A person dressed as "Zwarte Piet" or "Black Pete" attends a parade after St. Nicholas, or Sinterklaas, arrived by boat in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Foreigners visiting the Netherlands in winter are often surprised to see that the Dutch version of St. Nicholas' little helpers resemble a racist caricature of a black person. The overwhelming majority of Dutch, who pride themselves on tolerance, are fiercely devoted to their holiday tradition and say "Zwarte Piet," whose name means "Black Pete," is absolutely harmless, a fictional figure who does not represent any race. But now a growing group of Dutch natives are questioning whether this particular part of the tradition should be changed.
A person dressed as "Zwarte Piet" or "Black Pete" attends a parade after St. Nicholas, or Sinterklaas, arrived by boat in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Foreigners visiting the Netherlands in winter are often surprised to see that the Dutch version of St. Nicholas' little helpers resemble a racist caricature of a black person. The overwhelming majority of Dutch, who pride themselves on tolerance, are fiercely devoted to their holiday tradition and say "Zwarte Piet," whose name means "Black Pete," is absolutely harmless, a fictional figure who does not represent any race. But now a growing group of Dutch natives are questioning whether this particular part of the tradition should be changed.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press .
published Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
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AMSTERDAM — Foreigners visiting the Netherlands in winter are often surprised to see that the Dutch version of St. Nicholas’ helpers have their faces painted black, wear Afro wigs and have thick red lips — in short, a racist caricature of a black person.

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