When you think of Santa Claus, what comes to mind? A white bearded fat man? Reindeer? A big sleigh? How about a man in blackface with big red lips?
If we lost you at that last one, it’s probably because you haven’t yet heard of Zwarte Piet, or “Black Pete.” He’s part of a Dutch Christmas tradition that would shock many Americans. We explore the story of Black Pete with Karen Attiah, a deputy editor at the Washington Post, who’s spent a lot of time thinking about how the Christmas character and the Netherlands’s larger racial history intersect.
Then, since everyone is allowed to be a little nostalgic at the end of the year, we take a retrospective look back at Intersection’s most powerful moments this year. We’ve picked out some of our favorite tape of our guests talking about identity, and share them with you in this episode, our last of 2015.
Thanks for being part of our new intersectional community this year, and here’s to a 2016 full of possibility and hope.
To learn more about Zwarte Piet, check out our reading list:
- The Dutch Blackface Holiday Tradition Has No Place in the 21st Century, by Karen Attiah for The Washington Post
- How Dutch Activists Are Fighting a Christmas Blackface Tradition, by Tara John for TIME
- Dutch Newspaper Uses N-Word in Headline of Review of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s New Book, by Karen Attiah for The Washington Post
- Dear White America, by George Yancy for The New York Times (unrelated to Black Pete, but you shouldn’t miss it)