Black Pete: Racism or Harmless Fantasy?

A Dutch court ruled that a traditional figure known as Black Pete is a negative stereotype of black people. Here is the article by AP via USA TODAY:

Black Pete is usually portrayed by white people in blackface makeup, with thick red lips and a frizzy Afro hairstyle. Opponents say that’s a racist caricature. Most Dutch people — around 80 percent of whom are white — are fiercely loyal to their holiday tradition, saying he is a harmless fantasy figure and no insult is intended.

The court said Thursday that Black Pete’s appearance, in combination with the fact that he is often portrayed as dumb and servile, makes it “a negative stereotype of black people.”

Although offensive and insensitive to some, Black Pete should not be banned from Dutch traditional winter festival. It is a harmless traditional figure who helps Santa Claus bring candy to children. This is, however, not surprising given political correctness throughout Europe, where racism and anti-semitic comments and acts are criminal offenses. You should be free to be as ignorant and insensitive as you want as long as you don’t physically threaten or harm others. 


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