Opponents of Dutch "Black Pete" Speak Out

Opponents of Dutch "Black Pete" Speak Out

Opponents of the Netherlands' "Black Peter" tradition have asked the City of Amsterdam to revoke the permit for a popular children's festival in which actors portraying St. Nicholas and his blackfaced helpers arrive at the city in a flotilla of ships.

Published October 17, 2013

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Opponents of the Netherlands' "Black Peter" tradition have asked the City of Amsterdam to revoke the permit for a popular children's festival in which actors portraying St. Nicholas and his blackfaced helpers arrive at the city in a flotilla of ships.

"Sinterklaas," the Dutch version of Santa Claus, is portrayed as a lanky white man who arrives in November, accompanied by dozens of little helpers called Zwarte Pieten, or Black Petes — typically white people in blackface makeup.

The tradition is beloved by most Dutch people, but in recent years there have been growing complaints that Pete is a racist caricature.

On Thursday dozens of protesters attended a hearing about the permit at City Hall. Mayor Eberhard van der Laan will decide later this month.

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(Photo: TOUSSAINT KLUITERS/EPA /Landov)

Written by The Associated Press

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