Racism In Black Pete

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Black Pete, racist or not? The Netherlands is known as the liberal bastion of Europe - with relaxed attitudes to drugs and sex - but when it comes to the tradition of “Sinterklaas”, things are a little different. According to the tradition, around mid-November a white man “St Nicholas/Sinterklaas”, comes into the Netherlands from Spain where he spreads cheer, presents and most towns hold parades when he comes to the Netherlands. Sinterklaas is also accompanied by a helper, 'Black Pete' , who has attracted criticism in recent years over allegations the character is racist. The actor who is portraying Saint Nicholas is a white man with red clothes and gold jewelry, the actors portraying Black Pete on the other hand is typically painted with some…show more content…
Liberal politicians wanted the tradition to be abolished, while the right-wing anti-immigration Freedom Party and its founder Geert Wilders have put forward legislation that would enshrine Pete's black color in law. Both the United Nations Human Rights Commission and the Council of Europe's Anti-Racism Commission have concluded that the custom is offensive to ethnic minorities. "The character must speak poor Dutch with a stupid accent, and must act childlike and mischievous when performing," writes Siji Jabber for The Guardian. Songs sung by school children about Black Pete include the lyrics: "Even if I'm black as coal I mean well". A group called “Zwarte Piet is Racism”, which is against, argues that the image "perpetuates a stereotyped image of African people and people of African descent as second-class citizens, fostering an underlying sense of inferiority within Dutch society and stirring racial differences as well as racism". Support in the…show more content…
A Facebook petition for example had more than 2 million people who signed that BP should stay. The country's Prime Minister Mark Rutte also weighed into the debate, coming out in support of the tradition, saying: 'We should not disturb a children's party in this way.' However, supporters of the tradition argue that it is not a racist depiction, as the colour of Black Pete's skin is a result of him climbing down a dirty chimney. The reason for his large red lips, however, remains unexplained. On the whole people’s opinions are divided, from the outside it’s considered racist but in the Netherlands the majority has been celebrating and carrying on the tradition for so long that they don’t want to change it. The opinion I agree most is that it is not racist based on the history upon it, nevertheless there should be made some changes if some people are offended by it. There are some steps taken like changing the costume and skin-color which are small steps but we’re heading to the right
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