90 Arrests in Black Pete Protests

Independent, November 15, 2014

Police have arrested 90 protesters as a traditional Dutch celebration of the arrival of Saint Nicholas was disturbed by demonstrators who say his faithful sidekick, Black Pete, is a racist caricature, and by supporters of the popular children’s figure.

In some of the worst scenes of unrest in the increasingly acrimonious debate about Black Pete, opponents scuffled with police on the historic market place of the central city of Gouda as thousands of children welcomed Saint Nicholas nearby.

Prosecution office spokesman Wouter Bos said 60 anti-Black Pete activists were arrested for demonstrating away from a location set aside for protesters and were each fined 220 euro (£175). Another 30, both supporters and opponents of Black Pete, were arrested for disturbing public order.

Video from Gouda showed scuffles breaking out in its historic downtown while children’s songs played in the background. Protesters were detained by police as children watched.

“Deeply, deeply sad,” Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said. “Everybody can debate one another, we can endlessly discuss the colour of Black Pete, but we should not disturb a children’s party in this way.”

The Dutch cheese capital of Gouda came up with a strategy for reconciliation as Saint Nicholas arrived today.

Black Petes walked side-by-side with yellow-coloured Cheese Petes, a nod to the city’s most famous products but also a concession to critics of Black Pete.

In another sign of changing times, the daily Dutch children’s television report on Saint Nicholas’ travels also featured White Petes on Thursday night.

The vast majority of people in Gouda were parents and their young children, many dressed as Black Pete, who braved cold and wet conditions to watch as Saint Nicholas arrived and rode through the town on a white horse to the market square.

Across Belgium and the Netherlands, celebrations in which Saint Nicholas rolls into town surrounded by a host of Black Petes have come under increasing pressure year by year from complaints about racism.

Pete is usually played by a white person who paints his face pitch black, dons a frizzy wig and gives himself bright red lips–stereotypes that disappeared from most countries decades ago.

The Belgian town of Sint-Niklaas, with a church and statue honouring the saint, has long been one of the focal points of the celebrations that spread across the Netherlands and Belgium at this time of year. A grand entrance this Sunday is expected to bring tens of thousands of children flocking to the “home of the saint”. Yet even in this bastion of saintly tradition, questions are starting to be asked about Black Pete.

Wouter Van Bellingen remembers how, as a black child growing up in mostly white Sint-Niklaas, he used to be taunted with chants of: “Look, there goes Black Pete.”

“Kids can be hard when it comes to that,” said the former Sint-Niklaas alderman and current director of the region’s Minorities Forum. “I retorted with, ‘There goes White Pete.’ I always had my answer.”

Around this time of year, Saint Nicholas visits hundreds of villages in Belgium and Holland, arriving by steamer or on his white horse to the delight of shrieking children across the two countries. The Black Petes do everything from carrying presents to throwing sweets at the children and generally prancing about until Saint Nicholas day on December 6.

Black Pete has evolved over the years. A quarter century ago, Black Pete was a scary character, carrying a big bag to hold naughty children and a whip to punish the disobedient. Promoting him in recent years as a happy-go-lucky sidekick full of quirky madness has helped him to compete in popularity with Saint Nicholas himself.

“The last few years, Pete is at least as popular. Kids cling to him, ask him questions, hold his hand,” said Raf Rumes, the secretary of the Flanders Saint Nicholas Guild.

In another new touch, almost half of the Petes greeting children in this town’s Saint Nicholas “mansion”–a yearly holiday attraction–are played by women. At the fun house, which reopened this week for a month-long run, children squealed as female Petes showed them Saint Nicholas’ dining room and sleeping quarters for all of the Petes.

But efforts at softening Pete’s image have failed to subdue bad blood between the pro- and anti-Black Pete camps in the Netherlands, where resentments over immigration have simmered for years.

Liberals want to abolish the tradition, while the right-wing firebrand Geert Wilders and his anti-immigration Freedom Party have proposed legislation that would keep Pete black–by law.

“There is a war underway against Black Pete,” said Martin Bosma, the party’s culture spokesman.

Last year, more than two million people endorsed a Facebook petition to keep Black Petes’ image unchanged. That’s nearly an eighth of the entire Dutch population, indicating the depth of emotion over the issue.

But Mr Van Bellingen insists democracy is not about numbers alone.

“It is about the will of the majority and the rights of the minority,” he said. “As a majority you have to be sensitive and show empathy for things that are hurtful to a minority.”

He says it is time to get rid of Black Pete.

Demonstrator

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  • superlloyd

    No concessions to the bantus and their organisers. Let them change their own puerile, violent dysfunctional culture before they dare to presume to criticise their hosts’ traditions. They should be grateful for all that humans do for them. If they don’t like it they know the direction back to their precious black nations.

    • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

      Exactly. I hope that the Dutch and Belgians take a long, hard look at what giving in to the demands of Negroes has done to the United States. The demands never end. Negroes will not be happy until we put them on a pedestal and worship them as false idols, and even then, they will ask for more. Negroes, as a race, are shockingly narcissistic. The U. S. has been treating Negroes with total and complete munificence for the past 50 years. What do we have to show for this? Ferguson riots, Blacks insisting that we Whites are racist.

    • bilderbuster

      My hope is that one day soon, Krampus will visit the non-Whites of Europe.

  • IstvanIN

    If you don’t like Dutch traditions leave The Netherlands, and that includes anti-Dutch Dutch.

  • MekongDelta69

    What a wild and crazy idea — “Let’s keep Black Pete — black

    /sarc

  • NoMosqueHere

    Black Pete celebrations seem like good fun. But the PC crowd police and their black muscle know how to kill a bit of good ole holiday zaniness. There were never any communist comedians, right?

    • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

      It does sound like good fun. Black Pete is a Dutch/Belgian tradition. Newcomers should respect the traditions of the country they are new to. If they have issues with those traditions, they need to return to their own homelands. Moving to someone else’s homeland and expecting the natives to change their ways to accommodate newcomers is disgustingly arrogant. Blacks have a history of behaving in this fashion. When they first moved to Northern cities in the U. S., they showed no respect for the people that had been living in those cities for generations. They expected Whites to be enamored with them, and reacted with indignance when Whites did not fawn over them.

  • Sick of it

    If blacks don’t like Dutch traditions, they can go back to Africa. It’s not their country, it’s not their continent.

    • Bobbala

      Without white racists, negros live in the Congo. There are no exceptions. They know this.

    • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

      Exactly. The Netherlands is the homeland of the Dutch. The Dutch people are being kind to let Negroes live in their country at all. When we consider how horribly Black South Africans have treated Dutch South Africans, it would be more than reasonable for The Netherlands to close their borders to all African immigrants. Dutch farmers brought immense prosperity to many Black South Africans, giving them a much better life. These ungrateful Blacks thanked the Boer Farmers by killing them. Considering that thousands of Boer farmers have died at the hands of Black South Africans, who kill Boer farmers just because they are White, The Netherlands has every reason to send troops into South Africa to stop the genocide.

    • bilderbuster

      It’s not their holiday either.

  • Luca

    I guess a black Santa Claus and a White “black Pete” might just make them happy. For two minutes at least.

    • none of your business

      It wouldn’t. I believe it is called “cultural appropriation” or something like that. It is deeply offensive and insulting. Dressing in black fashions, wearing dreadlocks or braids, listening to black music all that is cultural appropriation and severely damaging to blacks and their frail emotions.

    • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

      For two minutes is exactly correct. Blacks will never be happy. They continually whine and bray for more preferential treatment. It never ends. The Dutch brought great prosperity to millions of Black Africans in their African colonies, such as Suriname. The Africans know this. They want to benefit from the standard of living The Netherlands has to offer, but do not respect the native people of The Netherlands. The Dutch people should not tolerate this. Such disrespect should be answered with deportation.

  • Simonetta

    I’m convinced that black Africans have visited the Netherlands for over a thousand years now.

    For evidence, look at the painting of “The Garden of Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch, which was done in the late 1490s. In the central panel depicting heaven, there are several prominent African women. They are painted lifelike, with Negro features that are precisely different from all the other women. Bosch was a mad monk who never traveled out of central Holland. So how would he have known what Africans looked like if he had not met actual women travelers from Africa?

    In the Eden section of the painting, there are several exotic animals. One is a distinct giraffe and another is an elephant. These animals are only found in Central East Africa.
    (Well the elephant is in India also, same difference for this argument’s sake). How could Bosch know how to paint these exotic animals, of which there were none in central Holland in the 15th century? He must have seen paintings and descriptions brought by the Africans that were traveling in Holland at the time. Could there be any other explanation?

    These African ambassadors and travelers are the basis of the Dutch Black Peet character. These were positive interactions between the Europeans and African peoples, not anything based on slavery or oppression.

    The modern buffoons should leave ancient children’s religious traditions alone.

    • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

      Bosch must have had Negrophilia. Where he would have laid eyes upon Negroes, in the 1490’s in Holland, is perplexing to me. The Dutch did a lot of colonizing in Africa as a seafaring nation, but, I do believe, 1490 would pre-date such colonizing and exploring. Maybe, by the 1490’s, Dutch sailors had visited the shores of Africa, and were aware of the Negro race inhabiting Sub-Saharan Africa??

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease, as they say, and I’m sure the black protesters will get their way eventually. One thing about blacks is that they are persistent in banding against Whitey — look how universally they stick together to support their racial interests. The only way whites in the Netherlands could fight back against this is to protest just as loudly against nonwhite immigration, something they are not likely to do. It’s easier to protest against something than for something, and usually more effective.

  • George Costanza

    But Mr Van Bellingen insists democracy is not about numbers alone.

    “It is about the will of the majority and the rights of the
    minority,” he said. “As a majority you have to be sensitive and show
    empathy for things that are hurtful to a minority.”

    So the Dutch are not allowed to celebrate their dutch culture, in there own country …OH OK GOTCHA!!

    Sometimes the only way to repudiate people such as Van Bellingen and his ilk is to use other means necessary.

    • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

      Van Bellingen is a typical Negro. He is trying to pull the same routine that Obongo and his henchmen are trying to pull in America. This whole attack on a fun and harmless Dutch Christmas character reminds me of the attack on The Confederate Flag here in the states. The Confederate Flag is a symbol of Southern heritage for White Southerners, many of whom had forebears who died fighting for the Confederate Army. Few White Southerners were ever slave owners, but many White Southerners wanted to see an independent Confederate States of America because they wanted to preserve a rural/agrarian way of life. They saw what life was like for the average worker in a Northern factory or mine, and wanted to save their homeland from an invasion by Northern big business interests. Most White Americans who fly the Confederate flag these days, both Southern and Northern, are not wealthy. They are working class folks who are suspicious of a government run by big business interests that doesn’t care about working people. The Confederate Flag was, and is, the battle flag of working class White Americans who want to preserve our culture and way of life. Obongo knows this, thus him and his henchmen declaring war on this symbol of our culture, and our right and desire to maintain and defend our culture.

    • bilderbuster

      A minority should be sensitive and show respect to the majority and never do anything hurtful or harmful to the majority. The minorities are guests who’s presence the majority suffers only as long as the minority behaves and comports themselves as guests. The minority should never forget this simple but deadly rule.

  • A Freespeechzone

    Negroes take the fun out if everything in life.

    No wonder most don’t want to be around them.

    • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

      Most Negroes are narcissistic a$s holes. This is why they have always been reviled. Nobody cares what color their skin is. It is the way they act that causes most non-Negroes to find them so repulsive.

      • bilderbuster

        I care about their skin color. It gives them the appearance of being unclean which in the case of Africans is usually correct.

        • ElComadreja

          Their apelike features aren’t endearing either.

  • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

    It is time for Holland and Belgium to repatriate their Negro populations to Africa, not for the Dutch and Belgians to compromise their traditions to please Negroes. The Negroes from their former colonies obviously seek the prosperity and material comforts of life in Holland/Belgium, but do not respect the cultures of these lands. These Negroes need to be repatriated to their African homelands for their disrespect. If they seek prosperity, they need to build it in their own homelands, and built it themselves. We all know that this is not going to happen.

  • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

    Long live Black Pete!!! He is a fun Christmas character that the kids love. Most importantly, though, Black Pete is a tradition in The Netherlands and Belgium. No newcomers to these lands should be afforded the right to tell natives to get rid of a fun and harmless Christmas custom. Black Pete is about fun and good cheer. I hope that the Dutch and Belgians do not cave to the demands of these rude and brassy Negroes who take umbrage at Black Pete. Here in the states, West Virginia has caved to Negro demands, and now does not allow display of The Confederate Flag during Black history month. This in a state where there were few slaves, and the Negro population has always been small, but plenty of Whites had forebears who fought and died for the Confederacy, and most residents are of modest means. The Confederate Flag has always been popular in WV, as it represents heritage. A Southern mountain heritage. Life here is rich in non-monetary ways. The peacefulness of life on a farm, or in a small community where one’s forebears have lived for generations. An influx of Black or Hispanic criminals can and will destroy such a community. Likewise for large companies based out of state, who foul the land and waterways with pollution while taking their profits home somewhere else.

  • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

    Yes. Negroes are a race of narcissists. They are children in the “Hey Mom, look at me” sense, but are neither innocent nor works in progress, as our beautiful White children are. In the case of their vile protests against Black Pete, they are the Ebenezer Scrooges of Christmas 2014 for the bright eyed, innocent Dutch and Belgian children.

  • Whitesneedtobebrave

    I say it is time to get rid of that negro in the pic and send him and his race back to the African jungles.

  • Tim

    After self diagnosing with NFL and hip-hop commercial fatigue, I welcome the idea of a White Pete….

  • bilderbuster

    Both silly and nonproductive pastimes to be sure.

  • MissaJim

    Don’t give an inch. And as always, blacks ruin everything.

    • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

      I agree. Our Dutch and Belgian brethren should not give an inch. Give Blacks an inch, and they will insist on having a mile.

  • archer

    It’s time to get rid of him.

  • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

    I agree. I work in a city with a large Black population, must deal with Blacks at work. They definitely do not know how to have any genuine fun. Mocking others in a “laughing at” instead of “laughing with” fashion, criticizing others, or engaging in senseless violence seem to be their pastimes. It is impossible to have a positive, interesting, or thought provoking conversation with a Negro. They do not know how to share a laugh with others that is not at the expense of someone else. Their critical thinking skills are also non-existent. The more intelligent ones are usually only good at memorizing and remembering facts, frequently facts of little to no real importance. Attempting to theorize or philosophize with a Black is an exercise in total futility, and reveals starkly the inferior intellectual abilities of the Negro.

  • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

    Isn’t the Black Pete character supposed to have a soot smudged face from being in a chimney?

  • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

    So Sinterklaas is a Catholic tradition? If so, the Negro interlopers still have no business trying to get Dutch Catholics and Belgians to forsake the fun and time honored Black Pete character. Also, I thought that Black Pete had a black face due to his face being smudged with soot from his having descended a chimney, not to imitate a Negro. Is this true?

  • rechill

    It’s a strange world we live in when Geert Wilders is considered a “right-wing firebrand”.

  • OHDeutscheKlezmerRebel

    Very interesting window into life in The Netherlands. Danke, Johan!!