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“Protest against Dutch holiday tradition that has Santa’s helpers resemble slaves”
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – The Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus arrived in the Netherlands on Saturday to the delight of thousands of children. But even as the Sinterklaas festival kicked off around the country a group gathered in downtown Amsterdam to protest one element of the party they see as unwelcome: his assistant in blackface makeup, Black Pete.
In the Dutch holiday tradition, St. Nicholas arrives by steamboat in mid-November and spends a month in the country with dozens of the Petes, who are clown-like figures that leave cookies, chocolate and other treats for children. The whole affair culminates in a night of gift giving on Dec. 5.
Protesters say the Petes – who wear blackface makeup, red lipstick and frizzy “Afro” wigs – are blatant racist caricatures and should be banned. But the large majority of Dutch people feel there is no racial insult intended by Black Pete. They say…
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