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Posted: 18 Nov 2013 21:05
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/eur ... story.html
I just learned about the existence of this particular Dutch tradition. The only response I can really think of is "Whaaaaaaat."
How has something like this survived for so long in an otherwise socially progressive country? It's a little bit mind-boggling.
Re: Black Pete
Posted: 20 Nov 2013 20:46
I really agree with that, it has always been a kind of dubious festivity when you look at it from an outer (which is often the best way to look at things to begin with) perspective. I mean, 1 old fart in weird clothes on a horse followed by a shitload of black guys and girls (made black with shoe shine for that matter ...) doing all the hard work. It's totally understandable and justified that sooner or later this whole thing was being debated like it is now. However, you should know that the target audience of this whole festivity, being little children, is of course completely oblivious to any racist facettes tied to it. When I was still a child who believed in that stuff, I never once assumed that black Pete was an inferior being who was condemned to work his as off for Sinterklaas or he'd regret the day he was born. To me, and I can safely say this goes for practically all Dutch children who were raised with this tradition, black Pete was a straight A fellow who got to do all the cool shit and simply just happened to be black. And singing lyrics like (freely translated, in Dutch it rhymes ... of course) "even though I'm black as soot, I mean you no harm" I never interpreted the way you do when you grow older.
No matter which way you look at it though, noone should be so naive thinking that the way this thing is currently being celebrated does not offend certain colored minorities. Therefore I'd like to see Sinterklaas as a festivity evolve into something neutral that can be enjoyed by all residents of the Netherlands. Because, for fuck's sake, children don't give a flying fuck which color a guy is who hands them toys and candy, so no great loss there in my humble opinion.
And regarding all Dutch folks who make a case of (and fuck, you wouldn't believe how many are doing just that
) protecting and preserving this 'sacred tradition' exactly as it is now, I'd like to personally beat the fucking blinders of their motherfucking eyes till they fucking bleed with shame and guilt.
I really meant that last bit I wrote, I'd honestly fuck them up so bad, just the thought of it makes my hands itch and sweat
Re: Black Pete
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 17:16
I have to say I am pretty much in agreement with what Mickey just said here... Also, people should maybe consider a bit more that traditions always evolve and continue evolving, and I don't think children really will care about a lot in which colour Saint Nicholas' helpers are painted. But many people have gotten very uptight about this, and appear to see it as an attack on Dutch culture in its entirety. (Not sure what that itself says about Dutch culture as a whole...)
On the other side, some of the remarks by Verene Shepherd about this case ("Why have two Santas, just celebrate Christmas normally like the rest of the world") were quite silly (and from a Dutch point of view, ridiculous) as well. I mean, if she speaks out on behalf of the UN, I would expect her to at least inform herself a bit about the actual history of this tradition.
And Led Guardian, I am really not sure if I would consider the Netherlands a "socially progressive" country at this stage anymore.
Re: Black Pete
Posted: 05 Dec 2013 14:28
In my humble opinion this whole discussion has caused a lot more racism in The Netherlands than it would ever have solved. It created an environment where it is "us" vs "them", and I find the entire discussion overblown and out of proportions.
While I do not agree with the statement that Black Pete is a symbol of racism and slavery, I do agree that the solution can be really simple: in stead of making Pete completely black, make it more "realistic" as to the current stories told about the colour of his skin, namely that it is black because of the soot, and not just like that of soot.
BUT, this should be done next year through the television show "sinterklaasjournaal" in which kids can see white people "training" to become black pete and get their smudges that way. This makes the changes understandable and acceptable for kids and not too abrupt.
Having said that, I do believe that the whole slavery argument is rather sad. Slavery has been abolished in the netherlands since 1863, the idea that slavery was morally and ethically undesired existed already at the beginning of the 1800's. I do believe that people who need to consistantly point back to the role the dutch played in the slavery, are simply living 200 years or more in the past and are stuck there, they need to get unstuck and start living today and quit relating everything to their slave-ancestory.
At one point or another everybody was a slave or a slavetrader, there is no use in going back in history and digging that all up. We read about history to prevent things from happening again (hopefully, doesn't seem to work all the time), but we should not allow the state of affairs in say the 17th or 18th century to dictate how we view the world today, and I believe this is exactly what is happening today, here in Holland.
The saddest part is, and this will bring me back to my opening statement, that this whole discussion is just fresh food for right-winged poticians like Geert Wilders, who see this as a proof of their point that people from afro-caribean descent (or other foreign descent for that matter) are unwilling to integrate in our society and are here to take over our culture. All in all this discussion is doing us dutchies more wrong than good. And I hope that maybe, in the long run, we will benefit from it. But I fear that right now, I cannot see how.
Re: Black Pete
Posted: 16 Dec 2013 19:47
By the way, why bother painting faces black and not directly cast black actors?
Looking at it that way, i mean, casting black actors for Santa's helpers, it actually sounds more racist.