Move over Santa’s elves, make room for Black Peter, Santa Claus‘s trusty African helper who keeps a book with names of naughty children while toting a rod and knapsack to throw bad kids in. He’s a beloved little fella created by the Dutch in the 1840’s. Citizens in the Netherlands bring holiday cheer by dressing up as Black Peter, complete with black face, kinky wig and whimsical outfit.
Many Dutch citizens say Black Pete‘s face is black from sliding down soot laden chimneys. But others admit Black Peter promotes negative stereotypes.They want Black Peter to go away.
Organizers of New Westminster‘s Dutch Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) celebrations in Canada pulled Black Peter from their traditional parade due to protests from the public including the African-Canadian community who considered Santa’s little helper racist, offensive, and outdated.
As an African-American, I’m still amazed by the lingering images that promote negative propaganda against the Black people of the world. Black Peter is just one of many.
Do you think Black Peter is negative or a harmless character who promotes Christmas cheer?