Why Do the Dutch Do Blackface for Christmas?
Season 2 • 12/21/2015
When Christmas comes around you can usually expect to see Santa, his reindeer and helpful elves everywhere. But Dutch Santa doesn’t have elves...he has “Black Pete” or “Zwarte Pete.” Pete first showed up in the 1850 Dutch book “Saint Nicholas and his servant.” The story claims “Black Pete” is black because of the chimney soot, but that doesn’t explain his afro textured hair, or large bright red lips….all familiar racist black caricatures. Today, Black Pete is still a huge tradition in the Netherlands. So what'sthe deal? Why is this racist character still celebrated?