ZwartePieten: Lovable Chimeny Sweeps or Sint's Little Slave Ship?
As we approach the dutch version of Christmas, Black Peter is showing up more and more (specifically on TV). And we have been given many explanations as to what the history behind Zwartepeiten is but it seems to boil down to the politically correct version (as bizarre of a concept as that is for these people) and what actually happened. Essentially the first of the two views is that they're black because they deliver the gifts down the chimney (which I have my doubts about because their costumes are as clean as the day they picked them off the shelf and you'd think a soot covered chimney diver would at least have the odd splotch of soot here and there on his pure white collar), and then here's the actual version. Where they really come from is Turkey (as apparently that's where Sinterklaas is from). And in Turkey some stuff went down with the African peoples and after all the awkwardness of conflict settled they were offered the opportunity to be Turkish servants (which is essentially a voluntary slave as I understand it correctly). So here we are... parading Sinterklaas around TV with an army of dutch peopled decked to the gill in blackface, acting like moronic mischievous imbeciles, and the dutch still can't wrap their minds around why we are offended by this, with or without all the family friendly chimney sweep explanations... Sometimes this culture just baffles me.