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 [am] actually shocked what still can be said in the public domain. The N-word [in Dutch: ‘Neger’] is widely used and is not problematized at all. Right-wing MP Geert Wilders [voted ‘Politician of the Year‘ in 2007] called a Muslim woman in hijab a penguin and I don’t think that even raised much discussion.

As for Sinterklaas [Santa Claus], people will just say it’s an innocent children’s festival. The fact is that it of course stems from racist stereotypes on blacks and master-servant relationships.  Zwarte Piet [Black Peter] will beat you with a roe (old-fashioned broom) if you have been naughty while the benevolent Santa Claus will just hand out presents.

I’m embarrassed to confess that in my case it shaped my childhood perception of black people in the sense that I was told by my mum when I first saw a black man as a child, I said something like ‘Ah, Zwarte Piet’…. (I didn’t grow up in a very cosmopolitan place, I remember only two or three black children in my primary school [from] a family [of immigrants] from Suriname). I do remember that there have been attempts from within the Surinam community to address the issue of Sinterklaas but not sure it has been very effective. For examples, see here, here and here. In some places, they have now have rephrased ‘Zwarte Piet’ to ‘Piet’ or ‘hulppiet’ (Assistant Peter) and they use all sorts of colours for face paint and not only black. But apart from that, I don’t think there’s much critical discussion on Sinterklaas at all.

They also have a similar controversial festival in Cornwall called ‘Darkie day’ (dating back to slave trade).

See more here.

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