Painting faces black is racist but painting them white is not

Why is painting faces black considered racist, but painting them white is not?

Traditionally, geishas paint their faces white, so do Halloween characters and traditional French mime artists. I’ve never heard one word of complaint from white skinned people about racism in the face of white-faced performers.

French mime artist

A traditional Dutch character, Black Pete, is joining Rotorua’s Christmas festivities this year and calls of racism are upsetting the event organisers. The same thing is happening overseas, including in Holland where the tradition originates. Newshub reports. Quote.

‘Black Pete’ to appear at the local feast of St Nicholas on December 5.  The traditional character sees those playing them paint their face black and lips red, then put on a curly black wig and hand out presents and sweets to children.

The demonstrators were on their way to Dokkum, above, to protest against the inclusion of Zwart Piet in the town’s festival. Photograph: NurPhoto/Getty Images

It’s been called racist – even by many in the Netherlands, where the character originates – but Rotorua Netherlands Society member Douwe Visser believes it’s just tradition.  He told NZME it will have to change in the future, after some conversations in the community, but not now.” End of quote.

Origins of the character are not considered insulting – it is only our politically correct over-sensitivity that has caused this change in thinking.  People are dreaming up insults that never existed previously. Black Pete is a good guy.   Quote. 

I think it has to change a little because for some people it’s looked at as insulting, but originally it wasn’t meant that way,” he told NZME. “I think it will change in the future, but we’ll have to talk about it.” End of quote.

Rotorua Multicultural Council president Margriet Theron said she’s in two minds about the costumes and will wait to see what the public has to say.

“The old Dutch people are very attached to the tradition but … I don’t think it’s going to go down well,” she told NZME.

It hasn’t gone down well with the NZ Human Rights Commission, who told NZME people need to challenge the perpetuation of racist stereotypes and customs like Black Pete.

“Racism, overt or casual, is not acceptable,” a spokesperson said.

Fights in the streets have broken out in the Netherlands over the character.” End of quote.

The NZ Human Rights Commission has lost the plot, yet again.

We need to stop being so precious about “racism”.  Let’s get a French mime artist to tag along with Black Pete at Rotorua’s Christmas festivities to highlight the ridiculousness of the racism argument.  They can both hand out sweets and pressies to the kids.

 


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The subject evoked in the collage is the debating of political issues with friends in a public place

Pablo Picasso
Glass and bottle of Suze (after 18 November 1912)
pasted paper, gouache and charcoal

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