It’s a Christmas tradition that is so controversial, moves are afoot in Holland to ban it. But that hasn’t stopped residents in a Scottish village adopting a Dutch festive party which sees an actor “black-up” in the role as Santa’s assistant. Killearn, Stirlingshire, will host Sinterklaas with more than 250 people set to attend the event organised by Dutch expats. Anti-racism campaigners have hit out at the fesival because of the role of Zwarte Piet, or Black Peter, a helper to St Nicholas. The character is played by a white man who puts on black face make-up and dresses up before handing out sweets to children. The festival has been condemned around the world. Scottish External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf MSP said: “The act of blackening up harks back to the days of the minstrels – the 1950s or even farther. It was offensive then and is offensive now. People who come from minority communities, myself included, find this kind of behaviour offensive. “Scotland has moved on and this sort of thing really should be discouraged.” The Scottish event’s assistant organiser Peter Kuik, who’s originally from Holland but now stays in Livingston, yesterday defended the festival.
Craig McDonald in Scottish village’s controversial Christmas event condemned around the world over ‘blacked-up’ character (Daily Record)