Today is the day thousands of children have been waiting for. The arrival of ‘Sinterklaas’ in Meppel. The celebration is a great tradition in The Netherlands that, for some, is bigger than Christmas. But for some, it’s not.
Black Pete is still under alot of discussion. To me, that makes perfect sense. To others, it doesn’t. That, I also understand. We aren’t all going to see eye to eye on this matter. At least, the adults aren’t. It’s about the children though.
It’s a celebration my son enjoys. But as a parent, it’s my duty to make sure he understands. He’s 4,5 years old and we’ve already had a conversation about the color of Black Pete. He believes they should be blue, obviously! I believe it is so incredibly important to teach my son about white privilege and racism. Despite of the comments I get for being a Dutch (read: white) woman who wants this to change. It seems to only be acceptable to want change if you’re black, otherwise I need to stand with ‘my people’. It’s insane. And the reaction of some, is even more insane. It is not only the ‘black people’ who can feel the pain and see the racism in Black Pete. I do also, alongside thousands of others. We’ve opened our eyes and realize this isn’t acceptable. The explanation of why he’s black isn’t logic. Whether it’s because of the chimney (doesn’t explain the afro, red lips, golden earrings) or that ‘Sinterklaas’ offerd job to slaves that has been free’d. It’s wrong on every level.
I, personally, am a very outspoken woman. Take one look at my Facebook or Instagram and you’ll see that. But I do believe in respecting the opinion of others. I do not know why they have their opinion, therefor I am always willing to start a respectful (!) conversation or even debate with anyone. I encourage others to do the same. There is no need for name calling or whatever people do these days. I can’t drop down to a level that isn’t fitting for me, as a woman, or that isn’t setting right example for my son.
What everyone needs ot realise, is that it’s not ‘them’ against ‘us’. But we need to stand together, as a society, to make sure it’s a celebration for ALL our children. Including the children who come home after school, crying for being called ‘Black Pete’ due to the color of their skin. I believe in focussing on the good, for all. Respect, unity and love as a society. Those who spread hate, talk down on people for having another opinion, are missing the point of life. We’re in this together. We need a solution for our children.