Inside Story

Should the Dutch ‘Black Pete’ tradition be abolished?

Controversial Dutch blackface holiday figure is under renewed scrutiny.

Many children in the Netherlands have grown up with the image of Black Pete, a helper for St Nicholas, an equivalent of Santa Claus.

The character is highly controversial, as the figure is usually portrayed by a white person wearing blackface makeup with exaggerated lips and an afro wig.

Black people say it is a racist caricature, but defenders say it is a harmless tradition.

In a year of Black Lives Matter protests, is it time to give up this divisive figure?

Presenter: Imran Khan


Mitchell Esajas – Activist at the Anti-Black Pete Movement

Tracy Bibo-Tansia – Political scientist and activist focusing on gender and race

Patrick Vernon – Cultural historian