Zwarte Piet actor says end of blackface, “racist icon” is near

Erik van Muiswinkel (Photo: Kennisland/Wikimedia Commons). (Erik van Muiswinkel (Photo: Kennisland/Wikimedia Commons))

Erik van Muiswinkel, the actor who plays head Piet in the Sinterklaasjournaal, thinks that Zwarte Piet as he is today will be gone in 20 years time. He does not think that Zwarte Piet lovers are racist, but Zwarte Piet is a "racist icon of a time that was racist", he said on television program Pauw.

Van Muiswinkel thinks that Zwarte Piet changing is for the best, given how many people are offended by him. And it has already started, he said, referring to the Sinterklaasjournaal featuring some so-called Chimney Pieten. "If you had done that five years ago, the world would have ended, in soot marks and half-white", he said. "In 20 years Zwarte Piet will be gone. I am convinced of that."

According to Van Muiswinkel, Sinterklaas will not stand or fall based on the color of his helpers. And helpers there will still be. "There still has to be an assistant, a happy friend. It is changing, and it will continue to change. The schools are busy, the arrival committees are busy."