Geert Wilders wants mandatory blackface at Dutch festival

This video, by the Daily Telegraph in England, recorded in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, says about itself:

17 November 2013

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.

Sinterklaas is not really ‘the Dutch version of Father Christmas’. The festival is on 6 December (and mainly on 5 December, the evening before 5 December), remembering the Christian Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop in what is today Turkey. Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, was derived from Sinterklaas later in the USA, and connected to Christmas, not 5 or 6 December.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:


Geert Wilders‘ xenophobic party in the Netherlands

will propose a bill which will protect Zwarte Piet.

Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) is a blackface character in the Dutch Saint Nicholas festival, supposed to be the servant of the saintly bishop. Zwarte Piet was added to the festival in the nineteenth century, when there still was slavery in the Dutch colonies. He is depicted as a caricature of nineteenth century house slaves, in servant’s uniform, with big red lips and golden earrings, speaking with a supposedly Surinamese accent.

The new law would require municipalities to keep Zwarte Piet black[face] at the festivities. There would also be a ban on modifying Saint Nicholas songs.

About 1960, a child opened a book of “traditional” Saint Nicholas songs.

One song in that book was Sinterklaas, die goede heer (Saint Nicholas, that good gentleman).

One song line in that song went: “Servant Piet, as black as soot, with a chain around his foot …”

The chain was also depicted in the picture on the same page.

“Mummy, why does Piet have a chain around his foot?”

“Because he is a slave, my child!”

UPDATE: Today, in 2014, that song is still on the Internet, including the “chain” line.

If Wilders wants to ban changing songs’ lyrics, then he will have very much work to do. Throughout history, old songs have been adapted with new lyrics. Protestant churches in the Netherlands and elsewhere have changed the lyrrics of their hymns and psalms frequently. Does Wilders want to jail the Protestant dignitaries responsible for that? He can’t jail all of them, as most are already dead. The Belgian national anthem’s lyrics have changed many times.

Let us take the Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus. Its original lyrics were in French. It was a satirical song by Roman Catholic Spanish soldiers mocking their Protestant enemies in 1568, as the Dutch revolt against the king of Spain started. If Wilders hates changing lyrics so much, then he may want to change the Wilhelmus back to its original anti-Protestant lyrics again.

This music video is called “O la folle entreprise du Prince de Condé“, song from about 1568. It is the original version of the Dutch national anthem, in French, by Spanish soldiers mocking their Protestant enemies.

Geert Wilders said in the television program Vandaag de Dag by WNL that he “wants to protect our culture.”

Nigel Farage says that white people who ‘black up’ their faces should not be seen as offensive and that this business of political correctness has “gone too far”: here.

44 thoughts on “Geert Wilders wants mandatory blackface at Dutch festival

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  2. Reblogged this on Stepping Toes and commented:
    How would Anne Frank look at the silly situation which happens so many decades after she saw the horror whic came into existence because certain people became too serious about a pure race and typical morphology of the Caucasians.
    Instead of seeing a “butterfly effect“ the Low Countires may have a Big Black Book or should I say a Big Red Book slammed in their face.
    In many countries all over the world it is a tradition to come up every year with a very big lie for the children. All over the world we can find a ‘children festival’ were parents lie about the presents the children receive. In some countries it are the ‘Bells of Rome’, in others it are ‘the eggs of Spring’ or the ‘Easter Bunnies’,in others it are Saint Martin, Saint Nicholas the Santa, or even the elfs from High up North.
    Best, naturally, we would not tell such lies to our children, but as people living in a democratic state we should allow such stories to stay alive and have people amusing themselves with fairy tales and traditional songs and feasts.
    >br>Trying to be over politically correct is not doing good to society. We should know what happen in the past, be aware of differences and changes, and allow traditional fun to those who want to have such fun.


    • The blog post is not about “political correctness” (a phrase, originating from the United States gay-hating feminism-hating etc. far right) of people whose ancestors were Africans, brought as slaves to Suriname or the Antilles by Dutch traders, and now living in the Netherlands. The blog post is about the “political correctness” of Geert Wilders, who wants police to persecute poets or composers for changing Saint Nicholas songs, or Saint Nicholas organizers for making Piet look less like an African slave.

      The objections by the descendants of enslaved Africans are not supposed “lies” similar of Rome church bells, Easter eggs, etc. These church bells and eggs do not say people of a certain complexion are supposedly “inferior”. A much closer parallel are blackface “minstrel” shows in the USA or England, with songs like Jump Jim Crow, or ‘coon songs’ caricaturing black people:


      • Please do not take the text up in the wrong context. The saying about the leis was all about the Saint Nicholas tradition and had nothing to do with lies about Zwarte Piet. In childhood we never learned that Zwarte Piet was an African or Negro. The kids also never saw an “African nigger” in that person because those Zwarte Pieten do not like Afro people and for the Dutch certainly do not look like people from Surinam.

        At schools kids also learned about slavery. We all know it happened, but we can not turn back history. The Zwarte Piet can not be seen in the slavery contacts, which also has to be seen in historical perspective.

        People should allow the diversity and should also learn “Zwarte Piet” has nothing to do with African coloured people nor with racism. Making an item of this whole business is just creating a soil to feed the germ of racism.


          • Zwarte Piet “not in a slavery context?”

            See in the blog post:

            About 1960, a child opened a book of “traditional” Saint Nicholas songs.

            One song in that book was Sinterklaas, die goede heer (Saint Nicholas, that good gentleman).

            One song line in that song went: “Servant Piet, as black as soot, with a chain around his foot …”

            The chain was also depicted in the picture on the same page.

            “Mummy, why does Piet have a chain around his foot?”

            “Because he is a slave, my child!”

            UPDATE: Today, in 2014, that song is still on the Internet, including the “chain” line.


        • ” “Zwarte Piet” has nothing to do with African coloured people nor with racism.”

          Let us do an experiment. Let a white man go through a chimney (the real cause of Piet being black, according to some Zwarte Piet apologists). Then, let us see whether that white man will allso have big red lips, big gold earrings, and will talk with a supposedly Surinamese accent.


          • 1. In Belgium they do not talk at all with a Surinamese accent.
            2. Children (and parents) see at once they do not look at all like Africans. Have you ever noticed their features of the nose and cheek bones?
            3. attributes like earrings do nnot come onto somebody by going through something. Anybody knows they would have them on already before they go into the chimney. And every person is free to wear whatever he likes. In case the Black Petes want to wear big earrings, why would they not be allowed to? Do you really think children of today would make a connotation to African slaves. Those African slaves did not wear their earrings any more when they were slaves. All gold and worthily goods was taken off them before they were sold.
            4. the real cause Zwarte Piet being black, told to children more than half a centuru ago, and also still today, was that the person became black by going down the chimney. Problem today is that there are not so many chimneys for wood or coal fires any more.


            • The discussion about Zwarte Piet is mainly in the Netherlands. I don’t know about Belgium.


              Well, today Mr Koppejan [CDA politician, supporter of Zwarte Piet] was asked by the Metro interviewer:

              Sinterklaas used to be obviously the master, and Zwarte Piet obviously the servant. Piet acted submissively and spoke broken Dutch with a Surinamese accent. Is this a tradition as well?

              Koppejan replied:

              I do not support a white Piet. It is also no problem to me if he talks with a Surinamese accent. We should have no problems with that. Zwarte Piet should keep on being Zwarte Piet.

              Here, blackface supporter Koppejan undermines the points of his fellow blackface supporters. “Nothing to do with slavery”, really? Then, why the reference to Suriname, the main country in Dutch slavery history?


              House slaves in Suriname (contrary to slaves in the sugar cane fields) did wear gold earrings to add to the prestige of their masters. Also, in stereotyped images in the Netherlands of Surinamese people, gold ornaments play a role.


              • The discussion crossed borders and even went a discussion point on many American sites. In Belgium several shops,including Albert Heijn have become target of fury debates, several people also saying it is a celebration for children, but it looks now more adults are making more a fuss about it and doing childish about it (look at certain interviews).

                Koppejan talking about the Surinamese accent seems normally when he was questioned about it, does it not? You yourself write that the Metro interviewer: asked if it Is a tradition as well that the servant Piet acted submissively and spoke broken Dutch with a Surinamese accent. Logically the replier to such a question, when not avoiding such question would reply about the matter.
                To many in Belgium and also in the Netherlands it looks more like certain Surinam people do make out a problem of Zwarte Piet because they themselves feel unsure in their skin. Many Turkish, Moroccan, Congolese and other African people questioned by the Dutch and Flemish television stations, about the matter if they felt discriminated by the black-face said they had no problem with it and recognised that it was part of the tradition, which would have to stay.
                Do you honestly think that the 21st children and even lots of their parents ever thought about the slavery issue when talking about Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet. And would parents not better use the good heart of the Zwarte Piet, who demands to Sinterklaas to forgive all the faults those kids have done the last year, and who gives also all those nice sweets, to the children (and not to make their teeth bad or to make them ill)?
                When Zwarte Piet is presented as such a good boy, why take such a unwilling to the fact that certain people in the very very past may have used the figure to show others they had to use black slaves (but did they really do that?)?
                In case it still has something to do with promoting a higher white race, why not takingn more effort showing how good that Zwarte Piet is and how wrong those racists are?


                • “the good heart of the Zwarte Piet”. Zwarte Piet historically definitely was not always presented like that (some people who claim Zwarte Piet is not racist even claim that Piet is not black from being an African, but from being the devil).

                  One of the best known Saint Nicholas songs is Daar wordt aan de deur geklopt.

                  From the lyrics:

                  Want al ben ik zwart als roet, ik meen het toch goed (Even though I am black as soot, I mean well).

                  Next stanza of that song:

                  Wie niet doet wat vader zegt, moeder zegt, meester zegt,.
                  die krijgt van de zwarte knecht niet heel veel goeds.
                  Eerst moet hij in de hoek,
                  dan krijgt hij op zijn broek,
                  en, is hij dan nog niet mak,
                  dan in de zak!

                  Who does not do what father, mother, schoolmaster tells him to do,
                  will not really get good things from the black servant.
                  First, he will have to stand in the corner of the room as a punishment.
                  Then, his buttocks will be birched,
                  and, if he won’t be tame by then,
                  Then he will be put in the bag [off to Spain]!

                  According to another song, which was on Dutch radio, in Spain, Piet will birch ‘naughty’ children day after day.


                • Because there would be songs with text getting a smack on the bips or getting from “de roe” that doe snot have to mean the “Zwarte Piet” generally would be takenas a bad guy or to be afraid for. In such instance Sinterklaas would also be put away because many children today are still warned to be quiet and nice or they would not get anything from Sint Nicholas. He often is being used as a warning for the children to be good. Is he than a bad man? Or is he a sign that all priest are very dangerous persons , perhaps peadofiles, who only give good things to the children they like? Or, continuing your way of thinking, would he be a presentation of the Roman Catholics, and should he point out to the dangers of such religious institutions which lures people in to their flock with presents?


        • “In childhood we never learned that Zwarte Piet was an African or Negro. ”

          However, a history of folklore researcher writes:

          “Tegelijkertijd wordt er in deze hele periode [19th-20th centuries] geen twijfel aan gelaten, tot in uiterst karikaturale en stereotype voorstellingen aan toe, dat de zwarte knecht een man van Afrikaanse origine moet voorstellen.”


  3. Sinterklaas for centuries has been a very important feast and family event. It stood next to Christmas and All Saints and all souls (1 & 2 November) as the most important day to come together with the family. To think the discussion in the Netherlands would not have any interest nor consequences fro Belgium would be neglecting the history of social events.
    Not only having just a few Alber Heijn stores in Belgium, but also lots of other supermarkets and private owned shops which make big busyness of the Sinterklaasdag (Saint Nicholas day) which for many of them is the most important selling event, even more important than Christmas) is not taking in mind how industry is also involved in traditions. It are just such commercial ventures which like to blow up such occasions to very special celebrations and reasons to buy things. That commercial aspect certainly also has nothing to do with the slavery of old times, but may well prove that lots of people have become slave of commerce and marketing.


  4. Schoolmoeder wil Zwarte Piet weren

    woensdag 15 okt 2014, 14:16 (Update: 15-10-14, 14:48)

    Ook het College voor de Rechten van de Mens stort zich op de Zwarte Piet-discussie. Aanleiding is een klacht van een schoolmoeder uit Utrecht. Ze wil dat de Professor Kohnstamm-basisschool “het racistische personage” Zwarte Piet uit het lesaanbod schrapt.

    Vandaag diende de zaak in Utrecht. Zowel buiten als binnen was politie aanwezig. Dat is ongebruikelijk bij zittingen van het college, dat de opvolger is van de Commissie Gelijke Behandeling.

    De klaagster, moeder van drie donkere kinderen op de Kohnstamm-school, vindt dat van Zwarte Piet een karikatuur van domheid en slordigheid wordt gemaakt. Ze wees erop dat de school lesopdrachten geeft als “corrigeer de spelfouten van Zwarte Piet” en vindt dat de school niet goed reageert op haar klachten.

    De voorzitter van het overkoepelende schoolbestuur zei tijdens de zitting dat er wordt nagedacht over aanpassingen, maar dat hij daarin de maatschappelijke discussie wil volgen. Eind november komt het bestuur met een standpunt over sinterklaasvieringen op scholen.

    Het College voor de Rechten van de Mens doet 4 november uitspraak in de zaak. Het college toetst alleen of wetgeving over het gelijkheidsbeginsel is overtreden. Sancties of boetes kunnen niet worden opgelegd.


  5. Peter R. de Vries heeft vanmiddag een doodsbedreiging ontvangen vanwege zijn standpunt over Zwarte Piet. Die mag van de misdaadverslaggever een ‘make over’ krijgen, iets waarin hij zich gesteund weet door een reeks BN’ers.

    ‘Jij bent een vuile landverrader Peter! Hoe haal jij het in je vuile kankerkop om tegen zwarte piet te zijn? Als ik jou ergens tegenkom en dat is voor jou niet te hopen, dan krijg je een kogel door je kop! Jouw bloed zal vloeien landverrader! Ik weet je te vinden,’ luidt de tekst van de dreigmail die Peter R. de Vries ontving.


  6. Sandew Hira gearresteerd in Gouda

    16 Nov, 17:00

    Starnieuws columnist Sandew Hira is gisteren gearresteerd in Gouda, Nederland. Hira zat in de organisatie van een vreedzaam protest tegen Zwarte Piet met Mitchell Esajas, Kunta Rinchemar en Kno’ledge Cesare.

    Het vreedzame protest werd gehouden tijdens de nationale intocht van Sinterklaas. Aan het protest namen 200 activisten deel. Op de markt in Gouda is de politie hardhandig opgetreden tegen de anti-Zwarte Piet activisten.

    Hira werd afgevoerd met een groep van 30 mensen die tijdens de arrestatie leuzen riepen “Amandla, Awethu”. Deze leuze (“power to us”) werd gebruikt in Zuid-Afrika in de strijd tegen racisme en apartheid. Ze werden in de cel gezet en verhoord. Hira werd na vijf uur vrijgelaten.


  7. Intocht Gouda verstoord door politie en extreem-rechts (video)

    Jonge moeder start Vlaamse beweging tegen Zwarte Piet

    Handen af van Quinsy Gario

    Ik doe aangifte tegen CDA Tweede Kamerlid Michel Rog en anderen


  8. Waarom wij vreedzaam protesteerden in Gouda

    Niet alleen de Oranjeselectie heeft last van Zwarte Piet

    Zwarte Piet ook in Schotland onder vuur

    Zwarte Piet geschrapt in Zweden


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  10. Hoge hakken, netkousen, roze rokjes en reuzenlolly’s. Van traditionele Zwarte Pieten was tijdens de intocht van Sinterklaas in Suriname, zondagavond laat in een winkelcentrum in Paramaribo, geen spoor te bekennen. Integendeel. De goedheilig man liet zich bijstaan door ‘candy queens’, sensueel geklede toverfeeën uit Suikerland, die rijkelijk in het rond strooiden met snoepgoed. …

    Niet dat er nooit Surinaamse ophef was om Pieterbaas. Zo pleitte ex-president Ronald Venetiaan in 2011 in het parlement voor een verbod op het kinderfeest, dat hij een ‘provocatie van de zwarte bevolking’ noemde. Het verbod kwam er echter niet, omdat partijgenoten van president Desi Bouterse meenden dat je onmogelijk kon verbieden welke feesten mensen thuis vieren.


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  12. Deftig begroet hij al de aanwezigen meteen: Dames en Heeren! ik ben Sinterklaas en ik kom jelui erreisies opzoeken en dat is m’n zwarte jongen, die – maak je buiging roetmop – de cadeautjes brengt. (De Groene Amsterdammer, 05/12/1897)


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