The Hague to follow kids’ TV show on Zwarte Piet blackface issue

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Sooty Piet (Picture: Twitter/@Warda_E) chimney pietChimney Piet (Picture: Twitter/@Warda_E)

The Hague should follow the lead of kids' show Sinterklaasjournaal when it comes to what Zwarte Piet will look like at Sinterklaas' arrival in the city, Mayor Jozias van Aartsen will advise the organizers of the arrival, Omroep West reports.

Two years ago the Sinterklaasjournaal addressed the issue of Zwarte Piet's blackface makeup by introducing so-called "Sooty Piet". This light skinned Piet became steadily blacker with soot streaks on his face fro crawling down the chimney.

The Hague mayor plans to pass this advise on to Peter Boelhouwer soon. Boelhouwer is responsible for organizing Sinterklaas' arrival in Scheveningen. Boelhouwer himself told Omroep West that the organizers have been following the lead of Sinterklaasjournaal for several years.

Van Aartsen has been struggling with whether or not politicians should interfere in the Zwarte Piet debate for quite some time. Tow years ago The Hague city council decided to leave the topic in the hands of society. But according to Van Aartsen, that is no longer a position they can sustain.

The Mayor therefore decided to carefully take part in the discussion. "Many people have fond memories of (Sinterklaas' arrival, ed) and it is a kids' party", Van Aarsten said to Omroep West. We must not fight out the discussion over the backs of children."

He wants to have the discussion done with before Sinterklaas arrives in Scheveningen. "And we should not make it a big political problem" he said. Van Aartsen wants to make sure the "interest of the child is at the center" of the discussion.

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