Friday, December 05, 2008

Een echte Zwarte Piet


Een echte Zwarte Piet, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Today is the 5th of December, when we in Holland celebrate Sinterklaas. He has a black helper called Zwarte Piet (Black Peter)..

Here is a real Zwarte Piet, working in a charcoal shop in Istanbul.



BC says:

I was in the Hague in 1987 when I heard about this, but I wonder, can Zwarte Piet still politically correct ?

I said:

Of course it isn't but who? in 2008, is interested in politics?

The main thing they ahve done in recent years is to turn Zwarte Piet froma sinister character who takes you away in a sack if you (as a child) have been naughty into a nice guy who gives out sweets and pepernoten to children.

Still always white Dutchies with black shoe polish on their faces dressed in colourful costumes though...

JJsays:

Yes of course its politically correct!
Sinterklaas has black helpers, society decides how they describe this situation.
Slavery has been abolished so the Black Petes work for him voluntarily or are paid very well.
Many arent really black but they dress up that way because its part of the costume, the look.
In a way you can say thousands of white people dress up as their black hero, it cant get any more politically correct then that!
Especially as the original Black Pete was a Moor, one of the northern africans that invaded and conquered much of Spain in Medieval times.

JS says:

Thanks for this piece on Sinterklaas. Gave me a chance to learn a bit about the origins of Santa Clause.

Not sure if the Black Pete piece would go over to well, here in the states, given my communities fight to eliminate racist "Black face" characters, which were used to degrade and humiliate us.

That said, the Black Pete story is interesting..shows that Europe was more connected to the rest of the world than we sometimes think.

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