Stop Dutch blackface, other racism, United Nations says

This video says about itself:

Blackface for the holidays

18 December 2012

Is The Netherlands’ tradition of putting Santa’s helpers in blackface racist or a harmless custom? We look at Zwarte Piet or Black Pete.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

UN report: Zwarte Piet should change

Today, 15:28

The Dutch government must ensure that Zwarte Piet will change. So says the five-yearly report by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The fact that a tradition is deeply rooted cannot justify discrimination and stereotyping, writes the committee.

“Sometimes the way that Black Peter is portrayed refers to negative stereotypes of people of African descent. Many people of African descent experience this as a remnant of slavery, which impairs the value and self-esteem of children and adults of African descent.”

The committee recommends that the government “should find a reasonable balance, such as another form of Black Peter.” Freedom of speech by opponents of the tradition should be guaranteed better.

Demonstration against the role of Zwarte Piet in the Saint Nicholas holiday

This photo shows a demonstration against the role of Zwarte Piet in the Saint Nicholas holiday. Such demonstrators often get arrested by police. The sign says: ‘Zwarte Piet is racism! Look honestly into the mirror of colonialism.’

Action plan

The UN Committee writes reports on all countries which have signed the international treaty against racial discrimination. Every five years it is the Netherlands’ turn. Last week in Geneva there was a hearing on the Dutch anti-discrimination policy.

The report further states that there should be a national action plan against racial discrimination, partly because the Dutch police is guilty of ethnic profiling. More must be done against racist bullying in schools and more people from minority groups should work in the police and judiciary.

Furthermore, the committee is concerned about racist and xenophobic statements by “some extremist political parties and politicians.” Also in the media and on the Internet much racist language is expressed, the report said. Particularly Jews and Muslims are its victims. The report also points to anti-Semitic and racist chants in football stadiums.

Slavery past

The Committee calls for more recognition for discrimination against people of African descent. The Dutch government does not consider them to be a discriminated against group, the report said. But there is much poverty and unemployment among people of African descent and they are underrepresented in public office.

Education should according to the Committee pay more attention to the Dutch slavery past. And people who are victim of racism should have easier access to free legal aid.

Zwarte Piet on Curaçao: here.

17 thoughts on “Stop Dutch blackface, other racism, United Nations says

  1. You really make people pay attention to things they may be missing, given a reliance on popular media. Your blogging is pretty extraordinary.

    The video was very informative. Thank-you..


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