Sinterklaas and Blackface Black Pete

Photos taken during a Christmas parade in Utrecht in the Netherlands in 2005. Instead of elves, in the Dutch Christmas tradition, Saint Nicholas is assisted by a black face, minstrel show-like helper named zwarte Piet, or black Pete.

Opinions about Sinterklaas and zwarte Piet vary widely.

Some Dutch people loyally defend the tradition to paint their faces black and put on red lipstick. A United Nations official recently declared zwarte Piet a racist tradition.

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