Just stop dressing up as derogatory stereotypes, maybe
Translated by Thomas Ansell
The Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) pressure group- which aims to get Dutch cities and municipalities to do away with the most egregiously obvious symbol of systemic racism in the Netherlands- has called out the new practice of ‘grey’ Zwarte Piets, reports the Omrop Fryslân.
Instead of blacking up, the new regulations adopted by cities including Leeuwarden suggest that volunteers simply change their skin colour to grey. These jolly souls then complete the look with the same (and completely unacceptable) black curly wig and over-the-top red lipstick. Perhaps unsurprisingly, simply making a racist caricature a bit more abstract has not fooled anyone.
A number of committees organising the children’s celebration, which takes place in November (the ‘entry’) and December 5 (St Nicolas’ Eve), have decided to back the ‘new Piet’-with a greyed up face. Since lots of people evidently can’t resist changing the colour of their skin for the celebration, this involves lathering grey face-paint on, which the committees say is not a ‘natural’ skin colour and so cannot be misconstrued.
“The fact that these people understand the racist connotations of this party, but still keep doing them in a modified way, shows that the removal of racism isn’t seriously taken”, says KOZP in a press release.
KOZP have instead suggested that the ‘ruddy-faced’, or simply ‘smudge-faced’ Piets are a more appropriate alternative.
GroenLinks in Leeuwarden have recently campaigned for an alternative to the racist caricature, and have said that the ‘grey’ Piets are a step in the right direction.
In any case, the traditional spectacle won’t be taking place this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.