December 18, 2012

Blackface for the holidays

Dutch deny racism in 'Zwarte Piet' holiday tradition.

Is the Dutch tradition of Zwarte Piet, depicting Saint Nicholas' helpers in black-face, a cultural treasure or racism? Those who love Zwarte Piet say it’s for the children and those outside The Netherlands just don’t get it. The fans claim there’s no racist intent. Those opposed argue the custom was born of the nation’s slave-trading past and it’s a harmful and stereotypical portrayal.

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to:

Quinsy Gario @nonemployees
Founder, Zwarte Piet is Racisme

Bas Heijne @Bjheijne
Writer, NRC Handelsblad

Members of The Stream community also join via Google+ hangout.

What do you think of the Zwarte Piet tradition? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Programme Highlights