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Traditions Can be Racist

Gregory Wilson

EVERY year on December 5th and 6th, tens of thousands of Dutch people paint their faces black, don Renaissance-style jerkins and pantaloons, and assume the persona of Zwarte Piet ("Black Pete"). According to a custom standardized in the late 1800s, it plays a vital part in the celebration of the feast day of St Nicholas, known as Sinterklaas, which overshadows Christmas as the most important children’s holiday.

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