Friday, November 16, 2007

Zwarte Piet is a Racist Caricature and Must Be Banned

(photo: sulaco rm)
Did I stutter?

It's not complicated: the picture above tells the whole story, and all Dutch who deny it are suffering from an acute case of what we call "cognitive dissonance" where I come from.

I plan to elaborate on this in full, but for once, I want to invite any contra claims first. Bring 'em on, I'm eager to hear. Tell me all about how Sinterklaas is Turkish and Zwarte Piet is actually rich, and the only reason he has blackface on is because he went down the chimney.

And he's stupid because _ well that's just the way he is.

And this is part of Dutch culture, and I'm being politically correct; and humorless; and we should just accept it like grandpa's farting at a birthday party, because it would be very traumatic to get rid of it.

Wake up and smell the coffee, kids. It's the practical equivalent of the "Running of the Jews" in the Borat movie.

Zwarte Piet is a racist caricature and must be banned.

There will certainly be a part II to this post.

(celesteh)

But that's all for now.

5 comments:

norma said...

I have a sister who's been living in Los Angeles for the past 12 years and she's starting to feel the same way you do. Funny thing is I never associated zwarte Piet with a negro or rascism. To me zwarte Piet is a funny talking white guy with shoepolish on his face and a curly wig. Even as a kid I thought so. Just a clown. By the way, did you ever notice that clown's usually have red hair? That could be considered a caricature of red-haired people :-).

Flurtissimo said...

Allright, here we go. Sinterklaas lives in spain. Spain was owned by the Moors. (Black people) They RULED Spain, They are dressed as noblemen. They are not slaves. The Sint is an equal opportunity employer, thats all. Now Santa, thats another story. This Coca-cola marketing trick uses "vertically challenged people". as they are called within the realm of political correctness (Did you know Stalin invented that term? says enough.) Small people never ruled the Northpole, therefore they arguably have been forced to move there and work in sub-zero conditions. Also, Santa is a mysoginist, as he calls all the women in his immediate surroundings "Ho, Ho, Ho" Now, who should be banned? I think Toby is going "in the bag" and back to spain with Zwarte Piet for writing this.

Another American Expat said...

I'll be looking forward to reading what you have to say about this! My knee-jerk-American reaction to Zwarte Piet and Sinterklaas is "alert! racist! bad!" but then my it's-not-my-culture-so-maybe-I-shouldn't-judge
side says "but it seems like there's some kind of logical non-racist explanation."

I'm ready to learn, either way.

-Tami

Mrtn said...

Kids in the Netherlands suffer two highly traumatic experiences surrounding Sinterklaas. First, they find out that they've been lied to all that time by their parents, their teachers, the older kids and even by the Jeugdjournaal. Sinterklaas doesn't exists! And that one time he came to your house it was actually that uncle you never really liked anyway dressed as Sinterklaas and his wife as zwarte piet.

The second traumatic experience comes years later when you learn that some people actually consider the whole thing a racist caricature and tell you that the entire tradition is just there to make you believe that old white people should rule the dumb black people and that being good has nothing to do with it whatsoever.

I personally believe that kids naïve enough to still believe in Sinterklaas have not yet developed a concept of slavery other than that big people rule over little people. And by that I do not refer to the vertically challenged.

Toby Sterling said...

Everybody on Zwart Piet: more is coming. I think I´m going to write my heart out about this and try to get it in a paper. I really feel strongly about this.
Mrtn and Flurtissimo: you guys are what I get for having readers that are thinking one level above.
Norma: no accident that it´s your sister that´s living in LA who´s starting to feel that way: the taboo is strong in America. But that doesn´t mean it´s wrong...
Tami: welcome to Amsterdam! More soon...

=Toby