Dutch PM Rutte sceptical about Black Pete tradition


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says his attitude to Black Pete – a Christmas character traditionally played by a white person in black face paint – has undergone “major changes”. He said he used to be among those who argued that “Black Pete is just black”, accepting the Dutch tradition.

But now he expects the tradition to die out, he told the Dutch parliament. He was speaking after Dutch protests triggered by the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. Thousands rallied in Amsterdam and Rotterdam earlier this week in solidarity with US demonstrations over the unarmed black man’s death. For years anti-racism campaigners in the Netherlands have been protesting over Black Pete (“Zwarte Piet” in Dutch), seeing the tradition as an offensive relic of colonial times. Supporters, meanwhile, argue that it is a harmless part of Christmas celebrations enjoyed by children.(BBC)..[+]