Dutch Deny Holiday Tradition of Blackface, Zwarte Piet or Black Pete, is Racist?

dutch blackface zwarte piet 300x184 Dutch Deny Holiday Tradition of Blackface, Zwarte Piet or Black Pete, is Racist?

Dutch Deny Holiday Tradition of Blackface, Zwarte Piet or Black Pete, is Racist? (Attribution: Creative Commons)

The Dutch deny that the holiday tradition of celebrating blackface, or Zwarte Piet,  is racist. But wasn’t it born from slavery? The Dutch blackface tradition, Zwarte Piet, depicts Saint Nicholas’ helpers in blackface. Some fans claim there is no racism intended, others beg to differ, saying it was born of the slave-trading past of the Netherlands and is stereotypical.

Black Pete first appeared in a children’s story written by Jan Schenkman in 1850. The portrayal of Black Pete, who joins Sinterklaas or Saint Nicholas, as they travel around the country wouldn’t be so troublesome if he exhibit dim-witted behavior, much like the portrayal of blackface characters in the U.S.

 Dutch Deny Holiday Tradition of Blackface, Zwarte Piet or Black Pete, is Racist?

Black Pete first appeared in children’s book in 1850

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 Dutch Deny Holiday Tradition of Blackface, Zwarte Piet or Black Pete, is Racist?
Janet Shan is a freelance journalist and managing editor of the Hinterland Gazette, who is working on her first novel, a mystery based in the hills on Montego Bay.