I was surprised to see the cover of Dutch Courier newspaper today. The black characters jarred with the Christmas theme. I discovered online that that this is Black Pete (Zwarte Piet) a character, some say servant, who accompanies St Nicholas.
In Canada recently a politician came in for criticism for being photographed with someone dressed as Black Pete.
Siji Jabbar writing for The Guardian a year ago offered a valuable contribution on this issue and race more generally in The Netherlands.
We put this issue of Dutch Courier on display as it’s not our job to act as censor or to judge taste. As to whether this depiction is racist? I’d say it is but I’d also acknowledge that this is a traditional character like the black dolls we used to call golliwogs. Traditions take time to change.