One example often given by people who defend Zwarte Piet as being non-racist is that ‘children do not see color’.

 

While that may or may not be true, and children may not immediately associate Zwarte Piet with black people, there are other problems. 

 

The biggest one for me was that I had to grow up, and once I had become educated, I had to ask why I had been allowed to follow this insulting story as a child. 

 

I saw a little bit of the world. I learned about racism, I studied Apartheid, I read books about inequality, I returned to Holland and was deeply embarrassed. I learned, for example, what the Belgians did in Congo, which you can read about in King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild. Some details include the murder of 10 million people by the Belgians.

 

A good example would be a child growing up in Iran who was taught that the Holocaust did not exist. This is called Holocaust denial. 

Later, if those children wish to enter the larger world, they will have to have their beliefs corrected. Not only that but it is very insulting to anybody who was harmed by the holocaust or the generations that followed.

 

Teaching children that dressing up like black people after 400 years of colonialism is wrong. 

 

It is wrong to teach children that it’s OK to dress up like people from other races and jump around like an fool.

 

It is wrong to ignore and deny history.

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