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Criticism of Dutch "Black Pete" tradition grows
Criticism of Dutch "Black Pete" tradition grows
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3 hours ago

In this photo taken Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 persons dressed as "Zwarte Piet" o...
AMSTERDAM — Foreigners visiting the Netherlands in winter are often surprised to see that the Dutch version of St. Nicholas' helpers have their faces painted black, wear Afro wigs and have thick red lips — in short, a racist caricature of a black person.

The overwhelming majority of Dutch are fiercely devoted to the holiday tradition of "Zwarte Piet" — whose name means "Black Pete" — and insist he's a harmless fictional figure who doesn't represent any race. But a growing number are questioning whether "Zwarte Piet" should be given a makeover or banished from the holiday scene, seeing him as a blight on the nation's image as a bulwark of tolerance.

"There is more opposition to Zwarte Piet than you might think," says Jessica Silversmith, director of the regional Anti-Discrimination Bureau for Amsterdam. She said that historically her office received only one or two complaints per year, but the number jumped to more than 100 last year, and will escalate much further this year. LINK: OPINIONS?
das, proud to be a member of since Sep 2012.
"There are only two things I can't stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures... and the Dutch." -Nigel Powers
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Yeah...because blackface and Afros have nothing to do with black people.Rolleyes
Vampire pig man since September 2012
Camper;49137 Wrote:Yeah...because blackface and Afros have nothing to do with black people.Rolleyes

Even better, he's often portrayed as a bumbling idiot... very similar to the "shuck n' jive" rolls that black people were given in early cinema.

He's obviously supposed to be black, to say otherwise is ridiculous. Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the Dutch also the biggest people in the slave trade for quite a while? I know the Portugese were prominent, but I think they fell off right about when the Dutch came in.
From the wikipedia entry:

Quote:According to myths dating to the beginning of the 19th century, Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas) operated by himself or in the companionship of a devil. Having triumphed over evil, it was said that on Saint Nicholas Eve, the devil was shackled and made his slave. A devil as a helper of the Saint can also still be found in Austrian Saint Nicholas tradition in the character of Krampus.
Some sources indicate that in Germanic Europe, Zwarte Piet originally was such a mastered devil forced to assist his captor, but the character emerged in the 19th century within the Netherlands as a servant of Saint Nicholas resembling a Moor.[5] Saint Nicholas is said to come from the Byzantine Empire, modern Turkey.
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