go? If you can’t stand the heat you must not be in the kitchen so maybe if you cant cope whit a tradition maybe you should not be in the Netherlands were the autonomous dutch people are more discriminated than the immigrants today

  47. avatar
    Richard Tagart

    Made up to look like a chimney sweep (as was the well-documented custom in Flanders until as late as the early 70s) is not racist; made up to look like a 16th century slave pageboy like this, is at least somewhat questionable. Tradition for tradition’s sake is not a good thing in itself. Times change & customs need to change with them.

  48. avatar
    TI NA

    so by falling through the chimney also gave him an afro and big lips? the whole thing couldn’t be more racist people!

  49. avatar
    Jeroen Groothedde

    Damn fucking straight it’s racist. People discard the racist aspects by stating it’s from sweeping chimney’s, but can’t explain where the afro hair and stereotypical red lips come from. People dislike change in their traditions, which is ironic, since every Dutch custom and tradition was formed over hundreds, sometimes thousands of years, changing all the time. It’s racist and it will change, it’s just a matter of time. :-)

  50. avatar
    Vijaykumar Autar Sharma

    I am in favour of a ban in any case of this feast but not only beause it is a racist tradition, but also meant for pedophiles I truly believe .

    Research on Social Media shows in Holland that it is mainly white men and fathers who are the ones defending this tradition very very aggressively. Heaven and earth will be moved in Holland , to keep this tradition going . Deadtreats and intimidation follows.

    But when e.g. ‘swimming ‘teachers in Holland gets busted for abusing kids sexually on occasion , obviously , no attention for these kids on Social Media in Holland for months… Maybe 1 day , will do .

    Kids gets learned from the beginning (formed) that it is OKE to sit on the lap of old rich-classy – white men, they should be trusted and gets candy and presents for free.

    Kids gets learned that White old men are to be trusted when The Saint ( white men) ‘bang’ on the door and not have to be afraid, instead of black people knocking on the door. But do Kids learn as well that it is OKE to trust old rich-classy- white guys ?

    Of course.

    AT the RijksUniversity in Groningen, research shows that kids will learn the racist remarks and stereotypes of Black People from
    a very very young age .

    If Racism is institutionalized in Dutch Society why not would that be the case with Child-abuse aswell ? Child sex-abuse is very common in Holland . Many priest and institutions got away with it for decades . As I said Mr Schenkman was a teacher in Amsterdam. Black servants were meant for rich white old men at the time. Unfortunatly Mr. Schenkman
    was a teacher too…..

    That makes me wonder what Dutch people do know exactly of “Mr. Schenkman , the inventor, himslef and what do they know about his personal life ?

    That said, I am really in favour of a ban of this “Dutch Kinderfeest” in any case . I think that ALL scary elements should be investigated by the criminal court of Justice .

    About the racial remarks of this “tradition”:
    the international law goes a step further than the Dutch Constitution. Art. 1. itself. According to the UN conventions when a group of people are ” defined ” only on the basis of race, colour or nationality, or ethnic or national origin”. Then the caricatures of this tradition can be banned by the European Court. In Dutch courts It is mandatory that they should validate this tradition to international legislation and
    treaties. This moronic Ducth Tradition
    needs to be banned
    completely. ATleast It should !!

  51. avatar
    Cheryl Bowlin

    well im from the usa but when i came to belgium i learn that it was black stuff from going down the fire place with Sinterklaas had nothing to do with black people that how i learn it when i went to netherlands why all the other stuff coming into it after all this years or did i get my story wrong…

  52. avatar
    Rolando Van Velden

    yes, there are two ways of thinking about zwarte piet. Both are misbehaving in the Netherlands. The discussion has gone out of hand; threats, small incidents of violence, yelling, insulting. You cannot expect the other side to listen when you say they are ridiculous or racist. To the people who are for zwarte piet, i would say; do pay attention to the fact that some people have problems with zwarte piet, respect that. To the people who are against zwarte piet; understand that sinterklaas is seen as a tradition as something you have childhood memories of. Your interpretation of zwarte piet may be different than other people……

  53. avatar
    catherine benning

    This is another PC madness and an attack at the ‘white’ culture of Europe.

    How can a long held, hundreds of years tradition, be called racist. Why is making a face black an insult? Do black people despise their faces so much they don’t want them copied? What is it they hate about this pageant? Is Othello racist? Should we ban that Shakespeare play and the Opera as well?

    When Africans cover their bodies in white chalk are they being racist? When Japanese Kabuki artist use a white paint of their faces are thy racist? Do white people foam at the mouth when they do? This is simply an excuse to take control of European culture by others as they want to dominate and destroy what is held dear by our wonderful traditions.

    If we were to go to other cultures and try to change their long held traditions akin to the Native Indians of the USA or the Aborigines of Australia what would they do and say to us? Do you believe they would stand for it at all?

    And, no, European traditions are wonderful and celebrated in a colourful way. And we Europeans will not allow them to be banned, just as no Indian continent tradition or any other continents tradition, that is not connected to white Europeans, will be. In fact we herald traditions of the world, just the way we enjoy the Chinese New Year in London with parties and Fu Dogs.

    So, long live, Swarte Piet.

    And all those who are spouting that this is racist should be condemned for hate speech and put in Jail for a minimum of three years, as it causes social unrest and is a gross offence to European people.

    http://imgarcade.com/1/african-white-face-paint/

    And

    http://time-trip.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/japanese-kabuki-theatre.html

  54. avatar
    Vijaykumar Autar Sharma

    I am in favour of a ban of this tradition , not only beause it is a racist tradition, but also meant for pedophiles I truly believe .

    Research on Social Media shows in Holland that it is mainly white men and fathers who are the ones defending this tradition very very aggressively. Heaven and earth will be moved in Holland , to keep this tradition going . Deadtreats and intimidation follows.

    But when e.g. ‘swimming ‘teachers in Holland gets busted for abusing kids sexually on occasion , obviously , no attention for these kids on Social Media in Holland for months… Maybe 1 day , will do .

    Kids gets learned from the beginning (formed) that it is OKE to sit on the lap of old rich-classy – white men, they should be trusted and gets candy and presents for free.

    Kids gets learned that White old men are to be trusted when The Saint ( white men) ‘bang’ on the door and not have to be afraid, instead of black people knocking on the door. But do Kids learn as well that it is OKE to trust old rich-classy- white guys ?

    Of course.

    AT the RijksUniversity in Groningen, research shows that kids will learn the racist remarks and stereotypes of Black People from
    a very very young age .

    If Racism is institutionalized in Dutch Society why not would that be the case with Child-abuse aswell ? Child sex-abuse is very common in Holland .
    Many priest and institutions got away with it for decades .

    Mr Schenkman , the inventor of this ” kids tradition” , was a teacher in Amsterdam. Black servants were meant for rich white old men at the time. Unfortunatly Mr. Schenkman
    was a teacher too…..

    That makes me wonder what Dutch people do know exactly of “Mr. Schenkman , the inventor, himslef and what do they know about his personal life ?

    That said, I am really in favour of a ban of this “Dutch Kinderfeest” in any case . I think that ALL scary elements should be investigated by the criminal court of Justice .

    About the racial remarks of this “tradition”:
    the international law goes a step further than the Dutch Constitution. Art. 1. itself. According to the UN conventions when a group of people are ” defined ” only on the basis of race, colour or nationality, or ethnic or national origin”. Then the caricatures of this tradition can be banned by the European Court. In Dutch courts It is mandatory that they should validate this tradition to international legislation and
    treaties. This moronic Ducth Tradition
    needs to be banned
    completely. ATleast It should !!

  55. avatar
    W.m. Vermeulen

    Children are afraid for our Black Pete. Its mean children will not accept quick a negroide person in his or her life. They already get brainswashed as a youngh child. Its wrong. On this way, they got the idea, white people have the power. And negroide people are less. Maybe thats why racism in The Netherlands are so high. People get crazy by the idea, black Pete will not be allowed anymore in The Netehrlands. White people attack negroide people for it. Its not normal. Like here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgNFxM0oP-4

  56. avatar
    Johannes van Oene

    en verders voel jij je wel helemaal gezond W. M Vermeulen jij bent niet zelf een beetje gebrainwasht zeg maar, om er zulke flauwekul uit te slaan

  57. avatar
    Patrick Schallier

    Vijaykumar Autar Sharma: I don’t think there is a greater pathetic stupid AH in this world than you and your homophobic BS :)

  58. avatar
    David AUR-SXM-NL

    I believe there is a lot of misinformation going around about the origins of Zwarte Piet and that people are looking only skin deep.

    The Kingdom of the Netherlands is indeed made up of the Netherlands and 6 former colonies St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatia, Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire.

    Islands where slaves and indiginous peoples were subjected to cruelties in the past. Of these islands I am from two, Aruba and St.Maarten and my family is a part of the largest and most diverse network of families on these two islands. My direct family identifies as mostly Carib/Arawak, some European and a little Black, while my extended family mixes into every race.

    Zwarte Piet was a slave that Sinterklaas bought and freed, Zwarte Piet in return offered his services to Sinterklaas to work along side him. Zwarte Piet serves as a figure which honors the freeing of slaves, to be happy, joyous and to share such happinness, especially among children.

    The practice of dressing as Zwarte Piet, extends to these former slave islands. Locals of all races have donned the black makeup, even if already black themselves, to participate in the joyous occasion on our sunny islands with our torques waters in the places you call vacation, but that we call home.

    Yes, there are indeed many who, despite the story, consider the act as mockery, something which is not accurate to the story of Zwarte Piet. It is true that some do use Zwarte Piet as an insult, but at the same time it should be a badge of honor to be called a free man who charts his own destiny.

    Zwarte Piet isn’t what it seems. And it is within a culture that very few of you know nor will ever understand entirely. The Dutch are meaningful people and do not think at such shallow depths to find their meaning in what they hold as important to them as this. Often, even intentionally, to the confusion of outsiders.

    I say again, your perception is only skin deep, the kind of logic that would put a clown in the same position as being racist against white people. The ship in the book in the video, that was a ship for free men, converted to a fun and adventurous vessel of absolute freedom. The book with Sinterklaas being classy and Zwarte Piet being a fool is a sign of his joy for freedom, for which Sinterklaas is responsible.

    Look more carefully and seek better interpretations for what may strike you as immediately offensive.I assure you, it is not what it seems to immediately be.

    The Dutch are not racists, they hold and maintain 6 islands whose citizens they accept as full equals and I am one of them.

    Please do not force the Netherlands to abandon a long held tradition for which they celebrate free and happy men who were once slaves. Please respect this and carefully research everything I just mentioned.

    • avatar
      mirjam

      Thank you for this comment.

    • avatar
      Marjon

      Thanks for bringing some fresh and interesting input into this discussion that takes us in circles and is going nowhere because we are so ill-informed about where our traditions come from.

  59. avatar
    Bastian

    To attack customs like Zwarte Piet is part of the xenophil delirium EU Europe is pushed into by hostile global/supranationalist interests controling most of Europe’s media (and politicians). Everything reminding us of Europe’s past glories is supposed to be deleted from our minds and replaced by ahistorical globalist ideologies promoting a uniform world society. Anybody who looks deeper, for example, into the concept of EU-citizenship will soon recognize the traces of this policy to abandon historical Europe to the interests of small but today powerful supranationalist elites (in business and politics).

  60. avatar
    Jean-Pierre Vlieland

    Our ancient traditions are no subject to debate. Hands off of our culture. Hands off of our children. Down with the EU. Down with the politically correct lies. We will reconquer our own country. Our forefathers built it. Our children will inherite it.

  61. avatar
    ironworker

    “At a Sinterklaas parade in the town of Gouda, almost one hundred anti-Piet activists were arrested.”

    Good job anti rioters from Gouda, wonderful tradition and excellent cheese :) I bet the rioters are “the political correct” kind. How’s to “hang” a black doll (fully dressed Black Pete style) as anti-Piet form of activism ? Is that racist or not ?

  62. avatar
    Eva Wyatt

    So whats up with this “Pete” going thru the chimney comming out blackfaced, with a fro and red lips? Bringing kids presents…
    I don’t care if he’d be comming with $1.000.000… that ain’t right.
    Blackface is wrong & racist!!!

    So you teach your children to believe this unlogical theory? You intentionaly teach your kids to be & reason stupid?
    No wonder!?!?

    Ya’ll know Santa Claus doesn’t come out looking like that right… he just got some sootmarks?

    Heard the story about freed slaves.
    One of the several mythes.

    Honestly.. freed slave? Servant?

    So how come this blackfaced Pete ain’t getting paid enough to buy some soap or getting a chance to go in bath?

    He be doin stuff he’s supposed to be freed from… yet Santa’s letting them do the same chores?
    That don’t make sense!

    I’ve seen pictures where this Pete has a chain too.
    They come over the ocean by boat with 1 white man.
    Once they set foot on land the white dude travels by horse. The 200 blackfaced pete’s by foot.
    The blackfaced Pete’s take orders of white Sinterklaas.
    Yet you still want to deny this looks nothing like slavery!?!?

    But let’s not forget some of our African related Dutch people, minority or not, who are protesting together with white Dutch people to change this mythical figure in to something besides a blackface… so their children won’t be associated with this “Black Pete”.
    As they have spoken out their children do get namecalled Black Pete.
    Or their parents…which raises their childrens questions “why am I called Black Pete & not my white friend?
    What makes me different?”
    In other words one of the first encounters the child has with racism.
    Why hold on to something which is supposed to be for all children, yet is proven to harm too? Why not change a tradition which has been changed in several ways over the years in something new… so all children can enjoy?

    Sadley the majority just doesn’t want to hear this.

    Yes makes sense indeed… Bet they left that part out in explaining… right?

    • avatar
      Julie

      Thank you! This debate needed your comment!

  63. avatar
    Myra Aytac

    Slavery symbol? No. No one tells the truht. Sinterklaas bought the slavery children their freedom. Afterwards the children who wanted, could work for him and he gave them money for their work. So shut up and stop spreading lies. The black society only wants money, they have eben told so in the media. And the other thrut is most dutch want to change it but slowely. What do the people against the tradition do/say: no. Directly. The dutch who want to talk about slowly change are threathened very agresivly. They tell our children Sinterklaas doesn’t exist, is that normal?? Well go back into history again… santa claus is Sinterklaas. The dutch brougthbhim to tje USA. So lets destroy x’mas too!! Its also racism to small people! Lets talk about that.

  64. avatar
    Eva Wyatt

    So Myra Aytac.

    Correct me if I’m wrong.
    Sinterklaas bought them to givr them their freedom?
    But he let them stay out of own will… to do things they would do as slave anyway?
    Yet he paid them?
    But not enough to get themselves cleaned?

    I don’t get it…

    The black society wants money? For what?
    How would they get money thru changing a blackface?

    I’ve read the “black society”, as you state, have been protesting against this blackfaced Pete since 1960… even 1930…
    So what do you mean with change directly? In 15 years time it’s taken 100 years to get this changed!

    Santa Claus ain’t Sinterklaas… they separated their paths loooooong a go.
    Santa Claus ain’t got blackfaced Pete’s like Holland has… besides…he does his dirty job himself… with help of fairy helpers… some small, some big… yet equal and in any color avaolible without pointing out to a colonial hangover.

    Talk abouy that!

  65. avatar
    Achille Ziccardi

    In Belgium there is the same tradition and nobody, nobody makes a problem of it. In Belgium people laugh about the excess of political correctness in the Netherlands. In the origin, Saint Nicholas freed the black slaves and had them work for him by free will and in exchange for a fair salary. All the rest is blullshit.

  66. avatar
    Ans van Duuren

    Het is een Nederlandse traditie bedoeld om de kinderen voor de lange winter cadeautjes te geven. Het heeft niets met racisme te maken.

  67. avatar
    Evgenia Dimakis-Sgouridis

    This has nothing to do with the love that the christianity teaches …only with colonial customs!Shame on them who keep that ”custom” and they do not want to see how much pain they cause to people with colour!

  68. avatar
    Johanna Pinkster

    omg here we go again greetz from the netherlands, and my grandchildren had a lot of fun, with present from sint nicolaas and yes i have also grandchildren who are dark but in holland its not a problem and there are a lot of things in this world where we can talking about but oooooooh no. omg dutch people help, hij gaat door de schoonsteen om kadootjes te brengen en daarom is hij zwart. and its not racistisch.

  69. avatar
    Siggi Schwiesow

    This new “political correctness” will kill a lot of traditions then – what for ??? You could attack many old customs because they were based on old beliefs. I think, this kind of criticism should be reserved to things happening here and now, not to old traditions!

  70. avatar
    Bely Bob

    Siggi..completely agree. And no new traditions are filling the vacuum left once banned. Than we have a politcal correct landscape, a flat landscape………without humor, tradition and culture!

  71. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    A very nice tradion which we celebrate yearly and will continue to do so. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else where your intolerance will be tolerated.

  72. avatar
    Kerstin Wilde

    … And every year its the same debate in BE and NL: How tired I am of it! Why dont they just live their life in 2014 and adapt? To simply repeat the stupiest element of an oral history without any further reflection is quite primitive!

  73. avatar
    Rene Linschoten

    Because of this discussion i begin to hate my country. People just get a life. There are far worse things like police shooting innocent people in usa , isis, ebola. Etcetc… have a nice sunday all.

  74. avatar
    Ozyur Tcismail Ozyurt

    aleen in nederland kan je dezi zien, dit is echt brutaliteit, eerste salvernije starrti nederland, engelend en spanyarden, fransen portukezen, italianen volgden nederlanse praktijk, deze word als trots gezien, zwarte piet is eigenlik een bediende slaaf, datis skandal voor mensheid,

    • avatar
      hans van veen

      Let`s start judging Your countries traditions!

  75. avatar
    Ozyur Tcismail Ozyurt

    deze soort feest vieren moet verboden worden en diegene die proberen toch door willen gaan deze praktijk, moet gevangennis gooien

    • avatar
      hans van veen

      How can You judge about a Dutch feast for children?

  76. avatar
    Bert Vdb

    If you look at history ‘black pete’ is indeed a personal slave. But noone cares about the history behind it. Nowadays it’s a celebration of tolerance and the most fun and magical time for our kids. All the coloured people I know don’t mind, at the contrary, their kids have fun too.
    It brings people off all sorts and colours together!

  77. avatar
    Caroline

    Morris dancing is hardly popularist but I take the point. However whichever way you look at it any ‘blacking up’ can be viewed as racist. Maybe we ask those directly affected by the commercial portrayal of black skin by white people (i.e. black people), what they think? Or maybe their opinion doesn’t count?

  78. avatar
    EU reform- proactive

    Are the glorious secular EC-EU-EP & their think tanks,- Jack of all trades and masters of ****- on another enlargement- uniting mission?

    Specialist in building liberal global geo political empires and HR doctrines, trying to marry north -south, east- west, ancient Pagan, Christian and ‘outdated’ colonial habits with the latest human rights and political correct beliefs? Where are the guiding ethic voices of the European uniting churches?

    Interesting how ‘metamorphism’ of good old Saint Nicholas of Myra has become a PC EU football in today’s ever estranging Europe!

    Similar confusing is how the breed of all North pole resident “Father X-mass’s”- remain white- while dropping off their stockings through ‘clean’ English chimneys, while the poor Dutch ones transform into “zwarte Piets”- covered in pyrolysed soot & partly grilled? Do the Dutch maybe have a labor shortage of chimney sweeps?

    However, the over commercialized X-mass season’- starting with the celebrations of St Nikolaus & his frightening companion the Krampus, followed later by Father X-mass, Father Frost or the Christkind etc. remain deeply ingrained in many happy memories of many yet innocent European children!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus

  79. avatar
    Marjon

    I’m kind of surprised at the lack of historical input in the debate. If I have been informed correctly, “Sinterklaas” originally came from Turkey. So the fact that he’s being portrayed as a white man is historically incorrect. So if we want to be purist and principled, protective of our traditions while inclusive and considerate and politically correct, I suggest that from next year we will have a black Sinterklaas accompanied by a group of white Black Petes arriving at our shores.

    • avatar
      Yvetta

      Not Turkey, Marjon, but Caesarea…You are saying that the inhabitants of modern Turkey or ancient Caesarea were black?

  80. avatar
    patricia

    It’s not in any form discrimination ….. its a childrens feast!!! Grown ups make everything about this horrible discussion! There are many feast protected by (because of culture meaning) protected by VN or whatever organisation wich are really hurtfull.
    Santa Claus has been brought by Dutch/German to USA and has helpers with pointed ears that are small. Ever heard of little people feeling discrimanated???? NO! If someone wants to make a problem an about bisitas person dressed in white/red wich to most citizens is just a CHILDRENS feast wouldn’t you get angry if a person would turn it into something bad?

    Sinterklaas, Santa, Zwarte pieten and Elfs are just some beuatiful great festive persons for children. Please all grown ups let children enjoy this beuatiful time and start worrying about more serious problems like ebola, hunger, bad healtcare etc!

  81. avatar
    Rosa Rios Cano

    Het is cultureel..Heeft niets te maken met racisme.. Ik ben spaans, Sinterklaas komt uit Spanje… Moet ik het voelen als racistis? . Moet ik gevoelig zijn voor Sinterklaas? En in Spanje komen drie koningen Melchor , Gaspar, en Baltasar.. Baltasar is neger.. Wat moeten we doen met Baltasar? dan…

  82. avatar
    Van den Boos

    I really am not happy when politically-correct Americans are talking about traditions they can’t get. Yes, we all know that you’re very ashamed due to your past. Slavery was the foundation of the American state. True? Yes. What else? Don’t you celebrate Thanksgiving because of the Indians which were literally reduced from “native” to 6% of the american population? Yes? How is that called if not cynicism? And you allow yourself to speak about matters which concern traditions you’ll never be able to get. This time is not something you can just erase, because of your shameful past. This is Europe, the cradle of our modern civilization, and this is the Netherlands, which gave to the world people like Erasmus Van Rotterdam, who long ago described the roots of all stupidity in this world. So, take your politically-correct issues and move on. There is no one interested in to listening blushits about their traditions, based on idiotic and politically-correct speaches.

    • avatar
      Julie

      That’s not really fair. I’ve heard quite some Americans complain about Thanksgiving as well. It’s not because they have a pretty bad legacy of racism/slavery in their own country, that they cannot have an opinion on racial representation in another.
      For sure, Americans are sensitized to ‘blackface’ because of their civil rights movement protesting against the ‘minstrel shows’. So this issue must seem even more ridiculously racist to them than to us.
      I feel like a lot of people who are justifying the continuing use of Black Pete in the Sinterklaas debate only do so BECAUSE they feel sort of attacked in their traditions. The biggest issue is that they don’t want interference in their own culture. Maybe they also feel stupid they didn’t realize before that it’s really racist? And thus they desperately cling to the whole idea of ‘it’s not racist, because he’s black from the soot!’ (a concept that was only introduced in the 90s by the way). Maybe.

  83. avatar
    Wim van Vugt

    This artificial sought link is so typical for those frustrated people who refuse to accept that this festival already exited long before slavery was there at all. The hidden agenda is to get “reparation money” for a Dutch slavery period that hardly existed.

    Americans even don’t know that it was already introduced in America by Dutch settlers around 1750 from which their Santa Claus tradition evolved later on.

  84. avatar
    Ab

    I understand that this is an important Dutch tradition. However, the world has been through things since the time of when this tradition started, making it a completely inappropriate thing to celebrate in this age. It’s origin is irrelevant in my view. But it seems that to ignore events in the past that have moulded humanity today like slavery, racism, or even the holocaust is simpleminded and moronic even. Some of the people on this thread have such a rose tinted view of this idea but it just can’t be completely innocent. To outsiders it does seem barbaric and a step back for humanity. I feel that the Dutch should change and adapt to the 21st century, though. “Blacking up” is such an embarrassing idea, it makes me feel uncomfortable. This tradition is based on black people having substandard roles and has definite connotations with racism and slavery! It can’t be avoided. Just because something is a tradition, doesn’t mean it should be continued no matter what? Having festivals celebrating any sort of divide between black and white or any race is barbaric in my view. How, just how can all black people be perceived as less or substandard in this day and age is beyond me.

  85. avatar
    Pau Castellví Canet

    It’s both, for people exist that think either of these positions. For this reason it’d be worth to change the narrative around it and portray Zwarte Piet as a chimneysweep, and thus paint the character in the black of soot, and not in the imitation of African ethnic traits.

  86. avatar
    Bob van Eendenburg

    Excellent, now we even get an European Debate page involved with all kind of Non- Dutch people having an opinion on a Dutch tradition: mind your own business! Zwarte Piet is just a character, nothing more, nothing less.If there are black people who have an issue with the way he looks, check your mirror! If there are white people who have an issue, I bet you didn’t have a problem with Zwarte Piet when he visited your house and brought you presents when you were young.. And that is what it’s all about, what the kids think because it’s their party. And they love him the way he is.

    • avatar
      Marcel

      So what’s your opinion on islam? Islam is fundamentally hostile to women, gays, non-muslims and even to ‘muslims who are not islamic enough’?

      Offensive enough for you? Should be banned accordingly?

    • avatar
      Yvetta

      I agree, Islam is not compatible with our culture/society.

  87. avatar
    Thomas Sprangers

    The discussion whether he is or isn’t is the wrong discussion. Piet isn’t intended racist, but is perceived that way by many. Reason enough to change the COLOR WE PAINT OUR FACES DURING A KIDS PARTY (yup, that’s what it’s about). Unfortunately it’s hard to grasp for many that others might have a different reality than you do. The world doesn’t revolve around you, really it doesn’t.

  88. avatar
    Thomas Sprangers

    The discussion whether he is or isn’t is the wrong discussion. Piet isn’t intended racist, but is perceived that way by many. Reason enough to change the COLOR WE PAINT OUR FACES DURING A KIDS PARTY (yup, that’s what it’s about). Unfortunately it’s hard to grasp for many that others might have a different reality than you do. The world doesn’t revolve around you, really it doesn’t.

  89. avatar
    Ioan Dumitru

    I’m asking from all Internet users to BOICOT all insignificant articles used as bombardment against our interests.
    Most of big newspapers and institutions in Internet are bombing all of us with idiot articles-posts , most of them being idiot answers, so to make all communications between all of us, A PLACE OF IDIOTS.
    Use the button “i don’t want to see this” to block all insignificant articles !!!
    Refuse the injuries of us, all those insignificant articles, force them to real talk, so to real expose their criminal minds of manipulating.

  90. avatar
    Marcel

    If ‘zwarte piet’ is racist and should be banned, then so should bull fighting be as it is animal cruelty, and halal/kosher butchering is also animal cruelty. Furthermore christianity/islam is fundamentally hostile to women and all assorted ‘unbelievers’ and should be banned also.

  91. avatar
    TL Lo

    what people forget is context and intent
    was zwarte piet used that way?
    was it used to insult people of colour?
    Promote slavery?
    In one of the most free, welcoming, multicultural countries in the world, to me it seems to be more offensive to baby other adults and cater to the loud babys that cannot handle reality

    The perpetually offended and triggered are just the neo puritans, SJWs, pretending to be moral and superiour, see offensiveness everywhere. Are maybe projecting their own narrowminded racism.

    It is too USA centric view of what is racist or offensive.

  92. avatar
    Rüdiger Lohf

    Take away old traditions from the people and the people will take away all trust in political “rules”

  93. avatar
    Bruno Verlinden

    when you grow up with this, you love the characters and you get up in the morning at 4 to unpack your presents before leaving for school. the idiot that started this discussion never was a child and certainly does not have children. Is every piece of theatre with a black person in some form of discrimination? The pieten, are happy, have a good job, a decent boss, entertain children and work 1 month per year.. Scandalous debate…

  94. avatar
    Bart Thomaes

    Een blanke te zwart maken zonder het de tijd van Sinterklaas is, er via de eigen zuil dan nog een foto van trekken en het publiceren in de media, dat is pas racistisch….. @1418…. Allé, diegene die de opdracht gaf en afspraken met pers maakte

  95. avatar
    Toni Muñiz

    “forced to defend itself to the UN” We need to get rid of that corrupt and worthless organization called the UN. And the comments, my god! How ignorant are some people! Blacks are not the only race that have been slaves, they are just the ones milking it to no end. Europeans have been slaves as well. And that video, I don’t know what is more offending, the women painted black or the fascist pigs, some even threatening violence like that one in the park with the stones. And that idiot Russell Brand, what a waste of human space, I find him offensive, we need to get rid of him as well.

  96. avatar
    Jordi Pacheco.i.Canals

    Zwarte Piet does not come from a colony but from the Imperial power which colonized Holland. Thus, it cannot be a colonial hangover.

  97. avatar
    Tony Kunnari

    If the paint is very hard to rub off, wouldn’t it be easier to leave the paint away? Why not just have fun without it?

  98. avatar
    Rick Mendes

    of course it’s racist…it’s not because Belgium or Holland got ‘traditions’ derived from their colonisation, that these “traditions” of being racist can be perpetuated without being upgraded to today’s standards, in Belgium/Antwerp they sell these little black hands for tourists, do you know where they come from ? they come from all the hands that Leopold II “just doing my job officers” cut from black people that wanted to resist or avoid to work for the colons, or would simply get their hands cut off because they would show disrespect for the occupants.

    of course the traditions derived from this part of European History are racist.
    and avoiding to talk about it, mixing it with ‘traditions’ is just another way by white priviledged people to hide behind their instituionalized racism.

    Down with this #everydayracism, down with the flag !

  99. avatar
    Peter Castermans

    Not again this discussion. It’s our culture. It’s just a kids holiday. Keep it that way. I’m membre of the local redd cross and we even celebrate it with refugees. We give them presents. Zwarte piet is a slave bought free by sinterklaas, and because he is so thankfull he wanted to help the old forgetfull Sint with his presents for the children. This is not racism but a statement against racism. In suriname, an ex-colony of the Netherlands they even make the sint white so … what’s the problem ?
    http://cdn.hpdetijd.nl/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/SP5.jpg

  100. avatar
    Daniele Scaramelli

    Well, it looks like people like wasting their time with such irrelevant discussions. Nobody knows for sure wheter it is “racist” or not. Anyway, if you don’t like the Netherlands, just do not go there. Incidentally I must note that, after years of extensive travelling in Africa, Africans are very racists. Far from being all “brothers” they happily killed each other in several occasion. To name jut one example, do you remember Rwanda? And the list is quite long.

  101. avatar
    Florent Pirot

    Strongly racist. I got agressed by a racist Dutch MEP, Hans Jensen (he has now passed away), inside the European Parliament, as I opposed his thesis.

  102. avatar
    Arie

    racism ˈreɪsɪz(ə)m/ noun:
    the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

    I don’t see how that applies to Zwarts Piet.

    I do see immigrants and children of immigrants, and their children, etc trying to change a centuries old tradition in a very hostile way. So of course the Dutch people object. It’s because of the way these anti-Zwarts Piet freaks are expressing their opinion which causes that I don’t take them seriously.

    I am Dutch and moved to Bulgaria, here I am the immigrant. If I would forcefully try to change the Bulgarian traditions, the Bulgarian people would also object. I might not understand a certain tradition or might even disagree, but nobody forces me to join it. So just deal with it and move on.

    • avatar
      Gail from Suriname

      Thank you Arie! The people who started the protest against “zwarte-Piet” are not from Dutch origins also… They are immigrants.

  103. avatar
    TJ Todorov

    Everybody has rights to express his fillings, habits, desires, … Stop suppressing the natural way of people doing that

    • avatar
      anonymous

      Agree!

  104. avatar
    Max Berre

    This is kind of like asking if the confederate battle flag is racist. While there will always be those culturally closest to it, which feel that it’s about “heritage, not hate”, that doesn’t make it NOT a symbol of slavery.

    I think that as a country, the best move is to openly admit it as such, and then try to figure out the best way to cope with it going forward. Obviously we cannot just pretend that slavery didn’t happen. It did. We need to figure out (as a country) how to come to terms with that.

    Also, in general, blackface is considered a symbol of african slavery. If the US can admit that blackface is a form of racism, what makes it any different in the netherlands? the fact that it’s part of the local xmas tradition?

    Last year, the dutch unveiled the multi-colored piet. that was interesting. Also it kind of says “this USED to be a symbol of slavery, but that’s not how we want it to be going forward”

    • avatar
      anonymous

      It’s weird that the slavery is commonly-known as African people being exploited and suppressed. How about the slavery among white people? How about slavery now? As far as I’m concerned I rarely hear about white people complaining about the rich exploiting the poor, or Dutch people still hating Germans. They work together now! People need to stop dwelling in the past and move on. There are worse things!

  105. avatar
    ben

    Holland has legal weed, legal abortion, legal gay marriage, tolerance for each others customs and, of course, strict gun control laws.
    The international community spearheaded by the USA wants to kill this. And force their cultural values on the world. That’s fine, but the Netherlands for example think that the USA may decide to have Columbus day, thanksgiving and zuluparade if they see fit. We heavily frown upon your gun control laws. But still think that your cultural values are clearly not European. But we refuse to go down the “newspeak” road of political correctness. We will teach anti rape law even though the students at our universities might be shocked by the language. Because we are NOT the USA.

  106. avatar
    annA

    Part of the reason people paint their faces is that the kids don’t reconize them. When I was little a lot of people I knew would be zwarte piet, but because they were dressed up and their faces painted I didn’t reconize them. Part of the magic was that these people came all the way from Spain just to bring us presents and candy. If I had known who they were, I would have known they lived next door to me and pretty much just walkend across the street. When I was little I was terrifeid of Sinterklaas but I knew zwarte piet would be there so I would love to go. I always thought they were black because of the soot and a little kid are you seriously going to think about the fact that that might not be true? They came down the chimney and climbed back up over a thousand times a night, for every kid in the Netherlands and other places in the world where they visited. If you paint them blue not even little kids are going to believe they are real and if you don’t paint them little kids will reconize them. The people who complain about this aren’t the little kids, it’s the adults. Do you really want to take away their party of the year? What else are we suppoost to celebrate? Christmas, like everybody else? Isn’t Santa discriminating against short people by having short elves? And I’ve never seen Santa with a black elf. Isn’t that racist?

    • avatar
      Emsamemsa

      Elves are not the same as little people. Elves are fantasy-creatures.

      Also, “this thing isn’t racist, because I’ve never heard anyone complain about it, so the other thing isn’t racist aswell”, isn’t a very good argument. It is, however, a very white (in other words “don’t care, bc it’s not offensive to me or my kind”) thing to say.

  107. avatar
    Angelo De Baere

    Of course it has a serious racist undertone, and most people realize it too. People just don’t want to lose it because it’s tradition.
    That’s why they use apologetic rhetoric and cultural relativism.

  108. avatar
    Emsamemsa

    Saint Nicholas was a cool dude who freed slaves and offered them a job in his household. A job. Payed. They were servants, not slaves.

    Nicky also went around on the eve of his birthday, and he’d stuff peoples shoes with money, candy, little toys… Overall, a pretty ok dude.

    Now, every culture has at least one mischievous creature, that likes to cause trouble, but also punishes bad kids.
    Black Peter is one of those. Black Peter is a little Devil. A mischiefmaker and punisher of the naughty.

    Now, back to the Adventures of Sinterklaas: someone, somewhere thought it was a good idea to make Black Peter look more realistic. Instead of a goat-legged imp, they thought “Why not make him look like one of those black dudes? They’re evil and scary, right? They’re perfect bad guys!”

    So they drew a character resembling a black person, or at least a white person view of a black person, black (actually black, not various shades of brown), big red lips, etc… And Zwarte Piet was born!

    So, no. The story of St Nicholas and his servants is not racist.

    Walking around in black face is.

    And saying Zwarte Piet isn’t a black person, it’s soot? Get your ignorant, racist ass up a chimney and find out.
    Also, I don’t even know where the chimney story comes from. During St Nicks time it was a common thing to take off your shoes and leave them outside the house.That’s how all the goodies ended up in the shoes. We still do that, put little presents and chocolate coins in people’s shoes! But the chimney thing was probs just invented to say “Piet is not a black person, it’s uhm… From all the sooty chimneys! Yeah!”

  109. avatar
    jan

    and now, how about ” jodenkoek” hmmm…

  110. avatar
    Man Nguyen

    it is not. zwart piets are friendly people, they gave candies, biscuits to children or to anyone they see. This is traditional, I think the children also love zwart piet. I live in the Netherlands for 4 years and I saw black children play with white children, they are all equal. I saw some Dutch couple adopt black child, asian child. They are not racist at all, maybe bias, but at least where I am living.

  111. avatar
    Tys

    Black pete has his origins in slavery, but between the time the current fairytale was created and now things have changed. Black Pete has gone from servant to friend of sinterklaas and the big golden earings are removed. Changes in the tradition will happen, but slowly. Most Dutch people have warm memories of the celebration of sinterklaas. If you force them to change or completely remove a main element of this celebration it is normal they will take a defensive stance. If we as Dutch people start to criticize the way Christmas is celebrated in the USA and demand instand change we would she the same aggressive reactions.

    Also children don’t even see black Pete and someone with dark skin as the same. To them they are totally different people. I am certain that a little child said black Pete to an Afro-American on occasion. But if you are offended by something a little child says you also have to take a look at yourself. Children say more stuff out of the blue because they don’t understand the context and are you offended by that?

    Also the people who make the most noise are the ones that gets the attention of the media. And in this discussion mainly the hardliners of both sides are giving their opinion. Not those who want to find a compromise between both ways.

  112. avatar
    Bart Van Damme

    For many people, Piet is black because he climbs through chimneys. The notion of him being a black slave didn’t even occur to me – and many others – until a politically correct minority started to make a fuss about it (I live in Belgium, we also celebrate Saint Nicholas). This is just another excuse for some people to whine and enforce their view of the world on others.

  113. avatar
    Frans Timmermans

    @Debating Europe We should discusse more the prevemtion of radicalisation of younger people from non european culture who seek their comfort in the Islamic religion and foresee no future in the western countries instead of debating a blown up childrens story. We can also put on the debating agenda that the americans surpress the little people by the Santa Claus figure using Elfs as “helpers”who can then also be seen as slaves.

  114. avatar
    Anne

    It is good to have these discussions here (in the Netherlands). I am a firm believer that we should question and look at what we do, just because something has been this way for years/decades doesn’t mean it should stay that way.

    A lot of people say that Piet is black because he goes through the chimney, so he should stay black. If that is so why not lose the red lips, hair, and earrings and also have pieten with soot spots on their face and clothes.
    We have a program called sinterklaasjournaal which is a fake news show around Sint and his Pieten and the leading show kids watch at school and home. They are already trying to change the Pieten to this. It is a slow proces, but it is happening (they even had a black Sint for a few episodes where a Piet took over Sint’s tasks and wardrobe when he was away).

    My niece thinks everyone standing on a roof in december is a Piet, so we should embrace that and not start fights at the big welcoming celebration for Sint. We should not let the kids and celebration suffer because we are too stuck up to make changes or too angry that they aren’t happening fast enough.
    I think we are changing and everyone will be fine with Sint new style in 10 years.

  115. avatar
    MCool Imperiali

    May is not but due to respect to black community in Holland it should be stopped. You can understand why it brings so much emotion to the black people here, reminding of slavery and colonisation.

  116. avatar
    Nora Allavoine

    He’s both. I’m sorry if that makes it feel like your happy childhood memories are under attack, Dutch and Belgian folk. You were too young to know better when you were kids, so hold on to those happy memories: no-one can take them away from you. But now that you’re adults and can make your own choices, have a think: just because something is traditional, does that mean it is worth pursuing? If it offends people, why continue with it? What message does that send: that it’s ok to harm others? That doesn’t sound like a great way to celebrate the holidays.

  117. avatar
    Giö Cruz

    Growing up in Holland, nobody ever considered it racist. I havent heard 1 racist joke in 20 years.
    If it wasnt for the foreigners, we wouldnt even have this discussion.

  118. avatar
    Peter Castermans

    Not again ! This is no racism but a holiday for children. The current zwarte piet is a smart energyfull guy wich is a positive figure for children.
    Even the more historical version is a statement against racisme. Yes black pete was a slave of the Moors. But Saint NIcholas the bishop of Myra bought him free. This created a friendship between Sint en Piet, so Piet chose to stay with the Sint to help him in his noble work.

  119. avatar
    Amparo Ruiz Carretero

    It is not racist, it is just cultural. Children love zwarte Piet, he is the funny guy, they don’t even pay attention to Sinterklaas. I think we see racism every day in other kinds of circumstances. There are much more serious problems right now in Europe and in the world to give so much attention to this.

  120. avatar
    Bely Bob

    Majority of the Dutch are not trading in Black Piet for something other…the children just want this tradition continued. It has nothing to do with racisme (the US coton farmes misused slaves for ages!!) but is an old tradition of ‘black facing’ symbolizing evil …….However Black Piet is the funny assistent of the Bishop St. Nicolas…..

  121. avatar
    Mitchell Esajas

    It is very racist, peaceful protesters are violently arrested by police and attacked by white conservative people. They also receive death threats and racist hate speech, it should change. There is enough video footage about the racist characters and racist reactions of many white Dutch people:

    http://stopblackface.com/stopblackface-tv/

  122. avatar
    Mitchell

    It is very racist, peaceful protesters are violently arrested by police and attacked by white conservative people. They also receive death threats and racist hate speech, it should change. There is enough video footage about the racist characters and racist reactions of many white Dutch people:

    http://stopblackface.com/stopblackface-tv/

  123. avatar
    Dutch

    It’s a tradition and a children’s holiday. Most people in the Netherlands celebrate Sinterklaas (Saint Nicolas) rather than celebrating christmas as the two are quite similar (santa and his elves, sinterklaas and zwarte piet, plus the same concept of bad behaviour equals no presents, good behaviour equals presents). Before people start saying that they are different as zwarte piet is racist; elves are basically midgets, but no one seems to care about banning christmas now are they? Further more, the issue of racism, which is currently being discussed by adults, is not recognized by the children for whom this holiday is. They do not see zwarte piet and think “SLAVES!!!!!!!”. They see friendly men/women who come once a year to bring them candy and presents.

  124. avatar
    Tony Mallett

    Banned in Belgium, as far as I know.

    Then again, we have Molenbeek to play with…

  125. avatar
    Manuela Mc Moura

    The Swart Piet Day is important ONLY for the adults who have failed to grow up and mature themselves and evolve of course! If some residents of Holland feel offended by it, people should ask themselves why, instead of getting hysterical!

  126. avatar
    Hugo Viriato Conceicao

    Important Question for everybody: Racism has to do with race! Or its a political statement for intimidating? Leon Trostky created the term in 1927 to Intimidate all Communist Oposition, all who were against Communism, so! Leon! Call them, to those people Racists :D :D :D

  127. avatar
    Hellena Kucerova

    Its belgian traditions! Its stupid europian rulles to brake everything from countries. Actually thats what i dont like on Europian union..

  128. avatar
    Hellena Kucerova

    We have devil (instead of Zwarte Piet),angel and saint Nicolas. If someone will say we have to change our tradition coz devil is black than i dont think we will gonna do that.it sounds so stupid!😣

  129. avatar
    Valeria Botte Coca

    keep the tradition with Sinterklaas (however that thing about punishing people taking them to Spain… well I am not gonna get there now). Just dont paint him black with red lips and curly hair (BTW the chimney also makes your lips red and bigger and curl your hair? please….)! tradition does not mean is ok or just. Evolve!
    Empathy and third party perspective is what some people need, YOu dont live in a thermos, you are offending people. This is racist and as I red in some comments until you dont experience yourself you dont know. I experienced racism here in NL.
    The opinion from the locals who grew up having candies from Peter the black is not fair or impartial, sometimes.. but I have seen some changes…
    The thing is, this is gonna end, and it is this young generation which will end it, and today’s parent will look racist, their children will ask them why they allowed this to happen?

  130. avatar
    Alex Bayless

    Thanks William . A very interesting read. I tend to feel as though if the intended meaning behind something is meant to be hurtful or to call out a particular ethnic group. Personally, the “he’s black from the soot, went straight out the window when they mentioned Afro wigs. Also, how does his skin turn black and not his clothes. To me, it seems like a tradition that, for many is harmless fun. But to argue that it’s not at all racist, especially when it was cultivated in a time where slavery was still a hot topic (and by that I mean much hotter than it is now), is VERY idealistic. Which is why I respectfully must disagree with you Julia .

  131. avatar
    Bruno J. De Cordier

    Whatever the answer to the initial question may be, it’s actually interesting to look at who actually started this whole current ‘Zwarte Piet’ ado back in autumn 2013. It was not a widely-supported movement or petition among, or from, Africans or people of African origin living in the Low Countries, but a Unesco consultant with no connections to the Low Countries at all. Now, Unesco itself quickly got its hands off the whole thing once it heated up, but by then it was taken up by the usual bevies of leftist-multiculturalist activists and pc guardians. It remains quite intriguing though, for what might be the real initial purpose here, is not so much banning ‘Zwarte Piet’ on the grounds that it is racist. Rather, it is to have a test case and a practical precedent to have any folk practice or cultural tradition outlawed at will under supra-national incitement, in order to advance globalist uniformity. If successful, the next target will be outlawing Islamic circumcision and animal sacrifice, to start with among Muslims living in Western Europe. My take.

  132. avatar
    Laura Bre

    I’m absolutely amazed & disgusted at the blatant ignorance of all you white people saying it ISNT racist! How delusional do you have to be to not see this for what it is? Blatantly archaic & extremely racist blackface! Just because it’s a “tradition” doesn’t mean it’s okay. If you think we need to hold on to racist traditions like this then you need to grow up and understand the concept of compassion. Black people on this very post are telling you the harm this has done to them and yet you think you have a right to tell them how their feelings are invalid because it’s tradition???? Dumb, inconsiderate & selfish.

  133. avatar
    Vicky Moore

    This is racist,let me begin by saying this if the european history of human traficking and oppression that lead to slavery did not make you reflect and change your attitudes it means you lack respect,empathy,morals and values, sensibilty for human dinity and human right,this is why we have bullies everywhere in europe because they lack a solid point of reference,you’re preparing the future generations for a bigger conflict or else you begin to repair your dirty deeds shame on you !

  134. avatar
    Sophie Crane

    European governments never educated people about the real consequences of colonisation. One of the consequences is that the ignorance about racism is huge. EU take your responsibility! You can”t get away with this abuse of power and stories of inferiourity anylonger. Educate the people and take full responsibility of your place in the world. Cut the crap and move forward!

  135. avatar
    Sophie Crane

    Omar Ba Lisa Akinyi May Missy Kel Sec Koe Adeshola Tunde Adefioye Younes Vdb MiesenMoussa AarabWarriach Lies Craeynest

  136. avatar
    voxullus

    The Zwarte Piet tradition is judged unfairly and superficially, while the historical context is being ignored, twisted or simply made up as this farce goes along.

    Any rational person would not go along with the non-argument that all that celebrate St.Nicolas with Zwarte Piet have racist motives to do so, meaning that IF the character is racist, this racist attribute must come from somewhere else.

    One interesting context in which to examine Zwarte Piet is that of his author, Jan Schenkman. The following paper makes a case to show the figure is not at all a negative stereotype.

    https://voxullus.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/zp_hist_context_draft4.pdf

  137. avatar
    Bart Van Damme

    It’s funny how a few years ago no one gave a crap, but now all of a sudden the racism is “obvious” and you are “ignorant” for not seeing it.

  138. avatar
    Hicham El Ayadi

    Asking whether Zwarte Piet is racist or not should not be the discussion at all. It is a fact that many people nowadays feel offended because of this phenomenon, so why can’t we just adjust this tradition a little bit by, for example, use coloured ‘pieten’? No one offended, and everybody can still celebrate Sinterklaas as usual. Everybody happy.

    • avatar
      voxullus

      That would set a terrible example. It would mean that sans arguments you only need to label something as offensive towards you or a minority for it to be removed or altered. That is not reasonable.

      All things being equal, a minority can be wrong just as a majority could. The factual question whether or not the tradition actually is racist is very relevant and should be leading over whether poorly informed people are somehow offended by it.

  139. avatar
    Enric Mestres Girbal

    The racist people are negroes…they see racism everywhere. If we start giving up, soon the 3 wise men will be only 2.

  140. avatar
    Geert Van Kemenade

    Our world is falling to pieces, innocent people die every day in war zones. The cold war between Russia and the West is heating up at an incredible rate. Of all the issues that the UN is facing this is the one they should be focusing on right now. Some people need some perspective in my opinion

  141. avatar
    Ivana Medvidović-Šerić

    Please, lets not become America and see racism even in the phrase “black friday.” This is part of tradition, there is no racism there.

  142. avatar
    Santens Frederik

    It’s not the good way to learn or children things thats for sure A white man who have black slaves running behind him ! It should even not mather if its rasist or cultural !! Also the fear in the storry watch out be good or zwarte piet wil get you and put you in his bag !! Not realy pleasant things for a child ! Been there done that ! So my opinion change it and everybody who’s defending the cultural aspect of it that i now has some rasist influence in him ..

  143. avatar
    Grethel Gamboa

    This is a tradition for kids they have no sense of what racism means ! They think the zwarte Pieten are dirty ! Are adults the ones creating fake reasons to gain sort of power or respect which can not be gained somewhere else most likely because of their capability or incapability. And I find it outrageous ridiculous and mean ! Additionally should we start a claim for animal abuse towards Saint Claus because he use rudolf and the other reindeers to pull the sleigh?

  144. avatar
    Teo Figaroa

    It’s discrimination, why have the horse of st nicolaas be white, not a black one.

  145. avatar
    Michaël Renders

    When I was a child, I didn’t thought that he was african. For most of Childs He is black because of the coal he brings to bad child. So just stop to see racism everywhere and ask people before on the reason of the thing you think it’s racist.

  146. avatar
    Charles Deliu

    Culture or racist? it really depend on ‘how you interpret it’. Don’t be so aggressive and in a hurry to criticise them as racists.

    • avatar
      A J Cooper

      It was culturally acceptable to own slaves and hang Blacks at one point in history but some of you Neanderthals were forced to wake up and figured out it was wrong too.

  147. avatar
    S

    I am dutch and I say that is isn’t racist. Sinterklaas is turkish and the pieten are from Morocco. They get black because they bring the presents. And what is racist about a whole nation standing in their harbours and welcome a Turk and a bunch of moroccans with songs???

    And to the people who say that the pieten must vanish because he is black, I say: taking a black ones job because he is black, isn’t that racist?

    • avatar
      A J Cooper

      I’m blown away by your ignorance.

  148. avatar
    michiel

    Ask a child and you have your answer. Or should we cancel elfs at christmas cause its racist to little people? Come one everyone knows its because they go down chimneys!

  149. avatar
    Ben Bijker

    the anti-zwarte Piet people are racist.
    They hate white people no matter what.

  150. avatar
    Miguel Peres Dos Santos

    Racism is not a question of opinion or debate, it never was and it will never be. The simple fact that this issue is brought into the realm of debate, shows how far white privilege can distort reality.
    Now, blackface is a racist tradition in The Netherlands and everywhere else in the planet. To portrait Black people as silly, illiterate and submissive servants to a white ruler does ring a bell I hope. If not, I would advise cognitive therapy.
    For the ones that are not that well acquainted with Dutch society and history here a couple of remarkable issues: Dutch educational system has the particular characteristic of having black and white schools, in short these schools who are over populated by children from other ethnicities have worst infrastructures than white schools; in this country white people have an unemployment rate of 7%, for Black people the rate around the 38%; with a rate of 20% of the population from non-western origins there is not one single Black person in parliament… If this is not enough maybe you can look into history and realize that Apartheid in South Africa was implemented by Dutch descendants, or that a large part of the slave trade in North America is due to Dutch “entrepreneurship” and that the so called “golden age” was fully sponsored by the slave trade.
    Now, go enjoy tonight and please indoctrinate further your children in thinking that dark people are silly, illiterate, inferior and submissive.

  151. avatar
    Johan Vercarre

    I hate tradition just for tradition. ..! Think about it that you Dutch imported Black Peter in the 19th centurion, while Saint Nicholas was living in the 3rd centurion, stille under christian persecution by Romans. ..!

  152. avatar
    Manja Kind

    As a Dutch child I really envied zwarte pieten because they seemed so happy, always smiling, having fun. And it was my dream to go with them to Spain (where St Nicolas lives) and work for him as a black pete for a year.
    Also I saw St Nicolas as a good rich guy who moved to Spain because of the good climate (like many older Dutchies do) and I thought the locals in Spain St Nicolas employed (for a good salary; must be because St Nicolai is such a generous good guy) were just black, all looking like the black petes. Just like people from Africa (close to Spain) are black. If this tradition is a result of the slavery past, at least something good came out of it. Thats also a way to look at it!

  153. avatar
    Anja Bergsma

    Why does this has to be a european debate. It’s a Dutch feast of our Dutch culture so they decide what to do with it. All country’s have their own traditions.

  154. avatar
    Arjen Dorenbos

    As a child we looked up to Zwarte Piet. We thought he outwitted Sinterklaas by far. Sinterklaas is a old almost senile man who can’t cope with life without help. So the slavery part didn’t match the cooperation between Zwarte Piet and Sinterklaas.

    Slavery was abolished in the 19th century. The enourmous wealth of the 17th century Dutch was aquired by trade in the East Indies (VOC). The West Indies (WIC) was allways struggling to make a profit and went bankrupt several times. The idea that our current wealth resulted from slavery is like stating that former president George W. Bush should win the Noble peaceprice.
    Somehow I can’t figure out why we are discussing Zwarte Piet while true slavery is still hapening. Secondly we see white facing in several African and Asian countries as part of culturele celibrations .. is that also discrimination? Or is it allowed because you can’t discriminate on white people? In Dutch schools we learn that there are no races. It was thought up by crazy scientists during the 19th and early 20th century. There are only cultural differences. Zwarte Piet is part of our small culture and is has nothing to do with slavery. He was a Freeman. Sinterklaas is equal.

  155. avatar
    Marieke 5972760

    I think the question of Black Pete (Zwarte Piet) being racist or “harmless” is rather easy to answer. Not only because it perpetuates the systems of slavery and physical violence, as well as racist traditions of black-facing, caricaturing and ridiculing people of color, but also because in the Netherlands we are not post-racism, not nearly. Institutional racism is an everyday reality. The amount of non-white people in prison is disproportional to the population of people of color. Non-white folks will be arrested by the police more often for the same crime as white folks. Non-Dutch sounding names will not do good at an interview (for numbers: Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau). The fact that someone as racist as Geert Wilders was able to gain so many votes and actually be partly in charge of ruling this country. And this is just a fraction, a tiny, observable fraction of racial inequality; not even touching upon the ways in which stereotypes, prejudices and paranoia are embedded into Dutch culture and institutional frameworks.

    Yes, Black Pete it is a tradition. Just like it was a tradition one day that women were not allowed to vote, and that gay people were not allowed to marry. I would argue for a new kind of imagination, one that can re-imagine traditions in a way that is not harmful for a large part of our population. Tradition does not equal good (many times, it equals bad), and it should definitely not be used as an excuse to silence people who are attacked, oppressed or discriminated against on a daily basis. Because do we really want children to grow up with a tradition that makes it seem normal for white people to paint themselves black? In a country where it is still so much easier to be white than to be black? In a country where we still all, directly or indirectly, contribute to the oppression and subjugation of non-White people or people with a non-Dutch heritage?

    Please, I would ask you, if you are take part in celebrating this tradition, to think about it for a while. Think about what it says about our country if we associate it with blackfacing. If our idea of “home” is constructed through the subjugation of someone else. Think about what it means that you take on a costume of another race, and wear it for a night, while there are so many peoples in this country still being systematically discriminated against, and are the embodiment of your costume in the real world. People who are continuously Othered, objectified, harassed. Think about all the other things that the tradition could do that are so much less offensive and not at all hard to change (bright-colored Peets! Peets with some black stripes from the chimney!). In fact, the tradition of Sinterklaas has undergone many changes in the past, and this could be just one of them, be it a very important one. The fact that the whole country is getting defensive shows that racism in the Netherlands is very real: privilege is real, oppression is real: the people getting upset are the white people who first of all could never experience how it feels when more privileged people dress up as your race, and second of all because they want to maintain their position of superiority. I ask you to not be defensive for once, but think about how your behavior may impact other people who are less privileged than you are.

    Because it is not our fault that it exists in the first place, but it is our fault if we let it exist for the years to come.

    22/02/2017 Caroline De Gruyter, author and journalist based in Vienna, and a European Affairs correspondent for the leading Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, has responded to this comment.

  156. avatar
    Thomas Nederlof

    Oh yeah, let’s ban a child friendly character whilst in the US every year celebrate the slaughtering of millions native americans by having a big nice feast.

    • avatar
      Jan

      I know of no such celebration in the US every year that celebrates “the slaughtering of millions of Native Americans by having a big feast? I do know of a historical event that happened in 1621 where the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a Harvest feast together in what is now known as Thanksgiving.

  157. avatar
    Jan

    Regarding the Zwarte Piet debate…
    It is true of course that there is racism and unfair stereotypes in the Netherlands as there is in every country however they really are not a racist people on the whole and it seems that what you find there is bias based on experience which is much different. This is why many Dutch scoff at the Zwarte Piet is racist debate. The outright ignorant and aggressive racism based simply on skin colour is abhorrent to most Dutch- they simply do not ‘feel’ the argument. There are some that certainly have a bias against some groups in the Netherlands but they base that on what they’ve seen in their country by actions not colour. Many Dutch are certainly influenced in their views by what other countries say… and then adopt a new code of ethics that is based on the experience of others elsewhere not because it applies to what is happing in their country. It is much the same as say an American coming to Europe for extended periods of time and noticing what seems to be an inordinate amount of Anti-Semitism in the speech and thoughts of many Europeans where the Europeans are not sensitive to it because aspects of it have existed and been accepted for years and years. Don’t expect all Dutch to ditch Zwarte Piet anytime soon any more than you can convince them that Anti-Semitism runs deep there and throughout Europe- They don’t see it because they often don’t mean it that way.

  158. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    Its only racist to petty minded social justice warriors, to everyone else its just harmless fun to entertain children.

    • avatar
      Katharine Ty

      Holland has some shit to come to terms with for sure

    • avatar
      Tchoum Xav

      To racists, stereotypes is how they justify their ignorance.

    • avatar
      Marko Martinović

      …while stereotypse rose from commonly observed situations and not really racist by themselves. You imply that only racist use those.

    • avatar
      Peter Castermans

      I’m left and I do not think it is racist.

  159. avatar
    Zap Van Der Berg

    Nee, dat war machine zwart is en iron man wit is ook niet racist, het is een kinderfeest, aanpasen en pepernoten eten of wegwezen

  160. avatar
    Vytautas Vėžys

    Are tanned people racists for mocking blacks?
    Are girls using cosmetics are racists for changing natural skin tone?
    Are SWAT teams racis cause they are putting black masks?

    “Everything is sexist, everything is racist, everything is homophobic and you have to point it all out.”
    – Anita Sarkeesian, Professional Victim

  161. avatar
    Bart Van Damme

    If I got 5 euros every time someone brands a total non-issue “racist”, I’d now have enough money to buy a cotton plantation. Stop politicizing a harmless children’s event. Stop inventing racism everywhere, there’s enough real racism already to keep you occupied.

    • avatar
      Johann Verduyckt

      And why does this discussion ONLY resurface between November 15 and December 6? Is racism only, purely and exceptionally reserved to the time when we are physically confronted with the so-called reason of our outrage?

  162. avatar
    Carl Sebastian Steenekamp

    Have the far leftists come and also want ti ban basic humour because they get offended for a living and by every aspect in life. Political correctness is a cancer in society that needs to stopped. What that man is doing is called HUMOUR. Get over yourselves people.

  163. avatar
    Andrej Ruščák

    Actually, here in the Czech Republic it is even worse. On January 6, people dressed as Three Wise Men go around and bless people’s houses and one of them – Balthasar – is ‘blacked up’. Why? Because we don’t have enough black people to cover the demand, as there is vastly more ‘Balthasars’ than black people in this country. We don’t have a controversy here yet, but we hear, year after year, angry voices from people from the English-speaking world, who are outraged that we have something like that, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with slavery, colonialism, minstrel shows or anything like that and it is actually very respectful. But to them, it is blackface, and should be banned.

  164. avatar
    Pedro Pais de Vasconcelos

    Nowadays everything is racist, is sexal haremassment, is homophobic, in short, is a sinn. Reminds of early times of Reformation fanaticism.

    • avatar
      Arnout Posthumus

      oke thanks for this useless post. Its has realy no backing for if or if not this is rascist.

    • avatar
      Simeon Milanov

      And your comment is helpful? And where are your arguments? The only think I see from you mate is autistic screaming…

  165. avatar
    Arnout Posthumus

    yes, it is. Sadly our past still haunts so we shal just change it and move on. We cannot deny that how zwarte piet looks isnt derived from our slavery past, and lets for once give a voice to those who we have oppressed for so long, that they still have to face things like these.

    • avatar
      Simeon Milanov

      ”We” haven’t oppresed anybody. Our ancestors (yours actually, not mine) have oppressed some people several centuries ago. But then again every nation and race has done such things in the past (and some still do). Yes, Europeans bought black slaves, but they bought them FROM THEIR OWN PEOPLE, who sold them. And by the way it was European nations who made slavery illegal (Britain even waged naval war on slavers). If you want to fight for the rights and dignity of black people or oppressed minorities go in Mauritania where the Arab-Muslim upper class holds the blacks in slavery, or in Saudi Arabia. There are no slaves in the EU.

    • avatar
      Simeon Milanov

      PS Let’s give a voice to the Irish, Spanish, Italians, people from the Balkans and South France, who were oppressed and enslaved by North African Barbary pirates and Ottoman Turks!

    • avatar
      Ivan Burrows

      Arnout Posthumus Who is this ‘we’ you speak of ? personally I have never owned, bought or sold a slave & more to the point who do you think ‘sold’ Africans to those nasty Europeans ?, yep, other Africans did. So you be haunted by an history nobody alive today had any control over, the rest of us will move on & happily leave you behind. :)

    • avatar
      Arnout Posthumus

      Ivan Burrows trolololololol. Have fun being narrow minded <3 gl on that dropping economy :D and the fals own made arguments are.

    • avatar
      Arnout Posthumus

      Simeon Milanov i see nothing back of that in my society so i dno what you are talking about. But atleast zwarte piet does ofc not represent any black person. Its also so hard to just change his stereotype face and slave clothing to something new. Wow so hard, and this all because you are so cool to still celebrate that cruel past each year. Person of the year award here.

  166. avatar
    Alfredo Iannuzzi

    Gimme a break
    It’s a tradition and and none of the Dutch children will consider le skin color of Piet.
    According to someone the opera Otello would also be racist?

  167. avatar
    Simeon Milanov

    Speaking about the past and slavery, why don’t SJWs speak about North African Barbary pirates and Ottomans enslaving and kidnapping millions of Irish, French, Spanish, Italians and people from the Balkans?

    • avatar
      Michael Paraskevas

      Because political correctness doesn’t allow debate with arguments, but only tears from emotional uneducated snowflakes.

  168. avatar
    Pau Chi

    Keep the tradition, and multiply the number of colours in the face. That could be really fun! ❤️

  169. avatar
    Pau Chi

    Keep the tradition, and multiply the number of colours in the face. That could be really fun! ❤️

  170. avatar
    Pau Chi

    Keep the tradition, and multiply the number of colours in the face. That could be really fun! ❤️

  171. avatar
    Pau Chi

    Keep the tradition, and multiply the number of colours in the face. That could be really fun! ❤️

  172. avatar
    David Gaspar

    Saw them live in action! There is nothing racist. These guys are fun loving community icons!

  173. avatar
    Nuno Oliveira

    I see a lot of white europeans outraged at an accusation of racism. I would like to also hear the opinion of black dutch citizens.

  174. avatar
    Manuela Moura

    This is a multifaceted story!!! Nikolaus was a Catholic Bishop from what is today Turkey! the Dutch majority is Calvinist…They forbid the worshiping of images…In modern days it is linked to the Slave Carnival in Cape Town, South Africa where they have a celebration BUT on the 1st January. In North America White men painted their faces BLACK + played music and Segregation was still very much alive…In Holland I fully remember my Dutch in-laws intimidating my friendly very young daughter ! She just wanted to to know whether Piet was also from Africa and why did Piet want to punish children..From then onwards I avoided being in Holland on that day as I still find This day primitive and disdainfull!!!

  175. avatar
    Tony Muñiz

    Why is it racist? What is he suppose to represent? He could be guy that fell in tar, a chimney sweeper etc. etc.

    • avatar
      Nicola Stillebroer Martin

      He is indeed black from descending down the chimneys to leave the kids their presents in their shoes.

  176. avatar
    Peter Castermans

    No it isn’t. Zwarte Piet is a friendly helper of Sinterklaas who is funny and smart. I’m getting sick of the bashing on our culture. If you accept our social security, healthcare, … then also accept our traditions . If not you are free to go back to the country where you or you parents came from. If you accept our culture and integrate you’re Welcome.

  177. avatar
    Thomas Beavitt

    Are people prejudiced against unicorns or mermaids? There is no such thing as “race”. Therefore, there is no such thing as “racism”.

  178. avatar
    Masturchyf

    Why does santa claus go to Holland and leave Spain with the 3 wise men (or the three magic kings)? Also I was always told that santa lived in the north pole. not the Mediterranean.

  179. avatar
    stefan

    If you don’t like our traditions, just stay away? I couldn’t care less if some africans pretended to be white during a holiday

  180. avatar
    Eds

    Is Christmas Day an offence to pagans? Is Valentine’s Day just a conspiracy between florists and chocalatiers to bump up sales? If you don’t like Santa, Black Pete or Mickey Mouse go and get a life.

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Eds the problem with people whom had to give all due to oppression is that they cant get a live because it has been stuck in wounds if the past.

      And the ignorance in comparing all these is just baffling.

    • avatar
      Eds

      I’m not Dutch, but I’d say that kids celebrating Black Pete is no different from American kids whom might be interested in Santa’s elves. Both are companions to Sinterklaas or Santa and I’m sure that these characters aren’t being employed by the present day parents of these children to hold pejorative views towards small or colored people. The children are wanting to please and celebrate Black Pete not lynch him.

  181. avatar
    Stefanos

    It’s so racist, it’s shocking!

  182. avatar
    Arnout

    Ofc its racist. Portraying them like this is.

    • avatar
      Matej

      How else are you going to portray a black man when you live in a predominantly white country in the 1800s? And the tradition stuck.

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Matej maby you could find that out. Get some inspiration from painters while you are at it.

      Nice excuse to keep the racism??

    • avatar
      David

      What point of it makes it racist, though?

    • avatar
      Eds

      I like to think that Black Pete is Sinterklaas right hand man or go to guy. That is, he is a part of Team Santa kind of like the Robin sidekick version to Batman. That means he is definitely not a subordinate figure to Sinterklaas. If anything they are each other’s complimentary ying and yang and this is what I believe children see when they look at the relationship between these two figures. The kids love this guy, they don’t hate him or regard him as a slave! Being good to both is the key to getting good presents which I’m sure is what the majority of kids are concerned about.

  183. avatar
    Paul

    No…it’s part of a cultural tradition…in any case “human rights” do NOT include a right not to be offended….that’s just your opinion.

    • avatar
      Jan

      To denigrate people who do not see a problem with Zwarte Piet is so lame. People doing so have the audacity to call someone racist because they choose to include in their Holiday celebration a tradition that has happy, joyful, costumed people that are tossing cookies to children and often dancing, live music…. Go confront actual racism and human rights violations that are occuring.- Ones that make a difference rather than ‘shouting’ at normal Dutch families on a holiday walk with their children.

  184. avatar
    Moabi

    If this so called tradition is from colonial times, I am 100% sure it is based on racism.

    It’s like Americans celebrating Confederate flag and monuments. It’s like Columbus Day. Nothing good about it

  185. avatar
    Jan

    Hi ____________?
    This year’s celebration will include no food with any ethnic background to it whatsoever, nor will there be any costumes or music so that we do not have any cultural appropriation. Furthermore, if there is a ‘religious element’ we will likewise remove it. No stories plays… of any type- Animals- You can forget it
    We don’t eat them nor greet them! Gifts, of course not- You will not greet anyone by handshake kiss, or word that may suggest gender or social or marital status. Laughing will not be tolerated as some who are not joyful may feel inadequate, ridiculed or just generally annoyed.
    Candles, symbols or even fragrances shall be prohibited
    Please, join us in our All-inclusive celebration that will have nothing to do with history or tradition or religion, where we will not eat drink, sing, talk, laugh or listen to anything. That’s 8:00 PM at the Non-cultural Center. We will start our evening imagining a large elephant in the room, we will not mention it of course, it will be followed by nothing and we will end the night without doing anything.
    Hope to see you there.

  186. avatar
    Arnout

    Yes. Its not a question. Only for those that are still hung in childhood memories.

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