A Dutch court finally decided that Zwarte Piet ("Black Pete"), Santa's Sambo-esque helper, is offensive. This is progress, apparently.
According to the Associated Press, there's been a debate in the Netherlands about whether or not Black Pete (Black fucking Pete, people) is racist:
Black Pete is usually portrayed by white people in blackface makeup, with thick red lips and a frizzy Afro hairstyle. Opponents say that's a racist caricature. Most Dutch people — around 80 percent of whom are white — are fiercely loyal to their holiday tradition, saying he is a harmless fantasy figure and no insult is intended.
"Harmless." Right. Anyway, the court determined that his appearance, in addition to his demeanor—a smiling, buffoonish servant—created a negative stereotype. But, as a Slate article revealed, many of the Dutch who don blackface to portray him get pissed off whenever the character's racist overtones are mentioned:
He is not even a black man, many will tell you. He is just black because he came down the chimney.
Ignorance never prospers. Should we even celebrate the right thing being done?
[via Associated Press and Slate]
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