AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Friday, November 25th, 2011

I Remember Black Pete

As a child, I never believed in Santa Claus. I believed in Saint Nicholas and Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). I remember waking up as a child on December 6, 1983, three hours before daybreak. I also remember waking up early on December 6 for years afterwards. Always early, always too excited to go back to

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

What the Dutch court ruling against blackface figure Zwarte Piet means

The Amsterdam court ruling on Dutch blackface hero Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) yesterday quickly went viral. But what does the ruling really mean. In a nutshell: an Amsterdam judge did not forbid the figure of Black Pete, but ruled that Zwarte...

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Dutch Logic and the New Brown Pete: Making Something Less Racist by Making it More Racist

As most AIAC readers know by now, the Dutch are having a very hard time letting go of their precious blackface tradition. Well sadly, but not surprisingly, Zwarte Piet (in English: Black Pete) is still amongst us....

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

The Year the Blackface Tradition in the Netherlands Hit the Big Time

In 2013, the world was introduced to the Dutch December tradition of Zwarte Piet (“Black Pete”)—the blackfaced sidekick to Sinterklaas. Though a letter complaining of the racism inherent in the practice was sent to the Office of...

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

10 excuses most Dutch people make for racism

Today is the day Sinterklaas and his little black slaves give candy to children, although nature got in the way somewhat. As you’re aware, “Zwarte Piet” (translated: Black Pete) is how the helpers of Saint Nicholas are...

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

File under: Dutch Liberalism

In the Netherlands, many people convince themselves that racism is something that exists elsewhere–in South Africa, for example, or in the United States. For this is a ‘tolerant,’ liberal nation. To maintain the facade, often blatant...

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Black History in Amsterdam

Recently on a sunny afternoon, fellow AIAC-er Serginho Roosblad and I ventured out to learn more about the history of black people in Amsterdam and the contribution they made to the city since its early days. Surely there...

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

The Happy Dutch Sprinter

Television commercials can be pretty annoying. With the exception of the few that make you laugh. Quite often it’s the good commercials of which you forget what the company is actually trying to sell. However the annoying...

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

The politics of selling African art mostly collected during colonial era to private collectors (in the Netherlands)

The proposed sale of the Africa Collection at The World Museum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands has sparked some interesting debates in Dutch media lately. Unfortunately some important questions and issues around this sale are not being discussed....

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Only decent white people know how to insult in the Netherlands

The most talked about film in the Netherlands now is the comedy Alleen Maar Nette Mensen (“Only Decent People”), which, to be blunt, may shape Dutch views of its black citizens, and Afro-Surinamese in particular, in very...

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Helping Themba

The Dutch ‘Stop Aids Now!’ campaigns have a long tradition of appealing to potential donors in Holland’s streets. November and December are the months the posters and TV ads pop up (around World Aids Day on December...

Monday, November 30th, 2009

A Dutch White Christmas

This is how they celebate Christmas in the Netherlands complete with Father Christmas and his helpers in blackface. A Dutch friend of mine provides some context: … Racism in Holland is still very open. I actually...