Black Pete: extreme right appears to stoke Dutch divisions

An annual debate in the Netherlands about the Christmas practice of white people blackening their faces, colouring their lips red and donning wigs to play Zwarte Piet, a sidekick to Saint Nicholas, has this year descended into street brawls, vandalism and a conviction for inciting racial hatred.

The characterisation of Zwarte Piet – or Black Pete – has divided Dutch society in recent years. In 2015 the UN stepped in to declare it was a “vestige of slavery”. Some major cities, including Amsterdam and The Hague, have refashioned Zwarte Piet’s image, or done away with him altogether, to avoid accusations of racism.

Others, however, continue to believe the character’s portrayal to be a harmless tradition. In a survey of 272 of the 388 Dutch municipalities, 239 said they would be sticking with the traditional image in 2017.

  • The Buddhist Butterfly

    So why isn’t Santa Claus racist?

    • Drunk by Noon ✓

      Because most White people are not vested in the victim hierarchy pyramid as if it were their sole purpose on earth.
      If you are black and don’t like it, then don’t move to the Netherlands in an attempt to get away from other blacks.

  • Brett McS

    Don’t worry about actual slavery going on now, in Muslim countries. Check out those vestiges!

  • Isn’t be black because of coal?

    • Drunk by Noon ✓

      I thought so too, but in looking it up on Wikipedia (yeah, I’m lazy) it said nothing of that and I figured that I must have conflated black Pete with someone else.
      But now that you mention it, it just as possible that some digital “Fireman” (think Fahrenheit 451) at Wikipedia just erased that part of his origin story to make it look like the character was even more racist.

        • Drunk by Noon ✓

          That addresses the issue, but it sounds like the character is supposed to be a negro anyways.
          Oh well, the blacks need to be more sensitive to western cultural traditions. I could care less if it hurts their feeling or they feel offended.
          Those things are not my problem anymore.
          Don’t live in the Netherlands if they find it so bothersome.
          In the spirit of Christmas, “screw ‘em”!

          • I think the actual issue is that people don’t like Christmas or Saint Nicholas and are using Zwarte Piet as a wedge or distraction from their actual ends.

          • Alain


          • Cheers.

    • Alain

      The same tradition exists in Germany. I had some German neighbours when living in Africa and according to them it is because of coal. They had all the neighbours over to celebrate their traditional Christmas including someone dressed up as Black Peter. Children who had behaved had nothing to worry about, but Black Peter kept track of the others.

      • So coal IS bad! 🙂

        • Alain

          No, only black. Thank of the English tradition where a naughty child receives a lump of coal in his stocking instead of a present.

  • Shebel

    For fucks sake—- STOP making fun of the Niggers.

  • Mr. Meow

    I worked with the Dutch army one Christmas in Bosnia. Our OC was a black Dutch Major. On Christmas he dressed like St Nick and one of his white NCO’s officers did Black Pete. Quite funny and no one was offended…how times have changed.