Has the concept of Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten left you scratching your head?
I’ll admit that even after observing hoards of white Dutch people in black-face, I was still surprised by a storefront display featuring an illustration from the beautifully illustrated, award-winning book, Sinterklaas (Charlotte Dematons 2008):
I think most observers would agree that the ship looks rather too similar to a slave ship that the Dutch East India Company might have used in trans-atlantic slave trade.
Even after observing a jolly holiday display with a slave ship, I was still surprised that these chocolates were being sold in the Jumbo grocery store:
I could easily spend all day walking around Utrecht, looking at store displays and being shocked.
I come from a country, however, where racism results in police killings of unarmed black men and boys (Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, etc), rather than a country where racism results in cringe-worthy children’s books and chocolates.
So I will now spend my time being less shocked by Zwarte Piet and more shocked by the inappropriate use of police force against minorities in America.
And maybe I should design and market a line of racist cop white chocolates.