Are Dutch people racist
Holland and Racism : Court: Schwarzer Nikolaushelfer is discriminatory
The Dutch Nicholas is on the collar. If he does not quickly change the costumes of his helpers, then he discriminates. Because now his Black Pieten are a racist caricature. That was the verdict of the administrative court in Amsterdam on Thursday. After years of controversy, it is now official. For the first time a judge confirms the racism allegation of many black Dutch people.
"A historic decision," the plaintiffs cheered in the courtroom. “This is a relief. I'm so happy, "said Barryl Biekman, chairman of the Slavery History Platform.
Every year in November, St. Nicholas, the "Sinterklaas", arrives in the Netherlands on a steamboat. According to legend, on December 5th he brings the presents to the children. Who can have anything against an innocent children's party? The problem is the holy man's helpers: The funny "Zwarte Pieten" with red, thick lips, large gold earrings, colorful fantasy costumes, feathers on their caps and painted raven black.
It is precisely against this stereotypical figure that many black Dutch protested in the past year. They were even supported by a UN Racism Committee. Its chairman, Verene Shepherd, spoke of a "return to slavery".
Many Dutch people do not understand the tradition as racist at all
A wave of protests then washed over the country. Over two million Dutch people called for the preservation of the tradition in a “pietition”. There were demonstrations, threats, verbal abuse. The accusation of racism is relatively new. Many Dutch people do not understand why a tradition that never saw itself as racist or colonialist should suddenly become racist.
Nobody wants to abolish the festival and spoil the children's joy. But for many black Dutch people, Piet has long become a symbol of everyday racism: on the job market, in front of the disco, by the police, in everyday life. UN adviser Shepherd is in the Netherlands this week to investigate the situation of black people. The Zwarte Piet tradition is one of them.
Formally, this process was only about the approval of the move of St. Nicholas. That was not legal. If so many citizens perceive this as racist, so the court, the mayor should have checked whether the tradition does not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.
The court relies on statements from the national human rights committee. He had recently discovered that Piet is a racist caricature. "The figure of Zwarte Piet (thick red lips, stupid, servant) represents a negative stereotyping of black people," the court therefore ruled.
But that doesn't solve the problem. Because Zwarte Piet is not forbidden. But one thing now seems clear. The tradition will change. “Sinterklaas must remain a children's festival,” said Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher in The Hague. But it has to be changed.
A radical change is imminent for the helpers. Frizzy wig and earrings can be thrown in the bin. And he can remove the make-up from the black. Amsterdammers can already prepare mentally for this: in just under five months, blue, red, yellow and green pits can move through the canals.
In Germany there have been attempts to rename Christmas markets
When it comes to changing traditions in terms of political correctness, there are parallels in Germany as well. There have been attempts to rename the St. Martin's Parade and Christmas Markets because the allegedly Muslim fellow citizens are offended. However, Muslim associations have made it clear that this is not the case and they take it for granted that Christian festivals are celebrated in Christian countries. (dpa)
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