The Ignorant Defense Of Zwarte Piet

Since I like having Dutch friends, I don’t discuss Zwarte Piet. If you’re Dutch and you want to keep being my friend, I’d highly recommend not reading any further and we can continue with said friendship.

The overwhelming opinion that the character isn’t racist makes a discussion about Zwarte Piet impossible. I’ve written about Zwarte Piet before and arguing that he’s racist is about as effective as trying to convince flat-Earther that the world, is in fact, round. As Mark Twain said, “Don’t argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

Despite my best intentions though, I’ve ended up in these arguments or witnessing these arguments. And, though I realize that people are arguing in favor of, essentially, dressing up in blackface, I’m always shocked at the stupidity of the defenses.

zwarte-piet

It’s for the kids…

Well so is this gun. I don’t see a lot of Dutch parents giving their kids one for Sinterklaas. This is the worst possible response, because you’re in essence admitting you know it’s racist but your kids like it and you don’t want to take that away from them. You’d rather reinforce racist  stereotypes than deal with a toddler’s tantrum.

Kids don’t think it’s racist

Of course they don’t. Because kids don’t understand racism. You know who teaches kids to be racist? Adults. By allowing them to continue to participate in racist activities.

It’s tradition!

So was slavery. Next argument.

Well, your country has <insert racist tradition here>

You’re right. I’m also mad about people dressing up as Native Americans for Thanksgiving, “terrorists” for Halloween and throwing pimps and hos parties. I can, in fact, be upset at multiple things at once. Other people doing racist shit is not justification for you to do it.

He’s black because he comes down the chimney

Gee, I wasn’t aware that all chimneys in the Netherlands stocked a dressing room full of funny outfits, curly wigs, gold hoop earrings and red lipstick. Seems like a fire hazard.

You just don’t understand

You’re right. I don’t understand how a group of seemingly otherwise intelligent, sane, rational people can be in such total and utter denial about how goddamn racist this tradition is.

  • dmf

    Oh man. Forgot about the Cricket. Excellent rebuttal to that point. Especially in the Dutch anti-gun, child-worshipping culture.