Welcome to Krazy Kats - a friendly informal online community discussing life issues that we care about. Open 24/7 for chat & chill. Come and join us!

The Video of the Week now showing on Light After Life Forum's Portal Page is: BBC Documentary - 'Science and the Séance'

Latest topics

» Keep a Word - Delete a Word
by Whiskers 15th July 2018, 18:04

» Jellyfish swarm turns sea pink
by Kitkat 12th July 2018, 17:28

» Silly Endings.
by Whiskers 12th July 2018, 16:39

» Backpacker hospitalized with sepsis after mosquito bite coma
by Kitkat 6th July 2018, 10:00

» Antwerp Railway Station.
by Kitkat 3rd July 2018, 14:57

» Garden Gossip
by Kitkat 1st July 2018, 10:07

» The power of the tweet !
by Kitkat 28th June 2018, 19:28

» Eighty-two chihuahuas found at Birmingham house
by Kitkat 25th June 2018, 12:28

» Stardust on the Moon
by Whiskers 12th June 2018, 20:36

» Feather by the sea.
by Stardust 10th June 2018, 20:46

» Pic-pick of the week
by Jamboree 10th June 2018, 02:10

» Notification of new posts made on the Forum
by Kitkat 3rd June 2018, 11:54

» Oh, well done! - crafty little crayfish
by Kitkat 3rd June 2018, 11:26

» The Spiritlove Forum
by OreoCat85 1st June 2018, 08:51

» Notification of new PMs (private messages) [solved]
by Kitkat 28th May 2018, 22:27

» Costco is where the talent is
by Kitkat 26th May 2018, 17:01

» What is GDPR ?
by Kitkat 26th May 2018, 12:55

» New 'Like' feature on the forum
by Kitkat 25th May 2018, 22:27

» The cartoon thread.
by Kitkat 24th May 2018, 16:08

» Goodbye Depo Provera
by OreoCat85 24th May 2018, 10:53

» The Greatest Showman
by OreoCat85 24th May 2018, 10:50

» Ashya: The Untold Story
by Whiskers 22nd May 2018, 11:07

» Raincheck! Sorry, I'm doing my nails ...
by Kitkat 18th May 2018, 11:18

» Forum going slow
by Kitkat 17th May 2018, 13:31

» Eurovision 2018: 7 things to look out for during the show
by Kitkat 12th May 2018, 17:36

» Woman asks firefighters to help'stoned' raccoon
by Kitkat 12th May 2018, 12:35

» Poetry from the heart.
by Kitkat 12th May 2018, 11:20

» "Moonlight Sonata" - A Morning in May
by Feather 12th May 2018, 10:37

» Red tide: Electric blue waves wash California shore
by Kitkat 11th May 2018, 12:18

» Rolling stock that just ... doesn't
by Kitkat 8th May 2018, 22:49

» Like cake?
by bimbow 8th May 2018, 22:15

» Shoulda known it was too good to be true ...
by Kitkat 8th May 2018, 11:05

» The Irish Thread
by Kitkat 3rd May 2018, 11:49

» MPs call for ESA death statistics to be published (Calum's List)
by Kitkat 24th April 2018, 20:26

» 'Messy' mum barred from pub
by Kitkat 23rd April 2018, 14:21

» Prime cheek!
by OreoCat85 22nd April 2018, 19:18

» Endowarriror os now OreoCat85
by Whiskers 22nd April 2018, 18:38

» Migraine is more than 'just a headache'
by Jamboree 19th April 2018, 09:04

» View all new posts since last visit - at a glance
by Kitkat 9th April 2018, 11:36

» Ronnie Corbett in an opera spoof?
by bimbow 7th April 2018, 23:02

» Henry and Baloo leave their pawprints in our hearts
by Whiskers 6th April 2018, 21:55

» Orkney: When the Boat Comes In
by Kitkat 6th April 2018, 16:30

» The Worst Construction Mistakes Ever
by Whiskers 5th April 2018, 12:00

» Nature
by Whiskers 4th April 2018, 12:00

» Wildlife - death of Sudan, last male White Northern Rhino
by Stardust 4th April 2018, 09:36

» Stephen Hawking's warnings: What he predicted for the future
by Whiskers 3rd April 2018, 22:05

» Facebook links
by Stardust 3rd April 2018, 11:39

» A Granma's Anagrams
by Whiskers 3rd April 2018, 11:23

» Is Peer Review all it's cracked up to be?
by Stardust 3rd April 2018, 10:02

» Guess the word
by Jamboree 31st March 2018, 16:09

» Question for Forum Bloggers (Poll)
by Kitkat 30th March 2018, 23:05

» Happy Easter
by Kitkat 30th March 2018, 23:01

» Wild Scotland
by Whiskers 29th March 2018, 20:03

» A blink's as good as a smile
by Kitkat 27th March 2018, 21:08

» World's oldest cave art
by Stardust 27th March 2018, 11:23

» Kemerovo fire kills at least 64
by Stardust 27th March 2018, 10:52

» Blogthings: The Labyrinth Test
by Stardust 26th March 2018, 17:10

» Cannes Film Festival 2018 - Red Carpet selfies banned
by Stardust 26th March 2018, 13:33

» True hero: Lt Col Arnaud Beltrame
by Kitkat 25th March 2018, 22:27

» Books
by Kitkat 24th March 2018, 16:48

» Cosmic beauty
by Stardust 23rd March 2018, 11:26

» Blogthings: The Easter egg personality test.
by Kitkat 23rd March 2018, 10:29

» Blogthings: What part of Spring are you?
by Stardust 23rd March 2018, 10:13

» So you think you know cats... read on
by Stardust 23rd March 2018, 09:43

by Kitkat 22nd March 2018, 13:09

» Blogthings: what forest animal are you?
by Whiskers 21st March 2018, 16:40

» Bureaucats: Whiskers in the Workplace
by Whiskers 21st March 2018, 15:45

» Wildlife - lions eat the poacher
by Whiskers 21st March 2018, 15:43

» Wildlife - San Francisco to ban sale of fur
by Stardust 21st March 2018, 11:48

» The Beast from the East?
by Stardust 21st March 2018, 10:44

» Delicious and nutritious
by Stardust 21st March 2018, 10:19

» April Fools
by Stardust 21st March 2018, 07:57

» Your man with the glasses ...
by Kitkat 20th March 2018, 13:36

» Message in a bottle
by Stardust 20th March 2018, 09:39

» Upper Back Pain
by Kitkat 10th March 2018, 16:14

» [solved] Yahoo Mail down - again!
by Kitkat 9th March 2018, 23:00

» Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large
by Kitkat 3rd March 2018, 23:29

» Wonderful images - fabulous music
by bimbow 1st March 2018, 17:23

» The Beast from the East
by Kitkat 1st March 2018, 14:01

» Invasion of the sex-craved spiders! EEK!
by lar-lar 25th February 2018, 21:32

» Daughter fundraising to save her terminally ill mother
by Jamboree 18th February 2018, 11:53

» Kitkat's KK Blog
by Kitkat 15th February 2018, 21:36

» A Day in The Life of a Dictator - Documentary
by Jamboree 12th February 2018, 07:21

» A coconut in a coffin?
by Whiskers 9th February 2018, 20:35

» Limericks
by bimbow 8th February 2018, 21:22

» Is there a Cathy in the place?
by Kitkat 1st February 2018, 19:17

» Chinese New Year
by Stardust 1st February 2018, 14:17

» What's your emergency?
by Whiskers 27th January 2018, 13:09

» YouTube free-loading vlogger gets a much needed lesson in reality
by Whiskers 22nd January 2018, 20:17

» Three-month-old baby says "hello"
by Kitkat 13th January 2018, 15:00

» 60 Christmas traditions around the world
by Kitkat 30th December 2017, 21:58

» Simon's Cat
by Kitkat 26th December 2017, 16:27

» A new(ish) song for Christmas.
by Whiskers 24th December 2017, 13:49

» Merry Christmas
by Whiskers 24th December 2017, 13:37

» The Christmas Thread
by Kitkat 20th December 2017, 21:22

» A reader's response to your article on food waste
by Whiskers 18th December 2017, 14:35

» Downward Dog
by Kitkat 4th December 2017, 21:35

» A very young Bee Gees treat
by Whiskers 29th November 2017, 16:35

» The life and achievements of Dr Elsie Inglis
by Kitkat 26th November 2017, 09:14

Top posting users this month

Top posters

Kitkat (3574)
Whiskers (1343)
Stardust (1243)
Feather (1211)
Umberto Cocopop (369)
Jamboree (329)
bimbow (317)
lar-lar (132)
Pixie (105)
OreoCat85 (82)

Top posting users this week

Please sign our Guest Book:


Light After Life Forum (LAL)

Click HERE for latest topics feed

Debate over Black Pete Christmas Tradition is dividing Holland

Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3574
Likes received : 34
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Debate over Black Pete Christmas Tradition is dividing Holland

Post by Kitkat on 20th November 2013, 16:42

17 November 2013

It's a tradition going back centuries - in the Netherlands and Belgium the end of November means the arrival of Sinterklaas and his band of happy helpers known as Black Petes.

It may have lasted over the years but to watch lots of white men with heavily painted faces, red lips, and black curls is a distinctly disorienting experience.

Amsterdam artist Quinsy Gario is one of those who feels the Saint Nikolaus parade is outdated in 2013.

   There's a white guy on a horse, and he is served by a lot black people. They're still jolly fellows, they still sing and dance, they're still acting a bit silly. And that's a stereotype.

His argument has had support from independent representatives of UN Human Rights Commission.

Verene Shepherd, who received complaints about the ceremony described it as racist and a throw back to slavery.

She believed it should be abolished though the UN have distanced themselves from her comments. Others however took them very personally and Ms Shepherd has faced death threats and racial abuse.

But don't mention abolition to the hundreds of thousands who have filled the streets for years to greet the Black Petes and see them as a treasured custom.

A Facebook page set up in support received 2 million likes within a couple of days.

That the debate has become so toxic has made many question what it reflects in the supposedly pragmatic Dutch culture at a time when support for far right parties is on the rise and the politicians are being very careful about what they say.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte stating, “Black Pete is black. That’s that."

Folklore has it they travel on a steamboat from Spain and on December 5th Sinterklaas dispatches his Zwarte Piets down the chimneys to deliver presents.

Every year hundreds of thousands fill the streets to welcome them - but now the tradition of the white man and his helpers with their faces painted black wearing Afro wigs has delivered a racism debate that is polarising Dutch society.

Dutch 'Black Pete' Christmas custom sparks protests
Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Father Christmas and his blacked-up helpers Zwarte Pieten, or Black Peters, arrive in Amsterdam amid protests claiming the tradition is racist

In the Dutch holiday tradition, Sinterklaas or Father Christmas arrives by steamboat in mid-November and spends a month in the country with dozens of the Petes, who traditionally wear pageboy uniforms, black make-up, curly wigs and large, painted on red lips.

The whole affair culminates in a night of gift-giving on Dec 5.

Protesters say the Petes are blatant racist caricatures and should be banned. the tradition's defenders say there is no racial insult intended by Black Pete and that the dissent is a sign of political correctness gone awry.

The debate over the figure has gone on for years, but it is now electrifying – and polarising – the Netherlands as never before.

Anti-Pete protester Quinsy Gario told a group of about 300 supporters in Amsterdam that "it's no longer possible to accept racism in the Netherlands in 2013".

Mr Gario, an artist who has emerged as the public face of the anti-Pete movement, has been subjected to insults as well as death threats.

He said the growing support underlines the change the national debate over Black Pete has recently undergone.

The debate exploded in the national media this year after it emerged that a panel of UN cultural experts was examining whether the tradition is racist.

Some anti-Pete activists have suggested his blackface should be replaced with black smudges, since children are usually told his face has become black from going down chimneys.

A few weeks ago, more than two million people responded to remarks critical of the Dutch tradition by a UN expert by endorsing a Facebook petition to keep Zwarte Piet's image unchanged.

Where St Nicholas has his Black Pete(s), Charges of Racism Follow

On Sunday morning, under a heavy November sky, he climbed off a steamboat near the Maritime Museum and then, astride a tall white horse and clad in the red-and-gold cloak and miter of a bishop, to the cheers of tens of thousands of children and their parents, he paraded into the center of town accompanied by his faithful servant, Black Peter.

Well, more accurately, servants. For surrounding St. Nicholas, who comes into Dutch cities every year at this time in a mix of Mardi Gras and Christmas to prepare for his feast day on Dec. 6, abounded hundreds of Black Petes in a swirl of activity. There are Black Petes playing music or singing; Black Petes on horseback; Black Petes on stilts handing out balloons and candy; and Black Petes scaling with ropes the facades of department stores or cavorting on the roofs of six-story buildings.

Another St. Nicholas arrived on Saturday afternoon. He sat quietly on a makeshift stage in a tiny square near the Stock Exchange, dreadlocks flowing from under his gold-and-red miter, but without Black Pete. For if Black Peter is a white Netherlander in blackface, this St. Nicholas was a member of the country’s small black minority, and he was presiding at a demonstration by several hundred people, black and white, denouncing Black Pete as racist.

The arrival of St. Nicholas, known as Sinterklaas here (the Dutch carried Sinterklaas to New Amsterdam, now New York, where it was later pronounced Santa Claus; he carries his own bags), is an event in several European countries, though only in the Netherlands and parts of Belgium is he accompanied by Black Peter, or Zwarte Piet in Dutch. Portrayed by men and women in blackface makeup, Peter sports outlandish Renaissance costumes (the kind, critics say, Renaissance lords dressed their slaves in for paintings by the old masters), with thick red lips and frizzy hairdo wigs or fake dreadlocks. Big hoop earrings were once part of the outfit, but they have been sacrificed recently in a concession to critics.

Black Pete is a dimwit of a figure who sings and dances and cavorts to the delight of children. Although the Dutch pride themselves on their tolerance, they now feel that a tradition is under threat, sacrificed to political correctness by those who do not understand it. And poor St. Nicholas, a symbol of kindness and generosity, has become for some a source of division and, occasionally, pretty nasty behavior.

Read more

    Current date/time is 17th July 2018, 01:20