White Pete enrages some Zwarte Piet lovers

Last night the Sinterklaasjournaal introduced a few White Petes. Or at least a Piet-in-training with a few soot marks on his face from going down the chimney.

One thing is certain. The Sinterklaasjournaal is causing a lot of controversy this year. On the first broadcast of this year on Tuesday, only the traditional Zwarte Pieten, with faces painted black, appeared. This upset many people, including children's writer Sjoerd Kuyper.

Last night the first White Pete appeared. This upset many people on the other side of the argument. Geert Wilders tweeted that he will never again watch Sinterklaasjournaal.

Supporters and opponents of Zwarte Piet are discussing (or fighting over) the matter on Twitter using the hastags #wittepiet and #sinterklaasjournaal.




The NTR, who broadcast Sinterklaasjournaal, will probably wait for the outcome of this discussion before taking a position. The program has, as a result of its own success, become one of the main arenas for the Zwarte Piet quarrels.

The story line they came up with seems clever because it completely avoids the discussion. The Pieten are gone, so new ones must be trained. They jump down chimneys so often that they gradually take on some color, taking the topic of race out of the discussion. One Piet-in-training asks "Am I all black?" to which the Piet-trainer replies, no, not really. "But the most important thing is that you can go down the chimney. The color of a Piet, that is an afterthought."



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