Zwarte Piet wiedewiedewiet
July 12, 2014 5:10 AM Subscribe
Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan has been told by a court in the capital to reconsider the licensing of the Sinterklaas parade through the city last year, which became mired in controversy because of the Zwarte Piet character. The administrative court says the mayor has six weeks to look again at the decision to allow the parade to go ahead last year and determine if the correct one was taken. The administrative court said in its ruling the Zwarte Piet character a negative stereotype which is insulting to black people and the mayor must decide which interest is more important: that of black Amsterdammers or society in general, news agency ANP reported.It's official: Zwarte Piet (previously) is a racist, negative stereotype according to the Amsterdam courts.
Last year an UN commission already warned the Netherlands that Zwarte Piet might be racist:
"Some practices, which are part of cultural heritage, may infringe upon human rights," said the letter.(The original lettre is up on scribd.)
"Negative media and other cultural, social or traditional portrayals of persons belonging to minorities may constitute racism and may be degrading to members of those communities, in the present case persons belonging to black populations and people of African descent, and can perpetuate negative stereotypes within society."
Though this was swiftly backtracked last year, an UN working party is currently in the country to investigate the tradition.
Foreign commentary on the ruling at e.g. Al Jazeera or the New Statesman seems mostly surprised that it took so long for any ruling on this to occur.
For background on Zwarte Piet and the protests against it, Jessica Olien in Slate has the best English language overview I've seen.
Meanwhile moderately leftwing Dutch magazine HP/De Tijd put up a picture gallery saying goodbye to Piet.
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