With all the yippity-yap about stereotyping, the broad, continent-wide stereotyping that underlies these sort of cultural headhunting campaigns is that European civilization is one Giant Sin that needs to be redressed. For all the talk about how the infinitesimal quotient of Dutch schoolchildren who are black may be traumatized by the specter of a jolly Negro elf, what about the cumulative psychological effects of whipping white kids” brains with historical guilt from the moment they can speak? This isn”t about sensitivity, it’s about power”specifically, the power to dictate to others what their history and traditions actually mean, whether they want to hear it or not.
Enter the United Nations.
Back in January, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights sent the Dutch government a letter claiming they”d received information that
the Dutch celebration of Black Pete…perpetuate[s] a stereotyped image of African people and people of African descent as second-class citizens, fostering an underlying sense of inferiority within Dutch society and stirring racial differences as well as racism.
The UN suggested that black Dutch citizens” human rights were being violated according to the following passage in 1992’s Declarations on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious, and Linguistic Minorities:
States shall protect the existence and the national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and shall encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.
No mention was made as to whether the Dutch majority had any right to promote and maintain their own identity.
Last Tuesday, Verene Shepherd, a Jamaican lady who works on the UN Human Rights Commission panel, told Dutch TV:
What is wrong with one Santa Claus, why do you have to have two Santa Clauses?…The working group cannot understand that why it is that people in the Netherlands cannot see that this is a throwback to slavery and that in the 21st century this practice should stop….As a black person, I feel that if I was living in the Netherlands I would object to it.
Verene, I feel that as a black person, you”d object to almost anything no matter where you lived.
Thankfully, mercifully, and quite refreshingly, the Dutch populace has told the world to go fuck itself. A “Pete-ition“ in support of Black Pete on Facebook gathered over two million likes in the matter of a few days. And according to a poll of nearly 10,000 Netherlanders, 96% said the debate shouldn”t even be occurring. It’s almost as if the entire Dutch nation has applied blackface to its posterior and is mooning the world.
Amid all the guilt-tripping about atoning for colonialism, it bears noting that most accounts suggest that the Black Pete character is based on Spanish Moors”you know, the Africans who invaded and occupied Spain for over five hundred years.
They should know something about colonialism. They were doing it long before the Dutch were.
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