Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dutch modify  'black Pete' Christmas tradition

Black Pete, the jolly sidekick of the Dutch Saint Nicholas, is finally getting a facelift after years of bitter debate including death threats against those calling for change.

An Amsterdam court's ruling in July that Pete - traditionally dressed in a gaudy medieval costume with a blackened face, red lips and an afro wig - is a 'negative stereotype' encouraged many to try to change the deeply rooted custom.

'It's the beginning of change, it will continue for years to come because more and more people agree it should change but it's going to take a long time,' said historian Gabor Kozijn, author of a study on Black Pete for the Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage.

With less than two months before Dutch kids' favourite day, December 5, when Saint Nicholas and Pete hand out presents, the debate has reached fever pitch, with Black Pete's defenders refusing to admit there is anything racist about the playful character.

In Gouda, where Saint Nicholas and dozens of Petes will 'arrive' on November 15 with a gift-filled boat from Spain in a national event broadcast live on television, the mayor on Tuesday decided to introduce some new colours.

Besides a number of Black Petes, there will also be 'Cheese Petes' with yellow faces and 'Stroopwafel Petes' with striped, light brown faces resembling the traditional Dutch syrup biscuit of the same name.

'There is no simple way to find a solution that everyone can identify with,' said Gouda Mayor Milo Schoenmaker.

Gouda's Black Petes 'changed several years ago to dark brown without stereotypical big red lips and earrings,' the city hall added.



Bird of Paradise said...

PC nonsense shows not signs of ending give theee PC wanks all coal in their stocking for christmas

Use the Name, Luke said...

A black man working with a white man to give gifts to children? Oh, the absolute horror!


Anonymous said...

Anything fun must be stamped out. How can these PC liberals even laugh at a joke? They must take pleasure in sucking the joy out of the lives of others.

Go Away Bird said...

Annon 3:48 The liberals themselves are a joke a sick joke

Anonymous said...

I guess as an over weight white man I should be offended that Santa Clause is shown as obese.

Anonymous said...

No 7:09, you probably see it as a validation for your obesity! But at least that may get you some useful employment in December as a convincing look-alike.

Anonymous said...

Won't striped people get "offended"?