If You Protest Racism During Black Face Season in the Netherlands, You Will Be Beaten Up and Arrested

Tiger Beatdown, November 14, 2011

Ah, my home, The Netherlands. Tourists from all over the world wax lyrical about the tulips, the windmills and the widely available weed. What these tourists hardly ever get to see is how institutionalized racism works in this country and the lengths the State will go to in order to protect it. Or how, if you are personally affected by this racism and you summon the strength to protest it, you will be brutally beaten up and arrested.

Now, here is the thing: this is a small country. All matters of racism happen here but they go unreported in international mainstream media because the Dutch language is mostly inaccessible to the world at large. So, these matters remain untold, underreported, downplayed or just ignored. However, international media loves to talk about our most famous homegrown xenophobe: Geert Wilders. His influence is far reaching and international. His words repeated all over the international press; he gets invitations for public engagements and speeches; fellow populist and xenophobe politicians from all over Europe and places as dissimilar as the US, Canada or Australia cite him as a source of “inspiration”. Meanwhile, the general public abroad struggles to come up with an explanation of why, a country that is present in popular imaginations as “tolerant”, “multicultural” and “modern” could be represented by such a divisive and racist force. That is, because systematically, mainstream media misses the context. And I believe that the events that transpired on Saturday, during the official opening of what I like to call “Black Face season”, can provide some of that context.

“Black Face season” is not exactly the official name for what, in reality, is a children’s holiday known as Sinterklass. This is the time of the year when Dutch people carelessly don black face and speak in a faux Surinamese accents. This is the time of the year when, if you venture the streets, you are likely to encounter sights like these:

zwarte_pieten_groep.jpg

The above, for those not familiar with our local “traditions”, are popularly known as “Black Pete”, or “Zwarte Piet” in Dutch. These “colorful” characters are the helpers of Sinterklaas, or more formally Sint Nicolaas/ Sint Nikolaas or Saint Nicolas in French. Sinterklaas is a children’s Winter holiday celebrated every year in The Netherlands, Belgium and some cities in the North of France. According to tradition, the Saint arrives to The Netherlands a few weeks prior to the celebration, in a boat, carrying the gifts he will deliver to children. The “Black Petes” are his helpers and they carry candy and control children’s behavior (children who misbehave supposedly get no presents from the Saint). Again, according to “tradition”, these helpers are Moors, or North African slaves. This “tradition” has evolved throughout the years, partially due to increasing protests from groups that find these depictions offensive. Nowadays, it is claimed that the Black face is due to the fact that the helpers have gone through chimneys and as a result, their faces are covered in soot. What again, nobody can clearly explain, is what kind of soot leaves such a uniform and evenly spread residue. Or worse, why these “chimney dwellers” speak in a fake accent that parodies the Black population of the Dutch former colony of Suriname.

Over the years, a small but growing group of people have been protesting this celebration of Black face costumes and ridiculing of minorities. Systematically, these protests have been met with a very strong and stubborn resistance from a majority of White Dutch who refuse to even consider the racist implications of this “tradition”. Those who are against the Black Pete depictions are consistently told that there is nothing offensive in it, that the tradition is not up for debate, that they are being oversensitive and that, and here comes the usual xenophobic retort, “if they don’t like it, they should go and live some place else”. Additionally, people who speak against this are also told that they are importing North American models of “political correctness” that have no place in Dutch society. Moreover, the supporters of these Black face depictions are adamant that there is nothing, absolutely nothing racist in Black Pete’s representations and that claiming otherwise is the result of a cultural imperialism brought upon by North American influences. According to supporters, Dutch culture is so different from that of the US and the context so incomparable that such discussion should not even take place. Any attempt at contextualizing the role of the Dutch in slavery in the Americas and how the continuation of these racist practices owes everything to the mindset that made such trade possible is met with protestations and the statement that “only Americans see offense in Black face, we, the Dutch, are obviously different and not racist in our traditions”. In sum, what they claim is that the rights of White people to don Black face are more or less sacrosanct and native Dutch children have a right to the continuation of this “tradition” undisputed.

{snip}

All of the above is just a mere introduction for the events that transpired this Saturday, 12th November. This weekend marked the arrival of the Sinterklaas boat with the little “slave helpers” wearing the usual Black face. The event is a yearly spectacle that attracts significant crowds. Parents bring children to the port and they watch actors disembark with horses and parcels carrying the gifts that will be handed over to children later on in December. This is an event that more or less kick starts the pre-Christmas holiday season and to say that it is massive would be an understatement. Not only is the event broadcasted in national TV, but it is also reported in news channels, newspapers, magazines and major websites. Every year, the “official” arrival takes place at a different Dutch city. This year was the turn of Dordrecht, a city in the province of South Holland . The usual pomp and circumstance surrounded the event, which would have been as inane as it usually is, had it not been for a small group of people who decided to take a stand against the practice of Black face. This group of activists, mostly Black local youth, (Dutch media cannot agree on the exact number, some say five or six, others say a dozen or so), wore the stenciled T-Shirt with the words “Zwarte Piet is racism” and stood by the side of the road while the parade passed by. According to reports, they also yelled “Zwarte Piet is racism” when the Black Petes were walking in their vicinity. This was met with disgust by the Dutch in attendance who complained that they were “ruining” the celebration. Police were summoned. The State called upon to protect the right of the Dutch to continue being racist.

What happened afterwards will turn your stomach. Police demanded the activists to disband and stop protesting. They were told this was a children’s event and that children had the right to celebrate the holiday without disturbances. Two men and two women were arrested (link goes to news report in Dutch) when they stated that they also had the right to protest practices that actively harm them. They were told, in no uncertain terms, that they had no right to be there. One of the men resisted. He yelled that it was his right to protest. This video here, caught by a bystander, shows what happened to this protester. He was dragged outside the Parade, brutally beaten, thrown into the ground, dragged some more. In the video, you can see this young Black man, wearing a t-shirt that states “Zwarte Piet is racism”, subject to State violence in order to protect a Dutch tradition that is clearly not open for debate. The right of the White majority to wear Black face every year should be protected through whatever means necessary, even at the expense of those who are harmed by it.

{snip}

Edited to add: Yesterday, Sunday 13th November, the Sinterklaas Parade also took place in Amsterdam. Five people carrying flyers stating “Zwarte Piet is racism” stood by the Parade route, in the Leidseplein attempting to distribute the flyers. In order to avoid direct confrontation, they didn’t wear the stenciled T-shirts. All five were also arrested for “provocation” and told they had no right to disturb an event aimed at Dutch children. (Link goes to report in Dutch)

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  • Anonymous

    Sounds like the Dutch are finally learning some sense and defending their own traditions. What business do blacks and “anti-racist” busybodies have telling indigenous Dutch what to do in the Dutch homeland? Let them go back to Surinam and celebrate some holiday in white face and faux Dutch accents – neither I nor anyone I know would care a fig if they do.

  • Anonymous

    Oh the humanity!

    I was planning to be a nuclear scientist or CEO, but seeing that picture of the Zwarte Piet forced me to drop out of high school, stop supporting my 4 kids and their 4 baby-mommas, rob a gas station, and start selling drugs. Look what you made me do!

    That picture ruined my life, and probably the lives of all my descents for generations.

  • Scott Wilson

    This is harmless of course. A real racist would want to forbid whites from pretending to be black. The idea that there are blacks in Holland crying into their pillows at night, suffering under the painful indignity of knowing that somewhere out there a white person is walking around in blackface is ludicrous at best. But if whites get it into their heads that something is “offensive” then, by god, it had better stop – no matter whether anyone, in reality, is offended or not.

  • madison grant

    Santa Claus is derived from the character Sinterklass, which means St Nicholas.

    Sinterklass, an old white man with a long white beard, may be based on Odin.

  • Anonymous

    As usual, the black activist’s edited video starts with the black already on the ground being arrested (and violently fighting back against 3 cops). Video leading up to that moment is withheld, so we can’t see that the black provoked the whole thing. But we’re just supposed to believe the black activist’s version of events, even though they doctored the video for their own purposes!

  • Anonymous

    Police demanded the activists to disband and stop protesting. They were told this was a children’s event and that children had the right to celebrate the holiday without disturbances….All five were also arrested for “provocation” and told they had no right to disturb an event aimed at Dutch children.

    Yep, that’s right. Tough if you don’t like it!

    My only question is…”local black youth” in the Netherlands?! Oh for Piet’s sake!!

  • generalquagmyer

    “The right of the White majority to wear Black face every year should be protected through whatever means necessary, even at the expense of those who are harmed by it.”

    I must have missed something here… HARMED by it?!

    Black folks really need to get a life.

  • Anonymous

    I’m stunned and impressed that the Dutch stood up to this African intruder.

    The usual response in the West is to reward effrontery from non-whites by putting them on a pedestal, and offering them our wealth, our land and our daughters.

    We need much, much more of this, until the last African is departing back to his homeland.

  • rjp

    What happened afterwards will turn your stomach. Police demanded the activists to disband and stop protesting.

    Come on. What happened? What’s going to turn my stomach?

  • Freyr

    I am very impressed by the Dutch resolve. They have every right to protect their folkways. And if they were so racist, why were those protestors even allowed into the Netherlands? They are being very bad guests! It cannot continue.

  • Tom S.

    I watched the video with glee. IMO there should be much more of this going on in White countries. Why is he even in the Netherlands to begin with? Where does this “African” get off sneaking into the Netherlands and then protesting a Dutch tradition – he’s an AFRICAN “refugee” ( moocher ) more than likely living off the Danish people, so therefore he’s not entitled to an opinion. I wonder what would happen to a lone White man protesting an African tradition while living in Africa? If he’s so offended why doesn’t he just go back to the African country he came from? I also noticed that he seemed to be clean and very well-dressed, so it looks like he hasn’t done too bad living among all those “racisss” White folks, I wonder if he was that clean and well-dressed when he lived among his “brothas” in Africa? I’m sure he ran home to his blue-eyed blond Danish girlfriend to lick his wounds.

    I hope the Netherlands has the sense to boot this bum out of THEIR country, because if they don’t in 10-20 years THEY’LL be the ones shoved to the ground by the Africans!

    I like to know if this author has any plans of going to Africa to write articles and make videos about Whites being brutally assaulted and slaughtered at the hands of his noble black Africans?

  • Ben N Indiana (AWG)

    Here’s the strategy:

    1. Establish ‘racism’ as the ultimate sin.

    2. Associate cultural traditions with racism.

    3. Cultural traditions, then, become the ultimate sin.

    This is how the diversity cult is destroying Western culture.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to live long enough for the world to come to its senses in this regard: understanding that no word, image or sound can magically make you do something. If a ‘racist’ image (whatever that means) could magically do harm, then an ‘anti-racist’ image would have magical powers too. But words, pictures and sounds don’t have magical powers.

    Racism really exists in the world. People chop each other up with machetes because they are of the wrong tribe. When there’s no more real racism in the world, then maybe I could get bent about a word, image or sound again. Til then, it’s like the ‘99%’ crew of Occupy Wherever forgetting that they are members of the most affluent societies in human history, surrounded on all sides by grinding poverty… get some perspective, fellahs.

  • Orv

    For more on this, see David Sedaris’ bit about crazy European Christmas traditions, “Six to Eight Black Men.” I believe the story is that the homes of naughty children are invaded by “6 to 8” black men who kidnap the children before Christmas. this no doubt provides Dutch children with plenty of incentive to be good.

  • Anonymous

    What business do any blacks even have being in the Netherlands at all?

  • Joey

    I remember the SNL sketch when Eddie Murphy dressed as a white man to discover the ‘secret’ world of white people when no minorities are around. It was hilarious and not offensive. The extremely easily offended feelings of minorities really exposes their own inferiority complex. You can always expose the ridiculous double standards of our modern ‘racism’ social construct by flipping the coin to make whites the so-called victim.

  • Anonymous

    I lived in The Netherlands for two month in 1997 with some friends there (as the start of a two year job in Southeastern Europe). One thing I learned is that the Dutch can articulate anything they need to justify with any concoction of reasoning they require, even if the illogical sound of it slaps you in the face. This is how these same people will next stand up against racism the next time the issue comes up nationally. “What do you mean, the Dutch people aren’t racists, the Americans are, everyone knows that! We are a tolerant people.” They don’t see the two being connected. They’ve had this festival for a couple hundred years, and like other items that require adjusting, the blackface from chimney sweeping is the way they avoid the direct history of it. I think it is funny to read that the ones quoted say that The Netherlands is so different from America. They have so much American culture there it was given as the perfect starting point for a European traveler according to Frommer’s Guides from the 90s because it will be so familiar to Americans yet, European enough to get you on your way in a sort of half way house sort of way. When I went looking for traditional Dutch music I couldn’t find anything. They are into jazz and American rock and roll, techno, of course, and rap (yiii!).

    What we can’t understand is that the Dutch as well as many Europeans operate on many stereotypical assumptions about everything, from themselves to everyone else. I’ll never forget the time my Dutch friends said, “Americans don’t know what communism is.” And over it all is a cliche’d stereotype image of Americans as inferior in every way. (Daily airing of Jerry Springer helps reenforce that idea). I mostly found Europeans conceited, self-indulgent, and easily corrupted, north, south, as well as east. Even so, they can be pretty nice as well. Just don’t expect consistency. It’s the dark side that tourists don’t see very often, but is evidenced in part in this article when they blame PC from North America. Come on, they had their version going on long ago, in their own way.

    The other thing is that because of their former Empire, they had contact and cultural information and influence from all their worldwide colonies, and were harsh rulers there and were fairly ruthless in gathering up their riches. Check it out, of all the hated colonizing Europeans in history, the Dutch were the most hated of all. Historian Simon Schama wrote a book on the legacy of this on the modern Dutch called, “The Embarrassment of Riches.”

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree with everyone who says that these offended blacks should consider that they are guests and can leave if they don’t like the weather or the culture. Being there doesn’t make them the PC police of the nation (or world) with rights to intervene when they see fit. But their power to think so was granted by white governments, and people.

    I can just imagine what would happen if some whites went to Africa and protested those albinos murdered for their magical body parts. Interfering with sacred African traditions, no doubt. That can’t possibly be considered racist.

  • sheila

    Isn’t it sweet how the black faces in the pictures are dressed up in such a manner…Santa’s darling innocent sweet-fresh-faced helpers bestowing gifts to the little white children…(sigh misty-eyed). What made me think of Uncle Tom, or Uncle Rufus?…all those sweet wonders of America’s (fictional) past…the great darky keeping safe into the night his beloved little white darlings…lazy and foolish fantasy…only to wake to the reality of the murderous howls of a Nat Turner.

  • elitist

    The Dutch should enjoy their traditions while they can, because they are about to be taken subjugated by their new Muslim masters.

    Even as subjects of the new Muslim overlords, however, they will probably be allowed to continue their Black Peter tradition:

    as far as nonblack Muslims are concerned, blacks are subhuman anyway – it is still common among Muslims to keep black slaves.

  • Harumphty Dumpty

    Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

    Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

  • Franklin Ryckaert

    Some remarks:1)The proper name of the festival is not Sinterklass but Sinterklaas.Klaas is the short form of Nikolaas, the Dutch form of Nicolas.2)The author of this article suggests that this wholly innocent childrens festival is celebrated out of pure racism and has no real basis in the culture,therefore he calls it a “tradition” (with quotationmarks).This festival is however a real tradition that goes back to the 15th century.3) the American figure of Santa Claus is derived from this Dutch Sinterklaas. 4)There is absolutely no element of “racism “in the figure of Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) who is never ridiculed as a Black.5)I have never heard of Black Peters mocking a Surinam accent.6) This festival – including Black Peter – is also celebrated in Surinam – by Blacks (never a problem).7)Protesting this wholly innocent childrens festival as “racist” and as “hurting Black people” is the height of political correct folly and should rightfully be rejected.8) Traditionally in Thailand Buddhist temples are “guarded” at the entrance by statues of demons,many of whom are in the form of bearded White men representing Dutchmen…I am sure any Dutchman who hears about that would only smile and not pathetically protest such “racism”.9) Come on folks,have you no sense of humour?Should everything really be seen in terms of “racism”?10)If Blacks really feel the urge to fight racism,I have work for them to do:go to South Africa and try to stop the GENOCIDE OF THE BOERS BY BLACKS,and please try also to stop that well known Black youth leader and politician from singing “Kill all Boers!”.

  • Tim in Indiana

    This writer pretends to be objecting to a lack of freedom of the protesters to protest Sinterklass, but what he is really objecting to is the freedom of the Dutch to hold Sinterklass.

    I see this all the time on the part of the left. They scream bloody murder about “freedom” to protest this or that, but what they really want is the removal of the freedom of their opponents.

    We see that aplenty in the US, where girls having a harmless Halloween party dressed as a fictional family are punished, and not a single liberal raises a whimper of protest. Same thing when Amren’s right to assemble is infringed.

    Watch out for these liars claiming that they are arguing for “freedom,” when they are really interested in the exact opposite.

  • Anonymous

    Seems to me that the “Black Pete” charcter impresses Dutch children with the notion that blacks, like elves, are busy helping Sinter Klaas with Christmas treats and to “control behavior.” Not a good thing for Dutch children to celebrate.

  • The Bobster

    Again, according to “tradition”, these helpers are Moors, or North African slaves.

    ___________

    Hey, Afrovoodoo dolt, Moors aren’t Black, they’re Arabs. The ancient Egyptians weren’t black, either.

  • gb

    This writer is very concerned about a harmless tradition in the land of the Danish; yet when the Danish (Afrikaners)are murdered in Africa and their land taken he has nothing to say. Costumes vs Murder….He either wishes to destroy Holland and her indigenious people, or he is severly narrow minded.

  • Southron

    If I went to Nigeria and saw that some people there had a tradition of dressing up in white face, I don’t think it would bother me.

  • Soprano Fan

    To Tim in Indiana (re post #24):

    I agree, paisan. I’ll give you a flesh-and-blood anecdote of how a leftist reacts when challenged.

    I was a junior in high school during the early 1970’s when the Vietnam War was raging. We had a fire drill one day, and when we were going back inside the building, we had to pass a hippie who was hawking one of those anti-war leftist rags, “Rising Up Angry”, or “Seed” or somesuch paper.

    Anyway, when I passed him, I said, “I don’t read that propaganda”. He thereupon screamed, “Your schoolbooks are propaganda! The newspaper you read is propaganda!” And on and on.

    I think what blew his mind was that here was a high school student who actually knew the meaning of the word “propaganda”.

  • Herman

    The combination of Black Pete and (white) Sinterclaas seems rather a proof of inclusiveness to me. It reminds me of the 3 Magi in Nativity scenes, of which one is traditionally a black, at least in German nativity scenes. My parents had such a scene under the Christmas tree every year, and I, as a child who never had seen a real black, was quite interested in this exotic person.

  • Pandemonium

    @ 26: That’s because you’re an “ice person” with no empathy, no feelings!!! Oh, and you weren’t subjugated by the Africans long, long ago. See, it’s a black thang, you just wouldn’t understand. Understand??

  • Tostig FitzHerbert

    We have morris dancers in England who ‘Black Up’ for dancing.

    They have been complained about by various excited ‘guests’ but, of course still stick to our old traditions. I also believe the Cornish still holds ‘Darkie Day’ in Cornwall each year.

    We are a funny old fashioned lot.

  • Anonymous

    17 — Anonymous wrote at 1:44 AM on November 18:

    “The other thing is that because of their former Empire, they had contact and cultural information and influence from all their worldwide colonies, and were harsh rulers there and were fairly ruthless in gathering up their riches. Check it out, of all the hated colonizing Europeans in history, the Dutch were the most hated of all.”

    The first sentence could just as easily be used to describe the English as well as the Spaniards, French and Portuguese, so it’s useless to use it to single out the Dutch for any special ill press. As for your second sentence? How exactly did Simon Schama (the author of “The Embarrassment of Riches”) gauge the level of hatred against the Dutch, compared to other European colonial peoples?

    As someone who has studied European history, I have to take issue with that statement. The French were notoriously brutal in the administration of the colonial empire. Most former British imperial possessions (America included) remain close to Mother England. It’s a different ball of wax altogether in the case of France.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4552473.stm

    Of course, whatever evils occurred in the name of colonialism by these peoples, how could they possibly compare to this?

    http://www.amazon.com/King-Leopolds-Ghost-Heroism-Colonial/dp/0618001905

    Leopold was not only hated by his African victims, but by his own subjects, as well. It was reported his funeral cortege was booed. It’s also well worth noting the nicest thing Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary ever said about his fellow ruler and distant relation was he was “a thoroughly bad man.”

    Thus, while the Dutch were hardly benevolent rulers (in the case of their colonial empire), they could hardly be called the worst of the lot. Example: Indonesians, who were never really fond of Dutch rule, nonetheless for the most part avoided joining nationalist movements. That changed considerably during WW2 when the place came under Japanese rule.

    http://goo.gl/CTVM7

  • Anonymous

    Several people here are a bit confused, the Danish are the inhabitants of Denmark, the people of the Netherlands are Dutch.

    This “Zwarte Piet is racism” nonsense comes back every year, like your “War on Christmas” silliness. The truth is that these traditions aren’t threatened by a few complaining blacks and professional “anti-racists”, they are threatened by the fact that the Whites whose traditions they are are disappearing and being replaced by non-Whites who bring their own customs and traditions here and are hostile to the native culture.

  • rjf101

    Don’t people like the writer of this article have anything better to do than attack their own country’s traditions? If you think that a tradition of dressing up in blackface around Christmastime is somehow harmful, then you are a worthless idiot.

  • Anonymous

    @17

    “Check it out, of all the hated colonizing Europeans in history, the Dutch were the most hated of all.”

    Yeah that’s probably why about half of the Surinamese population decided to immigrate to the Netherlands after independence in 1975, and there are currently more people of Surinamese decent in the Netherlands than in Surinam. All because they hated the Dutch so much they wanted to come live with them full time.

  • Frank

    Go to the original article web page and read the comments. The only sane one I found was the 31st comment by a black African woman living in the Netherlands for the past 10 yrs. She said she isn’t offended by this tradition at all.