The United Nations has declared a war on racism and slavery.

Not on real slavery, as practiced by Saudi Arabia and Qatar with an immigrant labour force, but as practiced by the people of Netherlands during their Christmas festivities.  The U.N.’s self-proclaimed “Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination” told the Netherlands to end its “Black Pete” Christmas tradition, in which Dutch people wear blackfaces, calling it a “reminder of slavery.”

The actor portraying “Zwarte Piet”, as the jovial companion of Santa Claus is called in Dutch, usually puts on blackface make-up along with a fancy hat and Renaissance attire. (As the Dutch folklore goes, Santa’s companion is a Moor from Spain.)

But the crusaders against racial discrimination at U.N. are not having any of it. According to the New York Times:

A United Nations committee has urged the Netherlands to get rid of Black Pete, a popular children’s character who has long been portrayed in early winter by white people in blackface makeup, usually with exaggerated red lips and gold hoops in his ears.

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination wrote in a report issued Friday that “the character of Black Pete is sometimes portrayed in a manner that reflects negative stereotypes of people of African descent and is experienced by many people of African descent as a vestige of slavery.” It urged the Netherlands to “actively promote the elimination” of the racial stereotyping.

The Netherlands, a pioneer of today’s free market capitalism and individual liberty, stands accused of racism by a body comprised of medieval theocratic regimes and third-world dictatorships.

The Dutch government has dismissed the allegations levelled by the U.N., saying it is not the government’s job to rewrite folklores. Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters, “What Christmas songs you should sing, how you celebrate Christmas and Easter — this isn’t what politics is about.”

Last November, Christmas celebrations in the country were met with protests led by activists. More than 90 demonstrators were arrested after they clashed with locals, carrying “Black Pete is racism” placards at a Christmas procession in the city of Gouda.

Schools and businesses are already caving in to the mounting activism, many changing the traditional Christmas character to colours ranging from orange to even golden.


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