A schism is developing in Dutch society
According to many, Zwarte Piet is an outdated symbol, and a caricature with racist tropes that has absolutely no place in a country that enshrines human rights as readily as the Netherlands. Supporters of the ‘classic’ Zwarte Piet, say that the character is innocent and there is absolutely no racism intended.
Naturally, they suggest that the character it is an exaggeration of Dutch folklore, and its meaning is lost by overtly-politically correct critics. Then there is a group in the middle who can understand both positions, and who believe that concessions such as making sure that the Petes do not have thick black make-up and wildly exaggerated red lips can do justice to both positions.
This Saturday, November 16, demonstrations have been announced by supporters and opponents of Zwarte Piet. They will be held in Groningen and Leeuwarden, as well as Emmen on Saturday.
The Wakker Noorden action group has planned a pro-blacked-up demonstration during the arrival of Sinterklaas on Saturday 16 November in Emmen. The group hope to loudly counter those who consider the blacked-up version of Piet a racist throwback. Anti Zwarte-Piet protesters will also be present under the name ‘De Lieve Goede Sint.’
Image via Flickr user Michell Zappa. License here
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