Black Pete Holland's cultural racist Christmas character

For centuries the Dutch have kept the tradition of Black Pete alive but in recent times there have been calls to stop it.

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Black Pete, Sinterklaas' helper is a racist figure that has no place in today's world play

Black Pete, Sinterklaas' helper is a racist figure that has no place in today's world

(aljazeera)
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Racism comes in all shapes and forms. We have the Swastika, men in white robes, segregated schools and lynchings which are very common symbols of racism.

In the European nation of Holland, racism exists in the form of a Christmas character known as Black Pete. The black companion of St. Nicholas or Sinterklaas (the Dutch Father Christmas) is in the midst of a racial row in the country.

According to Dutch folklore, Sinterklaas comes out every December 5 (the Dutch and Belgian Christmas) to reward good kids. His companion Black Pete is tasked with the job of kidnapping kids who have been naughty all year long.

Several Dutch people dressed as Black Pete play

Several Dutch people dressed as Black Pete

(blackpetethedocumentary)

 

During Christmas celebrations, thousands of men in Holland dress up as Sinterklaas and parade on the streets during the Christmas celebration. Here comes the problem, thousands of white men paint their faces black (known as black face) and play the role of Black Peter.

Several men in Black Pete costumes play

Several men in Black Pete costumes

(Daily Mail )

ALSO READ: Meet the first black Santa at the Mall of America

Blackface is a very sensitive issue in race relations. When white actors wanted to depict black people on stage they painted their faces black with big lips and big noses. This still goes in today in America though not as popular as decades before.

Sinterklaas with four Black Petes play

Sinterklaas with four Black Petes

(Stuff Dutch People Like )

 

The culture of Black Pete is still very strong in Holland. There have been protests against the Christmas character and its racist implications. While some white Dutch people indeed see Black Pete as a racist figure, a lot of people claim that Black Pete isn't racist but cultural.

Anti Black Pete demonstrators play

Anti Black Pete demonstrators

(BBC )

 

There have been death threats to people and politicians who have openly opposed Black Pete.

Change is coming but it is slow. For now, Black Pete is an ugly spot in Holland's Christmas culture.

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