AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Zwarte Piet

image

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 Piet “is a negative stereotype of black people and the city must rethink its involvement in holiday celebrations involving

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....

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Belgium is an insular country. It lives like history happens outside of it

When the leading Belgian newspaper De Morgen, which styles itself as progressive, published an image of Obama and his wife as chimps and passed it off as satire, they did not expect a backlash. They assumed that...

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Steve McQueen and the Dutch

The Best Picture win for 12 Years A Slave in the 2014 Academy Awards last weekend has not gone by unnoticed in the Netherlands. Not because of the thematic of the film but because ‘our Steve McQueen’--as...

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, 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...

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...

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...