It’s disgusting that schools feed Zwarte Piet stereotypes to children

It was an interesting read. So is it in the best interests of the child to be confronted with Zwarte Piet? Are the Pietengilde going to say that Zwarte Piet isn’t a racist caricature of someone of black African descent? So they are going to say that they don’t portray Zwarte Piet as stupid, childish, unpredictable, acrobatic, and the servant/slave? And they are not going to juxtapose Zwarte Piet with a white, wise, paternalistic boss? And they are going to stop showing the Sinterklaas journaal to school-children with the story that the Piets are bumbling fools that almost ruin the distribution of presents? And they are going to stop the practice of asking children to do tasks at school like correcting Zwarte Piet’s spelling mistakes, or doing gym like Zwarte Piet? Or, as happens every year at the school of my children, the tradition of creating a mess in the classrooms with pencils and papers and books strewn everywhere, and they ask the children to tidy up because the stupid naughty Piets had obviously been there? (This is supposed to provoke excitement with the thought that the Piets are near!) And what about all the people who are referred to as Zwarte Piet every year, merely because they have a dark skin? And what about the way that many people use the Zwarte Piet costume to insult people (portray people as dunces): you’ll find photoshopped photo’s, on the internet, of Arnon Grunberg, Mark Rutte, Quinsy Gario and Geert Wilders in a Piet-costume to insult them. And as for the right to private life. This image is so insulting to the dignity of peoples of African descent and an affront to the sensibilities of generally decent people who don’t want to see a group of people being ridiculed, that it is horrible to be confronted with this image at school, at work, in shops, on television programs and basically everywhere in the Netherlands. To be confronted with this image EVERYWHERE – now that is what makes it prevent people having a normal private life. We are adults; we can reason that we are intelligent, able and so forth. But what about the fact that it is an image aimed at children? It’s disgusting, that schools feed these stereotypes to children. It’s a kind of bullying behavior- like calling names, but then perpetrated by adults, who should have the sense to know better, and who should have the sense to know that they should ALWAYS operate in the best interests of the child.

Rani Gupta over Hoger beroep Zwarte Piet (Bureau Brandeis)