Sesame Street racist affiliate partner

August 2013 picture from a Dutch broadcast partner of Sesame Street. This kicks off their yearly month of blackface and sambo racist imagery. It disappoints me because a) I have written to the Sesame Street Company and joan ganz cooney about it several times. They have never even bothered to answer. It also disappoints me because b) I had always thought of Sesame Street as being racially progressive, so it’s painful when they ignore these important issues.


Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 2.04.23 PM

Chambers & Oxford dictionaries. Example of why stereotypes are damaging.
Zie: waarom stereotypen gevaarlijk zijn.
Quote: “black adj. opposite of white, dirty, messy, without light, dark, illegal, dim, smuggled, sombre, disasterous, dismal, obscure, sullen, bad-tempered, angry, horrible, grotesque, malignant, unlucky, unhappy, depressed.

Het feit dat Zwarte Piet racistische is, is bewezen door het feit dat veel Nederlanders dit niet snapt.

Veel Nederlanders denken dat het niet problematische is om karikaturen van zwarte mensen te maken.

Het feit zelf dat mensen niet snappen dat dit een probleem is, komt door hun ‘opleiding’.

Een cultuur dat mensen niet leert omgaan met respect for andere rassen heeft ook moeite om te leren waarom karikaturen vernederend zijn.


Why is Black Peter racist?

The very fact that most Dutch people do not understand why Zwarte Piet is racist proves the very point.


By growing up in a culture where it is ok to portray other races by making fun of them, most Dutch people have been blinded to the insensitivity.

So, in other words, the fact that Zwarte Piet is racism is proven by the fact that many Dutch people don’t even understand the objection or the problem.

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.

Zwarte Piet is uit de tijd

Zwarte Piet is History. Read all about it!

Criticism of Dutch “Black Pete” tradition grows

At times like this I am embarrassed by my home.
Soms schaam ik me over Nederland, zoals nu.

Associated Press

AMSTERDAM (AP) – Foreigners visiting the Netherlands in winter are often surprised to see that the Dutch version of St. Nicholas’ helpers have their faces painted black, wear Afro wigs and have thick red lips – in short, a racist caricature of a black person.

The overwhelming majority of Dutch are fiercely devoted to the holiday tradition of “Zwarte Piet” – whose name means “Black Pete” – and insist he’s a harmless fictional figure who doesn’t represent any race. But a growing number are questioning whether “Zwarte Piet” should be given a makeover or banished from the holiday scene, seeing him as a blight on the nation’s image as a bulwark of tolerance.

“There is more opposition to Zwarte Piet than you might think,” says Jessica Silversmith, director of the regional Anti-Discrimination Bureau for Amsterdam. She said that historically her office received only one or two complaints per year, but the number jumped to more than 100 last year, and will escalate much further this year.

“It’s not only Antilleans or Surinamers who are complaining,” she said, referring to people descended from the former Dutch colonies that once traded in slavery. “It’s all kinds of Dutch people.”


Een kort kinderverhaal over een jongen genaamd Mace die Sinterklaas en zijn Pieten ontmoet.
A short story about a kid named Mace who meets Sinterklaas en his Piets.
Geschreven door: Nita Kersten, Sophie de Vries & Brian Elstak
Illustraties door: Brian Elstak
Voice-over: Maarten van Hinte
Ge-edit door: Brian Ent (
Sound design: Michaël Sauvage

Thanks: MC Theater Amsterdam, Lowrey Foley McClane, Kapsalon, More Color & Tjunk